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Saif Al Islam Gaddafi Sentenced to Death in Absentia
List of Sentences Delivered by Da’esh Court in Tripoli Today (English)
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Libyans Take to the Streets to Protest Sentencing of Heroes of the Al Fateh Revolution
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ICC Prosecutor : Surrender Saif Gaddafi to the ICC
Unofficial Draft of HOR Amnesty Law
NHCRL Statement on the Adoption of the Amnesty Law
NHRCL Statement on Sentencing of Former Jamahiriya Officials
Sentences Handed Down in Tripoli Will Make Peace in Libya Impossible!
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Evidence : Security Officials Instructed Police Not to Use Force in 2011
S.C.W.T. Statement on the Sentencing of Political Prisoners
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تعليق ايمان البغدادي المحمودي على احكام محكمة الميليشيات الارهابية
اسماء مصطفى الخروبي على قناة24 تتهم المقاتلة بالقتل البطئ لوالدها
تعليق السيدة امال عبدالله زوجة ابوزيد دوردة على احكام محكمة الميليشيات الارهابية
السيدة امال عبدالله زوجة ابوزيد دوردة تتحدث عن محاولة قتل زوجها وما تعرضت له الاسرة
اسعد زهيو على قناة الميادين حول الحكم الصادر في حق رجال
ليبيا 2015/07/31

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Venezuela, Guyana and the Transnationalization – US Occupation of Esequibo

By Franco Vielma


The dispute between Venezuela and Guyana regarding the Esequibo has taken a significant turn with the beginning of transnationalization of contested land and territorial waters. What follows is an outline of the most profound issues involved.

In 2013 Venezuelan authorities detained the ship Teknik Perdana with five U.S. citizens on board. The ship, operated by the U.S. company Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was sailing near the island of Margarita carrying out petroleum exploration – seismic activities to determine quantities of hydrocarbon resources — in waters disputed by Venezuela and Guyana. The Venezuelan authorities justified their actions saying that the detained ship had entered our territorial waters without our permission.

The government of Guyana accused the Venezuelan navy of detaining the ship within its waters and called the incident a “threat to peace” in the region. The Guyanese ministry “energetically condemned” the event that occurred in the waters in dispute between the two South American countries. Caracas refuted the allegations of Guyana that one of its patrol boats had detained the ship in Guyanese waters and, on the contrary, demanded a “satisfactory explanation” from the neighboring government for its allowing ships to transit in what are considered territorial waters of Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

This incident occurred against the background of what has been a shift in policy on the part of Guyana, which now focuses on the exploitation of land and territorial waters, which Venezuelans consider ours, that were stripped from us by the United Kingdom by way of the Paris Arbitration Award in 1899 (regarding the boundary between the colony of British Guiana and the United States of Venezuela).

Resources of the Guayana Esequiba

A publication on the U.S. State Department web site in February of this year describes the existence of a joint Guyana-Surinam petroleum basin which holds, according to figures provided by the United States Geological Survey, the potential to become “the second largest among unexplored petroleum basin reserves in the world,” with estimates (to date) of some “15 billion recoverable barrels of petroleum reserves and 42 trillion cubic feet of gas.” It is not specified, by this source, whether the reserves are concentrated in waters or solid ground.

The United States, through its “beachhead” Exxon Mobil, and with the intervention of the new government of Guyana, headed by David Arthur Granger (a retired military general trained in the United Kingdom and further educated in the United States) have taken up the concrete task of exploiting the contested waters, placing such activities within the framework of U.S. strategic energy policy.

As articulated by the U.S. State Department, an active collaboration exists between Guyana and the United States to achieve their goal. According to the working plan of the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative – an administrative program for the implementation of U.S. transnational energy policy – Guyana and the United States have developed a working plan involving the U.S. offer of “a wide range of technical and capacity building assistance for Guyana, which seeks to develop financial and regulatory systems aimed at resolving problems of leadership capacity to maximize possibilities for the development of potential oil and gas resources at sea.”

In other words, this is a U.S. government policy of systematic exploitation and transnationalization of the Esequibo, utilizing all necessary financial and technical resources toward that end. However, this situation is rife with sweeping complexities. The global competition for natural resources is one of the most significant elements of the dynamics of modern day capitalism and its logic of accumulation. South America, due to the magnitude of strategic resource reserves that it possesses and its historical position of being a region of export of prime resources, plays an important role in this competition. Guyana cannot escape this reality.

Guyana enters the order of nations as a “hydrocarbon possessing” country, adapting itself in a concrete manner with the strategic policy of the United States’ treatment and control of raw materials as outlined in its “2012 National Security Strategy,” which projects the U.S. as the center of power over essential sources on a planetary level. Guyana has become an element of particular U.S. interest only in regard to hydrocarbons, notwithstanding the possibilities for exploitation by the United States of strategic mineral resources also found in the Esequibo, such as coltan, uranium and gold, quantities of which have not yet been publicly and clearly determined in the region.

The transnationalization and occupation of the Esequibo

Guyana delegates the exploitation of resources in dispute with Venezuela to a foreign power and corporation, and this, given its legal inconsistencies, brings up an important contention. In 1966, Venezuela and Guyana signed the Geneva Agreement, the only valid agreement which governs the bi-national negotiations relating to the contested territories. The Geneva Agreement is a temporary agreement designed to arrive at a definitive solution — many define it as “an agreement to reach an agreement” – and although it invalidates the 1899 arbitration award, the status quo which stemmed from that arbitration remains in place. Therefore, the area contested by Venezuela falls under the authority of the government of Guyana until a different solution is reached according to the agreement. Guyana utilizes this interpretation to justify the legality of resource exploitation in the disputed lands and waters.

But on the other hand, the same Geneva Agreement calls for the creation of a bi-national Joint Commission, which is not active at the present time. Guyana has had a lot to do with the non-existence of said commission, given that it enforces a framework of decision making and responsibilities that contravene the interests of Guyana in the exploitation of natural resources of the reclamation zone.

One of the main responsibilities of the Joint Commission is to carry out the mandate of Article V (2) of the current agreement, which refers to the creation of “rights of sovereignty in said territories”. The exploitation of resources on a territory would be, by reasons of comparative international rights, an exercise of the “right of sovereignty”. Without a Joint Commission that authorizes such actions, resource exploitation in the Esequibo is illegitimate. The Joint Commission would legitimate decisions agreed upon with the signatures of the heads of state of both countries.

The United States, via Exxon Mobil, carries out the exploitation of the sea and contested resources. In regard to the infringement of Venezuelan sovereignty, Monica Bruckmann, sociologist and professor of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, explains the underlying issues in one of her publications on natural resources and geopolitics: “The global dispute over natural resources and their economic and scientific administration raises a broad range of conflicting interests in the region, demonstrating at the least two conflicting projects: the assertion of sovereignty as a basis for national development and regional integration and the reorganization of the hegemonic interests of the United States on the continent.”

The U.S. readjustment in South America now presents itself establishing its “Energy Security Zone, projecting itself toward the Venezuelan Atlantic, as the waters where Exxon is operating have been ruled as Venezuelan Comprehensive Atlantic Maritime Defense zones, according to a decree published May 27, issued by the Venezuelan government as an equivalent response to Guyana’s inclination to exploit contested resources.

But the complexity of this situation also includes distinctive features of Exxon Mobil’s financial, technological and operational approach and positioning in the transgressed Venezuelan waters. Exxon is a transnational corporation known worldwide for operating in territories that are occupied, contested or in the midst of civil war. While Saddam Hussein was being chased down for capture and execution in Iraq, Exxon directed its efforts to develop operations at the hands of Halliburton. In Libya they are accused of providing support and cooperation with mercenaries that today are in control of the country’s oil installations. The accusations are countless.

Exxon is accustomed to carrying out operations accompanied by a “security component” – a euphemism for injecting paramilitary mercenary forces on the ground. This points to the huge possibility for the placement of foreign paramilitary forces in occupied Venezuelan waters and ground support areas.

On the other hand, as usually happens in major petroleum deals that the United States cuts with crude oil possessing nations, almost all of the exploitation of virgin basins (as is the case of the waters of the Esequibo) involves the expansion and enlargement of the areas of exploitation. This infers the possibility for short term development of new areas of exploration and subsequent exploitation on solid ground, needless to say, on land within the reclamation zone. If Exxon broadens its logistic capacities on the ground, its security component will do likewise, which will constitute the de facto outright U.S. paramilitary occupation of the Esequibo.

Almost all oil agreements elaborated by the United States include the military component. That is, we are facing the probability of not only military occupation and transnationalization of the Esequibo but also its occupation by conventional forces of the United States.

The U.S. security strategic policy outlined in its “2012 National Security Strategy Plan” provides for the “protection” and “safeguarding” of U.S. assets on an intercontinental level. The plan consists of a manual to be employed worldwide which designates the responsibility of the United States to act in favor of the protection of public and private property and persons of the United States throughout the world against all threats, declared or unexpected. Under this legislation the United States intrudes in territorial waters around the world. It does so in the Horn of Africa against Somali piracy with the frequent use of force if any of its assets are compromised.

In other words: If Venezuela detains a U.S. ship attempting to extract resources in our Comprehensive Atlantic Maritime Defense zones, the U.S. Navy assumes the legal authority to act with the use of force. And therein lies the crux of the matter: a scenario of war is more likely with the United States itself than with Guyana, which lacks certain military assets to diligently occupy and safeguard the contested waters.

Another issue to consider is the likely expansion of the areas of illegal exploitation of resources of the Esequibo to the vicinity of the Esequibo River, the ultimate natural line of demarcation of the disputed territories. It is very likely that this could occur with the injection of the paramilitary component and elements of the regular U.S. forces – read this well — with military bases located a mere three minutes of flight time away from Ciudad Bolivar and 20 minutes from Caracas. We’re talking about a scenario in which Venezuela is flanked on its Atlantic coast and its eastern border, with our Esequibo put to use as an aircraft carrier and base of operations projecting into Venezuelan energy security zones such as the Orinoco Oil Belt.

In the warmongering run-up to occupation and usurpation of our territories, in Venezuela we have come to terms with the weapons of politics, reason and history. But the situation is changing; they want to provoke us into a war. Another thing is certain: These are not those times in which Andrés Eloy Blanco pointed out that we had lost of fifth of our territory “without firing a single shot”.

Transnacionalización y ocupación del Esequibo: lo que hay detrás

Por Franco Vielma

La disputa entre Venezuela y Guyana con respecto al Esequibo ha dado un giro significativo con el inicio de la transnacionalización del territorio y el mar territorial en disputa. Lo que sigue es una descripción de las cuestiones más profundas al respecto.

En 2013 las autoridades venezolanas detuvieron el barco Teknik Perdana con cinco ciudadanos estadounidenses a bordo. El buque llevaba a cabo una exploración en aguas disputadas por Venezuela y Guyana. El barco detenido era de exploración petrolera y operada por la compañía estadounidense Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Navegaba cerca de la isla de Margarita, realizando actividades de “sísmica”, que no es otra cosa que la exploración y cuantificación de recursos hidrocarburos. Las autoridades venezolanas justificaron sus acciones diciendo que el buque detenido había entrado en nuestras aguas territoriales sin nuestro permiso.

El gobierno de Guyana acusó a la Armada venezolana de detener en sus aguas al barco y calificó el incidente de “amenaza para la paz” en la región. La cancillería guyanesa “condenó enérgicamente” el suceso ocurrido en aguas disputadas entre ambos países sudamericanos. Caracas rechazó a su vez las acusaciones de Guyana de que una de sus patrullas hiciera una detención en aguas guyanesas y, al contrario, le pidió una “explicación satisfactoria” al gobierno vecino por permitir el tránsito de embarcaciones en las que consideran aguas de su Zona Económica Exclusiva.

Este evento fue referencia a lo que ha sido un giro en la política de Guyana, que ahora se apresta al aprovechamiento de recursos en territorios y aguas que los venezolanos consideramos como nuestros, despojados de nuestro país por Reino Unido mediante el Laudo Arbitral de París en 1899.

Los recursos en la Guayana Esequiba

Según una publicación en el sitio web del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos, con actualización en febrero de este año, se reseña la existencia de una cuenca petrolera conjunta Guyana-Surinam, la cual tiene, según cifras aportadas por The United States Geological Survey (Servicio de Geología de Estados Unidos; Usgs, por sus siglas en inglés), el potencial de ser “la segunda reserva en cuencas inexploradas del mundo” sobre la estimación (hasta la fecha) de unas reservas probables de “15 mil millones de reservas de petróleo recuperable y unos 42 billones de pies cúbicos de gas”. No se especifica, al menos en esta fuente, si tales reservas se encuentran concentradas en aguas o en tierra firme.

EEUU, por medio de su “cabeza de playa” Exxon Mobil, y de la mano del nuevo gobierno de Guyana, dirigido por David Arthur Granger (un general retirado formado en Reino Unido y con cursos en EEUU), asumen la tarea concreta de explotar las aguas en reclamación, enmarcando tales actividades en la política estratégica energética norteamericana.

Según lo señalado desde el Departamento de Estado Norteamericano, existe una colaboración activa entre Guyana y EEUU para tales fines. De acuerdo al plan de trabajo del Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (Egci) –una instancia para el abordaje de la política energética transnacional norteamericana–, Guyana y EEUU han desarrollado un plan de trabajo que consiste en el ofrecimiento del gobierno de Estados Unidos “de una amplia gama de asistencia técnica y creación de capacidad para Guyana, la cual busca desarrollar regímenes financieros y regulatorios a los fines de solucionar problemas de capacidad de dirección que maximicen el potencial de desarrollo de los recursos potenciales de petróleo y gas en alta mar”.

Dicho de otra manera, se trata de una política del gobierno de Estados Unidos la explotación y transnacionalización sistemática del Esequibo, prestando todos los recursos financieros y técnicos para eso. Pero esta situación comprende complejidades de mayor amplitud. La disputa global por los recursos naturales es uno de los elementos más significativos de la dinámica del capitalismo contemporáneo y de su lógica de acumulación. América del Sur es un espacio importante de esta disputa por la dimensión de las reservas de recursos estratégicos que posee y por su condición histórica de ser una región exportadora de materias primas. Guyana no escapa a esta realidad.

Guyana entra al concierto de naciones como país “poseedor de hidrocarburos”, articulándose de manera concreta con la política estratégica norteamericana de abordaje y control de materias primas y energía, previsto así en su “National Security Estrategic Plan 2012″ que proyecta a EEUU como centro de poder sobre las fuentes fundamentales a escala planetaria. Sólo en el aspecto de los hidrocarburos Guyana pasa a ser un elemento de particular interés norteamericano, descontándose con esta afirmación las posibilidades de aprovechamiento por parte de EEUU de los recursos minerales estratégicos que también se encuentran en el Esequibo, como el coltán, el uranio y el oro, cuyos volúmenes en la región no han sido determinados pública y transparentemente.

La transnacionalización y ocupación del Esequibo

Guyana delega a una potencia y a una corporación extraterritorial la explotación de recursos en disputa con Venezuela, y esto reviste una importante polémica dadas sus inconsistencias legales. En 1966, Venezuela y Guyana firmaron el Acuerdo de Ginebra, único acuerdo vigente que rige la negociación binacional sobre los territorios en reclamación. El Acuerdo de Ginebra es un acuerdo transitorio para llegar a una solución definitiva, muchos lo definen como “un acuerdo para llegar a un acuerdo”, y aunque invalida el laudo de 1899, se mantiene el statu quo que de él derivó. Por lo tanto, el área en reclamación por Venezuela se encuentra bajo la autoridad del gobierno de Guyana hasta que no se resuelva algo diferente conforme al Tratado. Sobre esta interpretación, Guyana justifica la legalidad de la explotación de recursos en las aguas y tierras en disputa.

Pero por otro lado, el mismo Acuerdo de Ginebra dispone la creación de una Comisión Mixta binacional, que en estos momentos se encuentra desactivada. Guyana ha tenido mucho que ver en la inexistencia de dicha comisión actualmente, dado que ella ejecuta un marco de decisiones y competencias que contravienen el interés de Guyana de explotar recursos naturales en la zona en reclamación.

Una de las competencias fundamentales de dicha Comisión es la de activar lo dispuesto en el artículo V, numeral 2, del acuerdo vigente, el cual se hace referencia a la creación de “derechos de soberanía en dichos territorios”. La explotación de recursos en un territorio sería, por cuestiones del derecho internacional comparado, un ejercicio del “derecho a la soberanía”. Sin una Comisión Mixta que autorice tales actos, la explotación de recursos en el Esequibo es espúrea. La Comisión Mixta refrendaría las decisiones acordadas con la firma de los mandatarios de ambos países.

EEUU por medio de Exxon Mobil asume el aprovechamiento de mares y recursos en disputa. Sobre la vulneración de la soberanía venezolana y de la integridad territorial de Venezuela, Mónica Bruckmann explica las cuestiones de fondo en una de sus publicaciones sobre recursos naturales y geopolítica: “La disputa global por los recursos naturales y su gestión económica y científica, abre un amplio campo de intereses en conflicto en la región evidenciando, por lo menos, dos proyectos en choque: la afirmación de la soberanía como base para el desarrollo nacional e integración regional y la reorganización de los intereses hegemónicos de Estados Unidos en el continente”.

El reacomodo de EEUU en Sudamérica se produce ahora afianzando su “Área de Seguridad Energética”, ahora proyectándose hacia el atlántico venezolano, pues las aguas en las que Exxon realiza labores han sido decretadas como áreas de Defensa Integral Marítima Atlántica de Venezuela, según decreto publicado el pasado 27 de mayo, emitido por el Gobierno venezolano como respuesta equivalente a la disposición de Guyana de aprovechar recursos en disputa.

Pero la complejidad de esta situación comprende también las particularidades de Exxon Mobil en su abordaje y posicionamiento financiero, logístico, tecnológico y operacional en las aguas venezolanas violentadas. Exxon es una transnacional mundialmente conocida por operar en territorios ocupados, en disputa o en guerra civil. Mientras en Irak, Saddam Hussein era perseguido para ser capturado y ejecutado, Exxon ya colocaba sus activos para desarrollar operaciones de la mano de Halliburton. En Libia son acusados de prestar apoyo operacional y mantener colaboración con mercenarios que hoy controlan las instalaciones petroleras de dicho país. Las denuncias son incontables.

Exxon suele realizar operaciones acompañándose de un “componente de seguridad”. Un eufemismo para lo que es poner en el terreno a fuerzas mercenarias paramilitares. Esto apunta a la enorme posibilidad de la colocación de fuerzas paramilitares extraterritoriales en las aguas venezolanas ocupadas y en los puntos de apoyo en tierra.

Por otro lado, como suele pasar en los acuerdos macropetroleros que EEUU realiza con los países poseedores del crudo, casi toda explotación de cuencas vírgenes (como es el caso de las aguas del Esequibo) implica la expansión y prolongación de las áreas de explotación. Esto infiere la posibilidad del desarrollo de nuevas áreas de exploración y posterior explotación en tierra firme en un corto plazo, vale decir, en las áreas de tierra firme de la zona en reclamación. Si Exxon amplía sus capacidades logísticas en el terreno, así lo hará su componente de seguridad, lo cual constituiría de hecho la abierta ocupación paramilitar norteamericana del Esequibo.

Casi todos los acuerdos petroleros desarrollados por EEUU traen consigo el componente militar. Es decir, estamos ante la probabilidad no sólo de la ocupación paramilitar y transnacionalización del Esequibo, sino también de su ocupación por fuerzas convencionales norteamericanas.

La política estratégica de seguridad norteamericana prevista en su “National Estrategic Security Plan 2012″ supone la “protección” y “aseguramiento” de los activos de EEUU a escala intercontinental. El mencionado plan consiste en un manual a ejecutarse a nivel global, que señala la atribución de EEUU de actuar en favor de la protección de los bienes y personas públicos y privados estadounidenses en todo el mundo contra cualquier amenaza declarada o súbita. Bajo esta legislación EEUU actúa violando aguas territoriales en todo el mundo. Así actúan en el Cuerno de África contra la piratería somalí, con el frecuente empleo de la fuerza si uno de sus activos se ve comprometido.

Dicho de otra manera: si Venezuela vuelve a detener alguna embarcación gringa en nuestra Área de Seguridad Integral Marítima Atlántica que pretenda extraer recursos, la armada norteamericana se asume legalmente facultada para actuar con el uso de la fuerza. Y he ahí la cuestión de fondo: un escenario bélico es más probable con el propio EEUU que con la misma Guyana, la cual carece por sí sola de ciertos activos militares para ocupar y asegurar palmo a palmo las aguas en disputa.

Otra cuestión a considerar es la probable expansión de las áreas de aprovechamiento ilícito de los recursos del Esequibo, hasta las cercanías del río Esequibo, la línea de demarcación natural fundamental que delimita los territorios en disputa. Es muy probable que esto suceda con la colocación del componente paramilitar y con la colocación de elementos de las fuerzas regulares norteamericanas, léase bien, con bases militares a tres minutos de vuelo hasta Ciudad Bolívar y a 20 minutos hasta Caracas. Nos referimos al escenario de flanquear a Venezuela por el Atlántico y por el oriente venezolano, con el empleo de nuestro Esequibo como portaviones y base de operaciones con proyección a las áreas de aseguramiento energético venezolano, como la Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco.

En un preámbulo belicista de ocupación y usurpación de nuestros territorios, en Venezuela asumimos tomar las armas de la política, la razón y la historia a cuestas. Pero la situación está cambiando, nos quieren hacer “pisar el peine” de la guerra. También otra cosa es cierta: no son estos tiempos aquellos en los que Andrés Eloy Blanco señaló que habíamos perdido una quinta parte de nuestro territorio “sin disparar un solo tiro”.

Venezuela vs Guyana: la guerra por el Esequibo


El reciente planteamiento estratégico marítimo venezolano sobre la fachada atlántica del Esequibo supone, sin dudas, una audaz jugada en el tablero de ajedrez territorial. ¿Ante qué estamos?

Por Franco Vielma

Este tema, que aún no tiene el debido posicionamiento en el espectro de la opinión pública venezolana, trae consigo pronunciados bemoles en lo político y en la cuestión de la soberanía venezolana, basada ésta en su reivindicación histórica sobre el Esequibo o la Guayana Esequiba. Necesario es conocer los antecedentes fundamentales en esta importante cuestión geopolítica y territorial de Venezuela y luego reseñar otras cuestiones de fondo.

Algunos antecedentes a saber

  • Durante más de 100 años, Venezuela ha denominado “Zona en reclamación” a una enorme porción territorial de 159.500 Km2, repleta de inestimables recursos minerales y de posición marítima geoestratégica, que es hoy considerada en la República Cooperativa de Guyana como el 70% de su territorio. Guyana sostiene que un tribunal laudó el litigio en su favor en 1899, en concreta referencia al afamado Laudo Arbitral de París, que despojó a Venezuela del Esequibo. En aquel momento el fallo se realizó a favor de Reino Unido, el imperio de la época, por presiones y procedimientos injustos contra Venezuela. El Reino Unido era el propietario en aquel momento de la otrora “Guyana Británica”.
  • Venezuela denuncia tal decisión ante la ONU pero en 1962 obtiene avances concretos consignando documentos que prueban que la decisión de 1899 contenía vicios de nulidad. Este evento conllevó a la firma del denominado Acuerdo de Ginebra, el 17 de febrero de 1967, entre ambas partes más la presencia del gobierno local de Guyana Británica, próxima a recibir la independencia, momento en el cual sustituiría a Reino Unido en la cuestión del diferendo territorial con Venezuela.
  • Actualmente el diferendo territorial está en manos del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas en el marco del Acuerdo de Ginebra. Este litigio sólo incluye a Venezuela como parte demandante y a la República Cooperativa de Guyana, excluyéndose de éste al responsable, Reino Unido, el cual tiene una demostrada estela de inconsistencias territoriales y despojos en su largo historial de colonialismo y robo de tierras en todo el mundo.
  • De acuerdo al Decreto 1.787 de fecha 26 de mayo de 2015, promulgado por el presidente Nicolás Maduro Moros en Consejo de Ministros y publicado en la Gaceta Oficial Ordinaria 40.669 de fecha 27 de mayo de 2015, se crean y activan las Zonas de Defensa Integral Marítimas e Insulares (Zodimain); ahora lo que se conoce como la “Fachada Atlántica de Venezuela” pasa a ser definida por la Zodimain Atlántica, dejando ahora a la República Cooperativa de Guyana sin salida al Atlántico.
  • Venezuela articula una estrategia audaz al replantear sus Zonas de Defensa Integral Marítimas, luego de darse a conocer la noticia de que en lo que serían las aguas del Esequibo venezolano, hoy la empresa Exxon Mobil realiza exploraciones petroleras con permiso del Gobierno guyanés, encontrándose una inestimable (hasta ahora) cantidad de recursos de hidrocarburos. Esto no es enteramente nuevo. En 2013, la Marina de guerra venezolana retuvo brevemente al buque de investigación sísmica Teknik Perdana, que había sido contratado por la petrolera con base en Texas Anadarko Petroleum, para examinar el fondo del mar de la zona.
  • El Gobierno de la República de Venezuela respondió a los múltiples abusos cometidos por la República Cooperativa de Guyana con la promulgación y puesta en vigencia del Decreto 1.787 de fecha 26 de mayo de 2015, en donde ahora los guyaneses, que han venido pretendiendo bloquear la salida por el Atlántico a Venezuela, son ellos quienes se verán sometidos bajo la Zodimain Atlántica y sin salida directa al Atlántico, tomando en cuenta el Laudo Arbitral entre Guyana y Suriname del 17 de septiembre de 2007 (donde Suriname le cerraría la salida al Atlántico por el Este a Guyana).
  • El Gobierno guyanés ha respondido hasta el momento con la suspensión de los vuelos de la estatal venezolana Conviasa hasta Georgetown (capital de Guyana). También con el anuncio de llamar al embajador venezolano para que diera una explicación sobre el Decreto. “Estaremos llamando al embajador (de Venezuela) para explicar qué significa (el decreto sobre los límites marítimos) y para expresar nuestra preocupación por esta escalada en un intento de larga duración para lograr por medios cuestionables lo que Venezuela no ha podido lograr con estrategias diplomáticas y legales internacionalmente aceptadas”, declaró a la AFP, sin precisar la fecha de la convocatoria.
  • La cancillería de Guyana anunció que ese país continuará -“sin inmutarse”- desarrollando el aprovechamiento de recursos y llevando adelante la exploración y probable explotación petrolera en las aguas en disputa. También señalaron que “Cualquier intento de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela de aplicar ese instrumento de modo extra-territorial será vigorosamente resistido por la República Cooperativa de Guyana”, en una clara alusión al uso probable de la fuerza de encontrar embarcaciones venezolanas haciendo respetar la Zona de Defensa Marítima e Insular Atlántica.

Cuestiones políticas de fondo

Venezuela asume la facultad de navegar lo que la mayoría de los venezolanos hemos considerado durante más de 100 años nuestra fachada atlántica del Esequibo, nuestras aguas territoriales que nos fueron despojadas en 1899 por la acción del imperio de la época y por el entreguismo cuartorrepublicano que, durante décadas, mantuvo desactivados todos los instrumentos del derecho internacional para reestablecer la integridad territorial de Venezuela.

Sólo en momentos intermitentes, el Gobierno venezolano asumió consistentemente el abordaje del Esequibo, quedando luego dilatadas las decisiones de asumir esa negociación, viéndose nuestros gobiernos lacayos silenciados y sometidos por órdenes de los amos del poder en el norte. He ahí que luego del Acuerdo de Ginebra en la materia en 1967, poco se ha hecho en el abordaje concreto de tan importante diferendo.

Desde la llegada de la Revolución Bolivariana los gobiernos de Guyana y Venezuela en años recientes han dispuesto utilizar los buenos oficios, descongelando así la situación de estancamiento que había desde 1967, es decir, desde casi toda la época del puntofijismo. Esta relación tuvo un giro político gracias a Chávez, quien instrumentó las armas de la política dejando de lado aquellas propias de los regímenes belicistas.

