Archive | December 14th, 2013

Exporting Apartheid to Sub-Saharan Africa


by Michel Chossuodvsky

The right wing Afrikaner Freedom Front (FF) headed by General Constand Viljoen plans to develop a “Food Corridor” extending across the Southern part of the continent from Angola to Mozambique. Afrikaner agri-business is to extend its grip into neighbouring countries with large scale investments in commercial farming, food processing and eco-tourism. The agricultural unions of the Orange Free State and Eastern Transvaal are partners; the objective is to set up White-owned farms beyond South Africa’s borders.

The “Food Corridor,” however, does not mean “food for the local people.” On the contrary, under the scheme the peasants will lose their land, with small-holders becoming farm labourers or tenants on large scale plantations owned by the Boers. Moreover, the South African Chamber for Agricultural Development (SACADA) which acts as an umbrella organization also includes, centrally, several right wing organizations including the Freedom Front (FF) led by Viljoen, whose grim record as South African Defence Force (SADF) Commander in Chief during the Apartheid regime is well known.

The Freedom Front, although “moderate” in comparison to Eugene Terre’Blanche’s far-right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), is a racist political movement committed to the Afrikaner Volksstaat. The SACADA-Freedom Front initiative has nonetheless the political backing of the African National Congress as well as the personal blessing of President Nelson Mandela who has delegated Mpumalanga Premier Matthews Phosa to the SACADA Board of Governors. All the other governors are members of the Freedom Front. Premier Phosa, a distinguished ANC politician and among the most prosperous black businessmen in Mpumalanga province (East Transvaal), has also contributed to laying the political ground work for the expansion of White Afrikaner business interests into neighbouring countries.

In discussions with President Mandela, General Viljoen had argued that “settling Afrikaner farmers would stimulate the economies of neighbouring states, would provide food and employment for locals, and that this would stem the flow of illegal immigrants into South Africa.” Viljoen has also held high level meetings on Afrikaner agricultural investments with representatives of the European Union, the United Nations and other donor agencies.

In turn, Pretoria is negotiating with several African governments on behalf of SACADA and the Freedom Front. The ANC government is anxious to facilitate the expansion of corporate agri-business into neighbouring countries. As one newspaper account affirms, “Mandela has asked the Tanzanian government to accept Afrikaner farmers to help develop the agricultural sector” while SACADA itself has approached some 12 African countries “interested in White South African farmers.” In a venture set up in 1994 under the South African Development Corporation (SADEVCO), the government of the Congo had granted to the Boers 99 year leases on agricultural land; President Mandela endorsed the scheme calling on African nations “to accept the migrants as a kind of foreign aid.”

The African host countries have on the whole welcomed the inflow of Afrikaner investments. With regard to regulatory policies, however, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) (rather than national governments) call the shots, invariably requiring (indebted) countries to accept “a wide open door to foreign capital.” In this context, the liberalization of trade and investment under donor supervision, tends to support the extension of Afrikaner business interests throughout the region. Moreover, in the sleazy environment shaped by transnational corporations and international creditors, corrupt politicians and senior bureaucrats are often co-opted or invited to become the “business partners” of South African and other foreign investors.

The expropriation of peasant lands

The “Food Corridor” initiative will displace a pre-existing agricultural system: it not only appropriates the land, it takes over the host country’s economic and social infrastructure and, almost inevitably, spells increased levels of poverty in the countryside. It will most likely provide a fatal blow to subsistence agriculture as well as to the peasant cash crop economy, displacing local level agricultural markets and aggravating the conditions of endemic famine prevailing in the region. As if this were not enough, Jen Kelenga, a spokesperson for a pro-democracy group in Zaire, also sees, at the heart of the initiative, the Boers “in search of new territories to apply their racist way of living.”

The “Food Corridor” if carried through, could potentially alter the rural landscape of the Southern African region, requiring the uprooting and displacement of small farmers over an extensive territory. Under the proposed scheme, millions of hectares of the best farmland would be handed over to South African agri-business. The Boers are to manage large scale commercial farms using the rural people both as “labour tenants” as well as seasonal agricultural workers.

Such initiatives also dovetail with World Bank directives regarding land-use in the region. Indeed, the Bank has pressed for land legislation throughout Sub-Saharan Africa that would abrogate the right to land of millions of small-holders, with identical land legislation now being enforced throughout the region. The national level land laws (drafted under technical advice from World Bank Legal Department) are with some variations “exact carbon copies of each other”:

“The constitution [in Mozambique] says that the land is the property of the State and cannot be sold or mortgaged. There has been strong pressure particularly from the United States and the World Bank for land to be privatized and to allow mortgages …”

Under the proposed land legislation, both SACADA and the World Bank nonetheless tout the protection of traditional land rights. The small peasantry is to be “protected” through the establishment of “customary land reserves” established in the immediate vicinity of the White commercial farms. In practice, under the new land legislation, the majority of the rural people will be caged into small territorial enclaves (“communal lands”) while the bulk of the best agricultural land will be sold or leased to private investors.

This also means that peasant communities which practice shifting cultivation over a large land area, as well as pastoralists, will henceforth be prosecuted for encroaching on lands earmarked for commercial farming, often without their prior knowledge. Impoverished by the macro-economic reforms, with no access to credit and modern farm inputs, these customary enclaves will, as noted, constitute “labour reserves” for large scale agri-business.

Afrikaner farms in Mozambique

SACADA has plans to invest in Mozambique, Zaire, Zambia and Angola, “with Mozambique being the test case.” President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and President Nelson Mandela (1994 picture right) signed an intergovernmental agreement in May 1996 which grants rights to Afrikaner agri-business to develop investments in at least six provinces encompassing territorial concessions of some eight million hectares. According to one South African official:

“Mozambique needs the technical expertise and the money, and we have the people … We favour an area which is not heavily populated because it is an Achilles heel if there are too many people on the land … For the Boers, Land is next to God and the Bible.”

In SACADA’s concessionary areas in Mozambique, the Frelimo government will ensure that there is no encroachment; rural small-holders and subsistence farmers (who invariably do not possess legal land titles) will either be expelled or transferred into marginal lands.

In Mozambique’s Nissan province, the best agricultural land is to be leased in concession to the Afrikaners for fifty years. At the token price of some $0.15 per hectare per annum, the land lease is a give-away. Through the establishment of Mosagrius (a joint venture company), SACADA is now firmly established in the fertile valley of the Lugenda river. But the Boers also have their eyes on agricultural areas along the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers as well as on the road and railway facilities linking Lichinga, Niassa’s capital to the deep seaport of Nagala. The railway line is being rehabilitated and modernized (by a French contractor) with development aid provided by France.

In the initial stage of the agreement, concessionary areas in Niassa province were handed over to SACADA in 1996 to be settled by some 500 White Afrikaner farmers. These lands are earmarked for commercial farming in both temperate highveld and sub-tropical lowveld. The available infrastructure including several state buildings and enterprises will also be handed over to the Boers.

The Boers will operate their new farms as part of their business undertakings in South Africa, dispatching White Afrikaner managers and supervisors to Mozambique. The Boers will bring from South Africa their Black right-hand men, their tractor operators, their technicians. In the words of the project liaison officer at the South African High Commission in Maputo: “Each and every Afrikaner farmer will bring his tame Kaffirs” who will be used to supervise the local workers. The number of White settlers in the concessionary areas in Niassa is likely to be small.

SACADA has carefully mapped out the designated areas by helicopter, South Africa’s agricultural research institutes have surveyed the area, providing an assessment of environmental as well as social and demographic conditions.

Creating “rural townships”

Under the SACADA scheme, the rural communities in Niassa which occupy the Afrikaner concessionary areas are to be regrouped into “rural townships” similar to those of the Apartheid regime:

“What you do is to develop villages along the roadside close to the [White] farms. These villages have been planned very carefully [by SACADA] in proximity to the fields so that farm-workers can go back and forth; you give the villages some infrastructure and a plot of land for each household so that the farm-labourers can set up their food gardens.”

Unless token customary land rights are entrenched within or in areas contiguous to the concessions, the peasants will become landless farm labourers or “labour tenants.” Under the latter system applied by the Boers in South Africa since the 19th Century, black peasant households perform labour services (corvée) in exchange for the right to farm a small parcel of land. Formally outlawed in South Africa in 1960 by the Nationalist government, “labour tenancy” remains in existence in many parts of South Africa including East Transvaal and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Its reproduction in the form of rural townships in Mozambique will provide reserves of cheap labour for the White commercial farms.

This, plus the increasing derogation of workers rights in Mozambique and the deregulation of the labour market there under IMF advice, will enable the Boers not only to pay their Mozambican workers excessively low wages but also to escape the demands of Black agricultural workers in South Africa. Moreover, under the Mosagrius Agreement the Mozambican government will be fully responsible in dealing with land disputes and ensuring the expropriation of peasant lands “without prejudice or loss that may occur from such claims to SDM [Mosagrius] and other Mosagrius participants.”

Small wonder, then, that South Africa’s major commercial banks, the World Bank and the European Union have firmly backed the project. Indeed, “the Food Corridor” has become an integral part of the IMF-World Bank sponsored structural adjustment programme in Mozambique. In the words of SACADA Secretary Willie Jordaan: “SACADA has endeavoured to bring its policies in line with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and [is]set to become an international development agency” with a mandate to contract with donor institutions and carry out “foreign aid programmes” on their behalf.

The international community

In short, while the international community had endorsed ANC’s struggle against the Apartheid regime, it is now providing financial support to a racist Afrikaner development organization. Under the disguise of “foreign aid,” Western donors are in fact contributing to the extension of the Apartheid system into neighbouring countries. The European Union has provided money to SACADA out of a development package explicitly earmarked by Brussels for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme. According to an EU spokesman, the project “was the best noise out of Africa in 30 years.” The EU Ambassador to South Africa Mr. Erwan Fouéré met General Viljoen to discuss the project. Fouéré confirmed that if all goes well, further EU money could be made available to cover the costs of “settling Afrikaner farmers in South Africa’s neighbouring countries.”

The initiative is categorized by the donor community as a bona fide development project which will benefit the peasantry in the host country as well contribute to South Africa’s Reconstruction. The fact that the scheme derogates the land rights of small-holders and replicates the system of “labour tenancy” prevalent in South Africa under Apartheid is not a matter for discussion.

Moreover, national investment priorities set by the donors in neighbouring countries (under the World Bank sponsored Public Investment Programme), are increasingly tuned to meeting the needs of South African business interests. In Mozambique, for instance, so-called “targeted investments” are undertaken with a view to rehabilitating port facilities, roads, water resources, river and lake transportation, etc. largely to the benefit of South African investors including SACADA.

Moreover, under the SACADA Agreement, Afrikaner investors “shall be allowed a right of first refusal” in privatization tenders in concessionary areas under their jurisdiction. In turn the country’s investment legislation (drafted with the technical assistance of the World Bank) will provide for the free remittance of corporate profits and the repatriation of capital back to South Africa.

The SACADA scheme is also likely to suck up a portion of the State’s meagre health and education budget. In Mozambique, under the terms of the Agreement the authorities are also to support the provision of Western-style health services as well as create a “sanitary environment” for the White Afrikaners settling in the territory. Part of the money provided by donors and international organizations for social programmes will also be channelled towards the concessionary areas.