En 2010 ambos países asumieron la figura del “Buen Oficiante”, cuya labor consiste en asumir las funciones de mediador y aproximar a ambos gobiernos para que éstos den con una solución satisfactoria para las partes. El último “Buen Oficiante” fue el jamaicano Norman Girvan, propuesto por ambos gobiernos en 2010 y aceptado por el Secretario General de la ONU, pero Girvan falleció en abril de 2014 y hasta la fecha no se ha nombrado a uno nuevo. En palabras del mandatario guyanés en 2010, Bharrat Jagdeo, las relaciones dan un giro gracias a la “amplitud de mente” de Chávez, señalando: “Hemos podido colocar nuestras relaciones más allá de los problemas fronterizos para trabajar en áreas vitales para el desarrollo de ambos países”.

Quizás posponiendo la pugna territorial para aspirar a intereses supraterritoriales mucho mayores, inspirados en lo político y en la necesidad de la integración sudamericana expresada en la Unasur y en la Celac, Venezuela no aborda militarmente el tema del Esequibo, agotando todas las instancias políticas y todos los ámbitos de diálogo. Pero la situación ha cambiado.

El Gobierno de Guyana, luego de advertencias, asume transnacionalizar la franja marítima que los venezolanos reclamamos colocándola en manos de la empresa petrolera norteamericana más grande del mundo, Exxon Mobil, la cual asume todas sus capacidades logísticas para posicionarse sobre una franja de incontables recursos.

Este giro político por parte de Guyana se debe al ascenso al poder de un régimen de corte militarista liderado por David Arthur Granger, un General retirado, líder de la derecha de Guyana, formado en Reino Unido y con cursos especiales en Estados Unidos, destacándose entre ellos los que realizara en la National Defense University, de Washington DC y otros asociados al terrorismo, en la Universidad de Florida.

La República Cooperativa de Guyana, una república que nace con tendencia política de centroizquierda, se deslindó de todo proceso internacionalista de corte progresista en era reciente dada la disputa histórica con Venezuela, pero también a la derechización de su orden político, el cual sigue manteniendo los vestigios históricos del coloniaje y su inercia política con la Commonwealth (Comunidad Británica de naciones). Pese a formar parte de la Unasur, creación de Venezuela, Guyana, casi recibiendo órdenes superiores, ha mantenido la espalda a Venezuela de manera perenne.

¿Ante qué estamos?

Muchos indicios indican que Venezuela está actuando de manera proporcionada a las acciones de Guyana, dado que dicho país está colocando activos para el aprovechamiento de recursos naturales en una zona declarada en disputa y cuyas negociaciones se encuentran estancadas. Algo que podría considerarse similar al caso de las Malvinas y que es una referencia en el derecho internacional.

Al asumir que la fachada atlántica del Esequibo es un área de Defensa Integral Marítima para Venezuela, no sólo se asume la proyección estratégica de Venezuela al Atlántico (la cual ha estado parcialmente bloqueada), sino que se genera al mismo tiempo una ruptura a la distensión política que ha existido en las últimas décadas, dadas las acciones de Guyana. Esto obliga a los dos países, ahora sí, a sentarse y definir una ruta de acuerdos.

Exxon Mobil tiene un historial largo de explotación de recursos en zonas ocupadas, también de mercenarización de los territorios para asumir hegemonías territoriales. El poder transnacional de la Exxon es también de carácter militarista, y Blackwater -ahora Academi-, la corporación mercenaria más grande del mundo, es su brazo paramilitar. Entender la movida de Venezuela implica proyectarnos más allá de la cuestión del Esequibo como diferendo territorial.

Si consideramos al Esequibo como venezolano, debemos considerarlo también una zona ocupada, una parte integral del territorio venezolano bajo control militar extranjero, bajo control político de un Gobierno de derecha, y ahora bajo explotación de una transnacional militarista. La nueva etapa en la ocupación del Esequibo da cuenta de que la mercenarización y ocupación de una fuerza extraterritorial en las aguas y probablemente en el suelo Esequibo venezolano es una realidad probable, y un escenario que obliga a Venezuela a hacer un replanteamiento estratégico, como sucede justo ahora.

Venezuela no es un país militarista y expansionista, pero sí soberanista. Nuestras fuerzas militares no tienen el perfil de ser unas fuerzas de ocupación, pero sí de protección integral de nuestro suelo. He ahí que el diálogo y los instrumentos de la política han sido la prioridad para el abordaje del Esequibo, para evitar con esto detonar una guerra fratricida territorial en pleno siglo XXI. Pero la situación está cambiando. Y la responsabilidad no recae en Venezuela.

Se trata ahora de proteger la integridad territorial venezolana, inhibiendo el desarrollo de “cabezas de playa” por la franja atlántica y por el Esequibo territorial. Se trata de contener el posible preámbulo de una mercenarización de nuestra “Zona en Reclamación” y de la entrada de una potencia paramilitar transnacional extraterritorial para el aprovechamiento de recursos en disputa. Se trata ahora de contener un conato de confrontación por órdenes a Guyana, provenientes de factores hegemónicos superiores.

Los enemigos de la integración y del peso político de Venezuela en la región quieren, entre las naciones del sur, una pelea de perros. Pero en Venezuela contamos con las armas de la política, la historia y la razón.


Related:
Venezuela and Guyana Defining Territorial Boundaries Peacefully
The Truth About Halliburton in Venezuela

Xenophobia in Dominican Republic

Interview on the Global African
teleSUR

Bill Fletcher, host of teleSUR’s The Global African, interviews social rights attorney Elizi Danto, scholar of the African diaspora Dr. Msomi Moor, and member on the board of the Institute of Policy Studies, James Early.

Below, we publish the transcript of an interview from The Global African.

BILL FLETCHER, HOST, THE GLOBAL AFRICAN: We’re now joined by three guests. And we have Ezili Danto, who holds a BA from Boston College and a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She’s an award-winning playwright, a performance poet, a political and social commentator, an author, and a well-known human rights attorney. Being from Haiti, she is a catalyst for Haitian activism and human rights. Also joining us is Dr. Msomi Moor, who teaches at the University of the District of Columbia. He is a Howard University-educated scholar of the African Diaspora, and he has been researching black history or teaching in North American and South American historically black colleges and universities for over two decades. Last, but not least, we have James Early. James is an African Caribbean and Latin American histories scholar and member of the board of the Institute for Policy Studies. Thank you all very much for joining us on The Global African.

JAMES EARLY: Thank you.

DR. MSOMI MOOR: Thank you.

EZILI DANTO: Thank you.

FLETCHER: I want to start by looking at the situation in the Dominican Republic and by trying to contextualize it historically. And, Dr. Moore, I actually want to start with you. In terms of understanding white supremacy and race as a whole in the Dominican Republic, what is it that we need to understand about Dominican history in order to understand what we’re seeing now?

MOOR: So the Dominican Republic is a fascinating example of how the casta system worked in the Iberian countries. It’s early. It’s the earliest. And so blacks who were subjected to that casta system–that whole status and privilege based on skin complexion, heritage, is at its most profound, many would say, in the Dominican Republic. It’s definitely at its most intense earlier on. And if you look at the different levels of mixtures, some of them, they’re not permitted to go to school with whites. They have different punishments for touching whites as opposed to touching those who are two or three grades down in the mixtures. And you see it in the religion. You see it in the civil society. And you even see it just in general amongst all Dominicans at that time, if you want to call it a Dominican society. So 17th century and 16th century Dominican history is replete with the leveling off of different complexions, colors. And I think one of the most recognizable in the Dominican Republic features of this system is that good hair, bad hair situation. That’s actually a casta, and it’s called grifo, okay? Grifo means that you are an offspring of some type of African with a native, as it were. And if your hair is a little bit more tightly curled, then you’ll be given this casta name, grifo. And so, from early on you can see just the intensity of the castas system being meted out on the black population and native population of the DR. And it just continues on.

FLETCHER: Ezili, so how did that translate into the contradictions between the DR and Haiti?

DANTO: Haiti was the first nation in the Western Hemisphere to gain its independence, the only enslaved population to get rid of their masters and create an independent country. Haiti is the country that after, let’s say, almost 1,200 years of Arab conquest in the African continent and 300 years of slavery, we became free. And we were the first Africans to go back in so many ways to the African native authentic spirituality, language. And there’s things that we say at the Haitian Lawyers Leadership, because our education is being Europeanized or whitened so that folks don’t recognize themselves in Haitian history. But essentially the three notable ideals of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s founder, that we’re always teaching at the Haitian Lawyers Leadership is this, and it’s in contradiction to the whitening of Latin America after the abolishment of slavery in Haiti: we are a country that says all Haitians, no matter what African tribes they came from, and even those who–those Europeans who fought on the side of the liberators of Haiti, all shall be known by the appellation black. The other important thing to remember about Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s founding father, is that he was the first to take back the name of the indigenous island and say it’s going to be the island of Haiti, not Hispaniola. We are the liberators of this island, and so Haiti is the name that we’ve taken, we Africans, the Africans who are descendents of the amalgamated tribes that came to Haiti. And then the third, which is critically important, which puts us as permanent war in this hostile American Mediterranean is that Jean-Jacques Dessalines is the first warrior to say–well, not the very first warrior; obviously there were a lot of maroon rebellions in the Western Hemisphere, but the first to say, this will be a black independent country; it will not be a black French or European colony. And to this day, as we fight 11 years of U.S. occupation behind UN guns and NGO humanitarian imperialism, we, the descendents of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, stand and say, we are struggling to get rid of our occupiers so we will be a black, independent nation, something that all the African countries today–well, not all the–are sort of like the Toussaint Louverture paradigm, which is a black ruling on behalf of empire. But that’s not what Haiti stands for. So that is in diametric–is opposed to all of the other Caribbean nations who have some sort of European father or Latin America, who after slavery basically had policies, immigration policies of bringing in Europeans to whiten the nation. And it brings us to the crisis now of the Dominican Republic, which wants to whiten their nation by throwing out the Dominicans, the Haitian Dominicans.

FLETCHER: So that’s what I want to–that’s what I want to ask you about quickly, and then I want to turn to James. The 2013 Dominican Constitutional Court decision, can you explain what that was about and where that came from and what was being laid out?

DANTO: Yes. Historically, Haitians have not been allowed to have citizenship in the Dominican Republic, especially if they’re very dark Haitians, because of all of the things we just talked about and your guest mentioned at the beginning. For–since–well, anyways, my whole entire life, all Haitians who have gone to the Dominican Republic fleeing imperialistic policies of the Cold War or fleeing American unfair trade and bringing in dictatorship and so forth, as we flee, the Dominicans had a law, basically, since 1929. Their law was that if you were born in the Dominican Republic, you were, no matter what the status of your parents, you were–automatically got citizenship, just like in America. But that was not really ever applied to Haitians. So in 2005, there was a case where two children of Haitian immigrants applied–tried to go to school. And this is what you have to understand. When you’re denied citizenship, your children can’t go to school. You can’t be afforded public services, legal status to the courts, all sorts of things, education, schooling, welfare and health. So this–I will just go back to 2005. I won’t go back to 1937 or anything. But in terms of 2005, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights basically said to the Dominican Republic, you need to let these two children–this was a case, one case–you need to let these children go to school and give them the citizenship, because there is a policy in the Dominican Republic not–when someone is born and they’re born of Haitian parents, they’re not given birth certificates. And those that are given birth certificates, if you go to get a passport, sometimes they’ll take those birth certificates from you and so forth. So now, as you know, without birth certificates, without passports, you can’t travel. You can’t even use a cell phone, can’t even buy a cell phone. So that’s what’s going on at the moment. So, in order not to have Haitians have citizenship rights, in order to not–to disregard the ruling of the Inter-American Human Rights Court, which basically says, you know, if they’re born in Dominican Republic, and then–you know, you should give them their birth certificates and their citizenship rights, the Dominican Republic began repealing its laws. In 2010, it amended its constitution to say that if you are–you have citizenship only if you are born of legal parents or if you are born of one Dominican parent. And then, in 2013, that law was extended retroactively to say that all persons born of parents who were in transit are now illegal. So Haitian, Dominicans of Haitian ancestry who came in to the Dominican Republic going back till 1929 are put into the same category, no matter that they’ve been there for 80 years, no matter that they have contributed to the economy for 80 years, they are put into the same category as newly arrived Haitians that are illegal there, in the same category as Haitians that have legal residence in there, in the Dominican Republic, and Dominicans that have Haitian ancestry are–all summarily have to prove that they are citizens, that they’ve got their papers. So they created a two-tier system. The first one was–the deadline for it was finished on February 1, 2015. And that system for regularizing all this category I just told you about was for citizens. So those who said that they were born in the Dominican Republic and had citizenship before the 2010 law amendment, they were supposed to go by February 2015 and bring in their papers. Less than 5,000 people out of hundreds of thousands were given–met that registration requirement. And just recently, on the 17th, there was a different registration requirement for those who are illegal or legal residents, not who are. And from that registration procedure, the Dominican Republic is giving out different figures, mixed figures. They basically said 500,000 people are eligible for this legalizing of their status as illegal immigrants or as legal residents, and that out of this 500,000, they said that only 10,000 registered, only 300 actually got their paperwork. So now we’re in a situation that anyone else out of this group of people of Haitian descent who are living in the Dominican Republic who did not get to register–and I said on both of those two-tier system for regularizing it, a tiny percentage of people actually finished the process of registration, some for various reasons, because they couldn’t get birth certificates, passports, or the employers, who were not paying Haitian workers much and who don’t want to pay taxes, would not give them their working papers. So you have a situation at the moment where there are, let’s say, between 200 and–half a million to a quarter of a million of people who are subject to immediate deportation.

FLETCHER: Thank you. I really appreciate the way you put that all together, because in reading a lot of the mainstream media, it just sometimes is a bit mystifying. James, the politics of this, the Dominican Republic is not known for having had progressive political leadership over the years. And so what’s the politics of this?

EARLY: Well, actually, the politics–just two quick references–go back to the history, one with the castas system. Many people of our complexion who obviously are descendents of enslaved Africans in this part of the world and the Dominican Republic [incompr.] I’m not black; I’m Indian. So this gets to the politics of pigmentocracy and the ideological factor of distancing oneself, which still goes on in the contemporary era. The other issue with regard to the historical evolution of politics is Haiti being the first Republic of enslaved people to break away in 1804, in 1805, Dessalines goes in to the Dominican Republic to break slavery, to break the organizational form of white supremacy, takes land from Euro Latins who were the underpinning of this. So the hatred of these people for their moral perspectives about democracy and the fact that they came from the underclass based on their skin color goes very, very deep. So the contemporary politics not only have to do with the question of 275,000 people, more or less, who did not come forth out of this half a million who are standing in limbo–and one can imagine the trauma of that, being marked as a Jew trying to move in the evening to find groceries and saying, oh, there goes a Jew by physical features; oh, there goes a dark-skinned person by way of physical features. It is just almost unimaginable for us to see that these people are truly in dangerous limbo at this moment. The politics fundamentally, though, have to go beyond the issue of citizenship. Haitians have been exported to the Dominican Republic for the sugar industry, which the United States has implicated in, starting in the 20th century, 1915, 1914, and bringing Trujillo, the massacre of 1937, the cultural question, when dark-skinned people, if they could not pronounce the world “perejil”–”parsley”–because they couldn’t roll the “r”, then they were subject to being massacred. Some people think up to 10,000 people may have been killed during that moment. So even if they were to get citizenship, they’re impoverished. You’ve got Martelly, the president of Haiti, saying, we will welcome our sons and our daughters back. Back to what? To Bill Clinton’s plantation. This is very important for U.S. citizens to recall, that the earthquake industry, the so-called reparation industry, is run by Bill Clinton. Obama has turned that over to him. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. So people are going to be fleeing for economic reasons the same way that people are coming out of South America into Mexico, Mexico now deporting more people than any place in the hemisphere, 90,000 between February and April going back to the South of Mexico. These are economic flights. And so Haiti is caught up both in the issue of having to survive economically, everyday Haitians, as well as the question of deep-seated racism and a whitening of Haiti. So what are the political implications? The CARICOM countries, the new community of Latin American and Caribbean nations, the prime minister of St. Lucia, Gonsalves, has raised hell about this and put this in the context of the regional politics, saying the Dominican Republic cannot advance as a fuller member within that context without addressing this question. We’ve got to put pressure on the other progressives in the region. Brazil, 90 million black people are over 50 percent of that population, the largest population in the hemisphere. We’ve got to get to civil society to petition their government, who is also running the UN military operation in Haiti. We’ve got to talk to Maduro in Venezuela. After all, it’s Haiti who provides men and boats to Bolívar, for the first country to defeat Spain in the hemisphere is Venezuela under Bolívar. It was the Haitians who defeated the French. We’ve got to talk to our Dominican brothers and sisters who are–the Dominicans are the largest Spanish-speaking population in New York City, not Puerto Ricans. Dominicans occupy significant positions in the state legislature. They are already trying to get some declarations passed. We’ve got to organize with them vis-à-vis the U.S. State Department to put some pressure on the Dominican Republic. But ultimately the politics is we’ve got a desperate situation in Haiti that has gone on for hundreds of years, where people flee for economic reasons. And until that is adjusted, even the issue of citizenship, as important as it is as a formal step, does not address the fundamental issue that people have to flee from their natural habitat, if you well, into a foreign place, even when they are citizens and run this risk of discrimination both economically and from the vantage point of racism.

FLETCHER: Dr. Moor, this is a historical question, but it’s something that’s plagued me. Each of you have at one point mentioned the Haitian effort to liberate the Dominican Republic in 1800s. And the Dominican republic defines its independence as independence from Haiti, as opposed to Spain.

MOOR: That’s right.

FLETCHER: The question I had, since that seems to be a major point of reference for reactionaries within the Dominican Republic, why did that fail? Why did the liberation of the D.R. fail?

MOOR: I think what needs to be highlighted in this whole sequence of current events in the DR related to your question is the precedent of pigmentocracy is a great way to say–you know, Brother Early said it. Think about this. If you are darker in the Dominican Republic in the 17th and 16th centuries, you weren’t even allowed to go to school. They put you on a field. And I’m talking about if your son, if you are–I’m going to go through some casta terms here–if you are mulato, your son would have been a terceron. Your grandson would’ve been considered a cuarteron. Okay, we’re going by generations here. So the cuarteron and terceron would have had all types of privileges that their father and grandfather would not have had. In addition to that, if anyone came from somewhere else–you mentioned the individuals who came for sugarcane cultivation. That’s where the whole phenomenon of cocolo comes from in the Dominican Republic is because they were English-speaking blacks who came in and were darker-skinned than the perceived notion of what the people who called themselves indios were. And so they were then relegated to an inferior citizenship in the D.R. The present case, I think, is just an extension of what’s been already going on for centuries. And I mentioned that I think it has been even more intense in the D.R. than it is in other places because of the lack of intensity during slavery. Black people had–if I can say this–and I’m worried about this because of my ancestors, but it wasn’t as intense as it was in Haiti. And so, if you have these individuals who were from the most intensive, from, like, Haitian situation, I think it was three years that you were worked to death once you get off of the boat in Haiti versus somebody who’s rearing cattle, you know, and semi free, or autonomous, almost, in the Dominican Republic, you don’t want that imposed on you. And so what was at play was this European ideal that we don’t want to be black anyways. We want to raise up the pigmentocracy, the castas system. We’re semi-autonomous. We have a much free lifestyle than what they have over there, much more free. And then, in addition to that, you had the multiple incursions of Haitians that were coming over. It wasn’t just in 1805. You know, Boyer came over in 1822. So there’s several incursions from Haiti into the DR. So you have this kind of lurking Haitian menace over here. You have the attempting intense desire to be European. And then you have this centuries-old system of privileges that says if you’re lighter or more European, even, acting, then you’ll be better off in society. So in 1844 they said, yeah, we don’t want to be–I think it was called the Trinitaria is what it was, right, those three individuals in Santo Domingo, the three different parts of what was going on for the revolution. And during that whole period, you would have some Dominicans actually reapplying for slavery. So by the time 1860 comes around–this is where the geopolitical piece comes in–the United States–I think it was 1861–the Queen of England says, we’re going to re-enslave the Dominicans. So it’s like they’ve been–I don’t want to say clueless, but they’ve just been clobbered for the longest time, the Dominican blacks. And it’s still like that today. If you’ve been worn down for that many centuries and everybody’s coming at you from every side, you want to be white, but you’re black, and then other blacks come and want to, you know, put a more intense system on you possibly, you believe, where do you run to? Right?

EARLY: And white privilege, I mean, we have to recall that the economic system that is set up in the Western Hemisphere is set up by European capital and black enslaved labor. So this is–the rationalization of skin color discrimination has to do with superexploitation of material gain. And then the cultural point takes on a life of its own. I am better than you even if I am poorer than you, or even if I’m less educated than you. So when Dessalines goes in to break slavery in the whole of the island, he’s up against Euro Latins in the case of the Spanish and Euro French, as well as any emerging petty bourgeois interest among black people who see, again, more. And then the U.S. comes in with the sugar industry. So this is–and Haiti has suffered–Haiti is also, at the same time, under, what, 150 million francs, I think dropped later to 60 million. So the economic issue is exploiting this and what some would call the cultural or the superstructural issue of identity, superiority, combined with that. And Haiti finds itself in that same situation today, this great history of independence and values beyond the French Revolution. I mean, they were the one who brought égalité and all of that to the highest order. But they paid a heavy price, and are still paying the price, basically a humanitarian colony of the United States of America, again, Bill Clinton’s foundation running all of that, all those millions of dollars that have gone into Haiti. And Haitians are still living in tents and still cooking out on the ground and still fleeing, as are Dominicans, dark-skinned Dominican–I mean, there’s a reason that Dominicans have become the largest Spanish-speaking population in New York City, where historically that has been Puerto Ricans. You look in the Washington metropolitan area in the last decade, you’re seeing more and more people who look like the people on this panel who [incompr.] where are you from? I’m from the DR. You see these salons, these hair salons, Dominican.

MOOR: Oh, yeah.

EARLY: There’s a particularity about treating hair and whatnot. So until we get at the economic situation tied to the formality of the rights and obligations of citizens, we will have a [hollow ground (?)], and where even if a great number of those Dominicans are able to register–and that is a most outstanding question, given that bureaucracy and given the deceitfulness that’s going on, as our sister described, about the registration process, it is still going to be the most vulnerable national population in our hemisphere in terms of where black people are dominant in numbers, which is Haiti and its cultural tie to the Dominican Republic.

FLETCHER: Ezili, what’s been the response of the Haitian government to the crisis in the DR? What can be expected as next steps, if anything?

DANTO: Yeah. I’d also like, if possible, to speak a little bit about the history of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, because I think that one of the reasons that we are constantly in this position of “Haiti invaded the Dominican Republic” is something–it’s a propaganda that keeps a lot of Dominicans from knowing their real history. But let me get to your question first. And I think it’s critically important that I just intervene a little bit with regards to the history, because in the name of Dessalines and the warriors of Haiti, I think it’s important, since, you know, Haitians don’t normally get a platform. We are under occupation. We’ve been under occupation since 2004, when the United States took down Haiti’s democratically elected government. We are struggling to get rid of that occupation. Obama brought a solidified dictatorship with Michel Martelly, who’s ruling without parliament right now. They brought back neo-Duvalier dictatorship, sort of [newer (?)] Duvaliers are back. What do those people stand for? Well, just like Medina in the Dominican Republic, who’s a clientele state of the United States, they represent foreign interests, and they want to use the assets of the nation for foreign corporate interests belonging to the Bushes and the Clintons. And that’s really what they’re doing with respect to what they’re doing with–to take in the various Haitians that are being denationalized. The government has announced that they have put together some processing centers. I know yesterday we got those that have been deported already–the deportations have been going on steadily. Steadily. This is nothing new for us. This is going back for a long, long time. Like, in two thousand and–I don’t know what it was–1995, the Dominican Republic, for various reasons, you know, whenever–in their own politics, if they don’t–you know, they want a particular vote, they’ll just deport. And I think I remember in 1995 they deported, like, 20,000 people.We are the Haitians. We will do what’s necessary. If some of these 300,000 Europeans that are in Haiti right now masturbating on black pain would leave, we could have space for our own brothers and sisters. But let me go back to this history here. I think it’s critically important to understand this. From our perspective, as the descendents of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, when the amalgamated tribes won their independence from the French, the Spanish, and the English, and then the French again, that entire island, the island, Haiti, was freed. During the Haitian revolution, which started in 1791 by Toussaint Louverture came together with the Spanish and fought on behalf of the Spanish, and in 1791, by the Treaty of Basel, B-A-S-E, France ceded the entire island–excuse me. I’m sorry. Spain ceded that eastern part of the island to Spain, right? I’m sorry. Yes. So that whole entire island was French. And when we won our independence in 1804, the entire island was Haiti, and it was liberated. Yes, there was a French general by the name Ferrand, F-E-R-R-A-N-D, who refused to hear his own superiors, Rochambeau [spl?], and give up Santo Domingo. And as your distinguished guest said, in 1805, Dessalines went out there. We did not want slavery. By the time came Boyer came into power, they had reunited that whole entire island. There was no Dominican Republic. There was various factions, /peɪtʃoʊ/, Christophe [spl?], and so forth because colonialism had come in and the mulatto sons of France had conspired to murder Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the dream of the Haitian revolutions. But here is where the situation comes to a head with regards to the eastern side of Haiti. In 1842, we have a big earthquake in the same kind of way that we have a earthquake in January 12, 2010. That earthquake destabilized the whole entire country. And the separatist movement gained momentum. Now, you remember, the whole time–Haiti declares its independence in 1804–all the European powers, because of white supremacy, came together after 1804, and their primary goal, whether it was the United States, France, Canada, all of them, was to figure out how to get rid of the march of the blacks in the world, as Napoleon says. And so France came back. And Boyer, the president of Haiti at that time, agreed in order not to go back into slavery, not to have to constantly be on guard with respect to that, our independence, that he would pay the independence debt. The independence debt was–by 2004 it was estimated at 21 billion. It took Haiti 122 years to pay that, from 19–whatever–25 to 1947, give or take some negotiations there. But essentially, essentially the eastern side of the island did not feel they had to pay that independence debt, because they were not French, they felt they were Spanish citizens, and there was a separatist movement that was going on, had been going on, and they were calling themself Little Spain. At that point in time, that’s when Boyer went and squashed that. They call it we invading. We can’t invade ourself. It was our country. So we can’t invade. And I just want to point out that the borders, even after–so in 1844, doing this–this is what’s happening to us right now, okay? We’re having all these destabilization with Governor Clinton coming in, being the colonial governor of Haiti, and, like I said, masturbating on black pain, and collecting $10 billion, and leaving the people in mud, and taking lands, and having Hillary Clinton’s brother have access to our gold, and so forth. But in that era of 1844, when Duarte in the separatist movement on the east side of the island, with the help of mercenaries from Spain and France and all of the other European tribes, declared that part to be Little Spain, immediately, immediately in 1844, before they even got together to decide what they wanted, the European powers, including the United States, recognized–now, this is 1844. We’re not recognized yet. Haiti is not recognized until 1865. They recognize this as a new island. And Haiti’s dealing with earthquake. It’s dealing with all of these–you know, the independence debt and the dissatisfaction that that brought all over, Haiti because they wanted to get rid of Boyer. It’s like, you know, we’ve already fought a war; we’re not going to pay this debt. So, because of all that chaos and the immediate recognition of this island as Little Haiti–. Now, the borders–this is all Africans living here.

FLETCHER: Ezili, I’m going to have to–I’m going to have to–unfortunately–.

DANTO: Oh. Okay. So the borders were very fluid. It wasn’t–there was not a border with regards to Dominican Republic until 1929, when the United States was occupying both countries. And what they did was take the borders from the 1697 Ryswick Treaty, when two-thirds of the island belonged to Spain and one-third belonged to France, they went back to that. And it was the United States that did that. And we think right now we’re in the position where they’re doing that right now with regards to this denationalization and coming into Haitian territory and putting these processing centers in Haitian territory just like the garment factories to just continue to push Haiti to the sea.

FLETCHER: So a final question to you each. What’s the global reaction right now? In 2013, when the Constitutional Court decision came down, there was a tremendous outpour or uproar. But as of this week, I mean, it’s only this week that I’ve seen any attention in the mainstream media. So how do you all look at the global response, and what, if anything, can be done? Let’s start with you, James.