Add to these enormities the fact that the “export of Apartheid” to neighbouring countries seems to exemplify a literal “carving up” of national territories into concessionary areas. In Mozambique, for example, an autonomous territory – “a State within a State” – is being developed initially in Niassa province; the Mosagrius project controlled by the Boers (overriding the national and provincial governments) is the sole authority concerning the utilization rights of land in its concessionary areas (clause 34); similarly the territory is defined as a free trade zone allowing for the unimpeded movement of goods, capital and people (meaning White South Africans). All investments in the concessionary areas “will be free from customs duties, or other fiscal impositions.” In this way, concessions granted to foreign investors in various parts of the country (a pattern that is being duplicated [see accompanying box] in the tourism sphere, including in Niassa Province itself) begin to define a recasting of national territory into a number of separate “corridors” that is eerily reminiscent of the colonial period.



In short, the system of territorial concessions – with each of the corridors integrated separately into the world market – tends to favours the demise of the national economy. And the falling of such corridors under the political custody of donors, non-governmental organizations and foreign investors also means that these latter constitute a de facto “parallel government” which increasingly bypasses the State system. But this latter process dovetails neatly with other demands of donors, their requirement (in the name of “governance”) of the down-sizing of the central State and the “decentralization” of decision-making to the provincial and district levels. Rather than providing added powers and resources to regional and local communities, however, State revenues will be channelled towards servicing Mozambique’s external debt with “decentralization” predicated on fiscal austerity under the structural adjustment programme. Add all this up and the result is a considerable weakening of both the central and regional governments, and a further reinforcement of Mozambique’s recolonization.

One may speculate, finally, as to why the ANC has made itself such a vigorous party to this process. Most charitably, one may conclude that the ANC has championed – albeit without serious debate or discussion – the granting of “Land to the Boers” in neighbouring countries as a means to relieving land pressures within South Africa: the policy is said to facilitate the ANC’s land redistribution programme in favour of Black farmers.

Of course, there are good reasons to believe that, despite its merits, South Africa’s Land Reform Programme is unlikely to succeed, this programme being increasingly undermined by the post-Apartheid government’s own sweeping macro-economic reforms under the neoliberal policy agenda. In rural South Africa, the removal of agricultural subsidies, the deregulation of credit and trade liberalization (which is part of the Macro-economic Framework) have not only contributed to the further impoverishment of Black small-holders and tenant farmers, the measures have also pushed numerous White Afrikaner family farms into bankruptcy. Pretoria’s structural adjustment programme thereby favours an even greater concentration of farmland than during the Apartheid regime as well as the consolidation of corporate agriculture both within and beyond South Africa’s borders.

In other words, the Boers “Second Great Trek” to neighbouring countries does not contribute to relieving land pressures within South Africa. In fact the policy accomplishes exactly the opposite results: it maintains Black farmers in marginal lands under the old system of segregation. Moreover, it reinforces corporate control over the best farmland while also providing a political avenue to Afrikaner agri-business for “exporting Apartheid” to the entire Southern African region.


Most of Mozambique’s coastline on lake Niassa – including a 160 km. stretch in the Rift Valley from Meponda to Mapangula extending further North to Ilha sobre o Lago close to the Tanzanian border – has been designated under the project “for tourism and other complementary and subsidiary activities [which are] ecologically sustainable.” The latter also include designated areas for Afrikaner investments in fishing and aquaculture on lake Niassa (displacing the local fishing industry). In turn, the Agreement hands over to the Boers, the development and operation rights over the Niassa Game Reserve on the Tanzanian border. The Reserve includes an extensive area of some 20,000 hectares earmarked for so-called “ecologically sustainable ecotourism.”

In a much larger undertaking, James Ulysses Blanchard III the notorious Texan tycoon, has been granted a concession over a vast territory which includes the Maputo Elephant Reserve and the adjoining Machangula peninsula south of Maputo. During the Mozambican civil war, Blanchard had provided financial backing to Renamo, the rebel organization directly supported by the Apartheid regime and trained by the South African Defence Force (SADF).

Blanchard intends to create an Indian Ocean Dream Park with a floating hotel, deluxe tourist lodges at $600 – $800 a night and a casino. Large parcels of land in Manchangula have also been allocated to agricultural investors from Eastern Transvaal.

Local communities in Blanchard’s concessionary area will be expropriated; in the words of his general manager, John Perrot:

“We’re gonna come here and say [to the local villagers] `Okay, now you’re in a national park. Your village can either get fenced or you can have them wild animals walking right through your main street’.” (M.C.)

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Do Elections Make Any Difference?

Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose


In the run up to the Presidential election of 1960, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Harvard historian and Kennedy courtier, published a book called Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference?  Schlesinger had to struggle to find reasons to claim that it was important that Kennedy win.

It came down mainly to noblesse oblige.  Lucky for him that JFK’s opponents had started out as poor boys.  He’d have had to delve deep into his bag of tricks if Averell Harriman, not Hubert Humphrey, had run against his aspiring Prince in the Wisconsin and West Virginia primaries; or if Nelson Rockefeller, not Richard Nixon, had been the Republican nominee.

Schlesinger’s argument was a stretch, but the question he asked needed answering.  In mid-century America, Democrats and Republicans were very much alike, and everyone knew it.  So were Kennedy and Nixon.

Kennedy, of course, had style.  Everyone now knows about his many ailments, including Addison’s Disease, his addiction to painkillers and his compulsive philandering.  However, at the time, he seemed youthful, athletic and vigorous.

He was, by all accounts, a family man of unimpeachable loyalty, not just to the Kennedy clan and to his daughter (Jackie was pregnant with John John when Schlesinger’s book appeared), but to Jackie as well.  She was, after all, every fellow’s dream.  In less than a decade’s time, she would become the ultimate trophy bride.

Jack was socially connected and self-assured; he had impeccable taste.  He was witty, accomplished, handsome, sexy and rich; a Harvard man out of central casting.

But one with immigrant roots and, like all Kennedys, the common touch.  Few resented him; many aspired to be him.

Meanwhile, the conspicuously asexual Nixon seemed uncomfortable in his body, common and gruff.  He sported a five o’clock shadow.  The contrast was striking.

When it came to substantive political differences however, it took a keen eye to discern any at all.  To get liberals on board, the campaign therefore put Schlesinger to work, conjuring up affinities between JFK and his father’s sometime nemesis, Franklin Roosevelt.

Schlesinger wisely chose not to ask – Democrats or Republicans, Does It Make Any Difference?  Had that been his question, his ingenuity would probably not have been up to the task of finding reasons for the conclusion he wanted to draw.

* * *

There were true liberals in Democratic ranks in 1960 and, for the most part, Democrats were more liberal than Republicans.  But then there was the solid (segregationist) South, dragging the party to the right.

Southern Democrats supported the New Deal as long as it didn’t put white supremacy in jeopardy.  Northern liberals, needing their votes and being loathe to take on institutional racism in any case, happily went along.

Without the South, the New Deal would not have been possible.  But the need to keep the South on board limited its scope and therefore ultimately its reforming zeal.   Ira Katznelson tells the story in Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013).

By 1960, the civil rights movement was underway; accommodations with Southern racists were therefore becoming harder than they had been to maintain.  But, for Democrats trying to elect a President, it was still necessary to keep the South on the Democratic side.  That imperative continued to force liberals to moderate their views.

The result was that, even outside the South, the two parties stood pretty much at the same place on the political spectrum.

Race, not religion, was the main concern of the forces pulling the Democrats to the right.   Evangelical Christians had yet to forge a distinctive political identity, and the Catholic Church was still more interested in integrating its parishioners into American life than promoting its patriarchal, socially retrograde “moral” teachings.

In 1960, with Kennedy running for President, the Church was especially disinclined to assert its power in ways that might stir up anti-Catholic animosity.  They remembered what happened to Al Smith in 1928, the first time a Catholic ran for the office.

Evangelicals who lived in the South were Democrats and so were Catholics in immigrant communities in the Northeast and the upper Midwest.  Most of the former would become Republicans once blacks got the vote, and many of the latter would become Reagan Democrats.  At the time, though, these constituencies still voted in accord with their economic interests, and there were many New Dealers within them.

However, it is plain in retrospect that the seeds of conflict between economic and social liberals were already in place.  That conflict would erupt full-blown in the Reagan years; it has blighted our politics ever since.

It is hard to believe nowadays but, on social issues, Republicans in 1960 were no worse than Democrats.  With the South already shaky and with their Catholic working class base, Democrats knew they had to watch their step.   Republican liberals and “moderates” felt less constrained.

Their base, in those days, was generally more enlightened and better educated than their rival’s.  Some of their constituents, women especially, were favorably disposed towards women’s equality, birth control, and even abortion rights.  On civil rights, Republicans were generally decent too, though they were seldom ardent; it was not in their nature.

* * *

That was before the South switched sides, before theocrats broke free from their apolitical stupor, before political entrepreneurs conjured up the culture wars that made “values voters” of important segments of the New Deal base, and before the neoliberal turn in American and world politics dragged the political center everywhere to the right.

In the United States, the transformation began in the waning years of the Carter administration, but it was under Ronald Reagan that the course of things to come took shape.  Since then, America has had only Reaganite presidents.  The worst of them have been Democrats – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Republicans were true believers, but they are helpless when the Democratic base rises up in opposition; Democrats can get the job done.

Nowadays, social liberals are all Democrats; in the Republican Party, the species has gone extinct.  However, on the traditional axes of political contestation, both parties have moved far to the right, and there is hardly a sliver of light between them.

They are both dedicated to free market theology; they both worship at the altar of private property.  In a word, they are on the same side in the class struggle.

The difference is mainly that Democrats still think, as FDR did, that a moderately intrusive government is necessary for saving capitalism from the capitalists. To guard against the deleterious consequences of untrammeled greed, Democrats would regulate their paymasters’ machinations.

This is obviously necessary; therefore Republicans regulate too – albeit more grudgingly.  To the extent that they can get away with it, they are more inclined than Democrats to let their patrons have their way.  This difference can sometimes matter, but it is more rhetorical than real.

That the two parties were on the same page was even clearer in the days when Schlesinger was drumming up support for his Prince.  Then, more than now, it was conceded by all that a substantial degree of regulation was a good thing – not just for the general population, but for (most) capitalists too.   FDR had triumphed over Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

However views that appeal to economic elites seldom disappear, no matter how thoroughly they are repudiated; at most, they live on underground until conditions are right for them to burst forth again.  Our Reaganite Presidents and our bought and paid for legislators have made the conditions right.  Accordingly, in this on-going Bush-Obama era, the repressed has returned with a vengeance.

Driven by ideology or greed or both, capitalism’s class warriors made useful idiots of the GOP’s lunatic fringe.  It worked for a while, but the monster they concocted may by now be beyond their control.

The “malefactors of great wealth,” as their kind was known a century ago, did get their man, Romney, nominated in 2012.  But by then the Republican Party was so divided, and Romney himself was so compromised, that that hapless poltroon never really had a chance.

It remains to be seen whether, in the coming electoral cycle and then in 2016, the GOP establishment can still keep their party in line.  Don’t bet on it; Tea Partiers are an obstinate lot – stubborn, dumb and determined.

One would think that, in the circumstances, enlightened capitalists would be falling over themselves jumping onto the Democratic bandwagon.  Many of them are.  As they have been since the Bill Clinton days, Democrats are lusting after their money and their support.  But old ways die hard; not all the GOP’s plutocrats are ready yet to desert their sinking ship.

And they might have a point; their favorite political instrument could somehow still pull through.    As long as Obama remains craven, and as long as his administration lumbers on ineptly, anything could happen.  It would not be the first time that Democrats blow a sure thing.

Does it make any difference?   On cultural issues, it surely does.  On the economic and social matters more central to political life, it does as well – a little, and at the margins.

But even in those cases where the differences are not trivial, they are unfailingly equivocal.  The Affordable Care Act  is exhibit number one.  It derived from a Republican plan developed early in the nineties at the Heritage Foundation to counter the specter of Hillarycare.  As recently as 2006, an ancestor version was signed into law in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney himself.  It was only when Obama took this Republican plan up that Republican support for it disappeared.

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is pathetic, but it is better than nothing, which is all the Republicans are offering now.  This is an important difference.

If Obamacare doesn’t founder before it gets going, it will probably result in many currently uninsured persons finally gaining health insurance protection.  But it will also further entrench the power of private insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the for-profit health care industry, and other profiteers.

It will therefore make real reform more difficult, while empowering and enriching the already rich and powerful forces standing in its way.

Still, it is fair to say that the good it will do outweighs the bad, and that the difference is as important as anything Schlesinger was able to come up with for supporting Kennedy over Nixon.

So, yes, it makes a difference, a small one.  Had the GOP not fallen headlong into the dark side, the difference would be smaller still.

But the dark side is where the Republican Party nowadays is; and it may not even stay there for long.  Many Republicans nowadays are no longer even living in this world.  Therefore the leaders of the GOP’s Establishment have their work cut out for them.

They must contend, first, with the Tea Party.  Tea Party obstinacy is admirable and the pro-capitalist “populism” Tea Partiers promote is doubtless welcome in the greedier and more ideologically driven sectors of the ruling class.  But surely even the Koch brothers must be bothered by the cultural contradictions separating grandees like themselves from their useful idiots, and they can hardly be confident of their continuing loyalty.  The moral and intellectual level of Tea Partiers is stupefying, and they are out of control.

Then there are the “adults” like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, still salivating, as they were a decade ago, over the prospect of “regime change” in the Middle East and wherever else they think the empire needs a boost.  They are always on the ready to go to war.

The banksters and corporate moguls for whom the GOP exists may not be the brightest bulbs on the tree, but after more than a decade of Bush-Obama wars, some of them surely understand that the empire is far too overextended to continue along those lines.  Beach Boy wannabe John McCain may still be singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” but one-per-centers worth their weight in stock options and derivatives know better.

For the sake of those stock options and derivatives, they remain eager to bankroll Republican governors and state legislators hell bent on undoing organized labor; and they are surely as inclined as the most mean-spirited Tea Partiers to stick it to the poor any way they can.

However that is no way to regain control of the Senate and the White House.  They therefore have no choice but to etch-a-sketch their way back to the GOP of old, much as Romney wanted to do in 2012.

He was unable to pull it off.  If the point of no return had already been reached then, the situation the GOP establishment faces now is even more dire.

And as long as the GOP remains in such a state, there is indeed a difference between Democrats and Republicans.  It is not a political difference strictly speaking, but, so to speak, a stylistic one.  Democrats fall in the normal range; Republicans exude baseness, servility, malevolence and outright imbecility,

However when Schlesinger asked whether the choice between Kennedy and Nixon made any difference, he wasn’t asking about differences per se; not even differences that are consequential for peoples’ lives.  He was concerned with differences that have consequences for what people ought to do.

His book, after all, was political propaganda.  The aim was to motivate voters to elect Kennedy over Nixon.

From that purview, the purely logical point that anyone wanting outcomes to be as good as can be should always opt for the better – or less bad – choice doesn’t automatically apply.

For one thing, the case for lesser evilism is shortsighted; it fails to take the long-run consequences of going for the lesser evil into account.  Thanks to their myopia, lesser evilists helped get us to our present sorry state; they have much to answer for.

But even if we look only to the choices at hand, there are often thresholds that must be exceeded before lesser evil considerations become germane.

Everything else being equal, an environmental policy that has, say, a seventy-five percent chance of leading, in time, to a catastrophic outcome is better – by a significant degree – than one with a ninety-five percent chance of leading to a similar result.

Similarly, it is better to wager your life savings on a bet that has a one in a hundred thousand chance of paying off than one where the chances are one in a million.  But unless you have to choose one or the other, it doesn’t follow that you ought to opt for the less risky policy or the less bad bet.

It would be far better to do nothing at all, or to do something altogether different.

One can contrive examples where it is not the case, but in the real world there almost always are alternatives to extremely bad lesser evil choices.

Sometimes, however, it doesn’t seem that way.  This has long been a problem Americans face at election time.

A vote for an Obama Democrat is a vote for playing fast and loose with Constitutional protections and for putting basic rights and liberties, especially privacy rights, in jeopardy.  It is a vote for perpetual war, and for continuing and even exacerbating the social, economic and environmental afflictions brought on by the neoliberal turn.

Republicans are worse.  But so long as ways of pursuing a new politics are not foreclosed, that fact is hardly dispositive – except perhaps in rare instances when all other options are exhausted.

While Obama’s drones fly, while his assassins kill, while his “intelligence” agencies monitor everything we do – and while the Lesser Evil party supports all this virtually without dissent — it matters more that the Democratic Party is on the wrong side of an appropriate moral threshold than that the Republicans are worse still.

*     *    *

At the risk of seeming facetious, I would venture nevertheless that when it comes down to Election Day, and when it is clear that either an Obama Democrat or a Tea Party Republican is going to win, one might as well pick the less noxious alternative.  The difference, in Schlesinger’s sense, is not so much political or moral as aesthetic or psychological.  It comes down to the fact that Democrats are less appalling.

Whatever Schlesinger might have thought, it was the same with Kennedy and Nixon. Kennedy bested Nixon on style, not substance.  Much has changed since 1960.  But when it comes to addressing an up-dated version of Schlesinger’s question, it is a case, as the French say, ofplus ça change, plus c’est la même chose  – the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Where, then, does this leave us, the counterparts of the people Schlesinger tried to win over to the Kennedy side?

The obvious answer is that the wisest course for anyone who is serious about making the world better is to work outside the duopoly party system.  Hard as it may be to stay aloof, electoral contests between Democrats and Republicans are distractions at best.

Therefore turn off Rachel Maddow; don’t let her steer you into the Democratic fold by scaring you over the latest Republican nonsense.  Work for basic change instead.

True enough.  But working for basic change is easier said than done.

The problem is that we have no good way to wage organized, counter-systemic political struggles outside the electoral arena.  A further problem is that basically pointless elections force themselves upon us every two and four years with an almost irresistible force.

The Occupy movement that erupted spontaneously in the fall of 2011 was the most important expression of mass protest and indignation to occur in the United States in many years.  Now it is a distant memory.

There were many reasons why – among others, that local governments have become adept at controlling and then suppressing dissent, especially when the White House leads, as Obama likes to say, “from behind.”   Even so, the movement might have survived.  But once the 2012 primary season got underway, the chances for a revival became nil.  Too much energy got sucked up into the electoral circus.

There is much to be said for the old saw that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  But even that is problematic because the Democratic Party, after Clinton and Obama, is now probably beyond redemption; and because the prospects for third party politics are and long have been dreadful.

The Greens and others try.  But, outside a few local jurisdictions, they have little chance of being heard by a wide audience, much less of becoming a force to be reckoned with.

In America, paradoxically, elections depoliticize; they work against (small-d) democracy.  However there is no getting away from them; they draw everybody in.

And so Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has lately become the slender reed upon whom progressives now cast their hopes.

Her appeal is obvious: she is smart and Wall Street hates her.  Smart can be overrated, of course; Barack Obama is smart, and Herbert Hoover was probably the smartest American president in the past hundred years.  However Wall Street’s hatred is not to be despised.

I would be more enthusiastic, however, if she talked about changing the system, not restoring it to more or less what it had been before the Reaganites, Bill Clinton especially, got hold of it.  But what was comfortably conservative back when Schlesinger was shilling for Kennedy is too radical even to be mentioned nowadays.  One can hardly blame Warren for that.

Eliot Spitzer was promising too for much the same reasons.  Tragically, though, what JFK got away with did him in, notwithstanding the fact, now universally acknowledged, that Kennedy was more flagrant by orders of magnitude.

Unlike Spitzer – and John Edwards, who ran in the 2008 Democratic primaries to Obama’s and Clinton’s left – Warren seems anything but reckless.  If she has the least inclination to walk on the wild side, she has kept it well hidden.

This is all to the good.  But she is someone of whom we know little apart from her regulatory zeal.  Will she, Hillary-style, join the War Party when the opportunity arises?  Will she, like Hillary, embrace the humanitarian interveners?

So far, her express views on the Middle East – Iran, especially – have been less than encouraging; and, at this stage of remove from a Presidential run, Obama seemed far less likely than she now does to continue to fund the blank check the U.S. gives to the Israeli government to maintain the oppression of the Palestinian people.

She has said that she has no intention to run, but then Obama said that too at a similar point in his Senate career.  And she is the brightest star out there at present; indeed the only bright star around.  Unless she backslides on Wall Street, her appeal to Democratic voters in the 2016 primaries is sure to be substantial.

Were she to run, win the nomination, and then become President would her supporters then be disappointed — again?

Very likely.  In our globalized, neoliberal order, markets rule.  It hardly matters what politicians say, think or even try to do.

This is why in varying degrees there is a “democracy deficit” everywhere: whomever the people elect, they end up with whatever “the markets” demand.  Even the United States, the center of the empire, is not immune.

So it was that the people elected an Obama whom they thought stood for “change” and “hope,” and ended up with an Obama few can wait to see the back of.  Democratic Party cheerleaders blame this on Republicans; more astute observers note that the exigencies of global capitalism also played a role.

But those who look with unbiased eyes know that Obama himself has been, by character and conviction, on Wall Street’s side from Day One.  It goes without saying that, in this respect and many others as well, Hillary Clinton is even worse.  On the other hand,  Elizabeth Warren, to her everlasting credit, has earned Wall Street’s enmity.

But that is no guarantee that, even if she were to remain true to her words, she would be able to resist the predatory forces of monopoly capitalism in our globalized world order.  Democracy deficits are not easily defied.

At this point, though, there is no reason, apart from general skepticism, to be wary of the junior Senator from Massachusetts; there is hardly any evidence at all.

Still, I think the most responsible course – the one I would follow, if the election were held today – would be to honor the moral and political threshold that the Democratic Party in the Age of Obama generally fails to meet.  The prospect of a Warren presidency is appealing, at least for the time being, and the chance to cast a meaningful vote against Hillary Clinton would be hard to resist; the very thought of that dreadful family coming back into our lives is painful to contemplate.

But I would probably forbear and instead use the opportunity to make an unquestionably sound point by casting a vote for someone who has done as much as anyone to expose what is rotten here in the Land of the (formerly) Free, the arch-nemesis of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and all the many other scoundrels of the Bush-Obama era; I would write in the name of Edward Snowden.

Posted in USAComments Off on Do Elections Make Any Difference?

The Revelations of Kidnapped CIA Agent Robert Levinson

On CIA Claims of a Baby Rogue Elephant

Revelations that the CIA made a $2.5-million cash settlement to CIA agent Robert Levinson’s family in order to forestall an embarrassing lawsuit marks the return of public claims about the CIA’s status as a rogue elephant.

When Robert Levinson was first kidnapped in Iran seven years ago, the CIA asserted that he had no ties to the agency, that he was merely a private citizen on a business trip.  A leaked internal CIA paper trail showed otherwise. In 2010, the Associated Press learned that Levinson was, in fact, on a CIA mission when captured, but the AP withheld publication as efforts were made to secure his release.