EARLY: Unfortunately, I think it’s very feeble. As I pointed out, the prime minister of St. Lucia going back well over a year ago now has been on the case about this. So that is a point to rally within the CARICOM countries, of which the Dominican Republic is also a part of the CARICOM economic area that we have to pay attention to. We’ve got groups like Code Pink in the United States who have called for demonstrations in front of the Dominican Embassy. We need to join groups like that and other groups, particularly Haitian-American groups. We need to find out about them, join them, support their efforts. We need to talk to people in the Black Caucus like Maxine Waters and others who have a long history of working in solidarity around Haiti, the Danny Glovers of the world who’ve been evolved around Haiti. We also need to put a lot of pressure on Latin American governments who are involved in the new community of Latin American and Caribbean nations who are upholding reparatory justice emanating from St. Lucia. This is a fundamental question of reparatory justice of Haitians within–in the Dominican Republic. And we have to find, most of all, the groups inside the Dominican Republic who are organizing both as immigrants–there is an immigrant population–but most significantly there is a historical Dominican-Haitian national citizen population. We need to erase our ignorance and find out who they are, be in communication with them, go online, talk to our sister who is on this program and others. So right now it’s feeble because when you juxtapose this up against the other migratory crisis of the world, Africans fleeing from Central Africa all the way up to North Africa, for these very same economic reasons, facing skin color discrimination at the same time, or Syria now having the largest crisis of refugees in the world, these are all citizenship questions. So if we don’t focus in on Haiti because of historic racism, including in the liberal, white Euro-American communities, then we’re going to lose this critical focus of the desperate situation of both Dominican-Haitian citizens, as well as Haitian immigrants. They are desperate. They are fighting back. We need to find out about that and join it.

FLETCHER: Dr. Moor?

MOOR: I’ve seen in countries like Colombia a lot of the black populations who are younger more than anything else responding in a similar way that blacks are in the United States. If you’ll remember, the Black Lives Matter hashtag has popped up recently, I’ve seen, down in the Dominican Republic in regard to this situation. I would say that this is the primal sin of bringing African peoples over to the hemisphere. It’s being played out in our lifetime. And if you consider yourself black or African and you’re proud of that, then this is your issue.

EARLY: Or progressive, no matter what race you are.

MOOR: Absolutely. Add that in as well. And so I feel that it’s really telling to see who this impacts internally, because if you’re going to say that you are for, as we say, you know, progressive issues or humanity, how more inhumane can you be? Right? Haiti’s taken more than any other country, in this hemisphere at least, and especially black folks. You need to get around the situation. You need to get behind this.

FLETCHER: Ezili, you have the last word.

DANTO: I agree there. Ralph Gonsalves at CARICOM has been a great champion of the Haitian struggle for liberation. He’s been there for a long time. But we are living in this hostile American Mediterranean with all of the other 14 Caribbean nations doing similar things to Haitians. We make 60 percent of the population of CARICOM. And because of that, we are the only nation–we are discriminated in by CARICOM. We are the only nation there that has to have passports to visit. So that’s how bad it is for us. So I think that black scholars need to understand what Dr. Henry Clarke said, that we are at the precipice of the greatest holocaust. And it’s happening all over the world. But Haiti is–we see it in Haiti with cholera. We see it with the crisis caravan and the NGO fake–we see it with fake aid, and it’s global. What can be done? We have been running, of course without any support, a boycott Dominican Republic movement for being a rogue nation that has made apartheid legal in the Western Hemisphere, legal, not just by practice, but legal, that has committed civil genocide and that has made countless hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent stateless. That boycott continues. We hope that folks will help us. We have the Free Haiti movement. We work with Sonia Pierre’s organization. She was a Haitian human rights activist in the Dominican Republic who passed away, but she spent her entire life working on this birthright crisis and died at the cusp, where it was made retroactive, so even she, who had her citizenship as a black Dominican, as a Dominican, was facing the same thing that all dark-skinned people are facing in the Dominican Republic. So I think I can focus on two things that perhaps gentlemen here might be able to help us with at the Free Haiti movement and the Haitian Lawyers Leadership. When I look at the Dominican Republic, I see a very poor, poor nation that is being similarly destroyed, as Haiti is, by colonialism, and the assets of their country, a rich country, the assets of their country are being used by Barrick Gold, all of these big businesses who need people off particular lands, including Haitians. So they call them–they put them all as Haitian migrants. So we have to look at those economic reasons. We have to look at the gold and the oil that’s on both of those islands and why we are occupied. But Timberland, black men are always wearing these boots. Timberland is in Dominican Republic. This is where they make their product. Major League Baseball has an amazingly, to me, racist apartheid system where they bring in these Dominican boys at 16 years old to play at salaries that’s x, y, and z. All of this, the big business effect, where color determines what you get paid, Haitian, 90 percent of the agricultural workers in the Dominican Republic are Haitian, a great percentage of construction, and the rest doing menial jobs, as everywhere, as domestics and cafeteria workers and hospital workers and so forth. So it’s not that they’re going to get rid of them. Now, remember, even back in 1937, the plantation owners, the American sugar plantation owners [told truly (?)] owned his police, you will not come into our plantation and kill these workers. So those workers were left alone. It’s going to be the same. It’s only going to be those people, those Haitians are in places that the big business doesn’t want, they’re the ones that are going to be afforded or may get killed. So I think we should–it would be great if people would support our boycott movement. If Timberland, where African-American men are wearing these shoes, if they would take a position about this apartheid and denounce it, I think that would really make it very important. If major league baseball were to actually stop their racism in the Dominican Republic that actually really badly affect Haitians also, if these construction companies would–. So my thing is this. And I know this is probably radical.

FLETCHER: This would have to be the final point, Ezili. Sorry.

DANTO: Okay. Alright. So, essentially, in terms of the economic reasons, if both Haiti and people in the Dominican Republic did not have a reason for leaving, if they got a living wage, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. Haitians wouldn’t emigrate anywhere.

FLETCHER: Right. Listen, thank you all very, very much. A very, very, as they say, rich conversation. So thank you all. Ezili, Dr. Moor, James, thank you very much for joining us for The Global African.


Related:
The Tragic, Bloody Origins of the Dominican Republic’s Plan to Erase its Black Population

Latin America and Desmond Tutu : Advocate, Apologist for Imperialism, Oppression, Fascism, Racism

A “Secular ISIL” Rises In Southeast Asia?

In this photograph taken on February 18, 2012, a vehicle carrying armed security personnel passes along a road on the outskirts of Imphal in the north eastern Indian state of ManipurBy Andrew Korybko

India just carried out one of its largest-ever covert operations in peacetime, striking a Myanmar-based terrorist group and killing over 100 of its members. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), known more popularly by its initials NSCN-K, was targeted because of the terrorist attack it pulled off last week in the Northeast Indian state of Manipur. In the worst ambush suffered by the Indian military in 20 years, the group killed 18 troops and injured 20 more before escaping back across the border with only one loss. The NSCN-K is part of a much larger problem, however, since it’s part of a recently created umbrella group of Northeast Indian terrorists called the United Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFW), which brings together Assamese, Bodo, and Naga separatists (Rajbongshi militants from West Bengal are also involved, but due to their relative geographic exclusion from the others, they’re excluded from the present analysis). The UNLFW shares many tactical and strategic similarities with ISIL, and barring religious distinction (or lack thereof), they’re essentially the same type of cutting-edge destabilizing organization. Since India has indicated that it’s willing to wage its own War on Terror in the Northeastern states and Myanmar, it’s necessary to explore the situational intricacies surrounding the Indian-Myanmar frontier and forecast the most likely scenarios for how this campaign can play out.

The article begins by framing India’s Act East policy and describing the strategic objectives and hurdles that it entails. It then focuses on the specific situation in Northeast India in order to set the stage for better understanding the UNLFW and its structural designation as the ‘Southeast Asian ISIL’. Afterwards, the second part addresses the competing interests between India, China, Myanmar, and the US in this forthcoming conflict, before gaming out the most probable scenarios that can unfold.

 India Approaches ASEAN

The South Asian giant has recently decided to more actively engage ASEAN, unveiling the Act East policy to succeed its earlier Look East predecessor. Simply put, India wants to be more proactive and dynamic in dealing with the larger Asia-Pacific region, and is no longer content with playing a reactive and passive role. In some way, this emboldened behavior towards China’s backyard is motivated by Beijing’s own forays in India’s traditional neighborhood via its ‘String of Pearls’ and Maritime Silk Road strategies. As China moves closer to India’s neighbors, India seeks to do the same to China’s, and this conflict of overlapping strategic interests is nowhere more evident than in Myanmar (which will be discussed in full later). At the same time, however, the opportunity for cooperation is still present, since both sides are party to the proposed BCIM trade corridor between themselves, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, meaning that full-fledge competition isn’t entirely inevitable.

Road Map:

inline_9e65ccb6-3d0_768786a.jpgIndia is relying on the complementary projects of a mainland highway and the maritime ‘Cotton Route’ in order to fulfill its vision of enhanced interconnectivity with ASEAN. Its sea-based network is less dependent on geopolitical surprises and thus inherently more stable than its planned highway, but it’s insufficient for firmly entrenching New Delhi’s interests in the East. Therefore, the ASEAN highway from India’s Northeastern states through Myanmar takes on a pivotal role for any long-term Great Power ambitions that the country has in the region, since it would become a magnet for further investment and development that would anchor its influence all along the route.

Rivalry:

For these reasons, India is now China’s main long-term rival in ASEAN, and depending on the degree of its pro-American affiliation in the future, it could become the unipolar battering ram in Beijing’s backyard. The future prospects for conflict thus depend on India’s geopolitical intent and alignment with American strategic goals in the region, which have yet to be definitively expressed by Modi. The lack of clarity coming out of India has led to a strategic security dilemma with China. Beijing is uncertain of which way New Delhi will lean when push ultimately comes to shove, hence why it’s so apprehensive about Indian engagement in ASEAN and justifying the author’s classification of their bilateral relations there as a rivalry.

Steps:

India must take three main steps in order to reach its intended strategic destination of exercising predominant influence over ASEAN and countering China:

* Initiate a breakthrough in bilateral relations with Bangladesh

* Secure the Northeast

* Stabilize Myanmar

Each of these steps is mutually inclusive and complements one another, and Modi is already making progress in the first two.

Checklist:

Here’s how India fares thus far:

Bengali Breakthrough

modi-hasina-mainModi’s visit to Bangladesh was an absolute success for both countries, as they were able to finally resolve their 40-plus-year border dispute and enter into a mutually profitable coastal shipping arrangement. The mainland breakthrough secures their mutual border by finally delineating it and resolving the undefined status of around 50,000 people. With no more territorial issues between them, both sides can now enter into a golden age of economic and security relations, which will have an extraordinarily positive impact on India’s Northeast. As per the coastal shipping deal that was just clinched, India can now directly use Bengali ports to facilitate trade with its far-flung states, thus avoiding the vulnerable Siliguri Corridor that barely connects the region to the rest of the country. The cross-Bengali route enables it to tighten the central government’s control over the peripheral and separatist regions, and since Dhaka is now on board with India’s strategic goals, it could partake in cooperative operations with New Delhi to secure its side of the border in conjunction with any forthcoming anti-terrorist crackdown there.

Northeast Security

India’s surgical strike in Myanmar shows that it has finally become serious about tackling the root issue of Northeastern security, which is the transnational incidence of violence there. Modi understands that India’s own provinces constitute an Achilles’ heel that could sabotage his Act East policy, and that without a solid domestic launching pad, his country stands no chance of successfully building connective infrastructure with Southeast Asia. This part of India has always been a security challenge for New Delhi, but faced with what was seen to be a more imminent threat from Pakistan, the military gave priority to the ‘western front’. Last December’s terrorist attack in Assam and the ambush last week in Manipur seem to have pushed India’s leaders past the edge, however, and they’ve now been forced into taking some type of military response to the eastern threat, whether they had previously wanted to do so or not.

Still, because of changing international considerations, India may possibly be able to ‘pivot’ its military focus from the west to the east. New Delhi and Islamabad are both slated to join the SCO next month, and this historic move could possibly lead to an eventual lessening of their bilateral tensions. In fact, given the importance of Northeast Indian security for New Delhi’s long-term strategy in ASEAN, it’s in the country’s best interests to ensure that relations with Pakistan remain stable so that it can better concentrate on the more pressing threat from the east. China’s vision in creating a $46 billion economic corridor between Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and Xinjiang Province could go a long way towards Beijing influencing Islamabad to maintain the ‘cold SCO peace’ with India and ensure that New Delhi can better handle its far-flung domestic terror threat and not look for provocations to destabilize China’s jaw-dropping investment in the west. China needs to buy time for the Gwadar-Xinjiang corridor to be built, and it’s betting that it can complete the project by the time India fully pacifies the Northeast and begins constructing its ASEAN highway.

Myanmar Stabilization

700x420xdgfafgcg.jpg.pagespeed.ic.3YdAxcZNDGThis benchmark is one which is still a long time away from being reached, if ever, and India’s anti-terror strike may have conversely destabilized its neighbor even more. It will be discussed more in the forthcoming scenario forecasts, but for all intents and purposes, while India has its reasons for intervening in Myanmar, it may have upset the fragile truce underlying the tense balance in the country. Even if India is able to fully integrate the Northeastern states into its full-spectrum national economy, using Bangladesh as a bridgehead in doing so, it will be unable to construct connective infrastructure projects with ASEAN so long as Myanmar remains unstable. The only two things India can do to stabilize its neighbor are: solidly committing to a full-fledged joint military operation against all rebel groups there (close to impossible); or stay out of Myanmar’s domestic peripheral affairs (no matter how tempting or provocative the bait) and give full diplomatic and military material support to its government. Until Myanmar can be stabilized and its civil war be resolutely brought to a close, India’s physical influence in ASEAN will always remain tenuous without the international connective infrastructure to tether it to the region.

The Northeast Frontier

India’s gateway to ASEAN begins at its Northeastern states, colloquially referred to as the ‘Seven Sisters’. This distant region is a patchwork of different ethnicities, religions, and administrative boundaries, some of which don’t correspond to the most ‘advantageous’ alignment for stability. That is to say, there are overlapping conflicts between certain demographics and their perceived ethnic homelands which leads to an inherently unstable situation that’s ripe for eruption. 57 out of the country’s 65 officially designated terrorist groups are active in the Northeast, and they’ve been wreaking havoc on and off since India’s independence in 1947. The core of the terrorists’ complaints is that their respective ethnic regions were unfairly incorporated into India and should instead be granted independence. Other than the obvious security reasons for why New Delhi fights against the ethnic terrorists, another reason is more metaphysical, and it has to do with the entire legitimacy of India’s current boundaries.

north-east-map-21Separatists in the Northeastern states believe that their respective areas were forced to sign instruments of accession that brought them into the Republic of India, and that the actual agreements are thereby voided due to their imposed nature. This dangerous line of thinking questions the very underpinning of many of India’s current territories, and if one separatist movement succeeds in its goal, then it could set off a domino reaction within its region, and perhaps even the country. This reasoning explains why India resorted to the extreme measure of using its air force against the Mizo National Front in 1966 after they overran Aizawl, which was the only time that India ever bombed its own territory. That drastic action speaks to the seriousness with which New Delhi takes separatist threats, so it should ultimately come as no surprise then that it would launch a special forces operation in Myanmar after suffering its worst ambush in two decades, especially against as strategically dangerous of an adversary as UNLFW.

Greatest Concerns:

While many ethnic groups inhabit India’s Northeast, four of them in particular are at the greatest risk of generating significant separatist violence:

Assamese/Bodo

The state of Assam used to be administratively a lot larger than its present-day form, having previously incorporated all of the Seven Sisters besides Manipur and Tripura. Ethno-political considerations led to New Delhi subdividing the state until it received its present form, largely as a means of placating the various minorities that agitated for independence. Some Assamese, however, have forcefully rejected the unilateral shrinking of their territorial boundaries and want independence in order to halt, and possibly even reverse, this process. The United Liberation Front of Assam is the most notorious of the Assamese terrorist organizations fighting for this goal, and it’s also one of UNLFW’s constituent members.

Located within the current borders of Assam is the Bodo ethnic minority, which has been fighting a vicious separatist war against both the local and national authorities since the 1980s. Some of its fighters want autonomy within Assam, some want a separate state within India, and still others aim for outright independence. Bodo terrorists were responsible for the late-December violence that killed over 75 people and caused tens of thousands to flee from their homes, and the author investigated this in detail in an earlier article written at that time. One of the forecasts made in the piece was that the various separatist forces active in Northeast India could temporarily unite in order to pursue their shared goal of secessionism, after which they could fight amongst themselves over the territorial details.

That’s precisely what’s happened with the creation of the UNFLW, since Assamese separatists have linked up with their Bodo counterparts (the National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit, which was responsible for December’s chaos) to wage a common war. On the surface, these two groups should be at eat other’s throats, since the Bodo want to secede from Assam while Assam wants to control the Bodo, but they’ve been able to put their bloodthirsty feud aside for the sake of joining forces in their shared fight against New Delhi. This testifies to the ideological fervor of their separatist beliefs, since they’re able to move past their on-the-ground ethnic and territorial conflicts in the name of achieving their common goal of independence. It also shows that their respective leadership recognizes the need to unite their forces against the shared ‘enemy’ of India instead of whittling them away in fighting against one another.

Naga

nagaland_010702The next main separatist force in Northeastern India is the Naga. Terrorist groups such as the NSCN-K, one of the founders of the UNFLW, want to expand the borders of their current state to include all of their ethnic kin in the surrounding areas, including Myanmar, in a project that they term “Nagalim” or “Greater Nagaland”. Their predecessors were the first group in India’s Northeast to fight for independence in 1947, and the issue has thus formed one of the mainstays of regional destabilization. Some Nagas advocate a ‘soft secessionism’ whereby India is pressured into redrawing its internal boundaries in order to accommodate their designs on neighboring states, but New Delhi is absolutely opposed to this since it would lead to uncertainty, fear, and panic in the minority non-Naga ethnic groups and states affected. It could also create a perilous precedent for other ethnic groups’ demands, thus ushering in a never-ending cycle of administrative revisions that would ultimately lead to violence and actual secessionism (which is the NSCN-K’s end goal).

Bengali

While no significant secessionist or irredentist groups exist for the Bengali minority in Northeast India, it doesn’t mean that they can’t quickly arise. As the author previous wrote about when discussing Bodo terrorism, there’s a strong concern among native ethnic groups in the region about Bengali migration, both legal and illegal. In some cases, the locals feel threatened by their large influx, and this at times takes on religious overtones of Islam versus Christianity (the latter of which many native people converted to during British rule). In the event that there’s a violent backlash against settled Bengalis in Northeastern India, they could potentially resort to social mobilization in lobbying Bangladesh for protection. Not only that, but some of them might even partake in terrorist action in order to push for unification with their home country. Additionally, if Indian Bengalis somehow form their own ethnic identity separate from actual Bengalis (such as Myanmar’s Rohingya have done), then the possibility is opened that they could seek autonomy or independence along the “Kosovo” model, further complicating the ethno-political mess in Northeast India.

However, these separatist scenarios are currently negligible due to Modi’s breakthrough visit to Bangladesh. By ingratiating himself with its leadership and resolving the territorial disputes between both countries, he’s all but guaranteed that Bangladesh would never support any of its ethnic affiliates in whatever secessionist schemes they might one day be hatching. But, if something unexpected were to occur that leads to a severe straining in bilateral relations, perhaps even a freeze or complete break, then it certainly remains within the realm of possibility that such measures could be contemplated by Dhaka. Still, it doesn’t appear like such a scenario would ever occur anytime soon, if at all, since Modi’s trip symbolically paved the way for a new era of mutual ties, and India acknowledges just how much it needs Bangladesh’s support in stabilizing the Northeast and opening the gates to ASEAN. This in turn makes it much more pliable in protecting the rights and safety of the Bengali minority in the Northeast (whether legal or illegal), and accordingly mitigates the risk of any international crisis breaking out with Bangladesh. Nonetheless, rampant and unrestricted Bengali migration into Northeast India could lead to spiraling tensions with the native locals (especially if New Delhi is seen as being biased towards them or turning a blind eye to the issue), which in turn could strengthen separatist sentiment and lead to the same cycle of violence that India is keen to avoid.

The ISIL Model In ASEAN

Having taken account of the three primary terrorist interests within UNFLW, it’s now time to explain how the group closely mirrors ISIL in its tactics and strategy:

n_83198_1Unifying Ideology:

Both terrorist groups unify their members under an umbrella ideology, with ISIL opting for a perversion of Islam while UNFLW uses left-wing separatism. Their ideologies aren’t without contradictions, of course, since ISIL fights against other extreme Islamic groups (such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban) and the UNFLW separatists (specifically the Assamese and Bodo) will inevitably clash with one another over their overlapping territorial disputes if they ever succeed in pushing New Delhi out of the Northeast.

Border And Governance Exploitation:

UNFLW exploits the weakness of the Indian-Myanmar border and nests itself in areas beyond the central control of Naypyidaw, mirroring what ISIL has done along the Syrian-Iraqi border in respect to both of those governments. Of course, the current situation in the Mideast is much more chaotic than that in Southeast Asia (by a long shot!), but the dangerous template of exploiting geopolitical lines and ungovernable territory to one’s advantage is clearly being followed by UNFLW.

Hybrid Tactics:

ISIL expertly juggles unconventional and conventional warfare, mixing terrorist and insurgent attacks together with its utilization of conventional armaments and deployment tactics. UNFLW has yet to seize military hardware or bases from India or Myanmar, but it may realistically have access to standard military equipment and training regimens via the rebel pseudo-armies that it’s allied with in Northern Myanmar. Only time and combat experience against them can reveal whether they’re capable of waging a conventional war, but it must be assumed that they harbor at least some of these capabilities.

Wide Base Potential, Strategically Positioned Supporters:

UNFLW could potentially mobilize a base of over 22 million supporters, which is the estimated total number of Assamese, Bodo, and Naga in Northeast India. Not all of them would realistically support the separatist umbrella, but considering the large numbers at play here, and especially the fact that secessionist tensions have been ripe in this region for decades already, it’s likely that a sizeable proportion of the population would at least be sympathetic to their cause. In an area as geographically compact as Northeast India is, even a few thousand civilian supporters could make a noticeable impact in the group’s intelligence, infiltration, and insurgent capabilities.

ISIL, on the other hand, has a much wider intended support base (over one billion), but as with UNFLW, it’s impossible for them to ever reach it. Instead, as has been seen through their battlefield operations, scattered bands of supporters could play a pivotal role in the success of their offensives (as they did in Mosul, for example). The key is simply that their supporters are in the right place at the right time, and they’ve already demonstrated that they can pull this off. Thus, it’s not outside the ability of the UNFLW to do something similar if it ever intends to launch a hybrid offensive on Indian or perhaps even Myanmar territory.

Territorial Relationship:

ISIL and UNFLW have intimate territorial relationships that differentiate them from all other terrorist groups, in that they’ve demonstrated an ability to actually hold territory. ISIL does so with a lot more success (e.g. Mosul, Raqqa) than UNFLW, which has no known villages or towns under its control, but the fact remains that they do administer their own pseudo-autonomous area in Myanmar, and NSCN-K is a signatory party to the country’s tenuous nationwide truce. Furthermore, both terrorist groups strive for state-like legitimacy over their respective conquests, and UNFLW aims to establish a government-in-exile by November of this year. There’s no grounds to expect that they’ll be taken seriously at this point, but the significance in this step would be to solidify the unity between the UNFLW’s diverse members and underline their shared goal of separatism (by terroristic means). Just as ISIL has dreams of further territorial conquests past its current holdings, so too does UNFLW, and it’s expected that both terrorist groups will continue playing the ‘territorial card’ to their advantage for marketing and recruitment purposes (with UNFLW perhaps entering the social media sphere in the near future to assist with this).

Clash Of Interests

A triad of Great Power interests intersects in the confined area of the India-Myanmar border, and each actor has differing objectives, motivations, and apprehensions. When one includes Myanmar itself into the foray, a ‘quarrelling quartet’ of contradictory trajectories emerges:

Myanmar:

Internal Balancing

Beginning with the country most adversely affected by domestic and foreign militancy (as well as the subject of the three Great Powers’ intrigues), Naypyidaw is in the midst of a very dangerous internal and external balancing act. On the home front, it’s struggling to manage an extraordinarily sensitive truce between the myriad rebel groups fighting against it. General elections are planned for early November, and Myanmar’s new Western partners will be observantly watching to make sure that it goes according to their subjectively determined expectations, and any internal turmoil prior to the vote could ‘discredit’ it or result in its delay. Both of these scenarios would see the West serve harsh rebukes and thinly veiled economic and political threats to Myanmar, which the country’s authorities are keen to avoid at this moment, thus bringing one to the topic of the international tightrope that it’s currently walking.

External Balancing

Myanmar used to be closely aligned with China during its ‘pariah period’ from 1989-2011, during which the West sanctioned the military-led government for its supposedly ‘undemocratic’ nature and sought to isolate it in all possible ways. This inevitably drove it closer to China, which never harbors any reservations about its potential partners’ domestic policies, and led to the development of extremely fruitful relations between the two. However, Myanmar may have moved too close to China in the sense that it entered into a visibly unbalanced material relationship with it that began to draw the locals’ ire. Citizens in the far-flung and rebel-influenced (and at times, rebel-held) territories became enraged that their material wealth was being exported in exchange for scarcely any compensation, thus generating a simmering social conflict that threatened to erupt into larger, perhaps militant, manifestations.

Especially offensive to many were Beijing’s plans for the Mysitone Dam, which would have flooded an area the size of Singapore in order to send electricity to China. The ‘transitioning government’, which had embarked on the symbolic road to an on-the-surface civilian administration in early 2011 (following elections in late-2010), saw the project as a severe vulnerable to stability during a rocky political period, hence it decided to halt it in September 2011. It was around this time that Myanmar also began making overtures to the US, which ultimately resulted in the West easing the sanctions regime that was put into place against the country. Obama made an historic visit in November 2012 that seemed to confirm the mutual acceptance of Myanmar’s pro-Western pivot, but it hasn’t been without its strategic risks, most notably the threat perception that China has experienced as a result of these sudden shifts along its southern border (to say nothing of the internal vulnerabilities, such as hyper-nationalist Buddhist thugs, that became exposed to increased Western manipulation).

myanmarmapwithcitiesIn Limbo

Myanmar is currently in a state of limbo, both internally and externally, and this makes the country particularly unstable. Domestically speaking, the slightest provocation could relight the fuse of civil war, which might quickly spark a larger, all-out conflict. In the midst of its domestic political transition (if even in name only, although it has lifted the citizens’ bar of expectation for their government), Naypyidaw wants everything to proceed smoothly, and tumult in the regions could rapidly ricochet destabilization right back into the center, thereby undermining the situation throughout the entire country. On top of that, Myanmar has positioned itself between both the West and China, with a foot in each camp, and it’s unknown how long it can continue this uneasy balance. On the one hand, it’s sought to lessen its dependency on China, but it still fulfills a critical role for Beijing in providing a non-Malacca route for the latter’s oil and gas pipelines. As per the West, investment and de-facto ‘recognition’ have flooded into the country since 2011, but Myanmar’s new ‘partners’ haven’t fully removed their sanctions and are still making domestic demands against the country (notably concerning Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingyas). If something ‘goes wrong’ in the country’s publicized pro-Western pivot, then the sanctions could realistically be reimposed and the US could actively push for the Myanmar’s dissolution into a plethora of semi-functioning nation states.

The country’s presently precarious position and the colossal consequences at stake make one think that Myanmar may have inadvertently gotten into a situation where it’s no longer fully in control of its future, and that a wide range of state and non-state actors hold the real power instead.

India:

Military Imperatives

The most important strategic task for India is to seek a middle ground between securing the Northeast and managing relations with Myanmar, but this is entirely easier said than done. Part I explored the security threats wracking Northeast India at the moment, and the conglomeration of terrorist groups via the UNFLW umbrella and their sanctuary status in Myanmar has infinitely complicated the situation. New Delhi is faced with the intractable conundrum of figuring how out to achieve its strategic task, and it looks as though it’s found itself in a classic dilemma. Engaging in cross-border military strikes against Myanmar-based terrorists could theoretically eliminate that present threat (if carried out to its fullest extent), but it would initiate a new one by disturbing the delicate equilibrium between the other rebels and the government there, or motivating reprisal attacks within Northeast India itself. At the same time, doing nothing might only embolden the terrorists into striking again, and they could also metamorphasize into a deadlier force if left uninterrupted in Myanmar (just as ISIL grew by exploiting its border safe havens in the Mideast).