Now, with news of the CIA’s $2.5-million settlement with Levinson’s family, the CIA publicly admits Robert Levinson was a CIA agent, but the agency claims he was in Iran as a rogue agent, sent by rogue analysts who had no authority to deploy him on a field operation. But these claims are difficult to evaluate.

It is impossible for those of us outside the National Security Council to know what really happened.  While the inclusion of intelligence analysts and intelligence operatives within a single agency has been an atavistic defect of the CIA since its origin (suggesting the possibility that Levinson was, in fact, sent to Iran as part of rogue operation); at the same time (discounting rouge operation claims) following the scenario known to all viewers of the original “Mission Impossible TV” show wherein Peter Phelps is continually told “in the event that you or any member of your IMF team are captured, the Agency will disavow all knowledge of you and your operation,” the CIA first claimed they had no links to Levinson, later (when confronted with leaked CIA documents) the CIA admitted Levinson was with the Agency but claimed it was a rogue operation, thereby shielding the Executive Branch from having authorized the mission.  This plays to a popular meme in novels and Hollywood: the meme of CIA as a rogue agency, not as an agency with covert power under the control of the Executive Branch.

The roots of claims that the CIA is fundamentally a rogue agency can be traced back to the mid-1970s congressional investigations of CIA illegal activities–following the disclosure of the “Family Jewells Report.”  Perhaps the most significant difference between the Senate’s Church Committee findings, and those of the

House’s Pike Committee, was the Church Committee’s interpretation of illegal CIA activities as being those of a rogue agency, while the Pike Committee found that the CIA was not a rogue agency pursing an unchecked covert agenda on its own, it was instead a covert arm of the Executive Branch.

The Pike Report concluded that “all evidence in hand suggests that the CIA, far from being out of control, has been utterly responsive to the instructions of the President and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.  It must be remembered, however that the CIA directors determines which CIA-initiated covert action projects are sufficiently ‘politically sensitive’ to require Presidential attention.”  The Pike report concluded that “while the Executive Branch exercised control of the CIA’s covert actions, proposal for CIA covert actions also came from others including “a foreign head of state, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, an Ambassador, CIA, the Assistant to the President for national Security Affairs, a cabinet member or the President himself.”

In 1998, CIA historian Gerald Haines published an analysis drawing on internal CIA documents and other sources examining the Pike Committee’s investigations.  Haines contrasted the Pike Committee’s independence with the Church Committee’s cooperative work with CIA staff, observing that the Pike Committee “and its staff never developed a cooperative working relationship with the Agency or the Ford administration.”  This animosity and open contempt of the CIA’s lawless behavior created difficulties for the committee to obtain documents, and it impacted the committees’ analysis.  Haines found that the Pike Committee’s strong Democrat representation (seven Democrats, three Republicans) influenced the committee’s anti-CIA approach to their investigation. Extending Haines analysis, I read the Church report (complete with its stunning revelations of CIA lawlessness) of the CIA as a rogue agency as following the Executive Branch’s master narrative distancing NSC knowledge of illegal activities.

But even while acknowledging the relative rarity of rogue CIA operations, such a possibility exists in the Levinson affair and other cases.  It may be decades, if ever, until the public knows if Levinson was part of an authorized or rogue CIA operation, but Congress, and the public, could use this moment of a claimed baby rogue elephant to consider the fundamental flaw of relying on an intelligence agency that combines analysis and operations under the umbrella of a single agency.  This could be a moment to consider President Truman’s initial effort (before the creation of the CIA) in the first months after World War Two, to house OSS intelligence analysts within the Department of State, while moving OSS’s covert operations to the War Department.

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The Whack ‘Em and Stack ‘Em Mentality of American Cops

Killers on the Road

Police work continues to be a relatively safe occupation. In the 1970s, an average of 220 officers died each year. In the 1980s, 185 officers were killed on average, with the average number dropping to 155 in the 1990s. The number of police deaths continues to decline, year by year. According to the publication Officer Down, there were only 95 “duty related” officer deaths in 2013. Forty-two of these fatalities were vehicle related. Another 14 deaths resulted from heart attacks while on the clock. Only 27 cops died from gunfire last year and several of those were shot by other cops.

Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, contends that “law enforcement remains the most dangerous occupation in America today, and those who serve and make the ultimate sacrifice are true portraits in courage.”

This is nonsense. Compared to the daily perils of being a retail clerk in a 7-Eleven or toiling on a construction site, let alone working on a trawler in the Gulf of Alaska, logging in the Pacific Northwest or working in a deep mine, policing is a fairly invulnerable trade.

But as vividly recounted by James Bovard in a piece for CounterPunch this week, it has probably never been riskier to be pulled over by a cop on one of America’s roads. Bovard writes:

“Killings by police are not a negligible proportion of the nation’s firearms death toll. Shootings by police accounted for almost 10 percent of the homicides in Los Angeles County in 2010, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent and criminal law professor, compiled a database of police shootings and estimated that in the United States in 2011 police shot more than 1,100 people, killing 607.”

The public apprehension that cops are often borderline psychotic, hair-trigger-ready to open fire on the slightest pretext, virtually immune from serious sanction, is growing apace, fueled by such incidents as the dog slaughter on an interstate in Tennessee. CNN featured grainy film of the episode taken from one of the police cruisers.

James Smoak plus wife Pamela and son Brandon were traveling from Nashville along Interstate 40 to their Saluda, NC, home on New Year’s Day when they noticed a trooper following them. In Cookeville, about 90 miles east of Nashville, the Smoaks were pulled over by the trooper and three local police cars. The cops ordered them out of the car, made them kneel and then handcuffed them.

At this point the Smoaks family implored the police to shut the doors of their car so the two family dogs couldn’t jump out. The cops did nothing. Out hopped Patton the bulldog. A cop promptly raised his shotgun and blew its head off, amid the horrified screams of the Smoaks family.

Of course, the cops later said Patton was acting in a threatening manner and that the uniformed shot-gunner “took the only action he could to protect himself and gain control of the situation,” but the film seems to show Patton wagging his tail the moment before he was blown away.

Why were the Smoaks stopped by the four-car posse? Mr. Smoaks had left his wallet on the roof of his car at the filling station, and someone phoned in a report that he’d seen the wallet fly off of a car and fall onto the highway with money spilling out. Well, Mr. Smoaks won’t make that silly mistake again.

Scroll through some Middle America websites and you’ll find much fury about what happened to Patton, as an episode ripely indicative of how cops carry on these days. Here’s “Police State in Progress,” by Dorothy Anne Seese writing in the sparky Sierra Times. The Times bills itself as “An Internet Publication for Real Americans.”

After relating the death of Patton, Seese brought up other recent police rampages:

“A couple of months ago, a woman was shot to death in her car at a drive-through Walgreens pharmacy for trying to get Soma by a forged prescription. The officer who shot the woman—who had a 14-month old baby with her in the car—claimed self-defense because the woman was trying to run over him. However, the medical examiner found she had been shot from an angle to the left and rear of her position in the driver’s seat. Self defense? The officer is under investigation for second-degree murder and has been fired from the Chandler police department. However, a child is motherless, a man has been deprived of his wife and companion, the mother of his child, because his wife tried to get a drug with a phony prescription. Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s daughter did the same thing and got a slap on the wrist. It seems the law now considers everyone guilty until proven innocent, with people in high places excepted. The number of horror stories increases daily in Amerika.”

There was a time when “Amerika” was a word solely in left currency. Not anymore, if the conservative, populist Sierra Times is any guide. Check out its Whack’em & Stack’em feature about killings by cops and you’ll sense the temperature of outrage.


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Israelis Can’t Imagine Peace

Can a country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.

At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History” as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.

The only dignitary who agreed to go was the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, a nice person, an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)

Why? The President of the State, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.

The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?

Altogether it was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.

What were they afraid of?

Well, they could have been booed. Recently, many details of the Israeli-South African relationship have come to light. Apartheid South Africa, which was boycotted by the entire world, was the main customer of the Israeli military industry. It was a perfect match: Israel had a lot of weapon systems but no money to produce them, South Africa had lots of money but no one who would supply it with weapons.

So Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

The relationship was not merely commercial. Israeli officers and officials met with their South African counterparts, visits were exchanged, personal friendship fostered. While Israel never endorsed apartheid, our government certainly did not reject it.

Still, our leaders should have been there, together with the leaders of the whole world. Mandela was the Great Forgiver, and he forgave Israel, too. When the master of ceremonies in the stadium mistakenly announced that Peres and Netanyahu had arrived, just a few boos were heard. Far less than the boos for the current South African president.

In Israel, only one voice was openly raised against Mandela. Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former Director General of the Foreign Office, criticized him for having a “blind spot” – for taking the Palestinian side against Israel. He also mentioned that another moral authority, Mahatma Gandhi, had the same “blind spot”.

Strange. Two moral giants and the same blind spot? How could that be, one wonders.

The boycott movement against Israel is slowly gaining ground. It takes three main forms (and several in between).

The most focused form is the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was started by Gush Shalom 15 years ago. It is active now in many countries.

A more stringent form is the boycott of all institutes and corporations that are dealing with the settlements. This is now the official policy of the European Union. Just this week, Holland broke off relations with the monopolistic Israeli Water Corporation, Mekorot, which plays a part in the policy that deprives Palestinians of essential water supplies and transfers them to the settlements.

The third form is total: the boycott of everything and everyone Israeli (Including myself). This is also slowly advancing in many countries.

The Israeli government has now joined this form. By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it has declared that Israel is a pariah state. Strange.

Last week I wrote that if the Americans find a solution to Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank, other concerns would take their place. I did not expect that it would happen so quickly.

Binyamin Netanyahu declared this week that stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as proposed by John Kerry, is not enough. Not by far.

Israel cannot give up the West Bank as long as Iran has nuclear capabilities, he declared. What’s the connection, one might well ask. Well, it’s obvious. A strong Iran will foster terrorism and threaten Israel in many other ways. So Israel must remain strong, and that includes holding on to the West Bank. Stands to reason.

So if Iran gives up all its nuclear capabilities, will that be enough? Not by a long shot. Iran must completely change its “genocidal” policies vis-à-vis Israel, it must stop all threats and utterances against us, it must adopt a friendly attitude towards us. However, Netanyahu did stop short of demanding that the Iranian leaders join the World Zionist Organization.

Before this happens, Israel cannot possibly make peace with the Palestinians. Sorry, Mister Kerry.

In the last article I also ridiculed the Allon Plan and other pretexts advanced by our rightists for holding on to the rich agricultural land of the Jordan Valley.

A friend of mine countered that indeed all the old reasons have become obsolete. The terrible danger of the combined might of Iraq, Syria and Jordan attacking us from the east does not exist anymore. But –

But the valley guardians are now advancing a new danger. If Israel gives back the West Bank without holding on to the Jordan Valley and the border crossings on the river, other terrible things will happen.

The day after the Palestinians take possession of the river crossing, missiles will be smuggled in. Missiles will rain down on Ben-Gurion international airport, the gateway to Israel, located just a few kilometers from the border. Tel Aviv, 25 km from the border, will be threatened, as will the Dimona nuclear installation.

Haven’t we seen this all before? When Israel voluntarily evacuated the whole Gaza Strip, didn’t the rockets start to rain down on the South of Israel?

We cannot possibly rely on the Palestinians. They hate us and will continue to fight us. If Mahmoud Abbas tries to stop it, he will be toppled. Hamas or worse, al-Qaeda, will come to power and unleash a terrorist campaign. Life in Israel will turn into hell.

Therefore it is evident that Israel must control the border between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, and especially the border crossings. As Netanyahu says over and over again, Israel cannot and will not entrust its security to others. Especially not to the Palestinians.

Well, first of all the Gaza Strip analogy does not hold. Ariel Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlements without any agreement or even consultation with the Palestinian Authority, which was still ruling the Strip at that time. Instead of an orderly transfer to the Palestinian security forces, he left behind a power vacuum which was later filled by Hamas.

Sharon also upheld the land and sea blockade that turned the Strip practically into a huge open-air prison.

In the West Bank there exists now a strong Palestinian government and robust security forces, trained by the Americans. A peace agreement will strengthen them immensely.

Abbas does not object to a foreign military presence throughout the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. On the contrary, he asks for it. He has proposed an international force, under American command. He just objects to the presence of the Israeli army – a situation that would amount to another kind of occupation.

But the main point is something else, something that goes right to the root of the conflict.

Netanyahu’s arguments presuppose that there will be no peace, not now, not ever. The putative peace agreement – which Israelis call the “permanent status agreement” – will just open another phase of the generations-old war.

This is the main obstacle. Israelis – almost all Israelis – cannot imagine a situation of peace. Neither they, nor their parents and grandparents, have ever experienced a day of peace in this country. Peace is something like the coming of the Messiah, something that has to be wished for, prayed for, but is never really expected to happen.

But peace does not mean, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, the continuation of war by other means. It does not mean a truce or even an armistice.

Peace means living side by side. Peace means reconciliation, a genuine willingness to understand the other side, the readiness to get over old grievances, the slow growth of a new relationship, economic, social, personal.

To endure, peace must satisfy all parties. It requires a situation which all sides can live with, because it fulfills their basic aspirations.

Is this possible? Knowing the other side as well as most, I answer with utmost assurance: Yes, indeed. But it is not an automatic process. One has to work for it, invest in it, wage peace as one wages war.

Nelson Mandela did. That’s why the entire world attended his funeral. That’s, perhaps, why our leaders chose to be absent.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Self-Boycott

Japan’s New ‘Fukushima Fascism’

The Escalating Catastrophe


Fukushima continues to spew out radiation. The quantities seem to be rising, as do the impacts.

The site has been infiltrated by organized crime. There are horrifying signs of ecological disaster in the Pacific and human health impacts in the U.S.

But within Japan, a new State Secrets Act makes such talk punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Taro Yamamoto, a Japanese legislator, says the law “represents a coup d’etat” leading to “the recreation of a fascist state.” The powerful Asahi Shimbun newspaper compares it to “conspiracy” laws passed by totalitarian Japan in the lead-up to Pearl Harbor, and warns it could end independent reporting on Fukushima.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been leading Japan in an increasingly militaristic direction. Tensions have increased with China. Massive demonstrations have been renounced with talk of “treason.”

But it’s Fukushima that hangs most heavily over the nation and the world.

Tokyo Electric Power has begun the bring-down of hot fuel rods suspended high in the air over the heavily damaged Unit Four. The first assemblies it removed may have contained unused rods. The second may have been extremely radioactive.

But Tepco has clamped down on media coverage and complains about news helicopters filming the fuel rod removal.

Under the new State Secrets Act, the government could ban—and arrest—all independent media under any conditions at Fukushima, throwing a shroud of darkness over a disaster that threatens us all.

By all accounts, whatever clean-up is possible will span decades. The town of Fairfax, CA, has now called for a global takeover at Fukushima. More than 150,000 signees have asked the UN for such intervention.

As a private corporation, Tepco is geared to cut corners, slash wages and turn the clean-up into a private profit center.

It will have ample opportunity. The fuel pool at Unit Four poses huge dangers that could take years to sort out. But so do the ones at Units One, Two and Three. The site overall is littered with thousands of intensely radioactive rods and other materials whose potential fallout is thousands of times greater than what hit Hiroshima in 1945.

Soon after the accident, Tepco slashed the Fukushima workforce. It has since restored some of it, but has cut wages. Shady contractors shuttle in hundreds of untrained laborers to work in horrific conditions. Reuters says the site is heaving infiltrated by organized crime, raising the specter of stolen radioactive materials for dirty bombs and more.

Thousands of tons of radioactive water now sit in leaky tanks built by temporary workers who warn of their shoddy construction. They are sure to collapse with a strong earthquake.

Tepco says it may just dump the excess water into the Pacific anyway. Nuclear expert Arjun Makhijani has advocated the water be stored in supertankers until it can be treated, but the suggestion has been ignored.

Hundreds of tons of water also flow daily from the mountains through the contaminated site and into the Pacific. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen long ago asked Tepco to dig a trench filled with absorbents to divert that flow. But he was told that would cost too much money.

Now Tepco wants to install a wall of ice. But that can’t be built for at least two years. It’s unclear where the energy to keep the wall frozen will come from, or if it would work at all.

Meanwhile, radiation is now reaching record levels in both the air and water.

The fallout has been already been detected off the coast of AlaskaIt will cycle down along the west coast of Canada and the U.S. to northern Mexico by the end of 2014. Massive disappearances of sea lion pups, sardines, salmon, killer whales and other marine life are being reported, along with a terrifying mass disintegration of star fish. One sailor has documented a massive “dead zone out 2,000 miles from Fukushima. Impacts on humans have already been documented in California and elsewhere.

Without global intervention, long-lived isotopes from Fukushima will continue to pour into the biosphere for decades to come.

The only power now being produced at Fukushima comes from a massive new windmill just recently installed offshore.

Amidst a disaster it can’t handle, the Japanese government is still pushing to re-open the 50 reactors forced shut since the melt-downs. It wants to avoid public fallout amidst a terrified population, and on the 2020 Olympics, scheduled for a Tokyo region now laced with radioactive hot spots. At least one on-site camera has stopped functioning. The government has also apparently stopped helicopter-based radiation monitoring.

A year ago a Japanese professor was detained 20 days without trial for speaking out against the open-air incineration of radioactive waste.

Now Prime Minister Abe can do far worse. The Times of India reports that the State Secrets Act is unpopular, and that Abe’s approval ratings have dropped with its passage.

But the new law may make Japan’s democracy a relic of its pre-Fukushima past.

It’s the cancerous mark of a nuclear regime bound to control all knowledge of a lethal global catastrophe now ceaselessly escalating.

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Inside the Honduran Elections

Outsiders Converge to Abuse the Democratic Process

On November 24th, Hondurans went to the polls in record numbers to support new viable alternatives to the duopoly of the National Party and the Liberal Party. These two old political parties have enjoyed a century of rule and both are beholden to the US State Department, the ruling elite, and multinational companies all looking to buy up the natural resources and the sovereignty of this Central American country.

Libre, the party of the resistance movement that grew out of the protests following the 2009 coup d’état, had mass popular support. Xiomara Castro Anaya, presidential candidate for Libre, and the wife of ex-President Mel Zalaya who was ousted in the coup, drew much larger crowds at every one of her political events leading up to the elections than any of her opponents at theirs. All the pre-election polls except the ones paid for by the National Party had her clearly in the lead. In the face of this popular support, the regime of Pepe Lobo, defacto President who was elected in fraudulent elections following the coup, and Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), ex-President of the National Congress and Presidential candidate for the National Party, staged an electoral coup d’état that exhibited massive fraud and voting irregularities.

You would not know how massive these irregularities were if you only relied on the mainstream press. News outlets such as The Washington Post and the AP’s man in Honduras , Alberto Arce, both declared JOH the winner before the counting process was complete and the fraud investigated thus promoting the neo-liberal agenda that has devastated this country. Arce bases his opinion on what he calls the lack of concrete evidence of fraud and puts his full faith and confidence behind the words of Lisa Kubieski, US Ambassador to Honduras, Ulricke Lunacek, the head of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), and the Organization of American States (OAS) all of which declared the elections transparent and free of fraud while many were calling for an investigation.

The OAS is notorious for its compliance with US policy toward the subjugation of Latin America and the Caribbean. As Mark Weisbrot points out in the Guardian:

“The OAS has similarly abandoned its duty of neutrality in elections in Haiti: it changed its 2000 report on presidential elections to support US efforts at “regime change”, and in 2011, took the unprecedented step of reversing an actual election result, without so much as even a recount – again in line with Washington’s electoral choices.”

A State Department Press Statement spins the “results” of the Honduran elections this way:

“The United States commends the people of Honduras for their strong participation in the November 24 elections and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) for its professional counting of the vote. We note that Organization of American States and European Union electoral observation mission reports reflect a transparent process.”

Arce quotes Ambassador Kubiske as stating, “We had 110 observers in almost all Honduras (sic) states, and we have seen a transparent process with all parties represented at the table,” She of course does not mention, nor does Arce even though the evidence was wide spread, that the majority of those at the tables were National Party loyalists who had bought credentials to sit at the tables from the smaller parties, such as UD, PINU, DC, and PAP, all of which each got well under 1% of the vote. Kubiske goes on to note, “that there is a system in place for people to peacefully file complaints or contest the results.” Perhaps she was unaware that the Ministerio Publico in Tegucigalpa, the place where complaints can be filed, had been militarized, its regular employees told to go home and replaced by heavily armed soldiers.

Arce, as with much of his reporting from Honduras, pitches slow-and-down-the-middle propaganda to aid the ruling elite in hitting one out of the park. His words echo the Honduran mainstream press which is owned by the ruling elite. It should be of no surprise that his articles, which are exposed to millions of readers, appear on TIME’s news blog and other mainstream publications owned by the US’ own corporate rulers. To cut him some slack, Arce’s opinions appear to be fueled more by naiveté and a comical obsession with being seen as an “objective” journalist than by any clear cut ideological ax to grind. Perhaps he is just an unwitting conduit of neo-liberal propaganda.

Indeed, he is more balanced in a follow up article that points out many of the voting irregularities and examples of fraud, but the language that he choses belies his objectivity. In describing Xiomara Castro’s denouncement of the fraud and her call for supporters to go to the streets to protest, he states that her words “threaten further political instability for this poor Central American country.” Is he insinuating that if she just shuts up and the protesters went home there would be no further political instability? This completely negates the last four years of having JOH as President of the National Congress and the havoc that has been created by his policies. Again, Arce is either naïve or has almost perfected the cloak of objectivity to hide his true ideological bent.

Arce also reiterates the EU-EOM’s preliminary report, but choses to leave out the dissension amongst the members of the report. On the other hand, Arce comes across as a Chavista compared to the Washington Post’s Editorial Board’s diatribe against the Zalaya’s, The piece in the Post reads like East German Stasi defamatory propaganda from the 1970s, chock full of blatant lies and revisionist history as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) points out.

Regarding the dissension within the EU-EOM, one member of the delegation, Leo Gabriel, an Austrian journalist, denounced their preliminary report in an interview:

“Some of them (other delegates) really believe what the TSE says, but in general there is a deeper political and economic reason. The 2009 coup d’état harmed the image of Honduras around the world, slowing down progress on the Association Agreement signed by the European Union and the Central American region (EU-CA AA). Presenting [an image of] a clean and transparent electoral process helps the European Union to clean up Honduras’s image around the world and set this commercial project into motion.”

Gabriel describes the internal debate that occurred amongst the delegates before the leaders of the EU-EOM made their preliminary report public,

“No one defended the content of the report or the idea that there had been transparency in the process, and that brought us up against the intransigence of the EU-EOM team leaders, who did not want to cede even one millimeter. We argued for a serious discussion of the topic, taking into account what we had witnessed and suggesting changes to the text, but they firmly refused.”