Diplomatic Dilemma

Another prime consideration for India is how to preserve positive relations with Myanmar amidst all of this political and military dynamism. Even in the far-off event that the UNLWF and Myanmar’s rebels could both be neutralized and stability somehow restored to the mutual frontier, all of this would be for naught if Naypyidaw is no longer on good terms with New Delhi. For example, uncoordinated strikes on Myanmar’s territory during a protracted anti-militant campaign (whether unilateral or conducted jointly) could create a frightening security dilemma where Naypyidaw loses complete trust in New Delhi’s intentions and re-pivots towards Beijing in response. It’s not entirely unlikely, either, since if Myanmar’s military begins to perceive of India as an aggressive force behaving unilaterally (through go-it-alone strikes) or a destabilizing force that doesn’t respect its limits (engaging in overzealous, uncoordinated military activity that disintegrates Myanmar’s tenuous truce), then it would promptly pivot to China out of self-preservation, feeling that its sovereignty (and just as importantly, the rule of the military government) is critically endangered.

Without Myanmar’s full complicity, the ASEAN highway is doomed, however, there’s the slight possibility (however remote) than the myriad of nation-states that could emerge from the country’s dissolution might cooperate with New Delhi’s designs. But even if that’s their stated intent, the security situation might preclude its construction, and plus, the fact that the road would then have to transit a patchwork of states instead of just one makes it untenable and more easily subject to geopolitical blackmail.

China:

Regional Trade And Strategic Security

BIMSTEC_countries_106449_445More than anything, China endeavors to see Northeast India and Myanmar stable so as to facilitate the South Asian Silk Road via the BCIM trade corridor. Although these states also share in the same goal of regional stability, they may not necessarily be as enthusiastic about the BCIM as they’ve publicly let on. India could just be paying lip service to the idea in order to preserve a diplomatic face of cooperation towards China, while intending to leave Beijing out of the BIM framework. In fact, India is the leader of an alternative, competitive structure called the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Trade and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which it can energize through the ASEAN highway in order to promote its non-Chinese economic vision in the region. India can’t ever entirely remove Chinese economic influence in Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Thailand, but what it can do is create the conditions for heightened competition with it that could potentially result in relative market setbacks vis-à-vis Indian inroads. India also shares much deeper civilizational bonds with these three states (and even Malaysia and Indonesia) than China does, meaning that it could potentially up the ante in its rivalry to asymmetrical, soft power levels in order to gain an advantage over its chief competitor in the region.

China can never replace the civilizational ties between India and ASEAN, but it can arguably best it on the economic front. In order to preempt India from becoming too strong of an economic rival, China needs to see to it that regional trading trends remain to its advantage, and that the disruptive threat posed by the ASEAN highway is neutralized one way or another. Should that come to be, and India must resultantly rely mostly on its emerging maritime trade network with the region, then China can rest assured that it will remain the most pivotal partner for mainland ASEAN for the indefinite future. As has been demonstrated over the past three decades, China can then transform the trading relationship it has with its partners into an intensified political one, which could tangentially be used to rebuff Indian influence along Beijing’s exposed southern flank and guarantee its strategic security. Thus, the most important Chinese objective vis-à-vis India’s Southeast Asian shift is to see to it that the ASEAN highway is never built.

Legitimate Buffers

Any discussion about China’s strategic security in ASEAN requires a complementary one about its need for legitimate buffers. While these could be asymmetrical in terms of trading arrangements (ergo China’s opposition to the TTIP) or political such as hosting ‘opposition’ leaders (like Aung San Suu Kyi’s big visit to China), this section of the article will only touch upon its geopolitical aspects. In general, China previously viewed Myanmar as constituting the critical component of its mainland ASEAN policy. The country was seen as a friendly neighbor, safe from the reach of Western influence, that could function as a strategic outlet to the open seas. A logical economic corridor could divert material and resource trade away from the potentially American-blockaded Malacca chokehold and therefore ensure a deeper level of Chinese strategic security. However, things didn’t pan out exactly as Beijing had anticipated, and due to the combination of Chinese overreach and Western wooing, Myanmar made the decision to decisively pivot away from its dominating neighbor while still retaining some forms of strategic collaboration with it.

Naypyidaw’s monumental move came as a shock to China, which in no way saw it coming (be it out of miscalculation or hubris), and Beijing has since then struggled to replace the international buffer that it has lost. Understanding that Myanmar’s choice is irreversible for the time being (provided India doesn’t commit a major strategic screw-up), China has come to terms with the fact that the Southeast Asian buffer which formerly blocked conventional Indian influence into ASEAN is long gone. Instead, Beijing has had to reconceptualize its idea of buffers from the state to sub-state level, whereby it now views certain areas within India and Myanmar as potentially fulfilling this role. It’s not to say that China is directly interfering in the domestic affairs of its two neighbors (as it has been accused of having previously done), but that it does have a strategic interest in seeing simmering tension prevent their full rapprochement (which would lead to the construction of the ASEAN highway and all of its negative economic consequences for China). Beijing’s ideal buffer thus extends from all of Northeast India down into the rebel provinces of Myanmar, thus forming a contiguous belt of eclectic ethnicities and religions.

Even with its reconceived buffers, however, China is cognizant of the unprecedented chaos that would erupt if this ‘Balkanized belt’ devolved into full-fledged violence, hence why it has no stake in exacerbating tensions between these entities and their central governments past the point of no return. China doesn’t want to see a chain reaction of actual secessionism along its borders that could endanger its own domestic security, as its only wish is to see low-intensity conflict impede the establishment of the ASEAN highway and strategic partnerships between India and its transit states. As such, China only shows implicit favor for legitimate buffers, meaning those which are not terrorist groups or have any real potential in actualizing their secessionist demands, but it must be noted that India’s definition of a terrorist group may not be shared by China, meaning that covert or diplomatic engagement with certain secessionist organizations in India’s Northeast might not necessarily be off limits for Beijing. In spite of this, China is expected to be against any organization such as the UNLFW that unites separatist-oriented groups, since this strategic convergence increases the chances of their success, and likewise, the probability of uncontrollable chaos along China’s borders (which Beijing in no way wants to see).

US:

burma-aung-suu-kyi-and-obamaWashington has completely schizophrenic interests in this area, since it stands to win if either of the two main scenarios materializes. On the one hand, it intensely wants to see India ‘Act East’ along the ASEAN highway and fortify its BIMSTECS project against China, but on the other, it receives a Brzezinski-esque benefit from any potential ethno-political meltdown in Northeast India and Myanmar. To elaborate, it could weaponize the dissolution process in either of these two areas in order to threaten China and/or punish India (or keep it in unipolar check). Right now, it’s understood that the US is standing on the sidelines and monitoring the situation, intending to covertly intervene as necessary to tilt the course of events along its desired scenario, if need be.

Because it has no solid interests and can fluidly adapt to either circumstance with near-equal strategic benefit, the US is the most dangerous actor in this situation and the one whose reaction must be monitored most closely. In a sense, it holds the controlling influence over how events play out. It could support or discriminate between India and Myanmar’s respective (or even joint) efforts to combat terrorism and separatism, or it could actively encourage separatism in one or both of them. Another possibility is that the US stands idle and lets events develop ‘naturally’ for as long as possible. Either way, the US is the only one of the four actors that has the capability of redirecting events in near-limitless ways while remaining as insulated from their consequences as possible, thereby making it the most important (if geographically indirect) player in this unfolding conflict.

The Play Book

The UNLFW is the ‘perfect spark’ for setting off a larger conflagration, and with India have already attacked its positions in Myanmar (in what may or may not have been an unauthorized strike), it’s worthwhile to forecast the course of events that have been set into motion and analyze their influencing factors. Here’s what needs to be considered:

Variables:

Unilateral Or Complicit Strike?

Did India attack inside Myanmar without informing Naypyidaw in advance (or at all) or did it do so with the full complicity of its authorities, no matter how plausibly they try to deny it? This is the key initial condition that dramatically sets the stage for everything else that follows.

Independent Or Joint Follow-Up Strike?

Will India follow through with its strike or was the earlier operation a ‘one-off’ instance? If it continues pursuing its military objectives, will it do so independently or in conjunction with Myanmar, and how far will it go? And in if India carries out operations on its own, will Myanmar be complicit in them or unaware?

Terrorist/Rebel Response?

How do the Indian terrorists and Myanmar rebels react to the first strike, and perhaps, any more that follow? Will UNLFW activate its Indian-based terrorist network to order more attacks, and could the Myanmar rebels fight back against any Indian and/or Myanmar government incursions in their territory? What impact would it have on the ceasefire?

3 Stages, 3 Scenarios:

Events along the Indian-Myanmar border are expected to follow a step-by-step progression in building up to the next scenario, although of course, any of the three steps/scenarios could potentially occur out of order:

Tremors

India’s strike was an inevitable reaction to bubbling terrorist violence in the Northeast, but due to the latest attack having been the worst such ambush in 20 years, its security establishment felt compelled to do something significantly symbolic. The terrorists and/or Myanmar rebels aren’t baited into an emotional reaction, but instead bide their time and thoroughly plot their response. Tremors are felt, but no one knows when or where the next rumbling will occur (and whether it’ll be initiated by India or the terrorists). A nervous trepidation takes hold of all actors, although the Indian security establishment might have haughtily convinced itself that no prompt response by its adversaries indicates that it has won, in which case its guard will be lowered and the next terrorist attack will once more catch it unaware.

Rumblings

Some type of follow-up strike is commenced, be it by India and/or Myanmar or by the UNLFW and/or the rebels. The regional balance is threatened and a critical situation quickly develops. Global attention and apprehension is shifted to this relatively unknown corner of the world, with many voices raising fear that the violence can spread if it’s not immediately contained. A full-on earthquake has yet to occur, but the earlier trembling has now developed into a loud rumble, and everyone is waiting for what they believe to be an inevitable escalation. All active participants (e.g. India and UNLFW) brace themselves for conflict, while their immediate ‘dependencies’ (e.g. Myanmar and the rebels), if they haven’t already traded a follow-up blow with one another (as the other two opposing sides have done to get to this step/scenario), then they’re certainly preparing to in the event that they get sucked into a wider, forthcoming war.

Earthquake

India and/or Myanmar go on a substantial offensive against the UNLFW and/or rebels (or vice-versa), which opens up a Pandora’s Box of pandemonium. At this point, definitive forecasting is difficult to engage in, although for all intents and purposes, it can be assumed that Myanmar’s unity (already a geopolitical oxymoron of sorts) will be shattered, and that the consequent renewal of large-scale civil warfare in the country would create urgent security challenges for each of its neighbors. India may enter into an unsustainable military operation (much as the Saudis have done in Yemen) in which the only choices are between a bad conclusion and the worst conclusion (per its strategic perspectives). If India finds its mainland path to ASEAN stonewalled, then it’ll likely invest more in maritime capabilities in buffeting the ‘Cotton Route’, which could then enhance its medium-term capability in projecting sizeable influence in the South China Sea (alongside the US, Japan, and Australia). As such, the inadvertent facilitation of this formidable containment threat to China would herald in its own geopolitical earthquake, the aftershocks of which would be immensely destabilizing.

Concluding Thoughts

The Northeast Indian and Myanmar destabilizations have long become interlinked and transnationalized, but it was the creation of the UNLFW, ‘the secular ISIL’, and India’s cross-border attack against them that really brought the unstable nature of this region to the global spotlight. India was compelled to respond to the UNFLW in some form or another after falling victim to the largest ambush in two decades. . India needs the region to be stabilized in order to ‘Act East’ and counter China in ASEAN, but the irony is that it may have unwittingly set into motion uncontrollable chaotic forces in Myanmar that could result in the broader area’s intensified destabilization.

It’s not expected that the conflict potential between all actors will dissipate anytime in the near future – on the contrary, things seem to be just heating up. China has important security interests that are endangered by any violent escalations, but it’s realistically powerless to affect the flow of events and seems primed in being relegated to (proactively) responding to them as they develop. The US, on the other hand, is in the most powerful position vis-à-vis all the other actors, in that it profit from whichever course the conflict takes, be it an Indian-Myanmar success in squashing the terrorists/rebels (and the catapulting of India’s long-term, anti-China influence in ASEAN), or an all-out ‘Eurasian Balkans’ scenario that can chaotically suck in each of its neighbors. It’s unclear at the moment which of the two end-game scenarios is most likely, but it’s evident that New Delhi’s decision to intervene in Myanmar was a monumental one that marks a milestone in the region’s conflict dynamics, no matter how the situation ultimately turns out.

Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda

By Eric Draitser

The East African country of Eritrea is once again being demonized internationally as a systematic violator of human rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued an allegedly damning report detailing what it claims are “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” taking place in Eritrea. Media coverage has similarly echoed those claims, presenting Eritrea to a western audience as a backward and “brutal dictatorship,” playing on the traditional stereotypes of totalitarianism from East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

However, a closer and more critical analysis of both the report, and the true agendas of the western institutions promoting its narrative, reveals a vastly different motivation to this report and the continued anti-Eritrean narrative. It could be called politically motivated propaganda, and that would be correct. It could be called a distorted and biased perspective rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of both politics and history, and that would also be correct. It could, quite simply, be called abject neo-colonialism of the worst sort, and that too would also be correct.

For while the UN and western media portray Eritrea – a country most westerners know nothing about, if they’ve ever even heard of the country at all – as little more than a “Third World dictatorship” because of its alleged violations of human rights, they conveniently ignore the actual human rights issues that Eritrea champions, making it a leader on the African continent, and a country that in many ways should be held up as a model of human development and adherence to true human rights.

Eritrea leads the way in Africa on issues ranging from the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases, to access to clean drinking water, literacy promotion, and countless other issues. But none of this is deemed worthy by the UN for inclusion in a report about “human rights.”

This is of course not to suggest that Eritrea, like every other country in the so called “developing” and “developed” worlds, is without problems, as that would be simply false. Rather, it is to note that a truly objective report that actually sought a substantive analysis of human rights in Eritrea, rather than a politically motivated propaganda campaign, would have revealed a country busy transforming itself and its people, leaving behind the decades of colonial oppression and subjugation, beating an independent path for itself.

But of course, this is the gravest sin of all in the eyes of the western ruling class and the institutions it controls. Abject poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, death from preventable diseases, and many other hallmarks of African underdevelopment – these are all fine in the eyes of the West, so long as you follow their IMF, World Bank, UN rules of the game; so long as you “respect opposition,” “respect democracy,” and act “inclusively.” But, when a country chooses to create its own system, and pursue its own national development (white neocolonial opinions be damned), it is immediately cast as the great villain. So too with Eritrea.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts.

The UN Report: A Critical Look

The UN OHCHR report presents a vision of Eritrea that is, in many ways, at odds with reality. While forms of political repression and non-conformity to western conceptions of democracy are highlighted and repeated ad nauseam, other critical aspects of human rights are entirely ignored. Moreover, the UN report was limited in its scope because of lack of access to the country, thereby forcing the report to rely exclusively on the testimony of expatriate Eritreans and those with an obvious political bias and grudge against the government of Isaias Afewerki. So, far from being objective, the report is, by its very nature, a one-sided portrayal of the situation in the country. The report notes:

The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea and that there is no accountability for them…The enjoyment of rights and freedoms are severely curtailed in an overall context of a total lack of rule of law. The commission also finds that the violations in the areas of extrajudicial executions, torture (including sexual torture), national service and forced labour may constitute crimes against humanity. The commission emphasizes that its present findings should not be interpreted as a conclusion that international crimes have not been committed in other areas.

While of course there is a shock value associated with phrases like “extrajudicial killings,” “torture,” and “crimes against humanity,” these claims need to be interrogated carefully. It is impossible to say the extent to which these claims are either wholly true, complete fabrications, or partially true embellishments concocted by expatriates with an anti-government personal and political agenda; it is not unreasonable to assume that it is a combination of all three.

However, it is useful here to ask whether countries like the United States, for instance, would also be guilty of “extrajudicial killings” and “torture” were a similar investigation conducted into the seemingly endless, dare I say systematic, police murders of American citizens, especially people of color? Or what about the now universally accepted fact – publicly acknowledged even by President Obama who blithely declared “We tortured some folks” – that the United States systematically tortured prisoners throughout the so called “War on Terror”? Or that the US continues to hold countless inmates, again disproportionately people of color, in long term solitary confinement, a common US practice decried as torture by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E Méndez of the very same OHCHR?

But of course none of these uncomfortable truths are good for the narrative of “backwards African dictatorship,” and therefore, they are not part of the story. Nor does the report define exactly what it means by “national service.” However, those with knowledge of Eritrea’s domestic policies, which is almost no one in the West, understands that “national service” especially includes national military service, a practice used by many countries, including the US darling Israel, among many others.

Of course, it would be wise to here make the distinction that, unlike the apartheid state of Israel which uses its military for the purposes of oppression and occupation, Eritrea fought a protracted and bloody war against the former colonial masters in Ethiopia, having had ongoing military conflicts with their neighbor for nearly the entire, short existence of Eritrea as an independent nation. With a relatively small population and, proportionately speaking, a long and porous border with a hostile nation with a history of subjugation of Eritreans, it is not at all unreasonable to have a robust military apparatus fueled by mandatory military service.

One should also recall the way in which such reports, and brazen distortions, have been used by the UN and the OHCHR in the recent past. In perhaps its most shameful moment in recent history, the former High Commissioner Navi Pillay was instrumental in building the justification for the disastrous, illegal, and blatantly neocolonial, imperialist war against Libya. Pillay actually took the lead in disseminating anti-Gaddafi propaganda in the first weeks of the destabilization campaign, making her the leading edge of the propaganda assault, lending her reputation and position with the UN in order to bolster the anti-Gaddafi narrative. In late February 2011, Pillay stated:

More needs to be done. I encourage all international actors to take necessary measures to stop the bloodshed…thousands may have been killed or injured over the past week…Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors…Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protestors…The Libyan leader must stop the violence now…  Libyan forces are firing at protestors and bystanders, sealing off neighbourhoods and shooting from rooftops. They also block ambulances so that the injured and dead are left on the streets.

The facts that have been gathered since the illegal aggression against Libya have all contradicted every assertion that Pillay and the OHCHR made in early 2011. As Dr. Alan Kuperman wrote in his report Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, published by the prestigious Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University:

Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period.

Needless to say, the credibility of the OHCHR took a major hit in 2011 with that ghastly episode of outright lying, propaganda, and service to the foreign policy agenda of the West. So too should one be skeptical of their similar distortions on issues such as Eritrea, which in many ways are similar to Libya.

In fact, it is no coincidence that Eritrea’s closest ally in the world was Libya and Gaddafi. As the US Government-funded Center for Naval Analyses wrote in a 2010 report, “In the 1990s, Qadhafi made numerous attempts to mediate the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, but Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi was uninterested in separate negotiations…Qadhafi even went so far as to propose a Sahelian-Saharan peacekeeping force, to which Eritrea agreed and Ethiopia did not. Qaddafi subsequently helped finance Eritrea’s military campaign against Ethiopia.” It seems then that, far from being a coincidence, Eritrea is, in effect, getting the Libya treatment in terms of the propaganda and distortions.

But the real question is why? Why is Eritrea so reviled by the vaunted so called “international community”?

Eritrea’s Real Sins: Independence and Human Rights

All countries demonized by the West, attacked economically and politically, have done something to earn them the ire of the so called “liberal democracies” of the developed world. Of course, it is never the seemingly innocuous pretexts that institutions such as the UN OHCHR invoke.

First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist radicals, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades, namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank, “Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies…You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.

Naturally, such a radical departure from the tried and true cycle of financial aid and debt servitude, corruption and endemic poverty, is seen as a threat by the neocolonial establishment as manifested in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions. But the real danger is not simply the ideology, but its success. As the LA Times noted in its profile of Eritrea in 2007:

The self-reliance program began a decade ago but accelerated sharply in 2005. Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country’s citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya…It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa.

In the eight years since 2007, Eritrea has made even greater strides, becoming the only African nation to reach its Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Eritrea now boasts a roughly 98% immunization rate, incredible reductions in malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, and other preventable diseases. Eritrea has reduced infant mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by nearly 80% since independence. Literacy rates have increased dramatically, access to basic health care, clean drinking water, and many other essential human rights have all been greatly expanded, all while accepting no foreign aid.

Christine Umutoni, the UN Resident Coordinator in Eritrea, explained that “What we see as development partners, what is responsible for this success is community participation, the enabling environment, leadership, strong mechanisms for prevention, value for money and coordinated inter-sectoral approaches.” Umutomi also added that Eritrea has put a tremendous amount of energy into developing innovative alternatives to tackling difficult health and human issues including temporary maternal clinics and mobile medical units, as well as knowledge of migration patterns and remote areas.

In other words, Eritrea has managed to rapidly, and in earnest, embark on a process of economic and social transformation that the West is constantly advocating for African nations. However, Eritrea has done it on its own terms, without being enslaved by the financial institutions of global capitalism, and that is what makes it a target for demonization rather than praise. Why, one might ask, are the human rights of the rural poor, the unborn and infants, those living in grinding poverty, not taken into consideration in the so called OHCHR report? Are human rights only restricted to a small minority of political discontents whose grievances, even if justified, are relegated to the realm of politics and speech? This is not to diminish the importance of such issues, but rather to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of the selective use of the term.

Of course, there are also other critical political and economic reasons for Eritrea’s pariah status in the eyes of the so called “developed world,” and especially the US. Perhaps the most obvious, and most unforgiveable from the perspective of Washington, is Eritrea’s stubborn refusal to have any cooperation, formal or informal, with AFRICOM or any other US military. While every other country in Africa with the exception of the equally demonized, and equally victimized, Zimbabwe has some military connections to US imperialism, Eritrea remains stubbornly defiant. I suppose Eritrea takes the notion of post-colonial independence seriously.

Eritrea also rejects the neocolonial notion that it, and Africa broadly speaking, should be little more than a cash cow of natural resources, especially mineral resources, for the developed world to exploit. Eritrea’s President Afewerki said in a recent interview:

Your location could be a comparative advantage. If you have a long coastline, then you develop fisheries, develop your services industry – shipping, transportation – air, land. Provide industry and manufacturing…Africa can produce its own food and grow more. Why aren’t we able to do that? You have to produce something. Emphasize sustainable sectors. Agriculture is a sustainable sector. You need to put in place agriculture infrastructure. It’s a strategy commodity for communities…You need to think least on mineral resources (for economic development)… Gold glitters but it blinds people…If you forgo agriculture because you have gold, you go into a trap. If you forgo comparative advantage that you have because you have gold, then you make a big mistake…Food sovereignty and local production, local manufacturing and development are more critical than depending on resource exploitation. You must have a balance, comprehensive program that takes stock of your comparative advantages in different sectors and local needs first…Local markets are everything.

Is it any wonder that Afewerki and his government are demonized by the West? What is the history of US and European behavior towards independent African leaders who advocated self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology? The answer is self-evident. Such ideas as Afewerki expressed in the interview are seen by Washington, London, and Brussels as not only defiant, but dangerous; dangerous not only because of what they say, but dangerous because they’re actually working.

You do not see Eritrea depending on US and European NGOs, nor do you see the major western financial institutions enslaving the country with the unsustainable feedback loop of debt and aid. Instead, you see a country steadily emerging from decades of war and oppression, building a society from the ground up. Certainly there are problems, and changes of various kinds will need to be made as with all systems as they mature and evolve. But this is not what the US and its allies want: they need Eritrea to be brought to heel. And this simply cannot and will not be accepted by Eritrea, no matter the sanctions, no matter the demonization, no matter the demagogy.

Neocolonialism comes in many forms: political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, etc. It is undeniably true that Africa, and indeed most of the Global South, continues to be enslaved by the neocolonialism of the former colonial masters. It is also true that the neocolonial status quo is not to be challenged. Eritrea is one of the few countries doing precisely that. And it is for this reason, that it is demonized and vilified.

And it is for precisely this reason, that it must be defended.


Related:
Eritrea : No Weapon Can Defeat a People Committed to Freedom
Je Suis Eritrean
From Liberation to Governance: The Eritrean Experience
NGOs Wage War Against Eritrea
Human Rights Watch on a Dogged Mission of Defamation Against Eritrea
Amnesty International in Eritrea: Infamous Tool of Conspiracies
Human Trafficking and the Human Rights Agenda Against Eritrea

The Tragic, Bloody Origins of the Dominican Republic’s Plan to Erase its Black Population

By Ghislaine Leon
Black power. Black control. Black growth.
DOMINICAN REP-HAITIANS-MIGRATION

Public Enemy blatantly pushed this message before I was old enough to have a consciousness when they released Fear Of A Black Planet in 1990. This seems to be the fear of the world and the motivation behind the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in the Dominican Republic.

As a Dominican-American who identifies as an Afro-Latina and who celebrates the African Diaspora everyday, I am disgusted by the sanctions of the Dominican government. A quarter of a million migrant Haitian workers could be deported tomorrow. Over 2,000 military soldiers have been ordered to patrol the border tomorrow as of 6:00 am. A 45-day grace period has been discussed to allow for those ordered to leave to collect their bearings. But make no mistake, they are being ordered to leave.

The womb of Hispaniola is in pain and, by tomorrow, could be a war zone. The hate against Haitians in the Dominican Republic has become increasingly alarming. As we have gotten closer to the deportation deadline, hate crimes have been very visible, with Haitians being lynched in broad daylight.
DOMINICAN REP-HAITIANS-MIGRATION
Let’s be clear– this racial issue in DR is not a thing that just started a few years ago. It didn’t start when the Dominican government announced its Supreme Court ruling, which states that children born in the country to non-citizens after 1929 do not quality for citizenship, regardless of whether they themselves were born in the Dominican Republic. This only became news to families of Haitian-descent in May 2013, when the Naturalization Law 169-14 was adopted. Yet, the haunting sting of racism has plagued my people for decades.

Let me walk you through a little history of Haiti-Dominican relations:

From 1930 until his assassination in 1961, DR had an extremely xenophobic dictator named Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Under his regime, DR bore witness to the murder of over 20,000 Haitians. The most catastrophic event was the Parsley Massacre of 1937, in which any person who was dark-skinned or “looked” Haitian, who could not pronounce “perejil” (Spanish for Parsley,) was killed. In 1939, he opened the gates for Jewish refugees, Republican exiles from the Spanish Civil war, and the Japanese  as part of a plan known as “Blanquismo,” or the lightening of the race. He even went as far as having the dance to Merengue modeled after European Waltz (the dance genre changed a lot since then).

He worked tirelessly for DR to appear more European from a surface level at the cost of thousands of lives. He also stocked our universities and hospitals with light-skinned professionals from abroad. How devastatingly hypocritical  that he wanted to get rid of the Blacks and bring in Whites, when he himself was born to a Haitian mother. Reminds you of Hitler, doesn’t it?

During this time, anyone who opposed or criticized the Trujillo regime was killed, raped, kidnapped and slaughtered. This was infamously documented in The Time Of The Butterflies, which told the story of the demise of the Mirabal sisters.

After Trujillo’s death, Joaquin Balaguer, his right hand man, governed DR for three non-consecutive terms, the last of which spanned 10 years, ending in 1996. For decades, Dominican people have lived in fear of their military and many still do. A shadow of the same xenophobic mentality that ruled the country during Trujillo’s 30-year dictatorship still lingers today.

This idea of purifying and lightening the Dominican race has not changed a bit. Just ask Sammy Sosa, who in 2011, bleached his beautiful chocolate skin to appear lighter. This internal self-hate inflicted upon us by our Dominican families goes back generations, specifically the generations that lived during Trujillo’s regime. Line after line of Dominican families who have hated their skin because it was not light enough, or because they didn’t have long, silky hair like their Eurocentric-Dominican brothers and sisters.

Growing up,  I was encouraged to marry a White man so that my kids wouldn’t have hair like mine, and so that my kids would be lighter than me. It is an expectation that I have killed very softly. Despite the Dominican extension of the African Diaspora through its music, color, language, and food, DR does not take pride of its African ancestry. Every year on February 27th, we celebrate independence from Haiti (1844), yet we never celebrate or even acknowledge the independence from Spain, our colonizers.

My mother migrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City when she was 7-months-pregnant to give birth to me on U.S. soil. This was an intentional act because she knew the benefits that her child would receive once born in the States. The mentality of Haitians in DR is no different. This is not a crime, but instead is the history of the world. We’ve left our lands for foreign territories to give our children and ourselves better opportunities—this has always been the plight of the immigrant.
DOMINICAN REP-HAITI-MIGRATION
I was just in the Dominican Republic last month. This trip, I spent it with local kids and families in-need in El Soco, one of the many bateys (sugar cane field-worker towns) that has a large concentration of Haitian-Dominicans. These same kids may not have a home tomorrow. My heart cries at the thought of the souls that can possibly die tomorrow. I say this with gravity: the Dominican militia is not one to fuck with, especially if you’re dark and look Haitian.
Ghislaine Leon In Dominican Republic
It’s 2015 and the trail of racial events that has taken place throughout the last couple of years proves that the world still has MANY unresolved issues when it comes to color. Not all Dominicans are racist; I promise you that. When I stand up for people of color or dark-skinned Latinos, I’m often judged because “I’m not black”. Every time it happens, the pain gets deeper, because that critique sums up our issue with color. My shade of brown is just as valid, my story just as real, and the Haitian blood that runs through my veins is an undeniable part of me.

The world needs a shift in consciousness; world governments need to be urged to shift how they treat Black people.

Blood will be shed tomorrow and I pray that this event will wake us up to see us ALL as people of color and to support one another, instead of continuing to divide ourselves by skin color complexes.

sign_petition_button
Sign a petition to pressure the government of the Dominican Republic to stop its planned “cleansing” of 250,000 Black Dominicans.

Follow Ghislaine Leon @FearlessLeon

Western-Backed Terrorism in the Congo : Where is General Laurent Nkunda?

By Keith Harmon Snow

In 2009, after years of bloody insurrection in Congo, General Laurent Nkunda was ‘arrested’ with great fanfare in Rwanda. Wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, not a word about his situation has been reported for years. Are the regimes in Rwanda and Uganda using Laurent Nkunda and comrades in a new thrust to destabilize eastern Congo? The perpetual aggressors in this long, bloody saga of despair and death served on millions of innocent people in central Africa, Rwanda and Uganda protect the interests and insure the profits of their U.S., Canadian, European and Israeli patrons. Meanwhile, with a new insurrection afoot in eastern Congo, the western media and its modern day intelligence mercenaries spin disinformation to project black African chaos and whitewash the corruptions of Empire.

FARDC Forest-2.jpg
FARDC troops from the 1st integrated brigade on operations in South Kivu. Photo c. keith harmon snow 2006.

In the twilight hours of 2 June 2015 residents of the city of Goma, in Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu, were awoken after midnight by gunshots, mortars and heavy artillery fire, and battle tanks.  The fighting lasted several hours.  At daybreak most government offices, schools and businesses remained closed.  The fighting resumed around 11:00 AM, and receded to the Rwanda border as Congolese tanks pressed the attackers back to Rwanda.

“We are in great stress since last night.”  An official in Goma who asked not to be named reports that this is the work of the regimes in Rwanda and Uganda. “From about 1:00 to 3:00 in the morning there was a lot of firing inside the town of Goma and on the border with Rwanda: simple and heavy guns and even war tanks.  Officially, we have no precision, but it’s known that Kagame’s forces entered Congo this night.  Eight Congolese soldiers were killed; I saw one of them with my own eyes in the Virunga quarter of Goma.   The Governor and Congolese military officers are keeping quiet.” [1]

“Gunmen attacked the airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest city, Goma, in an overnight raid in which four government soldiers and three suspected assailants were killed, a local official and a witness said on Tuesday.”  The Reuters news syndicate produced the only report that appeared in western media venues on 2 June 2015.  Reuters reported that North Kivu governor Julien Paluku referred to the attackers only as “bandits.” “A Congolese security official involved in the clashes and a Goma-based diplomat said the assailants were Mai-Mai fighters, members of one of the dozens of armed militias that control large parts of Congo’s mineral-rich eastern borderlands.” [2]

Later in the day on 2 June 2015, Agence France Presse attributed the attack to a criminal gang and called the war-torn North Kivu a “restless province,” suggesting that the province itself is inherently prone to permanent unrest of the African variety.  “At least one soldier and a gunman were killed overnight when a gang raided the Goma airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo during an apparent robbery, officials said Tuesday.  “Bandits got inside the airport area to try to steal from depots (storing goods) waiting to be loaded on to cargo planes, the governor of the restless North Kivu province, Julien Paluku, told AFP.”] [3]

By 3 June 2015 the supposed culprits had been captured, and the western news syndicates were regurgitating claims by Congolese officials that the “bandit” leader of the “gang” was “a criminal from the distant city of Butembo” who had recruited other criminals and organized an attack on Goma airport.  The reportage is confused: the attack is blamed on both “criminals” and “ethnic Mai Mai militia” and the Reuters correspondent ignores the contradictions.

“Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the man suspected of being behind a deadly attack this week on the largest airport in the east of the country, the government’s spokesperson said on Wednesday,” Reuters continued.  “At least four soldiers and three suspected assailants were killed in the gun attack at Goma airport on Tuesday that military and diplomatic sources said was the work of ethnic Mai-Mai fighters. [4]

“The region has seen years of conflict involving dozens of armed militia such as the Mai-Mai that control large parts of the mineral-rich eastern borderlands, but attacks of this kind are rare.”

Reuters falsely spins this as an uncharacteristic attack atypical of war-torn eastern Congo, where Ugandan and Rwandan militias under the command of presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame have perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide since at least 1994.
karte-demokratische-republik-kongo-osten-2.jpgSimilarly, there is also no mention by Reuters of the vast tracts of mineral-rich land that have been stolen and cleared of Congolese people by western mining companies like Banro Gold Corporation [5], Metallurg [6], Casa Minerals [7], or Alphamin [8], the western mining firm that has captured massive concessions in North Kivu.

“Government spokesperson Lambert Mende described the man captured as a “criminal” from the town of Butembo, some 270 km north of Goma.” [9]

“This is bullshit!”  The (unnamed) Goma official is adamant.  “How can a group of Mai Mai leave Butembo 290 km from Goma and come to attack the airport!  And for which purpose?  Everyone knows there is no food or weapons at the Goma airport.  The [DRC] government does not want to accuse Rwanda, but Congolese people are not stupid.” [10]

The 3 June 2015 Reuters article also attributes the capture of the “criminals” and “bandits” to the friendly cooperative assistance of neighboring Rwanda.  “The man was arrested in Goma thanks to information provided by three captured assailants and intelligence help from neighboring Rwanda, whose phone networks the attackers used, [DRC spokesman Lambert] Mende later told Reuters.” [11]

“The assailants came from Rwanda and went back to Rwanda.” The unnamed DRC official in Goma is certain that the attack is part of the new Rwandan-Ugandan military thrust — the newly and euphemistically named Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of the Congo (MCRC) — in eastern Congo.  “There were almost 20 Mai Mai being held [in advance] just to be accused in case the attack failed.  Congolese tanks fired in the direction of Rwanda and the retreating assailants.  These were Tutsi soldiers and they came from Rwanda.  We are afraid as we know the government is hiding the truth: people saw Rwanda troops coming into Congo.” [12]

The Reuters story is further confused by the inclusion of a Associated Press photograph captioned: “Congolese soldiers visit territory retaken last week from M23 rebels near the Rwandan border Joseph Kay AP.”  The Rwandan/Ugandan backed M23 insurgency was named in recognition of the 23 March 2009 peace treaty that integrated the former Rwandan/Ugandan army, the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), into the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).  M23 soldiers claimed that the Congolese government failed to honor the terms of the agreement, and so they launched another war.  The recycled AP photograph by Joseph Kay originated in an AP story of 6 September 2013, but has been used over and over for various and diverse disinformation.[13a]

The real story is that Congo appears to be on the cusp of a new insurrection.  Like the RCD, CNDP and M23 occupations, this is yet another military thrust by Rwanda and Uganda to destabilize eastern Congo and seize absolute control.  The first objective: take control of Goma.

On 6 June 2015 the Rwandan ‘news’ venue Imirasire, one of the main propaganda/disinformation venues of the regime of Paul Kagame, run by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, published a very short clip claiming that the attack on Goma airport was perpetrated by “a new rebel group headed by a former politician.”  While naming the problem more accurately than Reuters or the Congolese government were willing to do, the Imirasire report is laughable in its pretensions about violence and minerals theft. [13b]

“Some Mai Mai from the Cheka [armed] group infiltrated Goma from the bush,” says the unnamed official in Goma, “and soldiers came from Rwanda and both attacked in the night under heavy rain with hope to take the airport, but they failed because the FARDC they found there were Republican Guards, trained by the USA and Israel, the best soldiers we have in Congo.  The last noise from the fighting was in the area of ‘La grande barriere’ on the Rwanda border, workers at the Congolese border office and Republican Guards confirmed.  After they had failed, MCRC withdrew back to Rwanda.  Local authorities forbade TV stations to show the bodies of ‘bandits’ that were killed.” [14]

The Warlord’s Warlords

For the past six years Rwandan General Laurent Nkunda has been hiding in Rwanda and Uganda, shielded from arrest or prosecution by Rwandan president Paul Kagame and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and their western backers.

Is General Laurent Nkunda now moving freely between Rwanda and Uganda, organizing a new insurrection in eastern Congo’s Kivu provinces, directing a new guerilla movement that has already perpetrated human rights atrocities and destabilized the eastern Congo?

Other known Rwandan war criminals with deep historical ties to General Laurent Nkunda are on the move.  One of these is Rwandan Major General Vincent Gatama, one of Nkunda’s former comrades, now in charge of Rwanda’s military operations in Congo.  On the night of 17 November 2012 then Colonel Vincent Gatama led a Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) special forces unit in the 2012 attack on Goma.[15]  Soon after the Goma attack, Paul Kagame promoted Gatama from Colonel to Major General in support of war operations to infiltrate and occupy eastern Congo.

Another of these Nkunda-allied warlords is General Bwambale Kakolele, a former leader of one of the original Rwanda- and Uganda-backed ‘rebel’ armies from the 1998-2002 war, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, and later one of General Nkunda’s top commanders in the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) insurrection.

Born in the Congo to the Nande tribe of Orientale Province, Bwambale Kakolele is a former Forces Armee Zairois (FAZ) soldier under the Mobutu regime who originally joined the Rwandan-Ugandan war of 1996-1997 to help oust long-time CIA-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.  By late 2001 he was leading the RCD’s Movement for Liberation (RDC-ML) faction, and he was named by the United Nations for trafficking arms in violation of the wartime arms embargo.  After this Kakolele was part of the Congolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC), one of the scores of militias involved in the bloody Ituri conflicts of 2003-2008.  General Nkunda and the CNDP joined forces with the MRC in 2006, and the MRC agreed to disarm in August 2007.

General Kakolele left the CNDP in 2008, and in 2011 was participating in DRC government activities that facilitated his being dispatched to north Kivu province.  The DRC government allegedly arrested him in 2013 in Beni, North Kivu, for blocking the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process. [16], [17]

Like his military allies, General Kakolele is an opportunist who has pursued any profitable enterprise in war-torn Congo, no matter how ruthless and lawless, including diamonds, and he allegedly has deep long-standing ties to the Ugandan ‘rebel’ Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).  Like the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda, the ADF is on the U.S. government list of terrorist organizations.  Kakolele gains protection through his ties to various guerrilla armies backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

Third on the list of Nkunda allied over-achievers in Congo bloodletting is Ugandan Colonel Sultani Makenga, another warlord who was also involved in the 2012 invasion of Goma, and one of president Yoweri Museveni and his half-brother General Salim Saleh’s protégés in the region. Makenga is said to be very sick with HIV, but, allegedly, he participated in May meetings in Uganda where the new insurrection was born.

Finally, there is the rogue warlord Mai Mai leader Ntabo Ntaberi, alias “Cheka,” who has been plundering and killing in the Walikale and Lubero districts of North Kivu.  In 2010 soldiers under Cheka’s command raped some 300 women in Walikale region.  In 2013, after the defeat of the Rwandan M23 army, the regime in Rwanda provided troop reinforcements and arms to Cheka.

Throughout 2013, 2014 and early 2015 the forces under Cheka have perpetrated massive human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity in a wide swath of North Kivu between Lubero and Walikale.  Cheka has been hunting civilians in their villages and fields, accusing them of being collaborators of FDLR and Congolese Mai Mai, and killing them.  Crimes include summary executions, rape, mass abductions, forced marches and other forced labor, and shooting of children.  Commander Cheka is one of the most ruthless and dangerous military commanders on Congolese soil and he runs his own militia named Nduma Defense of the Congo. [18]

Cheka rose out of the forests of North Kivu on a self-declared mission to gain justice for the Congolese people, and was originally allied with the FDLR rebels in Kivu.  Corrupted by power and private profit — plundering resources and waging brutal campaigns of forced taxation — Cheka has served Paul Kagame’s interests by hunting down and assassinating FDLR leaders in Congo.  In March 2015 Cheka’s forces attacked villages where the FDLR reside in the Lubero territory of North Kivu. [19]

“Kagame gave Cheka equipment and men,” says the official in Goma.  “Cheka replaced Laurent Nkunda and Bosco Ntaganda of CNDP, and Makenga of M23.  Cheka operates in Walikale and Lubero, 200 to 300 kilometers from Goma.”

Even Human Rights Watch has called for the arrest of Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka. [20] The HRW report of January 2015 documents the most brutal atrocities committed by Cheka and his troops, and their backing by Rwanda.

“Former NDC fighters also told Human Rights Watch that Cheka received financial and other military support from Rwanda. They said that Cheka’s ethnic Tutsi wife travels regularly to Rwanda and acts as a liaison with Cheka’s contacts in the country.  One former fighter said that ammunition was often sent into Congo from Rwanda via Goma and was delivered to Cheka on motorcycles in bags of beans.” [21]

There are allegations that Mai Mai Cheka has colluded with Alphamin Resources Corporation to terrorize and displace artisanal Congolese miners.[22]  Meanwhile, several of the concessions stolen from Congolese people by Alphamin remain under ‘Force Majeure’ — a formal declaration, agreed to by the Congolese government in Kinshasa, establishing that the mining operations cannot proceed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Alphamin Resources Corporation is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and staffed with all white directors from North America, Europe and South Africa.  Alphamin controls vast tracts of North Kivu, mining concessions rich with tin, gold, coltan and copper, the largest of which is the Bisie Mine.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif]  The foreign control would not be possible without first neutralizing and/or eliminating the Congolese landowners.  Western mining companies achieve pacification and land control by any means necessary.

According to their own web site: “Alphamin, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mining and Processing Congo Sprl (MPC), has full legal title (100 % ownership) over five exploration permits (No’s: PR 5270; PR 10346; PR 5266; PR 5267; and PR 4246) and an exploitation permit (PE 13155) in total covering 1,270 square kilometers in the North Kivu province.  The Bisie Project falls on PE 13155.  Due to the current volatile security situation, three licenses (PR 5270, PR 5267 and PR 4246) are still under Force Majeure.

The Force Majeure was lifted at the Bisie Project in February 2012, and Alphamin Resources established a camp on the Bisie ridge and commenced exploration drilling in July 2012.

Concesions “100% owned by Alphamin” in North Kivu.

Thousands of Congolese artisanal miners have suffered loss of livelihood or life due to the occupation of large mining concessions by Alphamin, and the concomitant pacification of the communities through direct violence.  Artisanal miners have attacked Alphamin mining operations, and Cheka forces have attacked artisanal mining camps, and artisanal miners have attacked Alphamin operations after being themselves attacked by Cheka forces (that they believe to be aligned with Alphamin).[24]

“Of course, many local miners have to leave their communities since those big companies come with papers and authorizations from Kinshasa.”  The unnamed Congolese official has visited many Kivu mining areas over the past 20 years.  “In North Kivu it is Mining Processing of Congo, and just like with Banro Gold in Twangiza in South Kivu, they claim the right to receive ‘security’ assured by FARDC.”[25]

Like their commanders-in-chief, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, these Ugandan/Rwandan commanders have directed assassinations of political and military targets.

War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide

In September 2005 the Congolese General Military Prosecutor issued international arrest warrants against General Nkunda and Rwandan Colonel Jules Mutebesi charging them with the creation of an insurrectional movement, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  Even Human Rights Watch, the selective U.S.-based human rights organization that has been notoriously slanted in favor of team-U.S. interests in the Great Lakes region, in 2006 briefly outlined the history of Nkunda’s crimes, including “numerous war crimes and other serious human rights abuses during the past three years… summary executions, torture, and rape committed by soldiers under Nkunda’s command, in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002.” [26]

Over the years Laurent Nkunda and his allied commanders have committed the most egregious war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, dictating the life and death of millions of people. Their crimes rival those of Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, General James Kabarebe, General James Kazini, General Salim Saleh, and other high-level Tutsi-Hima commanders from Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.  They have established formal networks of organized crime premised on direct violence: criminal racketeering, looting, taxation, gunrunning and minerals plunder.  Their troops have committed massacres, mass rapes and extrajudicial executions of the most inhuman kinds.

This time they are calling their terrorist enterprise the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of Congo (Mouvement Chretien pour la Reconstruction du Congo).

Their histories of atrocities are ugly, brutish and anything but short.

They have organized and run insurgency and counter-insurgency ‘programs’ to neutralize any ‘infrastructure’ and all opposition (and potential opposition) to their elite Tutsi-Hima agenda.  The word ‘infrastructure’ here refers to Congolese chiefs (mwamis), legitimate rulers, politicians, diplomats, soldiers, human rights defenders, civil society members, and ordinary people.  The euphemism ‘neutralize’ means to drive off, exile, make to defect to their (own) cause, capture, torture, maim, sexually mutilate, kill, disappear people.  Beheadings, amputations and butchering of corpses are common.  They have incinerated bodies, dead and alive.  There is no language that can make clear the extremes of their pathological behaviors.

They use networks of paid informers to spy and inform on anyone and everyone.  They infiltrate agents into social networks, political structures, government agencies, and military organizations. They sow fear, mistrust, divisiveness and terror through psychological operations and propaganda.  Some of them have been trained, advised, schooled and indoctrinated by the leading institutions of terror in the west, and — through the regimes inn Rwanda and Uganda — they have relationships to AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s Africa Command.

None of this is much reported in the mass media and if reported at all the atrocities and crimes are blamed on the victims, some of which include armed resistance forces with legitimate rights, legitimate grievances and very real claims.

The agenda of the Kagame-Museveni axis is to depopulate the homes, villages and territories of the eastern Congo (as they did in Uganda 1980-1986 and Rwanda 1990-1995) of their rightful owners and repopulate them with outsiders; to create large, destitute, traumatized populations of refugees on the run for their lives or herded into death camps; to control the extractive (minerals, timber, agricultural commodities, petroleum, natural gas) industries; to control taxation at regional, national and international borders; to fill their pockets and bank accounts with cash; to militarize their private kingdoms; to terrorize and destabilize and manufacture perpetual war.  The documentation of these crimes is plentiful and irrefutable.

The commanders of the new MCRC guerrilla insurgency have done the dirty work for Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame since the very beginning.  And, like their patron-dictators, no matter the documentation, no matter the evidence, no matter the eyewitnesses and proof of their crimes, most of them remain terrorists at large.  Under the secret programs of these Rwandan and Ugandan agents due process has been nonexistent, impunity the rule.  Millions and millions of lives have been destroyed, and it is happening again now.

They have been protected and/or supported by the U.S. administrations of William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama.  AFRICOM supports Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni directly, and has military bases in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Nkunda-2.jpg
General Laurent Nkunda in his ‘saviors’ costume for this AP photo c. Jerome Delay 2008.

And why is the MCRC’s first objective to take Goma?  The control of Goma would be used as leverage to manipulate the international community to recognize and accept the demands of the MCRC, and these are the objectives of the Kagame and Museveni regimes: to occupy, control and annex eastern Congo.  In this effort the Tutsi-controlled regime of alias Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa is complicit.  By controlling Goma, the former Rwandan and Ugandan ‘rebel’ soldiers that were integrated into the FARDC but remain loyal to Rwanda and Uganda would join the MCRC insurrection.  By controlling Goma, Kagame can openly (more openly than in recent years) send Rwandan Defense Forces into Congo without international intervention.

Ugly, Brutish and Not Short

First there was Museveni’s war in Uganda, 1980-1986, with Paul Kagame fighting for the National Resistance Army and Yoweri Museveni.  They committed massive war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, often blamed on the losers.  Then they invaded Rwanda, in 1990, and for the next four years they did the same thing, only more finely tuned, more sophisticated, and arguably much more brutal. [27]

The violence wreaked on Congo-Zaire by Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame was exported by perpetrators who first waged genocidal campaigns and coups-d’état that violated the most fundamental international covenants on state sovereignty first in Uganda, then Rwanda, then Zaire (Congo).  On 6 April 1994, they assassinated heads of state from Rwanda and Burundi, again the most fundamental and egregious violations of international law.  The U.S., U.K., Canada and Israel could not have been happier.

These first campaigns of Tutsi-Hima guerrilla warfare set the stage for unprecedented violence as the terror regimes of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame tortured, slaughtered, raped, disappeared, assassinated, and terrorized millions of innocent non-combatant civilians from Uganda to Rwanda to Burundi to Congo (and in South Sudan). They had the backing of western intelligence and covert operations at the start. [28a]

Next came the covert operations in Zaire (Congo) by the special forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) from 1994 to 1996.  RPA hit squads were dispatched to the Kivu provinces in Zaire well in advance of the U.S.-backed invasion that formally arrived in September 1996.  From July 1994 to August 1996 RPA Special Forces employing hit-and-run terror tactics crossed the Zaire border to commit targeted acts of terrorism, including sabotage, bombings, psychological warfare, assassinations, massacres, disappearing.

One of their primary strategies has always been the sowing of terror through pseudo-operations: disguised as some ‘enemy’ faction (whether such faction has ever been involved in violence or not) the RPA (and UPDF) commit atrocities, generally under cover of night, which are then blamed on the enemy faction, and provide justification for RPA assaults, retaliation, and occupations. [28b]  Under this rubric, the victims are portrayed as the killers, and the killers are portrayed as the victims.

Then in August of 1996 came the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) invasion of Zaire.  The establishment narrative portrays the 1996 invasion of Zaire as a purely Congolese affair led by Laurent Desire Kabila and the Alliance for the Democratic Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ).  Similarly, the ‘rebellions’ — bloody illegal guerrilla warfare insurgencies — in eastern Congo are typically portrayed as purely Congolese affairs, at least until the truth can no longer be denied, and then they become the subjects of propaganda campaigns that are duplicitous and expedient: damage control.

The United States military, intelligence apparatus, and diplomatic sector were 100% involved in the invasion of Zaire-Congo 1996-1998, providing logistics, weapons, aircraft, intelligence, satellite communications, and Special Operations Forces (U.S. Special Operations Command: SOCOM).  These were heavily armed and outfitted black- and brown-skinned U.S. troops, fluent in regional languages, on the ground in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. [29]

Not only did the invading forces ruthlessly hunt and terminate every Rwandan Hutu man, women and child they could find, they also slaughtered tens or scores or hundreds of thousands of innocent Congolese Bantu people.   They used bulldozers and logging equipment to disappear the bodies. They dumped corpses into the vast Congo River and its tributaries.  They went back months later to the Congo forests and swamps to scavenge every skeleton they could find and disappear these once and for all.  There are plenty of eyewitnesses who survived. [30], [31]

Their campaigns of rape set the stage for the unprecedented sexual violence yet to come: sexual violence perpetrated by Rwandans and Ugandans but blamed on the Congolese.

Unable to control their proxy Laurent Desire Kabila, whom they chose to lead the Alliance for the Democratic Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ), and who then became president of the Congo (until his assassination in 2001), Rwanda and Uganda next used the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) to aggress the Congo in the manufactured ‘Congolese rebellion’ from 1998 to 2003.

After signing some peace treaties in 2003, Rwanda and Uganda next aggressed the Congo through an alphabet soup of warring guerrilla militias: RCD, RCD-Goma, RCD-K, RCD-ML, PFJC, MRC, FNI, FRPI…and many more.  From 2003 to 2006 some 26 militias operated in the Ituri sector of Orientale Province alone: Ituri became the bloodiest place on earth at that time.  Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian militias rampaged in the provinces of Orientale, North and South Kivu, and Maniema, ripping apart the last vestiges of social fabric, ripping out the timber and the minerals, littering fields with skeletons and skulls, and mass graves everywhere.

In 2006, Rwanda and Uganda took their aggression against Congo to new levels through General Laurent Nkunda’s new Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) insurgency.

“An arrest warrant was issued against Nkunda for war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection months ago but the police and army have done nothing about arresting him,” reported Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, in 2006.  “So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk.” [32]

Similarly, from 2006 onward, Rwandan General Bosco Ntaganda was wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in northeastern Congo in 2002 and 2003, including recruiting and using child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery.  Ntaganda is also a former leader of the Rwanda-backed CNDP, and Ntaganda and his fighters were integrated into FARDC after the peace agreement of 23 March 2009.

The M23 guerrilla insurgency was more aggression by Rwanda and Uganda against Congo that began in March 2012 based on a FARDC mutiny led by Bosco Ntaganda and Sultani Makenga.  The rebellion took the name M23 in recognition of the 23 March 2009 neutralization of the Rwandan CNDP.

Rwandan M23 troops occupied Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, on 20 November 2012, and the FARDC and MONUSCO did nothing to stop them. General Vincent Gatama commanded RDF Special Forces allied with M23 and both armies were involved in massive atrocities.

In March 2013, after the Ntaganda and Mukenga factions of M23 came to blows, Ntaganda surrendered to the U.S. embassy in Rwanda and was flown to The Hague to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

The defeat of the M23 by November 2013 came as a victory for the 18-month military campaign against them by the FARDC the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade, and supported by Congolese civil society and activists. The 3096 SADC Force Intervention Brigade forces (attached to MONUSCO) from Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania quickly routed the Rwandan M23 troops. [33]

Rwandan commanders Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Laurent Nkunda, Bosco Ntaganda, Sultani Makenga, Vincent Gatama, Kakolele Bwambale and Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) all hold titles to this long sordid pedigree of armed warfare sponsored, spawned, supported, spread and prosecuted by Rwanda, Uganda and their western backers.

Here is another way that Rwanda and Uganda and their western backers have advanced the elite Tutsi-Hima agenda to pacify, occupy and balkanize the eastern Congo, and create a Rwandan-controlled Republic of the Volcanoes: Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration.  Since the first DDR programs begun around 2003, thousands of Rwandan and Ugandan Tutsi soldiers have been integrated (sic) into the Armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC): it is meaningless to say that Rwandan Tutsi soldier can be re-integrated into a Congolese army.

Through the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs funded by the World Bank and western donors, these hostile foreign soldiers have been infiltrated into the FARDC, creating a national army compromised by having thousands of enemy (Rwandaphone) soldiers within its ranks.  The DDR section of MONUSCO supports the Government of the DRC, which retains the primary responsibility for defining the DDR policies.

The FARDC has seen more than 29 top-level commanders drawn from the Rwandan / Ugandan forces in its command structure.  Additionally, there are some 300 more or less Rwandan Tutsi Captains in the regular FARDC ranks. [34]

Under the leadership of President Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) every peace treaty and joint DRC government / U.N. demobilization effort since 2003 has involved infiltration of hostile Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers into the Congolese military, national police, security services, parliament, government, governors offices, and more.

This process of co-opting the Congo at the deepest levels began in 2003, when the decision was made to integrate some of the top war criminals into the Congolese power structure as Vice-Presidents of the transitional government; these included Azarias Ruberwa (RCD); Arthur Z’ahidi Ngoma (RCD); and Jean-Pierre Bemba (MLC).  The Sun City ‘peace’ agreements declared amnesty to RCD combatants.