Lunacek quickly denounced Gabriel by way of circular reasoning by stating that Gabriel’s statements, “in no way reflect the preliminary conclusions of the mission, as reflected in the preliminary statement.” Which is Gabriel’s point exactly since he was denouncing the statement. Lunacek further castigated Gabriel for speaking at all since “the code of conduct” for the EU-EOM states that only Lunacek and the deputy chief of the mission are authorized to speak about it. The need for this code helps to back up Gabriel’s assertion that there is a “deeper political and economic reason” for the reports conclusions.

The irregularities that occurred on Election Day were numerous. Many of them echoed the old machine politics of Chicago where the slogan of the day was “Vote early and vote often,” and whole cemeteries were registered to vote. In Honduras they added the twist of claiming that a voter who showed up to vote was dead and thus could not. As with the internal elections last year, National Party offices were discovered to have boxes full of ID’s needed to vote. Now, just as then, the reports in the press went uninvestigated by the District Attorney who was appointed by the JOH controlled National Congress.

Vote buying occurred out in the open in numerous places. In the town of Quimistan, Santa Barbara, Marta Concepción (also known as Chonita), the National Party candidate for deputy who was up for reelection in the National Congress, was seen unashamedly giving out 100 Lempira bills to those crowded around her in front of the gate which led to the voting tables at Escuela Francisco Borogan. When she saw an international observer from the US’ Honduran Solidarity Network (HSN), who was dumbstruck by the blatancy of her actions, Chonita stated, “They’re so poor and hungry. I have too big a heart.” She later tried to buy the observer a Coke, which was refused. At that point Chonita tried to avoid, and an assistant attempted to put his hand in front of the camera of the observer. More than a dozen people told the observer that Chonita has been the Diputado for thirty years and that this was her tradition. She had even, in the past, gone to the voting tables during the counting of the ballots and given money to the judges behind the table to ensure that the vote went her way. Before Election Day, she used her political power to have 80 members of a campesino community jailed stating, “keep them in jail, they’re 80 votes that aren’t for me.” In this same community on the night before the elections two campesinos who were active Libre organizers were killed coming home from the training required to sit at the election tables. Chonita is also in favor of building a Super Max prison in Santa Barbara with funds from the US. She won reelection.

Further evidence of vote buying occurred in the form of people taking photos with their cell phones of their ballots to prove how they voted so that they could receive their payment. Several members of the HSN delegation at several sites around the country observed this as the camera’s flash went off in the voting booth. The TSE judges at the tables did nothing to annul the votes even though it is a clear violation to have cell phones while voting.

The greatest source of the fraud occurred in the transcribing of the tallies and the transmission of the votes. It was up to the judges at the tables to check each other as the transcription occurred. These are the same judges that were heavily biased toward the National Party who bought the credentials of the smaller parties. HSN delegates have gone to the website of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE in its Spanish acronym) to look up the individual tables that they monitored and have found many discrepancies in the TSE numbers and the numbers that the delegates recorded at the polling sites. There are also a high number of nullified ballots especially at tables where Juan Orlando allegedly won. Often ballots are nullified if there is more than one mark on a ballot. So, if someone marked a ballot for Libre someone else could later add a mark under another candidate thus nullifying the vote.

But perhaps a bigger source of fraud, according to Jose Morales, an expert in design and maintenance of automated information systems, occurred through the software for data transmission and vote counting, which was contracted by the TSE through a company called Soluciones Mapas (Map Solutions), which was the same company who designed the TREP used in the 2012 Honduran primaries where the fraud was so bad that it took well over 3 months before many candidates knew who had won their races. Map Solutions, which is not registered in the Chamber of Commerce, based its experience as a specialist on only one program that it had designed before the general elections. Which program was that? The TREP, which caused headaches for Ricardo Alvarez, candidate for President in the primaries who then accepted a deal with JOH to back off from investigating the fraud and became his running mate in the General Elections.

The design for the current program for the transmission of data does not have an authentication mechanism that can identify, through the MAC address, which computer or computers are feeding the system, so that, if you have the password, a connection can be made from anywhere and any computer. Data can be transferred without the system identifying from where it was sent. The system runs in book (beta) mode, which means it is in test mode, meaning that the system was not finished. Mr. Morales, stated these points as an expert via telephone on the program Foro 13 on the Hondured channel in Honduras on November 26, 2013. To help illustrate the actuality of this, according to the Honduran Culture and Politics Blogspot:

“LIBRE says it has Actas sent to them by the TSE with scan dates of the early morning hours of the election day, bearing data that looks like the test data used to validate the system in earlier runs.  LIBRE also says they have copies of Actas that don’t match the Acta image in the TSE central computing database, with different signatures and vote tallys.”

One fact remains clear, there were massive irregularities, voting buying and attempts by government officials and mainstream media to push the results of a JOH victory onto the world before substantial time had passed to investigate the complaints of both the Libre party and the Anti-corruption party. Those who have access to power and wide distribution of news abused the democratic process. It will be up to the people that had victory stolen from them to find an alternative means to have their voices heard and to have power redistributed.

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Mandela and the African Liberation Struggle

Ubuntu and the Emancipation of Humans Everywhere.


On Thursday December 5, 2013 the people of South Africa lost one of the foremost freedom fighters and revolutionary who made his mark on humans everywhere. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918 and matured as Africans in South Africa rose to the challenges posed by the most brutal social and economic system of that moment, the system called apartheid.  Mandela has now joined the ancestors and he has left his mark beside those great humans (such as Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Umm Kulthum, Che Guevara and Rosa Luxemburg) whose greatness emerged from the movements that created them. The forms of struggle that emerged from South Africa inspired the refinement of the philosophy of Ubuntu. This is a philosophy that says one’s humanity is being enriched by another’s and that as humans we are linked to a wider universe and spiritual world. Mandela had said clearly of Ubuntu, “The spirit of Ubuntu – that profound Africa sense that we are human beings only through the humanity of other human beings – is not a parochial phenomenon, but has added globally to our common search for a better world.”

The philosophy of Ubuntu challenged the ideals of individualism, greed, unhealthy competition, obscene self-enrichment and those destructive forms of human association that have brought the planet to the brink of extinction. When the movement elevated Nelson Mandela to the position as President of a politically free South Africa in 1994, after 27 years of incarceration, the political leadership of South Africa sought to give practical meaning to the philosophy of Ubuntu by establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In all parts of the world, the international media remember Mandela and his contributions to peace and reconciliation but the same corporate media seeks to confuse the youth by marketing  Mandela as an unusual individual who performed the ‘miracle’ of ending apartheid. In the process of the wall to wall media coverage of the celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, it is important that the voice of Africa is clear on the meaning of Mandela. Mandela was against racism and the dehumanizing social system that created hierarchies.

As peace activists it is vital that we remember Mandela as a defender of peace and social justice and the fact that he was an extraordinary human being. What is important to remember is a product of a social movement; the extraordinary circumstances of the oppression of apartheid created this Mandela. Mandela joined a social movement, the anti-apartheid movement and for a moment in history, he became the symbol of the struggle against war and apartheid. His freedom came from the sacrifices of millions, especially the youth of Soweto and the workers from the Mass Democratic Movement who laid down a marker for the new tactics of revolution. While he was the President of South Africa, Mandela worked for peace in Burundi and Central Africa and worked hard to end the western manipulation of who can be branded as a terrorist.

Those who branded Mandela as a terrorist are seeking to program the minds of the youth to see Mandela as some sort of visionary leader “dropped from heaven” without links to real struggles for peace. Mandela was very clear that his life was linked to the collective struggles of humans everywhere, and when he was released in February 1990 he said, “Amandla, Amandla … I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.”

This media coverage of Nelson Mandela challenges contemporary freedom fighters to contemplate new tactics, new tools of struggles and new networks for peace in order to complete the tasks of ending global apartheid. The African National Congress in government had been trapped by its inheritance of the social capital of the apartheid state. New forms of organization and new ideas will be needed as humans gird themselves to fight against the nefarious forms of racism, exclusion and oppression that have been refined by global capital as unbridled capitalism seeks to turn our youths into mindless consumers. It is up to the youth to gird themselves for the new phase of internationalism and peace activism so that we can create the conditions for the inspiration presented by the life of Nelson Mandela to be grasped in all corners of the globe. Mandela lived a full life and we want to add to the tributes as we celebrate his life of struggle.

The society that created Nelson Mandela

As soon as it became clear that the most obscene forms of white supremacy could not survive after the massive resistance of peoples in all parts of the globe, international news programmers began to present Nelson Mandela who, as a visionary leader, single handedly ended apartheid. Books, films, documentaries, blogs and other mainstream media seek to present the changes in South Africa without reference to the reality that Nelson Mandela always represented a liberation movement. Inevitably, as the movement mobilized around the release of Nelson Mandela when he had been incarcerated for 27 years, Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle. As the struggle matured in the final phase after his release from jail on February 11, 1990 the myth making was developed as part of an election campaign. It is this mythmaking that ensured the positive and the negative in the representation of Nelson Mandela to a generation that was not yet born when the liberation struggles were at the peak.

When Mandela was born in the village of Qunu, in the province that was called Cape Province, the Union of South Africa had been formed eight years earlier. The Union government had celebrated the crushing of the Bambata rebellions and in the face of the failure of open military rebellions by regional military forces, the African National Congress had been formed in 1912. Mandela grew up in South Africa in the turbulent period of the 1930’s capitalist depression. It was in the midst of this depression when the capitalists of South Africa refined the repression of black mine workers and inculcated in white workers the idea that they (whites) were not workers but from a superior race. With the villages of South Africa and the wider region of Southern Africa providing cheap labour for the mines, mining capital reaped super profits at a moment when the instability in the international monetary system required a steady supply of gold from South Africa.

The royal families of the pre –Union society could not escape the effects of the deformities of segregation and dehumanization. Missionaries were deployed to teach sons of chiefs and it was from one of the missionaries that Mandela received the name Nelson because the missionaries had difficulties saying Rolihlahla. After this missionary education Mandela was sent to Fort Hare University and it was in this University where the other famous anti-apartheid and anti-colonial stalwarts were groomed. Z. K. Matthews, Govan Mbeki, Oliver Tambo, Joshua Nkomo, Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, Desmond Tutu and Robert Mugabe were some of the notable students in the forties at this University. As an activist he was expelled from Fort Hare and he went on to study Law at the University of Witwatersrand.

Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1942 and in 1944, along with Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe, and Oliver Tambo, they formed the Youth wing of the ANC. This youth wing joined the hundreds of anti-colonial movements all over the world and when the repressive legal structures of apartheid were formalised to support the social divisions, the peoples responded with a Freedom Charter. The Sharpeville massacres of March 21, 1960 foreclosed all possibilities of a peaceful non –violent opposition to apartheid and in 1962 Mandela was dispatched to the independent states of Africa to gain support for the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (abbreviated as MK, translated as “Spear of the Nation). Mandela was one of the co-founders of MK and he received training in many African countries before he returned to South Africa. Mandela participated in the debates about unity and struggle that were at that time raging in the Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA).

Self Organization of the Youth of Soweto

South West Johannesburg (Soweto) was one of those dormitory towns that were a reservoir of cheap labour for the rich and middle class whites in the suburbs of Johannesburg. Mandela was arrested in 1962 for planning “sabotage” of the government and was branded a terrorist by the South African state.  The US military and intelligence agencies worked hand in glove with the apartheid military to crush opposition from the African majority.  From 1973 the workers of Durban had given notice that there would be new organizational forms to oppose apartheid and the youth of Soweto followed with the massive uprisings of 1976. These rebellions are central to the kind of politics that developed in the period when Mandela was incarcerated after the Rivonia trials in 1964.