The Congo’s national army, FARDC, cannot conduct responsible military operations that serve the interests of the Congolese people.  The command structure is full of Rwandans and Ugandans aligned with Museveni and Kagame, with thousands of Tutsi soldiers in the ranks.  The command structure is disorganized, and this is due to the conflicting agendas, and the subterfuge of the Rwanda/Ugandan agents within.  There are parallel command structures dictated by military commander’s involvement in the illegal mining and taxation.  Many FARDC commanders, whether of Congolese or Rwandan origin, only seek to enrich themselves.  Embezzlement, racketeering, conscription of labor, combined with the routine entropy of a poorly paid and poorly managed national army, have created a culture of deception, manipulation and personal profit.  Finally, there may be as many as 14,000 Rwandans in the FARDC; soldiers of Rwandan and Ugandan origin that have been infiltrated into the FARDC desert at will, taking their weapons with them and turning them against the Congo.

The government of Congo is also highly compromised by having many Tutsi politicians in in civilian ranks, not least of which is the president of the country.  President Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) is a Rwandan Tutsi who marched across Congo-Zaire under the guidance of his uncle, RPA general James Kabarebe, one of the top 40 RPA soldiers indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in 2009 by the International Court of Justice, Audiencia Nacionale, in Spain.  Kanambe surreptitiously serves the interests of Rwanda and Uganda, and the United States, Canada, the U.K., Belgium and Israel.  Alias Joseph Kabila is not the son of Laurent Desire Kabila, and he never was. [35]

Impunity for Rwandan and Ugandan Warlords

One of Laurent Nkunda’s primary tasks with the AFDL-CZ was to ensure the assassination of the Hutu and Bantu customary chiefs in the collectives on the Congo-Rwanda border so that Rwandaphone agents could replace them.[36]

Nkunda was a senior officer in the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma).  In 2004 he was named general in a new national Congolese army created from troops of the dissident forces at the end (sic) of the war.   He refused the post and withdrew with hundreds of his troops to the forests of Masisi in North Kivu.  In August 2005, Nkunda announced a new ‘rebellion': the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP).

Rwanda’s Majar General Gatama worked with Nkunda during the aggression of the Rwandan rebel CNDP.  Gatama later worked with Rwandan warlords General Bosco Ntaganda and Colonel Sultani Makenga during the guerilla M23 Movement.  Gatama was on the front lines in Congo when M23 was defeated by the joint military operations of the Congolese army (FARDC) and the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), sent by the South African Development Community (SADC).

Colonel Sultani Makenga is another Kagame henchman who was born in South Kivu (DRC) but joined the RPA invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990.  Later sent back to Congo for the various rebel insurgencies manufactured by Kagame and Museveni, Makenga was always a very close collaborator with Laurent Nkunda.  When Nkunda was ‘arrested’ in Rwanda by Kagame, Colonel Makenga and General Bosco Ntaganda continued Rwanda’s dirty work in the M23 insurgency.

After Makenga and Ntaganda had a falling out in 2013, with Ntaganda evicted, Colonel Makenga became the de facto sole military leader of the victorious faction of M23.  After the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) defeated M23, Makenga left his command headquarters at Bunagana, which was also Laurent Nkunda’s base, and fled North Kivu to Uganda.

“Although he has no ICC arrest warrant hanging over his head,” reported the BBC in November 2013, “the UN Security Council imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on him last year, accusing him of being responsible for the ‘killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement’ — a reference to the fact that some 800,000 people fled their homes during the 19-month [M23] rebellion.” [37]

“Reports say Colonel Makenga and about 1,700 fighters have been disarmed and are being held in a secret location,” reported the BBC on 7 November 2013.  “The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says Col Makenga poses a tough diplomatic challenge for Uganda… A Ugandan government spokesperson told the BBC a decision on whether to hand him over would have to wait until a peace deal is signed between DR Congo and the M23 rebels, which is expected this weekend.” [38]

International press reports after September 2013 described how Col Sultani Mukenga ‘surrendered’ to the Ugandan government and his possible imminent extradition to Congo: it seems the regime in Kampala had no intentions, ever, of surrendering Mukenga to Congo.  The BBC does not perform a public service in advancing such propaganda.  Indeed, the press widely raised disingenuous questions about Makenga’s fate, and the “tough diplomatic challenge” faced by the government of Uganda.

By November 2013 the western mass media was reporting that the M23 “rebels” had “surrendered in Uganda” or “turned themselves in” in Rwanda.  This is a stale ruse, since one does not “turn themselves in” or “surrender” to the people that they work with and to whom they swear eternal blood allegiance.

“The arrest of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s notorious rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda removes a major impediment to peace in one of the world’s most war-torn countries,” cheered TIME Magazine on 23 January 2009.  “The fact that he was arrested in Rwanda also helps the government of President Paul Kagame restore a reputation severely tarnished last month, when the U.N. accused it of arming and supplying men to Nkunda and using him as a proxy inside Congo.” [39]

TIME magazine has played a pivotal role whitewashing all western military and western corporate mining plunder in Congo, and it hammers the tired and false establishment narrative about genocide in Rwanda.  According to this narrative, which legitimizes the ongoing genocide against Rwandan Hutu people, Kagame invaded the Congo (Zaire) in 1996 purely “to stamp out the Hutu genocidaires sheltering in Congo.” [40]  The false narrative turns Hutu victims into killers, and the mass murder of innocent Hutu people into what is supposed to be a just and necessary punishment. [41]

“Rwandan troops, RCD, M23, Ugandan army, CNDP, they all work together: these names like M23 and MCRC are meaningless.”  Jean Paul Romeo Rugero is a Rwandan born Hutu in exile.  In July 1994, at the age of 15, he fled Rwanda with his family and he survived the Rwandan Patriotic Army genocide against hundreds of thousands of innocent non-combatant Hutu men, women and children in Congo.  “The soldiers in these ‘rebel’ armies know no borders.  They have been in all these armies: NRA, UPDF, RPA, RCD, CNDP, M23.  They don’t see any borders, they don’t see any countries; they just see one big Tutsi-Hima land and that is what they are fighting for.”

The Farce of House Arrest

In January 2009 the western press was blanketed with stories describing how General Laurent Nkunda had been arrested in Gisenyi, Rwanda, and was placed under house arrest by the government of Rwanda.  The prevailing wisdom said that Nkunda had become too much of a political liability to his boss, Paul Kagame, who was loosing funding from international donors that were worried about Nkunda’s impact on western mining operations in Congo.

With Nkunda’s arrest in 2009, one story after another provided Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni with the international fanfare they needed to distance their regimes from what was then the latest bloody insurgency in eastern Congo, led by Rwandan and Ugandan forces under the name of the “Congolese Revolutionary Army,” more popularly known as “M23.”

“The arrest of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s notorious rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda removes a major impediment to peace in one of the world’s most war-torn countries,” wrote TIME Magazine in January 2009.  “The fact that he was arrested in Rwanda also helps the government of President Paul Kagame restore a reputation severely tarnished last month, when the U.N. accused it of arming and supplying men to Nkunda and using him as a proxy inside Congo.”

Attempts by the government of Congo to extradite Nkunda to Congo for trial after his arrest in Gisenyi, Rwanda were blocked by Kigali, who claimed that Nkunda was being held under house arrest, the propaganda line widely parroted by the international media.

Rwandan dissidents claimed that Nkunda was living comfortably in Rwanda.

A year after his supposed arrest Nkunda’s defense attorney, Canadian barrister Stephane Bourgon, began claiming that Nkunda’s rights were being violated.  Bourgon claimed that Rwanda was keeping Nkunda illegally in “no-man’s land” without charge and that the Rwandan government was blocking access to his client. [42]

Stephane Bourgon is also a Royal Canadian Military College graduate who served in the Canadian Forces for more than 20 years as logistics officer and military legal advisor. [43]  (Canadian General Romeo Dallaire supported the Rwandan Patriotic Army invasion of Rwanda 1993-1994.)

“Former Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda is ready to face trial for alleged war crimes or go into exile to end his detention without charge in Rwanda,” Bourgon reported in an interview with Reuters news service in 2010. [44]

In 2012, stories about Rwandan warlord Bosco Ntaganda — Nkunda’s rival and successor warlord running M23 — briefly captured the international spotlight, and most of these routinely mentioned that General Laurent Nkunda was being held under house arrest in Rwanda.

In June 2012, Kagame responded to international criticism with threats to turn Nkunda loose on Congo.  Rwanda continued to refuse to hand Nkunda over to Congo to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection, with Kagame disingenuously claiming concerns that Nkunda would not get a fair trial and might simply be killed for his ethnicity. [45]

In July 2012, the US, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany withdrew or delayed disbursement of their budgetary support to Rwanda in protest of Rwanda’s alleged support for M23 Congolese rebels.

By late 2012 the subject of Laurent Nkunda has slipped off the international news scene.

Onward Christian Soldiers

Beginning in mid-April 2015, hundreds of Uganda and Rwandan soldiers began infiltrating eastern Congo, crossing the border through the Virunga National Park and northern Lake Kivu region, to join the ranks of the latest Rwandan/Ugandan guerrilla occupation of eastern Congo.

On 22 April 2015, the Rwandan army crossed the border into North Kivu (DRC), wounding a Congolese soldier. [46]

Around the same time three United Nations officials reported that three mine-clearance workers were kidnapped at Kibumba, some 30 miles north of Goma, the provincial capital.  These were private agents working for a specialized private firm subcontracted by the UN anti-mine service, but the name of the company that the three worked for was not mentioned in either the United Nations or the western press reports.  The men were identified as two Congolese and one foreigner, and they were kidnapped off a main road in Rutshuru, North Kivu, by what were believed to be Rwandans speaking Kinyarwanda.

“The three men disappeared as tension rose on the border with Rwanda, which sent troops into North Kivu in the same region near Kibumba, according to the DR Congo’s armed forces,” wrote AFP on 23 April 2015.  (The exact date of their kidnapping is unclear.) “One Congolese soldier was wounded in an exchange of fire on Wednesday, the army said.” [47]

The three landmine clearance personnel were working for the private South African de-mining firm MECHEM, a subsidiary of the South African aerospace and defense giant DENEL Land Systems.  DENEL MECHEM lists amongst its current clients the Pentagon private military firm RONCO Consulting Corporation, for which DENEL MECHEM has a contract at the Pentagon’s Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. [48] MECHEM has also worked for its U.S. military client RONCO in Sudan. [49]

RONCO Corporation surfaced in the Great Lakes of Africa during the U.S. military invasions of Rwanda (1990-1994) and Zaire (1996-1998).  Billed as a corporation working in the ‘humanitarian’ sector, RONCO masquerades as a de-mining firm but employs ‘former’ U.S. Special Operations Forces. [50] In 1994, ‘former’ Special Operations Forces working for RONCO Corporation provided military equipment and ferried RPA troops from Uganda to Rwanda during the western-backed coup d’etat led by Paul Kagame. [51]

Unidentified assailants believed to be soldiers from Rwanda or Uganda kidnapped three more civilians and four FARDC soldiers near Kibumba in North Kivu, DRC, in late April 2015.

Reports from Rwandan government opposition members claim that some 400 combatants of the Rwandan Defense Forces commanded by ‘Colonel Charles’ and ‘Colonel Mahire’ crossed the border through the Virunga National Park on the nights of 5 and 6 May 2015. [52]

On 5 May 2015, two Tanzanian peacekeepers with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) special Force Intervention Brigade were killed and thirteen others were wounded in an attack that MONUSCO blamed on “suspected Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist rebels.” [53]

Another four MONUSCO ‘blue helmet’ soldiers from the United Republic of Tanzania were reported missing.  This was the second reported attack on MONUSCO forces in the eastern North Kivu region in 48 hours after unidentified combatants fired on helicopter carrying a senior commander.[54]

On 9 May 2015 AFP reported the discovery of seven bodies in North Kivu.  The head of a local civil society organization complained that authorities had been alerted about armed men circulating in the area but the reports had not been taken seriously. [55]

The AFP news service reported that “[t]he incident was the latest in a spate of unrest that has included a UN helicopter coming under fire, and at least 20 soldiers and rebels dying in clashes.”  In other AFP reports, the violence was attributed to anti-Ugandan ADF rebels: AFP credited a FARDC spokesman saying that FARDC troops recently killed 16 ADF rebels in two days of clashes in the region.

“The Muslim rebels of the ADF, who launched an insurgency in neighboring Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni in the mid-1990s, are accused of killing more than 260 civilians in and around Beni town between October and December last year. Most of the victims were hacked to death, in atrocities that prompted a joint operation by the Congolese army and UN troops to put down the jihadist fighters in December.”[56a]

The attribution of ALL violence in Congo to ‘Islamist rebels’ of the ADF or Rwandan genocidaires from the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is generally a propaganda tactic: the ADF and FDLR are routinely blamed for violence that is as often as not perpetrated by government forces from Uganda or Rwanda.  The ADF, FDLR, and Lord’s Resistance Army are the west’s go-to bogeymen, used to justify further military interventions, militarization and spying by the regimes in Rwandan and Uganda.

Also, MONUSCO is apparently blaming the killing of the Tanzanian ‘blue helmets’ on ADF so that MONUSCO will not have to contradict their own former statements that they did not notice any Ugandan or Rwandan troop movements coming across the border in April 2015.

“Re-emergence of Rwandan rebel group in eastern DRC raises risks of border fighting and attacks on UN,” reported Jane’s Intelligence Weekly on 11 May 2015.  Since August 2014, the UN mission in DRC has also alleged the M23 is rearming and regrouping, although M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa has dismissed the claims.  DRC officials report that in late April around 300 M23 armed members crossed into DRC’s Beni territory from Uganda, after at least 1000 M23 members in December 2014 fled a Ugandan barracks in Bihanga where they had been temporarily stationed.” [56b]

In early May at least 50 civilians were ‘kidnapped’ from Nyiragongo territory, near Goma.  As of late May there was no news of their whereabouts, and they may have been ‘disappeared'; there was no reporting in the international media.

According to a reliable source in eastern Congo, by early May 2015 General Laurent Nkunda was reported to be behind a military buildup in Masisi, North Kivu, with his soldiers based in Rutshuru, Masisi and Walikale.  By mid May 2015 there were reports of many hundreds of ‘unidentified’ guerrillas moving around Masisi territory in North Kivu.

Working with local Congolese Mai Mai warlord Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka, General Nkunda and the MCRC had reportedly been targeting gold, cassiterite, coltan and tourmaline mines mainly in Masisi and Walikale.

Other sources in North Kivu could not confirm Nkunda’s presence, but they believe that Nkunda is the ‘big commander’ behind the new MCRC rebellion.

So, where is Laurent Nkunda?  And who is behind the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of Congo (MCRC)?

From 2013 to the present day hundreds of thousands of non-combatant civilians have been displaced from their homes and villages in North Kivu province (alone).  Charged with numerous crimes documented over the past 20 years, Laurent Nkunda is allegedly allowed to freely roam back and forth between Rwanda and Uganda for high levels meetings where latest guerilla warfare campaign in eastern Congo was planned.

The MCRC insurgency flagged the attention of the U.S. propaganda Voice of America network, and the Rwanda regime’s propaganda network has issued one disinformation report about them.

“Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say armed men have crossed into the country from Uganda and set up bases in Beni territory,” reported Voice of America on 27 April 2015.  “A local community leader told VOA they may be Congolese rebels, part of the same movement reported to have crossed the Rwandan border into the DRC last week.” [57]

On 2 May 2015 the Kagame regime’s military intelligence newspaper Imirasire confirmed what Kigali wants to paint as a ‘new Congolese rebellion’ in eastern Congo.  The slant of the publication is intended to appeal to the Rwandan public to read between the lines and understand that the government of Rwanda supports the ‘rebellion.’

“News coming from North Kivu indicate[s] that a new rebel group composed of former M23 and CNDP fighters has been created, as the Governor of North Kivu declared to the press.  The Governor said that there has been a series of secret meetings to create the group, which by now has gone public and announced its leadership.  This has stirred up a new wave of insecurity in Eastern DRC.” [58]

Imirasire is a Kinyarwanda language publication run by the Kagame regime’s Directorate of Military Intelligence.  Operatives working for the Directorate of Military Intelligence are known for committing brutal massacres, assassinations, abductions and disappearing of dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, persons not in favor with the regime, and innocent civilians.

The report in Imirasire appeared under a Kinyarwanda language headline that translates to: “DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with General Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch.” [59]

Speaking on MONUSCO’s Radio Okapi on 24 April 2015 and alerting the general population to the latest threat from Rwanda and Uganda, the governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, described the recent military incursions as an attempt by the former Rwandan/Ugandan guerrilla M23 insurgency to re-launch their armed movement under a new name, the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of the Congo (MCRC).

In late April and early May 2015 Governor Paluku denounced “the meetings held in Uganda and Rwanda to destabilize Congo.”  Given the heightened insecurity the Governor announced that he had deployed the Congolese army to border posts to secure the country.  But by the time of the attack against Goma, on 2 June 2015, Governor Paluku is singing a different tune, likely ordered by the regime in Kinshasa to suppress the truth about the new Rwandan and Ugandan insurrection. [60]

The MCRC also has a Facebook page that appears to have been created in April 2015.  The page’s ‘description’ includes the statement “The reconstruction of our country long plundered by Congolese” and several very nondescript posts proclaim: “we are already among you.” [61]

Christians for the Destruction of Congo

According to various sources, General Laurent Nkunda and Sultani Makenga traveled to Uganda to attend an MCRC organizational meeting at the Bunyoni Overland Resort Hotel in Kabale, Uganda on 25 April 2015.  The participants at the meeting established the political and military structures of the MCRC guerilla insurgency, including the selection of president, pastor Kahitari Mumvaneza, who then chaired the meeting.

The MCRC’s political wing will be led by:

  • * Kahitari Mumvaneza: President;
  • * Bertrand Bisimwa: Vice-president;
  • * Benjamin Mbonimpa: Executive Secretary;
  • * Master Mutela Eli: Chief of Staff.

The MCRC’s military wing will be led by:

  • * Laurent Nkunda Mihigo: Chief of General Staff;
  • * Sultani Makenga: Chief of Military Operations;
  • * Mboneza Yusufu: Deputy Chief of Operations And Information;
  • * Ermain Bahame: Deputy Chief of Administration And Logistics;
  • * Innocent Kayina: Deputy Chief of Military Operations;
  • * Innocent Zimurinda-Katusi: Commander of Rwanda axis;
  • * Richard Bisamaza: Commander of Uganda axis;
  • * Secopere Mihigo: Chief of Military Intelligence.

MCRC leaders are reported to have ties to Canada, France, the U.S. and Rwanda and their links to Rwanda and Uganda are known.  For example, Lt. Col. Innocent Zimurinda was an officer in the CNDP who remains loyal to Bosco Ntaganda.  Zimurinda was integrated into the FARDC as a Lieutenant Colonel, and in July 2009 Zimurinda was promoted to full Colonel and became FARDC sector commander in North Kivu.

“It is very clear that as long as Kagame and Museveni are in power this area of Congo will be ungovernable.”  Rwandan professor Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro points to the source of the violence.  “Uganda and Rwanda thrive on the illegal exploitation of minerals and illegal taxation.  They will keep fomenting rebellion and whenever the subject of illegal exploitation of minerals is raised at the United Nations they have the diplomatic cover [protection] of the United States and United Kingdom.” [62]

All these Rwandan and Ugandan terrorist militias, from the AFDL-CZ, RCD, CNDP to the M23, have attempted to camouflage their Rwandan and Ugandan identities by initially placing authentic Congolese leaders out in the spotlight: e.g. Laurent Desire Kabila (AFDL-CZ), Wamba dia Wamba (RCD), Emile Ilunga (RCD), Onusumba Yamba (RCD), Laurent Nkunda.

Also, “Banyamulenge,” the term for Congolese Tutsis, does not exist in the nomenclature of tribes and ethnic groups of the Congo.  Most of the Kinyarwanda speaking communities in eastern DRC and northern Rwanda originally had Hutu traditional leadership.  The category Banyamulenge comprises many Tutsis who fled Rwanda during the Rwandan Independence era (circa 1959-1965).

Until the aggression by Rwanda and Uganda in 1990 sparked conflict in neighboring Zaire (Congo), partly fanned by Zaire’s president Mobutu, the Kinyarwanda speaking communities (Banyamulenge) in eastern DRC were not known for the Tutsi-Hutu ethnic dichotomy that has devastated the Great Lakes region: this was stirred up by the Tutsi-Hima elites in Uganda and Rwanda.  Ethnic and tribal division, discord and destabilization were all part of a systematic and intentional plan to invade and conquer.

By early June 2015, the many hundreds of ‘unidentified’ Rwandan and Ugandan guerrillas, believed to be the new MCRC, were no more reported in Masisi territory.  The forces reportedly split in three parts.  One contingent part was sent to join Mai Mai Cheka in the remote forests of Walikale; the second joined Gen Kakolele in Rutshuru near the border with Uganda; and the third contingent is reportedly in Rwanda with General Laurent Nkunda.

Modern Day White Mercenaries

“People are killed every day, here and there,” says one Congolese human rights investigator in eastern Congo.  “U.S. intelligence agents and the organizations they work with produce disinformation favorable to Rwanda and Uganda.  These guys are on someone’s payroll and they have enough money to throw around to their own networks of informants in the Great Lakes region.”

The U.S. and its allies, primarily Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Germany, Holland and Israel, are all part of the networks of multinational interests plundering the natural resources of the Great Lakes countries.  The corporations involved in eastern Congo are never mentioned, and no pictures are ever shown of their networks of exploitation that exist in parallel and coincidence with the violence.

The corporations operating in eastern Congo protected by the media and western intelligence apparatus, but soaked in Congolese blood, include Banro Gold, Casa Mining, Mwana Africa, Loncor, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Kilo Gold, Moku Gold, Randgold and Alphamin Resources.

Israeli Dan Gertler — one of the Congo’s greatest current enemies — has bought up petroleum operations in the lakes regions on the Uganda-Congo frontier.  Gertler’s political allies in power in Israel have been making deals with Rwanda.  Another Israeli has been awarded oil-drilling rights in Virunga National Park just in the past two weeks after Canadian oil company SOCO International pulled out under public pressure.

Corporations like Alphamin promise to provide community development programs, with all kinds of publicity of their supposed largesse and generosity. Usually these are cheap exchanges, the equivalent of trinkets for land and minerals, the legacy of colonial occupation and theft.

On 10 June 2015, communities dispossessed of lands and livelihoods by Banro Gold in South Kivu began to confront Banro Gold for the substandard homes provided by Banro. “There is trouble in Luhwindja where Banro is exploiting,” reported one Congolese human rights investigator on 10 June 2015. “Banro did nothing to help the locals. The houses they [Banro] built are falling down because people had to abandon them. People are dying from pollution.”

The operations of the big mining companies present in eastern Congo are completely whitewashed by the western press and western mercenaries and intelligence front group organizations like the International Crises Group, International Rescue Committee, ENOUGH, Raise Hope For Congo, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and the Social Science Research Council.[63]

The reappearance on the ground in Congo of these Rwandan warlords illuminates the apparatus of impunity involving western governments, non-government front organizations, the United Nations, multinational corporations, think tanks, western academia, the genocide industry, and the industries that profit through the creation of careers and markets for the euphemistically named AID, charity, humanitarian relief, conflict-resolution, and development industries.   None of these latter industries would flourish without the market-based manufacture of suffering, despair, disease and deracination, or the market-based production of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

As it is with the western human rights corpus “that keeps intact the hierarchical relationships between European and non-European populations,” [64] so it is with all these other industries.  Suffering is big business.

A participant at the 65th Annual Conference on World Affairs, Keith Harmon Snow is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara.  Some of his reportage, writings, photography and human rights reports can be seen on the web sites: Conscious Being AllianceAll Things Pass & Keith Harmon Snow. keith harmon snow, USA: +1.413.626.3800, 84 Goshen Road, Williamsburg, MA 01096 USA.

 

NOTES:

[endif]

[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] Private Communication, June 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] Aaron Ross and Kenny Katombe, “Gunmen attack airport in eastern Congo, seven dead, Reuters, 2 June 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-congodemocratic-fighting-id…

[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] Gunmen launch deadly raid on airport depot in DR Congo, AFP, 2 June 2015, https://www.c4defence.com/en/afp-mail-drcongo-unrest-army-airport/ .

[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603.

[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] Keith Harmon Snow, “Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe,” Dissident Voice, 23 January 2009, http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/01/ben-affleck-rwanda-and-corporate-sustained-catastrophe/ .

[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] David Barouski, “The Case of the Lueshe Mine, Z Communications, 27 July 2008, https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/the-case-of-the-lueshe-mine-by-david-barou….

[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] Keith Harmon Snow, “More Congo Propaganda: M23 and the Unseen High-Tech Genocide,” Conscious Being Alliance, 8 November 2013, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2013/11/m23-rebels-and-high-tech-g…

[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] http://alphaminresources.com/

[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603

[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] Private communication, June 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603

[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] Private communication, June 2015.

[13a][endif] “Military says lull in DRC fighting,” AP, 6 September 2013.

[13b] Congolese Police arrests armed rebels who attacked Goma International Airport, Imirasire, 5 June 2015, http://eng.imirasire.com/news/all-around/in-rwanda/article/congolese-pol… : Verbatim:

<<<Congolese police on Thursday said they have arrested 32 people on charges of attacking the international airport in Goma, capital of north-eastern North Kivu province.

Fighters belonging to a new rebel group headed by a former regional politician, Celestin Malonga, were pushed back on Monday by the army and members of the presidential guard who were based at the airport.

However, one rebel and four members of the presidential guard were killed.

Meanwhile, the reasons for the attack were not clear but officials and analysts said the rebels may have wanted to prevent guests from arriving for a regional economic forum or that they may simply have wanted to loot goods at the airport.

Malonga, who was arrested near the Rwandan border, told newsmen that he was fighting the government of President Joseph Kabila, because it had lent a deaf ear to his demands.

He did not give details on what the demands were.

Malonga’s Union of Congolese Patriots for Peace (UCPC), said it has about 100 members, is just one among dozens of armed groups operating in eastern Congo.

The region had been ravaged by violence since the 1996 to 2003 Congo wars.

Report says many of the armed groups do not focus on ideological causes, but seek control over the region’s rich natural resources.>>>

[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] Private communication, June 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] Steve Hege, Letter dated 26 November 2012 from the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on the DRC addressed to the Chairman, S/AC.43/2012/GE/OC.63, 26 November 2012.

[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] Security Council Democratic Republic of Congo Sanctions Committee Updates Sanctions List, 6 February 2015, http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11772.doc.htm

[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] “Nord-Kivu: arrestation d’un officier des FARDC à Beni,” Radio Okapi, 10 December 2013,

http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2013/12/10/nord-kivu-arrestation-dun-off…

[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif]Nord Kivu : Les éléments du Chef rebelle Tcheka saccagent la localité de Bunyatenge, enlèvent, violent et tuent des femmes et enfants,” GADHOP, 17 September 2014, http://www.gadhop.org/nord-kivu-les-elements-du-chef-rebelle-tcheka-sacc…

[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif] “RDC: 3 morts dans les combats entre Maï-Maï Cheka et FDLR à Lubero,” Radio Okapi, 7 March 2015, http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2015/03/07/rdc-3-morts-dans-les-combats-entre-mai-mai-cheka-et-fdlr-a-lubero/

[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] HRW reporting on human rights is expedient.  Like Care, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, and the International Crises Group and its ENOUGH Project, HRW operates in a political economy of human rights and genocide that centers around the protection and advancement of western profit-based interests, often whitewashing western mining and military operations.

[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] DR Congo: Wanted Rebel’s Troops Instill Fear, Human Rights Watch, 6 January 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] See, e.g.: Olga Abilova et al, Mining for Gold, Mining for Peace: The role of gold mining in peace and development in eastern DRC, Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University, October 2014, p. 56, http://www.cicr-columbia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/DRC-Final-Report-Jan-28-2015.pdf .

[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] See, e.g.,: “Alphamin Receives Strong Support from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Develop Its Bisie Tin Prospect,” Marketwatch, 25 July 2014, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alphamin-receives-strong-support-from-t…

[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] Jeremy C. Witley et al, Alphamin Resources Corporation Bisie Tin Project North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, MSA Group, NI 43-101 Technical Report, 10 May 2015, http://alphaminresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/J2878%20Alphamin%20Bisie%20Tin%20Project%20NI%2043-101%20MRE%2010-05-2015_Final%20V2.pdf

[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] Private communication, June 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] Alison Des Forges, D.R. Congo: Arrest Laurent Nkunda For War Crimes: Military and U.N. Should Act to Protect Civilians, Human Rights Watch, 2 February 2006.

[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] Keith Harmon Snow, “Special Report: Exposing U.S. Agents of Low-Intensity Warfare in Africa,” Conscious Being Alliance, 13 August 2012.

[if !supportFootnotes][28a][endif] Keith Harmon Snow, “Special Report: Exposing U.S. Agents of Low-Intensity Warfare in Africa,” Conscious Being Alliance, 13 August 2012. http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2012/08/us-agents-of-covert-war-in…

[28b] On ‘pseudo-operations’ see: Frank Kitson, Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency & Peacekeeping, Faber & Faber, 1971.

[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] See, e.g., Keith Harmon Snow, “The Rwanda Genocide Fabrications,” Dissident Voice, 13 April 2009, http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/04/the-rwanda-genocide-fabrications/

[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] Personal investigations, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004-2007.

[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] DRC: Mapping Human Rights Violations 1993-2003, United Nations, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/RDCProjetMapping.aspx

[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] Alison Des Forges, D.R. Congo: Arrest Laurent Nkunda For War Crimes: Military and U.N. Should Act to Protect Civilians, Human Rights Watch, 2 February 2006.

[if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] The United Nations Force Intervention Brigade is a military formation which forms part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).  It was authorized by the United Nations Security Council on 28 March 2013 through United Nations Security Council Resolution 2098.  The FIB is the first United Nations peacekeeping formation specifically tasked to carry out targeted offensive operations to neutralize armed groups that threaten State authority and civilian security, with or without the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), against armed groups that threaten peace in the eastern DRC. The brigade is based in North Kivu and is made up of a total of 3,069 peacekeepers.  The brigade consists of South African ArmyTanzanian Army, and Malawi Defence Force infantry battalions, Tanzanian artillery, and Special Forces (nationality unidentified).

[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] http://ikazeiwacu.fr/2013/06/29/les-generaux-rwandais-tutsi-qui-dirigent… généraux rwandais tutsi qui dirigent FARDC, l’Armée Congolaise, 29 Juin 2013.

[if !supportFootnotes][35][endif] Dr. Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, “Kagame’s Trojan Horse in Kinshasa,” OP-ED, New York Times, 29 November 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/11/29/stabilizing-the-democratic-republic-of-congo/kagames-trojan-horse-in-kinshasa .

[if !supportFootnotes][36][endif] David Baruoski, Laurent Nkundabatware, His Rwandan Allies, and the Ex-ANC Mutiny, 13 February 2007, http://nointervention.com/archive/Africa/DRCongo/LKandexANC.pdf

[37] Farouk Chothia, “Profile: Sultani Makenga, DR Congo’s M23 rebel leader,” BBC, 7 November 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24849919

[if !supportFootnotes][38][endif] Farouk Chothia, “Profile: Sultani Makenga, DR Congo’s M23 rebel leader,” BBC, 7 November 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24849919

[if !supportFootnotes][39][endif] Alex Perry, “Behind Rwanda’s Arrest of Nkunda,” TIME, 23 January 2009, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1873613,00.html

[if !supportFootnotes][40][endif] Alex Perry, “Behind Rwanda’s Arrest of Nkunda,” TIME, 23 January 2009, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1873613,00.html

[if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] Keith Harmon Snow, “White Slaughter in Black Africa: Genocide and Denialism,” Conscious Being Alliance, 11 May 2013, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2013/05/white-slaughter-in-black-africa-the-politics-of-genocide-denialism/

[if !supportFootnotes][42][endif] Hereward Holland, “Congo warlord Nkunda seeks trial or exile: lawyer,” Reuters, 15 January 2010.

[if !supportFootnotes][43][endif] Stephane Bourgon, https://www.linkedin.com/pub/stephane-bourgon/8/555/b42

[if !supportFootnotes][44][endif] Hereward Holland, “Congo warlord Nkunda seeks trial or exile: lawyer,” Reuters, 15 January 2010.

[if !supportFootnotes][45][endif] Gaaki Kigambo, “Congo war risk as Kagame threatens to release Nkunda,” The East African, 23 June 2012, http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Congo-war-risk-as-Kagame-threatens-…

[if !supportFootnotes][46][endif] Aaron Ross, “Rwandan troops cross into Congo, wound soldier – Congo government,” Reuters, 22 April 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/22/us-congodemocratic-rwanda-idUS…

[if !supportFootnotes][47][endif] “Kidnapped trio in DR Congo are subcontractors to UN mission: UN,” AFP, 23 April 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/three-members-un-mission-kidnapped-eastern-dr-congo-201336937.html .

[if !supportFootnotes][48][endif] “Running Projects,” DENEL MECHEM web site, 5 June 2015, http://www.mechemdemining.com/projects/running-projects

[if !supportFootnotes][49][endif] “Track Record,” DENEL web site, 5 June 2015, http://www.mechemdemining.com/projects/track-record

[if !supportFootnotes][50][endif] See, e.g.: Joseph M. Donahue, The U.S. Army’s Countermine Training Support Center and Humanitarian Demining Training Center, Survey Action Center, The Journal of ERW and Mine Action, Issue 5.1, April 2001,

http://www.jmu.edu/cisr/journal/5.1/Focus/Joe_Donahue/donahue.html

[if !supportFootnotes][51][endif] On Ronco Company shipping weapons into Rwanda: see testimony by Kathi Austin, Hearing of the House International Relations Committee, 16 July 1997.

[if !supportFootnotes][52][endif] “RDC: Une Autre Incursion de L’armee Rwandais; 400 soldats ont traverse la Frontiere,” Ikaze Iwaku, 6 Mai 2015, http://ikazeiwacu.fr/2015/05/06/rdc-une-autre-incursion-de-larmee-rwandaise-400-soldats-ont-traverse-la-frontiere/

[if !supportFootnotes][53][endif] Unsigned, “Tanzanian UN peacekeepers killed in DR Congo near Beni,” BBC, 6 May 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32605771

[if !supportFootnotes][54][endif] “UN deplores deadly attack on ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo,” UN News Centre, 6 May 2015, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50780#.VUymMtpVhBc

[if !supportFootnotes][55][endif] AFP, “Seven Bodies Found in DR Congo’s Restive East,” Daily Mail, 9 May 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3074610/Seven-bodies-DR-Con…

[if !supportFootnotes][56a][endif] AFP, “UN Peacekeepers Killed in Ambush in Democratic Republic of Congo,” ABC News, 5 May 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/democratic-republic-of-congo-un-pe…

[56b] Robert Besseling, “Re-emergence of Rwandan rebel group in eastern DRC raises risk of border fighting and attacks on UN,” IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly, 11 MAy 2015, http://www.janes.com/article/51348/re-emergence-of-rwandan-rebel-group-in-eastern-drc-raises-risk-of-border-fighting-and-attacks-on-un

[if !supportFootnotes][57][endif] Nick Long, “Armed Men from Uganda Reported in DRC,” Voice of America, 27 April 2015, http://www.voanews.com/content/armed-men-from-uganda-reported-in-drc/2736396.html .

[if !supportFootnotes][58][endif] “RDC: Umutwe wa MCRC wagiye ku mugaragaro utangaza n’ubuyobozi bwawo na Gen Laurent Nkunda nk’umukuru w’igisirikare cyawo” [translation: “DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with Gen Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch”], Imirasire, 2 May 2015, http://imirasire.com/amakuru-yose/amakuru-mashya/hanze-y-u-rwanda/articl…

[if !supportFootnotes][59][endif] “RDC: Umutwe wa MCRC wagiye ku mugaragaro utangaza n’ubuyobozi bwawo na Gen Laurent Nkunda nk’umukuru w’igisirikare cyawo” [translation: “DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with Gen Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch”], Imirasire, 2 May 2015, http://imirasire.com/amakuru-yose/amakuru-mashya/hanze-y-u-rwanda/articl…

[if !supportFootnotes][60][endif] “Nord-Kivu: les FARDC sont déployées pour sécuriser les frontières, annonce Julien Paluku avril 24, 2015,” Radio Okapi, 24 April 2015, http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2015/04/24/nord-kivu-les-fardc-seront-deployees-pour-securiser-les-frontieres-annonce-julien-paluku/

[if !supportFootnotes][61][endif] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mouvement-Chretien-Pour-La-Reconstruction…

[if !supportFootnotes][62][endif] Private communication, 5 May 2015.

[if !supportFootnotes][63][endif] http://www.ssrc.org/programs/drc-affinity-group/

[if !supportFootnotes][64][endif] Makau Mutua, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002: p.7.

Ecuadoreans Celebrate Return of President Correa Following Coup Attempt

CHlQ6bvXAAA7iUg.jpg largeCitizens filled Plaza Grande in the weekly changing of the guard ceremony, where they welcomed President Correa back from the EU-CELAC Summit and his European tour.

​Ecuadoreans from all socioeconomic backgrounds and various social movements filled Plaza Grande on Monday to show their support for the country’s Citizen’s Revolution.

Following what has been a week of protests in Quito and other major cities across the country, many citizens felt it was especially important to welcome President Rafael Correa back from his European tour, said Maria Jose Carrion, a legislator for the governing PAIS Alliance party.

“This is the continued defense of our values and our revolutionary convictions. This process of transformation in Ecuador has given hope back to millions of Ecuadoreans. Not just for a few,” Carrion told teleSUR.

Before Correa attended the EU-CELAC Summit in Europe, his administration recently submitted an inheritance tax bill and a law limiting illegitimate capital gains, both of which aimed to redistribute wealth in the South American country where a stark inequality between the haves and the have-nots still exists.

Now, the proposed laws to redistribute wealth has become a rallying cause for protest for wealthy and right-wing factions, which at times has turned violent .

Carrion emphasized that while only two percent of the population will be affected by the inheritance law, which is still under debate in the National Assembly over a 30-day period, attempts by the opposition continue to try and bring instability.

“There has been a destabilization attempt here in a country that has successfully obtained political, economic and social stability over the years. This is collective struggle, the struggle of citizens who have worked for and believed in this country. We now have a different nation,” she said.

Opposition leaders called for a “Black Sunday” action, where a caravan of cars waving black flags unsuccessfully attempted to block President Correa’s return at the airport. Opposition activists also rallied in front of the ruling PAIS Alliance party headquarters, demanding a change of government.

“We believe in the redistribution of wealth, and we believe that this bill can change power relations,” supporter of PAIS Alliance Franzka Poverta told teleSUR during the changing of the guard ceremony. “Ecuador’s upper classes have demonstrated against this, and as a journalist I can say that there is a media war of disinformation, above all else in social media, which seeks to make people believe that the Citizen’s Revolution is against the popular classes.”
President Correa urged citizens to remain united against opposition aggression, and rejected the violent tactics which were registered at last week’s protests. The opposition has called for more demonstrations to happen throughout the week at various points throughout the country, and government supporters will continue demonstrating in favor bills with seek to redistribute wealth and further social equality.

teleSUR

Who’s Behind Ecuador’s Demonstrations?

Ecuador is currently facing a wave of demonstrations throughout the country’s main cities, with both opposition activists and government supporters taking to the streets.
Right-wing violence has caused injuries.

Some of the demonstrations have ended in opposition led violence. Wednesday night was particularly heated, as protesters encircled government supporters and began throwing bottles into the crowd, striking several people including a former government minister. In a separate incident, opposition militants broke into the headquarters of the governing party PAIS Alliance offices and assaulted staff.

But who are behind these protests and what is their goal?

The demonstrations were initially sparked by opposition activists against two proposed laws, one that would tax inheritances and another that would tax capital gains on illegitimate land speculation.

As President Rafael Correa has explained, 90 percent of Ecuador’s largest companies are held by two percent of the population, and usually ownership over these highly profitable corporations is inherited.

Opposition lawmakers, media, activists and businessmen alike, repeatedly argue that both taxes will negatively affect the middle and working classes. Yet these new progressive taxes only hit the wealthiest hardest 2 percent of the population, with the bill proposing a 47.5 percent tax on inheritances from US$849,600 dollars up.

Symbolically, the opposition protests have focused on Shyris Avenue, in the heart of Quito’s commercial district, targeting the building of the governing PAIS Alliance party.

Whatever the initial justification, the demonstrations soon clearly began to call for the “ousting” of President Correa who they describe as a “dictator.” Protesters adopted a black flag, to symbolize their mourning over the supposed “death of democracy.”

This has been the slogan of frustrated opposition groups for years now, emerging soon after President Correa took office in 2007 and throughout the nine electoral victories for Correa and his alliance of supporters.

Given their repeated electoral defeats, Ecuador’s right-wing politicians are seeking to provoke and take advantage of the current situation to try to boost their faded popularity.

Many of them played an important role during tainted past governments. Others presented themselves in the last elections as a “new option” from the right.

Below we look at some of the leaders of the opposition who are opposing the tax and calling right-wing demonstrators to the streets:

Guillermo Lasso
The main backer of the protests has been banker and opposition presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso, and his CREO party. Lasso received 23 percent of the vote at the 2010 elections, 30 percentage points behind Correa who won in the first round.

Lasso has much to gain from the overturning of the inheritance laws and the government. He is reported to earn US$70,000 per month, the equivalent of around 16 years of an average Ecuadorean worker’s salary.

So it may come as no surprise that after violence broke out in Shyris Avenue, the former presidential candidate Lasso called upon supporters and opposition activist to take the streets of Guayaquil Friday to continue the mobilizations.

Lasso has a checkered past, linked to some of the most dramatic and negative moments in Ecuador’s recent history.

He was Economy Minister for a period during the government of Jamil Mahuad (1998-2000), who was responsible for the banking crisis and subsequent economic collapse, caused by a massive fraud scheme by Ecuador’s biggest banks.

That crisis was one of the most profound that Latin America has seen, bankrupting huge sectors of the society overnight and stirring huge economic, social and political turbulence that saw seven different Presidents replaced in a decade.

The banking crisis led to around 70 percent of the country’s financial institutions folding with the accounts of clients frozen, meaning many lost their livelihoods and life savings. The shock reverberated around Ecuador’s wider economy: income per head fell by one-third, unemployment doubled and subsequently one in ten Ecuadoreans were forced to emigrate to to seek income.

Despite this, Lasso later became an economic adviser and special ambassador under President Lucio Gutiérrez, another president ousted by popular pressure.

In that role Lasso was appointed a member of the negotiation team for the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA) and coordinated the visit of President Lucio Gutierrez to meet George W. Bush in 2003 on the eve of the outbreak of the Iraq war. During the visit, Gutierrez declared that “We want to become the best friend and ally of the United States”

Jaime Nebot
The controversial mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot, has also backed the protests and announced he would be calling a march for June 25.

Nebot became mayor of Guayaquil after being a long time ally of Leon Febres-Cordero, Ecuador’s former authoritarian leader and mayor of Guayaquil who ruled the country through political assassinations and repression.
Shortly after Correa’s election, Nebot began a brief campaign to declare Guayaquil an independent state, with little public support.

Jaime Nebot also became notoriously known for his period as lawmaker in the 90s, after he entered the parlimant drunk and insulted fellow lawmakers on live television as he was escorted out by security officials.

Mauricio Rodas
Though milder in support of the street demonstrations, former presidential candidate and current mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, has raised his “concern” over the inheritance and capital gains taxes, and called upon the government to heed the demonstrators. Howver Rodas’ party – SUMA – has openly backed Lasso’s call for protests.

Rodas received just 3.9 percent in the 2013 presidential election and is a former member the Social Christian Party youth wing, the party of former president Febres-Cordero. While some claim Rodas was a vice president of the party’s youth, he says he was only a member.

Abdalá Bucuram
Perhaps the most audacious backer of the protests is Abdalá Bucaram, another disgraced former president who currently lives in Panama following several corruption charges being made against him. Bucaram was declared unfit for the presidency in 1997.

He expressed his support in a tweet to Jaime Nebot, saying “Today the country needs all its patriots….(for) the great national march on June 25 in Guayaquil.”

Clever Jimenez
A former Pachakutik lawmaker whose party actively supported the coup attempt against President Correa in September 2010, Jimenez was seen in Shyris Avenue during the recent protests with his adviser Fernando Villavicencio.

On the day of the failed 2010 coup Jimenez publicly demanded that the elected President should resign and called for a national front of opposition forces to remove him from office. Later he expressed regret that the President was not shot on the day of the coup.

Bizarrely, after the coup was defeated, Jimenez and Villavicencio made baseless accusations against Correa, saying he orchestrated the events and was responsible for crimes against humanity, as several people were killed and hundreds injured during the events. Numerous police officials have been found guilty of planning the events on Sept. 30, 2010.

teleSUR

Right-Wing Attack on Ecuador’s Democracy

Privileged and right-wing sectors in Ecuador have been holding anti-government protests across the country since last Monday.

Since June 8, right-wing opposition demonstrators have protested daily outside the headquarters of the Ecuador’s governing party in Quito.

The protesters initially came out in the streets in response to proposed revisiones to legislation on inheritance and capital gains taxes, which would see the wealthy and upper middle classes paying more. However, the right-wing protesters are now openly calling for the ousting of the elected government of President Rafael Correa. Correa was elected in a landslide victory in 2013 with 57 percent of the vote.

6 Key Points About the Opposition Protests in Ecuador

1. This is a Rebellion of the Wealthy

Government supporters and opposition demonstrators are separated by a line of police on a major road in Quito, Ecuador, June 10, 2015. The Citizens’ Revolution commands broad support from a cross-section of Ecuadorean society, including support from the middle-classes, however there is great resentment from the wealthy upper classes who begrudge the fact that, after previously ruling the country for so long, they no longer wield the same political power.

This is despite the fact that Ecuador is one of the best performing economies in the region. The Wealth Redistribution Law, which prompted this latest round of protests is a measure specifically designed to target the wealthiest in the country, affecting a mere 2 percent of the population. The law provides a progressive taxation schedule, meaning those inheriting more will pay more.

Only three out of every 100,000 Ecuadoreans will ever receive an inheritance greater than US$50,000. Those calling on people to protest are looking to protect their own interests.

Unlike other opposition demonstrations in Ecuador, the class character is clear. Those protesting are among the wealthiest in the country who want to keep their economic power and perpetuate the inter-generational transfer of wealth.

In Ecuador 2 percent of the population controls 90 percent of big business, giving them a disproportionate amount of wealth and influence.

2. Violent Marches are Part of a Broader Right-wing Strategy in the Region

Revolutionary and left-leaning governments have won resounding electoral victories throughout Latin America, bringing with them an end to the neoliberal era, where governments did the bidding of the United States. These governments have invested massively in social programs, infrastructure, health care and education, raising the living standards of millions, while reducing inequality and poverty. The conservative opposition knows that these governments, like the Correa government in Ecuador, have the support of the majority of the population, and their only recourse is to destabilize the government in order to prompt foreign intervention or a coup d’état.

President Correa has previously warned that coups are still a real threat in the region, with opposition figures through Latin America openly calling for a military intervention against democratically-elected governments.

These latest protests have seen flashes of violence, several government supporters have been injured, including the former Minister of Culture Paco Velasco, who was pelted with a bottle.

Violence is being employed in order to provoke a response from security officials in order to accuse the government of having violated civil rights.

This is the same strategy used in Venezuela in early 2014, where opposition barricades led to the death of 43 people, mostly government supporters. Those violent right-wing barricades were used to justify U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, that called the country a threat to national security of the United States – a position that has been universally rejected by governments in Latin America.

3. Demonstrations are Being Promoted by the Private Corporate Press

The same tiny minority being targeted by these new inheritance taxes are those who own the private media outlets in the country who have been promoting the protests. The private media in Ecuador has also deliberately misrepresented the proposed inheritance tax, saying that it will negatively impact working class families and destroy family-owned businesses. Several outlets have also invited so-called analysts who claim that the law harms low-income and working class people without providing any proof whatsoever.

The highest tax rate of 47.5 percent, charged on inheritances above US$566,400, is inline with those charged throughout the world, and lower than those charged in countries such as Japan.

Apart from only affecting two percent of the population, the law provides for important exemptions and deductions. For example, if the inheritance involves the transfer of a home, the nontaxable amount doubles from US$35,400 to US$70,800. The law also allows the inheritance tax to be paid via stock to workers of a company, democratizing the means of production and the state does not receive any money in these cases.

4. The Opposition has Previously Tried to Oust Correa by Force

President Correa has warned that these demonstrations are only tangentially about the inheritance tax, instead it is an effort to destabilize and oust a democratically-elected government.

The opposition has tried this tactic before. On September 30, 2010, a police strike ended in a violent revolt against President Correa, who was held hostage in a hospital for several hours. The opposition tried to pin the blame on Correa, saying he was responsible for the events. The Office of the Public Prosecutor determined that the events of September 30 were in fact a pre-planned event, a plot to oust the government.

This fact is not lost on supporters of the government. Members of the September 30 Never Again collective, the group formed after the attempted coup against Correa in September 30, 2010, has been active in the counter marches held by supporters of the government.

5. Ecuador’s Constitution Demands Wealth Redistribution

One of the first major reforms undertaken by President Correa during his first term was the writing of a new constitution. Praised as one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, since it’s approval in 2008, the government has been steadily working to bring the country’s laws in line with what the constitution requires of them. The redistributive nature of the inheritance tax is based on article three of the Ecuadorean constitution, which reads,

“The primary duties of the state are planning national development and eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable development and equitable distribution of resources and wealth in order to bring about Good Living.”

Despite significant drops in poverty and extreme poverty, inequality is still a pressing problem in Ecuador. In terms of inequality, Ecuador sits at 132 out of 160 countries. The tax on inheritances is expected to significantly impact inequality in the country by redistributing wealth through social programs and investments.

6. The Opposition is Afraid of Losing Elections in 2017

President Correa was re-elected as president in 2013 with an overwhelming 57 percent of the vote, beating his nearest rival by over 30 points or nearly 3 million votes. Should Correa run again as the candidate of the Citizen’s Revolution, he is widely expected to win. This is why the opposition has been working to prevent his candidacy in the elections.

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador, the highest judicial body in the country regarding matters involving the constitution, affirmed that the National Assembly may make changes to the constitution without the need for a referendum, including a change that would allow the Ecuadorean people to indefinitely re-elect the president through popular vote.

Guillermo Lasso, the same politician who was trounced in the last elections, led a delegation of opposition politicians to the offices of the Organization of American States to request that they freeze efforts by the National Assembly to make changes to the constitution, calling for the U.S.-dominated body to interfere in the democratic process of the country.

Because the opposition knows it likely cannot win at the ballot box, they are seeking to oust the democratically-elected government by other means. Opposition protestors openly call for his ouster during their demonstrations, falsely accusing Correa of being a “dictator.”

Ecuador's Citizens' Revolution

teleSUR


Related:
The CIA Against Latin America : The Special Case of Ecuador
Ecuador : CIA and Chevron vs President Rafael Correa

Donetsk Foreign Minister : ‘ Kiev violated ceasefire 544 times in last three weeks’

Appeal to the heads of the Normandy Quartet from the Foreign Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) on Ukraine’s non-compliance with the Minsk agreement

June 12: Despite the Declaration in support of a set of measures to implement the Minsk agreement signed by the members of the Normandy Quartet [France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine], in the past three weeks, the Ukrainian Army has continued its systematic violation of the ceasefire.

According to the Ministry of Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic, from May 25 to June 9, 2015, the truce was violated more than 544 times, six civilians were killed and 59 wounded. In addition, damage to more than 200 homes and other civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and other cities of the Republic was recorded.

https://libya360.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/55541-4sg1jqf-0va.jpg?w=736
Gorlovka, Donetsk: Aftermath of Ukrainian shelling that killed
three women and injured two children, June 11.
Photo: Colonel Cassad

In each confirmed case of fire, the nature of the damage directly points to the use of heavy weapons by the Ukrainian side — mortars and heavy artillery.

These facts suggest that the Ukrainian side is not simply ignoring the call to withdraw heavy weapons from the demarcation line, but has actively built up its own military capabilities over the past few months. Daily shelling of the territory of the Republic, together with the growing trade and economic blockade, significantly worsens the humanitarian situation in Donbass.

Given the fact that the Russian Federation, as a member of the Normandy Quartet, is the guarantor of a set of measures to implement the Minsk agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic appeals to you with a request to use all possible means to exert pressure on Kiev’s militaristic regime to stop the provocations that inevitably lead to a further escalation of the conflict and new victims among the citizens of Donbass.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic
Source
Translated by Greg Butterfield

Washington, Kiev open new military attack on Donbass republics

By Greg Butterfield

June 8 – Ukraine’s far-right government, backed by Washington, launched a new military offensive against the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on the night of June 2-3.

The Donbass people’s militia responded quickly, first sending Kiev’s forces scurrying in panic, and now digging in for the hard battle for control of Marinka, a city southwest of Donetsk’s capital, against a Ukrainian military increasingly funded by the U.S. and armed with NATO weaponry.

“In the course of [June 3] fighting and shelling of Marinka and suburban areas of Donetsk, 15 to 20 civilians were killed and dozens injured,” military analyst Colonel Cassad reported on his blog. “Overall, this is the bloodiest day of the war since the end of the battle of Debaltsevo, when the Ukrainian Army suffered huge losses trying to escape.”

Donetsk Deputy Defense Minister Eduard Basurin reported that 20 militia were killed and 100 wounded. Meanwhile, some 400 Ukrainian troops were killed, said Donetsk head Alexander Zakharchenko. Sixty pieces of Ukrainian military equipment were destroyed, including four artillery batteries. (Dan-News.info, June 5)

Though initially centered near Marinka, fighting has now spread across the entire “contact line” between Ukraine and the Donbass republics – the buffer zone established by the Minsk 2 ceasefire agreement in February.

The latest attack by the Kiev junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists comes after a month of steadily growing ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian military, mostly through indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets — including the destruction of the home of 11-year-old Katya Tuv in Gorlovka on May 26.

Katya and her father were killed; her young brother was injured; her mother Anna was gravely wounded, losing her arm.



Aftermath of Ukrainian shelling in Nikishino, Donetsk.

Warnings ignored

It was from the vicinity of Marinka that Ukrainian occupation forces launched many deadly artillery attacks targeting Gorlovka, Donetsk city, and other residential areas.

For weeks, the anti-fascist militias in Donetsk and Lugansk had warned of the quickening buildup of Kiev’s military forces in the region, including heavy weaponry expressly forbidden by the ceasefire agreement.

And for weeks, political leaders of Donbass shouted to the world that new provocations would likely coincide with a major meeting of the European Union powers, timed to help Washington gets it way with pursuing the war and extending sanctions against the Russian Federation.

The embattled people of Donbass, the primarily Russian-speaking mining region formerly part of southeastern Ukraine, took to the streets in late May to protest Kiev’s continuing war crimes, recognizing that the Tuvs’ murder was the beginning of a new phase of the war that began in April 2014 and has officially claimed 6,400 lives – but by most estimates, far more.

The corporate media ignored all the warnings, while U.S. State Department officials denied Kiev’s continuous violations of the ceasefire.

On cue, Ukraine President Peter Poroshenko addressed parliament June 5, claiming that there were more than 9,000 Russian troops within 14 tactical groups on Ukrainian territory.

“I wonder how he counted them?” was the caustic response of Donetsk leader Zakharchenko. “The Ukrainian president’s talent is unique. It is very difficult to hide 9,000 troops of the Russian Armed Forces, not only from the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], but also from us. …

“If there were 9,000 [Russian forces] here, I wouldn’t be explaining what happened in Krasnogorovka or Marinka. We would talk about [fighting in] Kiev or Kharkov.” (Dan-News.info, June 5)


Munich, Germany: Supporters of the Donbass republics march against the G7, June 4.
Photo: Antiimperialistische Aktion

G7 wine and dine, Donbass people die

The occasion for Poroshenko’s bombastic speech was the Rada’s adoption of a law allowing “admission of the armed forces of other states on the territory of Ukraine” for “international peacekeeping and security.”

The junta has repeatedly called for UN or NATO “peacekeepers” to help put down the popular resistance in Donbass.