The sacrifices of the youth and their determination had created new alliances and these alliances matured in the Mass Democratic Movement and the United Democratic Front (UDF). While Nelson Mandela as a lawyer had been groomed to focus on the legal questions of the apartheid laws, the social questions of health, education, housing, police brutality placed the fight against apartheid on a new terrain as the ANC worked to remain alive in the heat of the conservative push of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.  The formation of the UDF had provided for an alternative source of political power at the grassroots and strengthened the capacity of the resistance to transform their conception of the long term struggles to create an alternative to the social system.

Forward planers for the investors in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were sufficiently alarmed when the rebellions of the youth rendered South Africa ungovernable and apartheid unworkable. After the killing of Steve Biko, the planners sought out the brightest from among these rebellious youth to send them to be trained as future leaders in North American and European Universities. Those educated in the schools of the West became the experts after return to South Africa to be at the forefront of the negotiations for the form of society to be built after apartheid. Free Mandela Committees were an integral of the global antiapartheid struggles. In response to these local, regional and international alliances to end apartheid the South African Defence forces (SADF) spread death and destruction in the townships and across the region of Southern Africa. The terrorism of apartheid along with the killing of more than 2 million in the neighboring states did not break the will of the people. If anything, international solidarity intensified with the support of the Cubans assisting the Angolans to fight the apartheid army at Cuito Cuanavale.

The importance of Cuito Cuanavale

One of the many tasks of western propaganda organs has been to downplay the sacrifices of the peoples of the region of Southern Africa for the independence of Namibia 1990, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the negotiations to end apartheid. The epic battles at Cuito Cuanavale between October 1987 and June 1988 changed the history of Africa. The SADF had invaded Angola with the plan to impose Jonas Savimbi in Luanda and to defeat the freedom fighters from Namibia of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO). The apartheid army became bogged down at the crossroads of two rivers in Southern Angola. In order to intimidate the peoples of Africa the SADF had manufactured tactical nuclear weapons with the assistance of the Israeli state. When the South African army became bogged down the President of South Africa, P.W.Botha flew to the frontlines of the battles in Angola to broker a debate between the generals on whether South Africa should deploy and use its nuclear capabilities.

The international isolation of the white racist regime meant that there was no sympathy for this option, even from the conservative Reagan Administration. The racist army had to fight against a confident Angolan military with Cuban reinforcements. After nine months fighting the SADF was roundly defeated with the remnants of the SADF retreating on foot to Northern Namibia. In order to rescue the SADF so that the military would not be routed as the French army was routed at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, in stepped the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker to broker the decent withdrawal of the SADF from Namibia.  This battle was episodic and Fidel Castro rightly asserted that the History of Africa will be written as that of before Cuito Cuanavale and after Cuito Cuanavale.

Nelson Mandela and the South African struggles after Cuito Cuanavale

Nelson Mandela’s walk of Freedom out of incarceration in 1990 had represented a major step in the peoples of the world   for a new system after apartheid. However, those who owned the banks, the mines, the insurance companies and the land were planning for a post-apartheid society where the capital remained in the hands of the white minority along with new black allies. International capital had grasped the full implications of black partners in societies such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroons, Algeria and Nigeria. Hence even while the negotiations were on going for the New Society in The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA,) the more far sighted elements such as the Oppenheimer family of Anglo-American Corporation worked to support those within the movement that believed that the end of Apartheid was for the development of a class of black entrepreneurs under Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). The nature of the inequalities in South Africa today demonstrates the success of the plan to create black allies. Cyril Ramaphosa is the poster child of a militant trade union leader of the anti-apartheid era who became a mining magnate after apartheid, exploiting the very workers he had vowed to defend.  The image of Cyril Ramaphosa who had escorted Nelson Mandela out of Prison in 1990 operating and multibillionaires was one sign of the class formation in South Africa.  In 2012, the political leaders of the ANC oversaw a government that shot 34 Marikana workers who were striking for better conditions at the Platinum Mines in South Africa. It was a proper clarification of the politics of transformation when Ramaphosa, a multibillionaire, emerged as the spokesperson for the owners of the Platinum Mines in rejecting the demands of the workers for better working conditions and better wages. The ANC and its tripartite alliance of the Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had fashioned a theoretical basis for the enrichment of a few by arguing that before South Africa could enter the phase of transformation beyond capitalism there had to be the development of the productive forces. Nelson Mandela was caught in 1994 in the midst of the alliance and within five years sought to extricate himself by stepping down as President of South Africa in 1999 after one term.

Ubuntu in practice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

One of the sterling contributions of the South African struggle was to be able to clarify the differences between restorative justice and retributive justice, based on Ubuntu. In fact, Mandela not only embraced Ubuntu, under his political leadership, there was an attempt to bring the ideas of Ubuntu from its philosophical level to the level of practical politics in ways that helped avert bloodbath to form a better society, however imperfect. And this was in part done through the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In the three years after the release of Mandela, the international media was predicting a bloodbath in South Africa if Blacks were to emerge victorious from the first democratic elections in 1994. Those with strategic control over the means of violence sought to make this bloodbath a reality right up to the moment when Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the first Black President of a Democratic South Africa. One year after Mandela became President, the Parliament of South Africa established the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995. This became the legal framework for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Mandela threw his international weight behind the process of Reconciliation. While the TRC was holding sessions under the Chairperson Desmond Tutu, Mandela made a number of public gestures to demonstrate the fact that he supported full reconciliation between the oppressed blacks and the oppressors. Of the two most public of these gestures were the visit to have tea with Mrs Betsie Verwoerd at Oriana in 1995 and donning the jersey of the segregated South African rugby team in the World Cup in South Africa.

Mrs Verwoerd, the widow of the architect of the most brutal apartheid structures had retreated to the town of Orania in the Cape seeking to establish an all-white town because the whites could not live under a black political leadership. The extreme Afrikaners around Mrs Verwoerd had chosen the small community to set up a laager and the whites in the town did not want any black around, not even black servants. These whites did not recognize Mandela as the legitimate President of a Free South Africa. Mandela took the bold step of travelling to this all white town of Orania to demonstrate to Mrs Verwoerd that the new South Africa was based on forgiveness and willingness to share, core principles of Ubuntu. This gesture was relayed all over the world by the local and international media as Mandela sat down to have tea with the people who were responsible for arresting and incarcerating him. Two months earlier Mandela had orchestrated another public act by going to the Rugby World Cup Match and putting on the jersey of the South African team. Sporting activities had been one of the strongest bases for segregation in the society and in all areas of sporting activity Mandela inspired South Africa to rise above the structural violence that had become part and parcel of South Africa.

At the legal level, South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution is one of the most progressive in the world, and it draws on Ubuntu to enshrine equal constitutional rights for all – black, white, colored, women, youths, elderly people and same-gender-loving persons.

This effort at Reconciliation at the legal level and at the public level went side by side as the TRC started hearings in Cape Town in 1996. The mandate of the commission had been to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and rehabilitation. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

A new politics was being developed in the context of seeking restorative justice beyond the Nuremberg Model of winners’ court. The Healing power of the process was manifest in the rituals that emanated from victims and oppressors, creating a space that could be the basis of holding the society together. This ritual of the TRC with the spiritual underpinnings of forgiveness and healing was a powerful antidote to the three hundred years of white racist oppression. Malidoma Some had written a book on the Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community.  It was in the TRC where one saw some of the ideas being worked out. During the Hearings of the TRC there were public hearings as the narratives of perpetrators and victims moved in  a constant motion across time (from present to past and present to future) and space (spiritual, social, physical, emotional) in a movement that may be called recursive.

Here was a profound moment in the history of South Africa as the African people offered a crucible for healing the society. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu will go down in history as individuals who opened up the possibilities for another form of society. This healing process offered by the TRC, despite its imperfections, placed Ubuntu on the philosophical map breaking the ideation baggage of individualism, greed, competition and revenge.

If the Black people and the oppressed majority were willing to turn a corner, international capital was not. Plans for the Reconstruction and transformation of South Africa were shelved in the face of the timidity of the political leadership in calling for the cancellation of the apartheid incurred debt. The repercussions of managing the neo-liberal programe of international capital cut off the top leadership of the ANC from the rank and file. Questions of the social reconstruction after apartheid had to be shelved until new emancipatory formations arise in South Africa. International capita took the lessons of South Africa to heart and sought to promote a neo-liberal agenda where a small minority collaborated with international capital in the new template for the exploitation of the majority. This form of class rule came to be understood as the globalization of apartheid without its racial baggage.

Mandela and Ubuntu overseas

Mandela was opposed to the Western designation of states as sponsoring terrorism and openly supported Fidel Castro of Cuba, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the Saharwi Arab Democratic Republic and the political leadership in Libya. As one who had been placed on the US list of international terrorist, Mandela in 1992 had made a clear statement about the standoff between Libya and the West over the downing of the 1998 Pan American Airways flight 103. This plane had exploded over Lockerbie Scotland and the West accused two Libyans of planting the bomb. This is despite the fact that at the precise moment of the bomb, western media had blamed Iran for planting the bomb.

In 1998 Mandela travelled to Libya three times within one week to mediate between the British government and the Libyan authorities. After travelling back and forth between the western leaders and Muammar Gaddafi the head of the Libyan state, Mandela struck a deal where Gaddafi handed over the two suspects in return for the lifting of international sanctions against Libya. Gaddafi accepted the offer of Nelson Mandela and offered to pay US $2.7 billion , approximately $10 million for each of the victim’s families. Gaddafi went further to open up his economy to western oil companies and in 2004 dumped his plans for the acquisition of Chemical and Biological weapons. Despite this opening and the intense investments of the West, International capital was not satisfied and in 2011 orchestrated the invasion, bombing and destruction of Libya under the banner of Responsibility to Protect. Gaddafi was executed and humiliated as the West sought to roll back all ideas of African Unification and Liberation.

Mandela as a Peace maker

After Nelson Mandela was rid of the responsibility of managing the structures of the apartheid economy, he became even more outspoken against inequalities. He was assertive on the question of the need for health for all and the provision of retroviral medicine for those affected by HIV AIDS even while other leaders of the ANC were equivocal over the response of the government of South Africa to this pandemic. Outside of South Africa Mandela shamed the leaders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) who had stood by while the fastest genocide unfolded in Rwanda in 1994. After the passing of Julius Nyerere in 1999, Nelson Mandela engaged the peace process in Burundi and threw his considerable international stature behind a tough process of negotiations to end the decades of warfare in Burundi.

Mandela was opposed to the deployment of US military personnel in Africa and he spoke out firmly against the Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), the forerunner to the current Africa Command. When George W. Bush started his buildup for the war against the peoples of Iraq Mandela offered himself up as a peace maker to be a human shield against US bombs. In an interview with Newsweek Magazine in 2002 prior to the invasion, Mandela called the USA a threat to the peace of the world.

“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. That must be condemned in the strongest terms.” As a peace activist, Mandela took issues personal with George Bush over the decision to invade Iraq. Addressing the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg in 2003, a visibly furious Mandela stated unequivocally: “What I am condemning is that one power, with a president [George Bush] who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. … If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care.”