Previously, the presence of an international military force required adoption of a special law initiated by the president stipulating the length of the stay. Under the new law, no additional legal authorization is required and the length of stay is indefinite.

The law also states that “potential carriers of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction are permitted … for short-term accommodation.” (RT.com, June 5)

Lugansk chief negotiator Vladislav Dinego pointed out that the law is also meant to justify the presence of foreign troops that are “already operating in Ukraine. There are some 20,000, primarily from Hungary and Poland,” he told Interfax news agency, in addition to mercenaries from the U.S. and other countries.

Next, U.S. President Barrack Obama declared at the meeting of the Group of 7 imperialist countries the need to “stand up to Russian aggression in Ukraine” – ignoring the fact that his administration and Congress engineered the right-wing coup that deposed the legally-elected government of Ukraine in February 2014 as a step toward expanding NATO military power to Russia’s western border. (Sputnik News, June 7)

Here’s a sample of what was happening in Donbass while Obama and other heads of the G7 – the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan – met at a luxury hotel in Bavaria, Germany, June 6-7, to discuss how to punish Russia:

The people of Telmanovo mourned at the funeral of 4-year-old Vanya Nesteru, killed by Ukrainian shelling on June 5 (Ren.tv);

Kiev’s tanks attacked the village of Oktyabrsky, shelling a nine-story apartment building, where a resident had his leg blown off (LifeNews, June 7);

Gennady Moska, Kiev’s appointed “governor” of Lugansk, gave the order to turn off the water supply to the Lugansk People’s Republic, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without water (Anna-News.info, June 6);

“Heavy fights are in progress all over the frontline from Mariupol to Lugansk,” reported New Russia Press June 7, citing Shyrokyne, Sahanka, Gorlovka, Marinka, Spartak, Pesky, Donetsk city, Donetsk Airport, Bahmutka and Shchastya.



Funeral of 4-year-old Vanya Nesteruk, killed in Telmanovo by Ukrainian shelling.
Photos: Truth About the Situation in Ukraine

Preparing for war, not peace

Fighting continued June 8 around Donetsk, Gorlovka and Mariupol, according to Timer.od.ua, while tanks and artillery shelled Shirokino.

Also June 8, Donetsk Deputy Defense Minister Basurin said Ukraine “keeps bringing up heavy artillery to the contact line,” including Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS). “Fortifications have already been built on the highway between Konstantinovka and Dzerzhynsk, which block civilian traffic.” (Novorossia Today)

Ukraine’s president signed a law authorizing martial law “in case of armed aggression or threat of attack, threat for Ukraine’s independence or territorial integrity” – all buzzwords that have been previously used to justify the war against Donbass.

Provisions of the law include “forced settlement of citizens of a foreign country that threatens to attack or conduct aggression against Ukraine,” a threat that has frequently been levied against residents of Donbass. (TASS, June 8)

Perhaps most ominous, though, was Poroshenko’s signing the same day of a law cancelling all military agreements with Russia in relationship to Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova, Ukraine’s southern neighbor, where 1,200 Russian peacekeeping troops are stationed.

Along with the appointment of former Georgian President and U.S. stooge Mikhail Saakashvili as governor of the Odessa region and a reported buildup of Ukrainian military forces there, the voiding of military agreements signals plans afoot to provoke Moscow on a second front to further Washington’s plans for NATO expansion, destruction of independent Donbass, and regime change in Russia.

From Africa, Middle East, Latin America to Ukraine – Snowden & Human Rights : Theatre vs Reality

By Tortilla Con Sal

Recent legislative theatricals in the US Congress once again brought the issue of mass surveillance into the corporate media headlines and with it the continuing hype around Edward Snowden. Ever since Snowden made his revelations, his supporters have claimed his actions constitute a heroic defence of fundamental civil rights in the United States and countries of the European Union.

The latest corporate media reports argue that Snowden has been largely responsible for a major change in Western country legislation defending fundamental civil rights. But the reality behind this extraordinary campaign of exaggeration and illusion looks very different in the light of actual events and a critical look at their media diffusion.

Whatever Edward Snowden’s own intentions may have been, his revelations have been exploited by the psychological warfare apparatus of the United States government and its allies. The media and political management of his revelations have helped the US government consolidate and legitimize existing covert mass surveillance practices in the United States and overseas.

USA Today reported on June 2nd, “The Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to end the controversial bulk collection of the phone data of millions of Americans who have no ties to terrorism.” The USA Today report included a tweet from President Obama “Glad the Senate finally passed the USA Freedom Act. It protects civil liberties and our national security. I’ll sign it as soon as I get it.”

However, Barack Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any President before him. So it seems rational to infer that he will sign off on what is nothing more than a procedural administrative tweak. Let’s face it: substantially, it changes nothing. Even the New York Times reported the day before the vote “Even if Congress ultimately restricts domestic surveillance, it will leave intact the vast majority of the post-Sept. 11 programs authorized by two presidents.

Numerous writers have correctly noted that the new law merely places the formality of a routine administrative procedure – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) tribunal – between the US government’s spies and the mass data they previously collected unhindered. The corporate media and non-governmental Edward Snowden industry spin this as a vindication of Snowden’s revelations.

But Edward Snowden’s support network is almost completely compromised, one way or another, by most of its members’ relations with the the political and corporate establishment of the US and its NATO allies. For example, film-maker Laura Poitras in 2012 received a US$500,000 fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, whose then President Robert Gallucci was previously a very high level strategic adviser to the US government.

Glenn Greenwald has been the main proselytizer managing what in many ways is a Snowden cult. Greenwald moved swiftly from his work managing Edward Snowden’s material for the Guardian to working for billionaire Pierre Omidyaar, whose own business empire has corporate links to the US government intelligence network, in particular Booz Allen Hamilton, for whom Snowden used to work.

Edward Snowden himself is an espionage professional, so what he says or does should certainly not be taken at face value. That said, it does seem clear that far from having radical progressive politics he is very much a US patriot with staunch libertarian views, not at all opposed to US foreign policy as such.

While the North American and European progressives who promote Edward Snowden congratulate themselves on their commitment to human rights, almost everywhere else in the world their human rights agenda has been made to look hollow, self-serving and hypocritical. The psy-warfare exploitation of Edward Snowden’s revelations categorically confirms the truism that human rights concerns derive from political, not humanitarian concerns, as events in Palestine, Libya, Syria, Ukraine demonstrate

In Libya, among many other even more extreme examples, hundreds of former officials of the Libyan Jamahiriya have been tortured and abused prior to the sinister farce of judicial process under the control of ISIL terrorists who make a mockery of Islam. Those Libyans, including Saif Gaddhafi, face the death sentence. But Western human rights advocates have nothing to say about these phony trials or their governments’ destruction of Libya because they were cheerleaders for it.

In Palestine, the UN General Secretary has just decided not to include the Israeli government on the list of governments harming children through armed conflict, despite overwhelming evidence including the repeated genocidal massacres in Gaza. Western human rights advocates tend to play down this kind of shameful, indefensible decision and other examples like it, because they fear zionist accusations of “anti-semitism”.

In Ukraine, the fascist regime there has overseen the murder of dozens of journalists, like Oles Buzyna, and anti-regime activists like Oleg Kalashnikov under cover of almost complete silence from the US government and its European Union allies. Western human rights organizations too have next-to-nothing to say beyond ritual denunciations because they are reluctant to seem “pro-Russian”.

In Syria, as in Libya, Western human rights organizations and liberal and progressive NATO country media outlets have vociferously promoted one falsehood after another, that government military arbitrarily murdered large numbers of “peaceful demonstrators”, that “Assad” used chemical weapons in Ghouta or that “Assad” deliberately targets civilians.

It is hard to believe mere coincidence leads the same corporate media and human rights networks to promote Edward Snowden’s revelations ostensibly against government policy, alongside the propaganda line of those same governments targeting Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China and so on. That only adds up if one goes to sleep each night listening to the fairy tale of “objective reporting” as read by the BBC or CBS, or Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – an organization funded (and founded) by George Soros, the same man who destabilized the Ukraine and is a close associate to President Petró Poroshenko.

Edward Snowden’s revelations can be looked at in any number of ways, some more plausible than others. A credible view on the available evidence to date is that the material he has made available has been managed to legitimize long standing covert practice by Western intelligence gathering agencies while also providing a handy human rights and democracy alibi to Western media.

Western government support for their corporate oligarchies following the crash of 2008 compounded Western media embarrassment at their governments’ well-documented human rights abuses, from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Guantanamo and the US corporate industrial penal system. The Snowden revelations have been exploited by Western corporate media so as to offer a theatrical human rights and democracy distraction from past and current crimes by the US government and its NATO allies.

Those governments are guilty of murdering many hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Libya, as well as more current support for genocidal Nazi militias in Ukraine and for takfiri terrorists across the Arab world and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, they are also determined enemies of the emancipatory processes of change in Latin America and the Caribbean, targeting especially the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Now the same corporate media and human rights networks that attack Venezuela and its allies are falsely reporting, with all the unison of an accomplished choir, an important civil rights victory thanks to Edward Snowden. That should give decisive pause for thought, because by now few will disagree that the underlying reality of the management of Edward Snowden’s revelations is very different from their superficial appearance.
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Related:
Psy-warfare and NATO Country Terrorism – Ukraine, Venezuela, Snowden
Snowden: Overlooking the Obvious
Snowden Revisited
Inculcating Stupidity: Syria and Edward Snowden
Reflections on the category “journalism” and the revelations by Edward Snowden
Snowden: Behind NATO’s propaganda outlet for progressives – the Guardian’s board members
Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out and Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions
The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

Guatemala’s Revolutionary Resurgence

An aerial view shows protesters at a demonstration demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, in downtown Guatemala City, May 16, 2015
By Jeanette Charles
Chiapas Support Committee

*Organizer’s name has been omitted to protect their identity and preserve their safety. This is an edited interview which was done collectively with the Chiapas Support Committee during a delegation to Guatemala this May.

Marches in Guatemala Mark Historical Moment Guatemala, a majority indigenous nation, has faced decades of repression and genocide throughout its history. Depending on who you speak with, many date Guatemala’s present movement to 500 years of indigenous resistance, while others refer to the more recent histories of U.S. imposed conflict.

In 1954, the United States supported a military coup against progressive Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. As a former military official, Arbenz led a popular uprising against the 14 year dictatorship of President Jorge Ubico. Arbenz, part of a historical trajectory of Latin American military leaders like Hugo Chavez, underwent his own political transformation and used his power in favor of the poor. During his presidency, Arbenz was responsible for some of the country’s most innovative land reforms and social programs. However, his government and Guatemala’s ten years of spring were toppled during the U.S’s anti-communist interventionist campaign across the Americas resulting in the U.S. installed government of Carlos Castillo Armas. Since then, Guatemala has faced tumultuous times.

The U.S. backed genocide in Guatemala, that began in the late 1970s and officially spanned until the 1990s with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996, resulted in hundreds of thousands murdered, entire communities displaced and massive forced migration.

Today’s government is intimately tied to the histories of genocide as the current president, Otto Perez Molina, was reported to be personally responsible for more than 700 murders throughout the nation.

Guatemalans are demanding his resignation and that of other government officials who have stolen millions of quetzals, are directly tied to drug trafficking networks as well as organized crime and have long attempted to decimate the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.

Q: Can you provide us with some historical background about Guatemala and your organizing?

Our history is complicated. We have been working for years to improve life for all our country. I organize with campesinos. There are ten groups across 31 municipalities. We do a great deal of work. In the last month we have seen powerful organizing of women, youth, teachers, and others. Our people are struggling in a thousand and one different ways. We have uncovered the state’s evils and the degree of bad management they have been responsible for. The government has always used state resources however, they have not been for the benefit of the people.

Q: What is the overall situation in Guatemala?

We’re experiencing an incredible moment. We’re a rich country, Guatemala has everything and you can grow anything. The majority of the people work very hard yet are very poor. The problem is the government and corruption goes all the way up to the presidency. For example, the health system is terrible, and recently the health minister resigned after stealing 116 million quetzals.

Education is likewise unjust, with no vision for change. Also, there are kilometers of land by the sea, vast stretches of land, held by the wealthy while the people don’t even have enough to build a house. With the resignation of the Vice President, Roxana Baldetti, we have learned directly how corruption functions. Hundreds of thousands of quetzals have disappeared.

When all this started, the government was protected by all the rich, whose organization is called CACIF. The people in power have taken the best lands.

For example, the lands along the south coast were held at first by foreigners, by French, Germans, North Americans, and Chinese, not by Guatemalans. Much was held by the banana company, United Fruit. Justo Rufino Barrios gave away these lands to foreigners, followed by Cabrera, a dictator for 20 years. They forced people to work without pay under mandanto laws, people from the cold country. My grandfather told me about this. He was forced to work six months a year for the government, he was one who built this land below. Their plantations are run by huge companies and they occupy the best lands. The rich have always defended the government, and in exchange the police and military protect them.

On the south coast there are tiny communities situated among huge expanses of palm oil, sugar cane, and banana plantations. They are all fumigated by planes and this is poisoning the rivers. People are rising up to protest. Hugo Molina owns many of the sugar and banana tract plantations, and he is much like Miguel Facusse in Honduras (2009 coup conspirator and elite landowner). Molina also owns palm oil plantations in Mexico. All of this land he buys up very cheaply. Much of the land is swamps, with waters full of fish and small animals like turtles. The rich are drying up the swamps and destroying the ecology, they are actually burying all this fauna under tons of earth. All these humid lands around the swamps are being destroyed.

People are waking up to this reality, but slowly. There are eight elite families and they have some 40 children. Only 2 percent of the land is owned by 15 million people and the rich own 98 percent. They make the laws to favor themselves and so all of the government favors the rich. CACIF and the private sector rule the country and dictate law. The poor squat on lands and then are thrown off, sometimes they are even thrown off of land they already own.

For example, two weeks ago near here in Palmar, there was a disaster preparedness drill and various politicians came to participate. With our urging, the people asked them, “Why are you allowing these mining concessions and hydroelectric projects?

One company blocked three rivers, rivers that the community relied on, and only allowed a slight trickle to come through the pipes. We called the people together and said, “Why don’t you protest? If you don’t, we’ll disappear as a people.

One thousand people finally rose up and demonstrated.

Secondly, the government and the rich have historically been protected by the U.S government. However, recently the U.S. government has decided for once not to support the Guatemalan government. For that reason, the government is left unprotected.

Narco-traffickers are also involved in all of this as well. So this is the social and political crossroads we are at, this is the panorama. It has created an unprecedented moment for mobilization.

Q: What are the mobilizations calling for?

One of the people’s demands is the resignation of corrupt officials. The majority of the heads of ministries have already resigned. There are massive demonstrations planned everywhere in the country and our other demands are:

1) the resignation of the president, and
2) the imprisonment of the Vice President for her theft of 40 million quetzals.

It has been impossible to shift land and resources to the poor because the government cannot go against the rich.

Drug trafficking is on fire in the plantation zone, it is incredibly strong there. There are even pastors who are deeply entrenched. These pastors tell their congregations to pray for life and forgiveness, meanwhile they themselves are central to the trafficking network. Drug trafficker Juan Ramirez, who was going to be extradited, maintained and financed Evangelical churches with luxurious buildings. This is the reality.

These people will be in power until – and this is what the protesters are demanding – the laws are changed and a new constitution is put in place.

The constitution of 1985 favors the rich. We hope we have a process to write a new constitution as well.

Q: If the president was involved in the genocide and has lost the support of the U.S, is there a chance he will be judged?

Yes, this is the idea. While he is in power he has immunity. He is a serial murderer. During the war he was a sergeant in the west and went by the name Comandante Fernando, and he was active in Ixcan, Quiten, Santa Rosa, Cuilasa, Maza Re and there went by the name Comandante Tito. He was responsible for over 700 murders according to the book Massacres in the Jungle. Yes, he was personally responsible for 700 murders and he was part of Rios Montt’s army, so he bears responsibility for collective atrocities as well. But, he can only be judged when he leaves office and he says he won’t leave until the end of his term in 2016.

Q: What are the connections between Guatemala and other political processes in Latin America?

The particularity of Guatemala, as opposed to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who continues to live on in the people, is that in Venezuela, Chavez achieved victory.

If Arbenz had been able to hold power, we would be in the same situation as Venezuela is now: under the rule of the people, with laws for the people. But we only had ten years.

We are trying to achieve what Evo Morales in Boliva and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela have achieved.

Also in El Salvador, revolutionaries have won the elections, it is a tremendous advantage for us. We are in a situation of change, as are our children.

We need clarity. We have moved from an armed struggle to a political struggle. We are continuing to keep our struggle alive. We are still organizing for what we need. And these conversations strengthen the work, they help us stay firm and fortify the struggle. We are not alone.
Protesters holds signs and a doll during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, in downtown Guatemala City, May 30, 2015

Nicaragua : High-intensity Disinformation Warfare

Da’esh-run Tripoli Court to Deliver Verdict on Saif Gaddafi and Former Jamahiriya Officials July 28

By Alexandra Valiente
Viva Libya!

On July 28, the Tripoli Court of Appeals will decide the fate of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi along with that of 36 former Jamahiriya officials.
01ASaif will be sentenced in absentia. He has been detained incommunicado in Zintan since his arrest in 2011. He was never permitted to attend the mock trials in Tripoli and proceedings that may have taken place in Zintan are shrouded in secrecy.  Saif has been denied legal counsel and contact with family and friends. No witnesses were allowed to testify on his behalf.

(Libya, ICC, and UNSC Violate Saif Gaddafi’s Right to a Fair Trial) | (Urgent: Regarding Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Other Political Prisoners in Libya) | (Mock Trials For Saif Gaddafi and 36 Officials Postponed Until November 30) | (Safia Qaddafi Calls for Justice)

Saif Gaddafi’s first International Criminal Court defense counsel, Ms. Melinda Taylor, was forcibly detained in Zintan. At that time, the Libyan authorities attempted to blackmail Ms. Taylor and the International Criminal Court, promising her immediate release on the condition that she disclosed the location of a key witness who would testify on behalf of Saif Gaddafi. 1

Saif’s current lawyer, John Jones, has had no contact with his client since his appointment three years ago.
https://vivalibya.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/15626748947_3a50c4a0c5_b.jpg?w=700Libya’s ongoing violation of the rights of political prisoners has drawn condemnation from the Association of Libyan Lawyers, international human rights organizations, the Red Cross | Red Crescent, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations.

(HRW : Letter to the ICC Prosecutor : Accountability for Serious Crimes in Libya and Justice for Political Prisoners | UN Security Council: Address Libya’s Crimes and the Urgent Needs of Political Prisoners | Fatou Bensouda (ICC) at UNSC on Libya)

There are over 40, 000 political prisoners in Libya, all held in filthy, militia-run detention centers where they endure inhumane conditions, extreme deprivation and routine torture. Many have been executed following kangaroo tribunals or perished from injuries inflicted from beatings.  Thousands are detained for having black skin.

The Libyan Refugee Trap(Lists of Political Prisoners Currently Detained in Libya |The Names Of Over 1000 Political Prisoners In Libya Detained Because They Are Black)

And more to the point, it is Da’esh and militias that are in power. Libya has no functioning government.

Thus calls from the United Nations and human rights bodies can find no competent target for their demands.

(OHCHR | UNHCR Appeal to al Qaeda to Permit them to Resume Operations in Tripoli)

There is no doubt that each prisoner has been denied a fair trial. In exceptional cases where prisoners had defense counsel, lawyers were forced to withdraw due to threats to their lives.

All prisoners have been brutally tortured in an effort to force false confessions.

The charges brought against them have been fantastic and unsubstantiated. Hence,  prisoners and their defense teams were never permitted to bring evidence or witnesses forward that could irrefutably prove their innocence.

(Saif al Islam Gaddafi and Former Government Officials Deny All Charges)

However innocent the prisoners facing sentencing on July 28 may be, the charges leveled against them by the regime carry the penalty of death.  The rule of law suspended,  their prospects are grim.

If they are murdered, those who have brought about the destruction of the nation will have victory.

(Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya)

Amidst an atmosphere of vengeance, violence and chaos, Libya will be plunged deeper into darkness…a desolation from which it may never recover.


Related:
LPNM Statement by the Coordinator of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Kangaroo Court Judges to Sentence former Jamahiriya Officials July 28
Urgent Call : Liberate Libya’s Political Prisoners. Stop Their Execution!
Tripoli Trials a Violation of Every Principle of Justice
LIC STATEMENT ON THE END OF TRIALS

Ecuador : CIA and Chevron vs President Rafael Correa

By Nil Nikandrov

The President of Ecuador Rafael Correa praised the book The CIA Against Latin America : The Special Case of Ecuador. Over 30,000 copies are in circulation. Written by Jaime Galarza Zavala and Francisco Herrera Aráuz the book tells a story about the dirty tricks the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was engaged in during the 1960s in Ecuador. The authors offer interviews with Phillip Agee recorded at different times. Agee was a retired CIA operative who turned against the Agency.

Download in English

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, thanked the journalists for their courage and allegiance to professional duty. Patiño said the grim events of those days may return as a result of distortions and manipulations normally practiced by the CIA. At an event celebrating the new book, Ricardo Patiño said, «These secret policies continue in Latin America today. Nothing that Philip Agee denounced as CIA actions in the past have been discarded by the espionage seen in the present». He added that the government will frustrate any attempts to exert pressure on the country, no matter Ecuador is targeted by US intelligence services. America has an advanced system of spying, it recruits agents from all walks of life, exercises control over media and disseminates hostile propaganda. Ecuador applies great efforts to counter the US spying activities. It’s not that easy – the United States has great experience accumulated over the years. The problem is getting more complicated. Ecuador is a small country and the mission to accomplish is a tall order, but it stands up to the challenge against all the odds.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa shows his oil-covered hand at Aguarico 4 oil well in Aguarico, Ecuador on September 17, 2013. (AFP Photo / Rodrigo Buendia)

No matter how strong is the US pressure, Ecuador does its best to preserve its sovereignty, independence and national control over resources. President Correa is sure other countries of Latin America face the same problems. The Obama administration wants to weaken leftist governments with the help of smear campaigns. Meeting journalists Correa actually asked questions himself. He said, «Do you really believe that the difficult situations faced by Dilma in Brazil, Maduro in Venezuela, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Cristina in Argentina and the hard times Evo Morales of Bolivia had to go through before he held a sweeping victory, are all coincidental? All these people head leftist governments. Nothing like this happens with rightist leaders».

It’s hard to counter his arguments. The regimes friendly to the United States face no difficulties in their relationship with the US, for instance: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Peru, Paraguay etc. These states appear to be more vulnerable to reproaches and attacks of different kinds, but Washington finds fault only with the governments led by leftist politicians.

The main drug traffic routes to America and Europe go through the countries under US control. Crime is rampant there. Drug lords command real armies that include thousands of well-armed «warriors». Mexico is the leader. Last year 43 college students were murdered in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The country is a transit route for those who want to cross the US border illegally. Criminal gangs wage turf wars.

The U.S. Embassy has recorded more than 100 murders of U.S. citizens in Honduras since 2002. But the United States turns a blind eye on the fact because Honduras hosts American military facilities and Washington has no wish to worsen the relationship. Corruption scandals frequently hit US friendly regimes but nothing is done to rectify the situation as they are considered to be fragile democracies to be fostered and protected. Guatemala offers a plethora of cases related to human rights and freedom of speech violations. But this country is a regional ally, so it’s more blessed to attack Ecuador or Venezuela raising ballyhoo over single cases to blow them out of proportions.

Addressing the National Assembly on May 24, President Correa said Latin America faces the threat of military coups as rightist elites are at the end of their tether. As he put it, «South American cannot discard the possibility of coups, including traditional ones, the desperation of the elites is dreadful, just look at what’s happening in Brazil, where people shamelessly call for a military intervention against the constitutional government,» exclaimed Correa. The President recalled the days when he also faced hard times. The Ecuador crisis took place on 30 September 2010, when elements of the national police supported by snipers tried to stage a coup. The President barely escaped. Back then the government took urgent measures in response: the ambassador of the United States was declared a persona non grata, the US military and DEA (the Drug Enforcement Agency) missions were told to leave the country, the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) had to suspend its activities in Ecuador. Philip Agee said the Agency was used for funding organizations involved in subversive activities and bribing venal trade union leaders. In the 1980s one more US agency – the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – came into the country to conduct activities of destructive nature.

The disclosures of CIA and military intelligence operatives involved in anti-government operations have become routine in Ecuador. They are sent away from the country to be substituted by other seasoned experts on organizing conspiracies, destabilizing countries and staging «color revolutions».

U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Adam E. Namm shies away from confrontational statements. He remembers how President Correa reacted when his predecessors went too far. Namm holds an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense College. He has seen hard work serving terms in such complicated countries as Columbia and Pakistan. Namm coped with flying colors. In Ecuador he is waiting for the moment to act. Meanwhile the ambassador is consolidating the leaders of «anti-populist» movements and accumulating the potential for protests to deliver a decisive blow. Washington believes that the overthrow is not possible without bloodshed. But a bloody scenario is better than stability in the country ruled by a populist.

President Correa is adamant in his allegiance to independent policies. He hinders the accomplishment of US strategic objectives in South and Central America. For instance, he stands in the way of forming the US-controlled Pacific Alliance to include Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Correa considers the members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) as is natural allies. He calls on other Latin American heads of state to intensify cooperation within the framework of The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The Organization of American States could become a platform for a dialogue with the United States and Canada in case its Charter is reviewed. The idea of getting together to oppose the US influence is attractive for many countries of the region.

Correa fights US Corporation Chevron which has done great damage to ecology in the areas near the Amazon River. The Ecuadoran President has invited everyone who is interested to come and see the damage with his own eyes. He accused the oil giant of criminal behavior, saying that what happened in the Amazon was no accident. Chevron, through its sister company Texaco, deliberately caused the oil catastrophe in the Ecuadorean jungle, the Latin American country’s president, Rafael Correa claimed May 21. Speaking on the International Anti-Chevron Day, Correa accused the oil giant of intentionally destroying the famous biodiversity and homes of thousands of people. «The disaster caused in the Ecuadorean forest is worse than that of Exxon Valdez in Alaska or BP in the Gulf of Mexico,» the President posted to his official Twitter account. «The worst difference is that those were accidents, what Chevron did was deliberate».

According to an Ecuadorian court’s decision, Chevron is to pay the compensation of 9, 5 billion to the residents of the Amazon region. It was found responsible for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste to pollute 5 million cubic meters of land. The US administration is ready to go to any length to protect the Chevron’s interests. That’s why the US has intensified its subversive activities in Ecuador. Since some time ago the President of the country started to get frequent threat of physical violence. He had to cancel public appearances and take measures to bolster personal security.

According to media sources, Deputy Chief of Mission Douglas A. Koneff is responsible for operational activities to prepare the conspiracy. He also serves as the “Chief Operating Officer” for U.S. Mission Ecuador. Douglas came to country in July 2014. Upon arrival he said, «I’m happy to work with the excellent team at the embassy to strengthen our historic ties with Ecuador». Time will tell what exactly ties he meant. He has seen military service as navigator and then as mission commander on specially-configured P-3C and EP-3E aircraft, managing a crew of 20 to conduct intelligence collection and reconnaissance against targets of U.S. national interest in Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean theaters of operation. He coordinated intelligence support to social, physical science, and engineering specialists to assist Department of Defense warfighters carry out assigned national security missions. Douglas has also managed State Department Task Forces to coordinate the federal government’s response to crises affecting U.S. national security interests and American citizens worldwide. He has served terms in Chile and Indonesia. Serving as the Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where he coordinated US and Mexican anti-drug effort. As the Deputy Chief of Mission he directly supervises the work of 9 U.S. Government agencies in Ecuador, including nearly 250 American and local staff at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, about 110 American and local staff at the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, and oversees about 160 Peace Corps officers and volunteers. Douglas reports directly to the Ambassador and serves as Charge d’Affaires in his absence.

His team includes experts on clandestine operations: Edward M. Blodgett, Regional Security Officer, Timothy Peltier, Political Section, he serves as CIA agent under cover in Cuba and Romania, Nicole Weber, Economic Affairs Section (he has distinguished himself in India), A.J.Collazo, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Patricia L. Fietz, Consul General, Guayaquil and others. All these people will do their best to get rid of Rafael Correa before his third term expires.

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