The legacies of Nelson Mandela

The differing legacies of the political leadership of Nelson Mandela were on full display at the massive memorial event held in Soweto on December 10, 2013. There the mass of people expressed themselves in the admiration and warmth of Nelson Mandela and at the same time expressing their opposition to the corruption of the top leadership of the ANC. The people booed the current leader of the ANC,  Jacob Zuma, every time his face appeared on the giant TV screens in the stadium. Mandela had always remarked that he was a disciplined member of the ANC and his membership of the organization pointed to the differences between the promises of the anti-apartheid struggles and the realities of the enrichment of a new class of African exploiters. It was appropriate that this celebration of the life of Mandela marked a new stage for the corrupt leadership of the ANC.

In the period of the anti-apartheid struggles, funeral ceremonies were occasions for mass mobilization and education The entire proceedings played out before over 90 heads of states and governments reflected the new relationship between the ANC and the mass of the poor.  Despite the fact that this occasion represented a huge logistical challenge, one could negatively compare the planning of the leadership on this occasion with the World Cup in 2010. Hence, for one of the most important public events in the history of South Arica, for most of the time the stadium was half empty.  The ANC did not provide transportation to the stadium as promised. The poor travelled from near and far by train only to find that there were no buses to take them up to the stadium. Even those who braved the downpour  of rain to  make it to the stadium was not allowed to celebrate the way South Africans are used to celebrate at such events. Instead they were expected to sit and listen like little children. At such events people would sing and dance. In fact, before each speaker someone would raise a song and people would follow and sing until the speaker was ready to speak. Even Zuma would start a song and dance before he spoke.  Jacob Zuma, the leadership and Cyril Ramaphosa wanted the people to forget the kind of mass mobilization that was engineered to end apartheid. They are afraid that this mass mobilization will sweep the billionaires from power.

The political leadership of Nelson Mandela in the anti-apartheid struggle had both focused attention on him as an individual and released the energies of various groups whose task was to clarify the details of the real meaning of transformation beyond apartheid.  In this and in many other ways, Nelson Mandela symbolized the dialectic of resistance and transformation. His own life has mirrored the way in which a social movement shaped individuals. Hence, the youth who are hearing the tributes to Mandela are faced with the contradiction between focusing on great leaders and the kind of media coverage that is geared towards the depoliticizaion of the youth.  Richard Falk summed up very lucidly the place of Mandela for humans everywhere when he wrote,

“It was above all Mandela’s spiritual presence that created such a strong impression of moral radiance on the part of all of us fortunate enough to be in the room. I was reinforced in my guiding belief that political greatness presupposes a spiritual orientation toward the meaning of life, not necessarily expressed by way of a formal religious commitment, but always implies living with an unconditional dedication to values and faith that transcend the practical, the immediate, and the material.”

In his earthly life, Mandela could not escape this tension between the spiritual and the material.  The spiritual energies of the peoples had been unleashed to fashion a non-racial democracy. Liberal conception of democracy could not understand this attempt to transcend the ideas of the Western Enlightenment, which itself built on human hierarchies that carved a supreme space for the enlightened white man. Nelson Mandela had been reared in these ideas at Fort Hare and as a lawyer but the struggles elevated him to be special human beings among revolutionaries. The world salutes Nelson Mandela and we join with those who are sending tributes to his family.

We will also add that the people should not mourn but organize for the next round of struggle.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Mandela and the African Liberation Struggle

Diversity I$raHell-Style



On Wednesday, a Red Cross blood clinic at the Israeli parliament rejected a donation from a Black member, left. The law allows Ethiopian Jews to immigrate and marry other Jews. Nevertheless, they are the most discriminated against, more than the Arab Muslim and Christian Israelis based strictly on their dark skin.

Illuminati Jewry and Freemasonry impose
diversity, multiculturalism and political
correctness on us but practise racial and ethnic discrimination in the “Jewish homeland.” 

In the NWO, people of European origin do not have a “homeland”.

While Zionists discriminate against all non-Jews, a rigid hierarchy exists within Jewish ranks as well. 

by Saul

As an American-Jewish immigrant to Israel, I witness a blatant and ugly racism.

In America, the Jewish community has long championed the rights of other minorities as a strategic gambit. Sadly, in Israel, where Jews are the majority, the Jewish population is extremely race-conscious.




While Judaism is considered a religion, it acts like a race. Within that race, there is a hierarchy of privilege. Israelis can be broken down into two main categories: European “Ashkenazi” Jews and Middle Eastern “Mizrahi” Jews. 

These two distinct subgroups also observe two distinct types of Judaism. Ashkenazi Judaism and Sephardic Judaism. 

Every Israeli Prime Minister has been a European, lighter skinned, Ashkenazi Jew. Only one figurehead President of Israel has been a darker skinned Mizrahi Jew, and he is currently in prison for raping one of his secretaries. 

The “white” Ashkenazi Jews are the elite in Israel. The “darker” Mizrahi, or Arab Jews are a slightly lower caste.  Mizrahi Jews look identical to their Arab Muslim and Christian cousins. 

Israeli police and military are not politically correct. They racially profile people at every checkpoint, supermarket, movie theater, etc. Thus, Mizrahi Jews are given a closer look and only their Hebrew accent confirms them as Jews. 


There is a large population of supposedly Russian Jews in Israel. But how did the Russians get into Israel if they’re not really Jewish?


After Natan Sharansky (left) escaped from Russia, he persuaded the Israeli government to bend the rules for the Russian “Jews.”  Unlike from all other countries of origin, Russian “Jews” can immigrate without the necessity of a Jewish mother — the proof of Jewishness under religious law.  A Jewish father?  Ok.  An illegitimate Jewish father?  Ok.  A Jewish grandparent?  Ok.

In fact, since the late 1980’s Israel is actually in the business of fooling Russians into immigrating to Israel when they want to go elsewhere.  The religious courts are starting to exert pressure on the  government, even suggesting Russian immigrants undergo DNA tests to prove they are racially Jews!

Russians are generally considered lower than the elite racially European Ashkenaz and slightly higher than the racially Middle Eastern (Arabic) Mizrahim.  Avigdor Lieberman is an example of a racial Russian who has elevated himself within the Zionist political structure thanks to his hard-right militarism.  The Russians are “whiter” than the Mizrahim, so some rise to higher levels within this racist society.


Israelis unabashedly describe people by their skin color, religion, race or country of origin. It’s simply the culture. 

In America my children were raised differently. They would never call a person of color “nigger” in America. Yet here in Israel they quickly learned Ethiopians are called “cushy” in reference to the biblical Cushites. Israelis also use the term “nigger”. They don’t recognize these terms to be racist. Zionists don’t realize Jewish-only land, Jewish-only immigration, Jewish-only marriage are racist. They simply accept their racism as normal.

It’s a caste system, plain and simple, and what kids learn in childhood carries over into adulthood. That’s the culture.


Going “down” the ladder, you have your Arab Muslim and Arab Christian Israelis. They’re not Jewish. But more important, they aren’t trusted. Israelis consider them a fifth column, ready and willing to rise up at a moments notice in rebellion. It’s comical to me, because it is the inherent racism that oppresses the Arab Israeli population and they have good reason to be disgruntled and unhappy.


All Israeli boys and girls must serve a mandatory military duty. They are conditioned to follow orders and to be desensitized to the “enemy.” While Israeli schools, and even Jewish schools abroad, rely heavily on emotional manipulation of the Holocaust, the Germans are no longer the hated enemy here. The Arabs are. 

Thus, children are manipulated to turn their anger and hatred of Nazi Germany towards Arabs. In the words of my Israeli ex-wife, “A good Arab is a dead one.” 

There is outright fear and hostility to the Palestinians living in the autonomous zones. It is a culture of racism and war, and there is no arguing it.



A strange phenomena exists within the Filipino community in Israel. Most work as caregivers for Israel’s aging population. Without question these are master – servant relationships. It’s akin to the pre-civil war South in America, the way Israelis treat their Filipino caregivers. Well, they are the hired help after all, and they are “goy.”

Do you expect anyone here to treat them as equals? Of course not. For the most part they are ignored, as if they were the family dog perhaps. A brief greeting, and then they can go curl up in a corner until needed.

It’s pretty sad if you ask me, but a fact of life I guess. These people know they will be treated like the servants they are. They need the money. They miss their families. And Israeli Jews, if they are anything, it is unsympathetic and privileged. 


The African migrant workers are treated the worst by far. They are truly the untouchables. In fact, I’ve never seen an African, other than an Ethiopian Jew, inside any Israeli home, mall or major supermarket. 


They almost invariably live in one area near the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, many homeless, most crowded in small rooms. The Israeli government doesn’t know what to do with them, and it’s a big problem. They live in slums, are treated terribly, and looked at as feral cats or rats. They are called names, they are heavily discriminated against.


And Israel is nothing like America in terms of “anchor babies.” Being born in Israel does not guarantee one citizenship unless the baby is Jewish. For non-Jews born to non-citizens, the child is not a citizen and is subject to deportation. 


I will conclude with a comment that might surprise you. I am not anti-Israel or anti-Jew. I am a Jew. I am Israeli. I am anti-racism and anti-Zionist. There’s a difference. Israel does not have to be an Apartheid state. She chooses to be. She is ruled by racist Zionists who believe in separatism, colonialism, and militarism. I believe in another, more open and humane Israel.

Articles on how Israeli agents tricked Russians into moving to Israel instead of elsewhere.

First Comment by David A:

I do not believe any people is spiritually inherently superior to another people.  However, there are racial differences.  Acknowledging racial differences, which stem from nature, and directed by nurture, is not racist.  The Jewish people have a right their own nation, just as others have a right to their own nation.  Ashkenazim Jewry are in fact more intelligent at tests and academic ON AVERAGE than Mizrahi Jewry, who are of a very different racial history.  The Mizrahi Jewry only had to be smarter than the local Arabs, whose IQ averages around 80, while the Ashkenazim had to be smarter than the Germans, who IQ averages in urban areas at above 104.

The behavior of an ethnic group is in large part due to its genetics.  Please see this article, titled “”Differences in educational achievement owe more to genetics than environment”:

Ashkenazim, having the highest concentration of administrative and financial skills of any group on the planet, have a right to maintain their group, and are right to be untrustworthy of out-marriage to Mizrahi Jews.

Additionally, European Sephardic Jews are not the same as Mizrahi Shephardic Jews.  Please see this article be Steve Sailer on “Ashkenazi vs. ‘Shephardic’ Intelligence”, where he breaks down the notion that European Shephardic Jews should even be classed with Shephardic Jews from Arab lands.  The truth is that our societies DO have castes, which are separated by ability to function in a highly-developed world.  There is nothing “racist” about desiring to maintain the advantages and uniqueness of your own racial group.  Because of differences in average intelligence, and then subsequent cultural intelligence, there will be societal differences.  The only “racist” thing to do to a person would be to demand more quotas and spots in administration for Shephardim or Blacks, regardless of the fact that the Ashkenazim are more qualified.

As to Blacks in Israel, Israelis have every right to be suspicious of them.  Africans, due to their long racial incubation in the uncivilized, chaotic environment of Africa, are genetically far more prone to committing crime and causing disorder.  The local Israelis do not want Africans among their people, because thin far larger numbers, Africans harass women, rob people, and leave trash.  

Please see this article on what happened to a beach area in Tel Aviv when many Africans showed up: ” Israel Police: Unemployed African refugees turning Tel Aviv beaches into high crime spots”

No, African crime is not caused by “lack of employment opportunities”.  The lack of employment opportunities for Africans is caused by their average of lower IQ, far lower impulse control, and tendency to promote and bring in their own ethnic group.  An exploration of the story of “Ham” is instructive, as they are the descendants of Ham, who shamed Noah, and was cursed.

Jews deserve a nation of their own.  Every nation on earth deserves a nation of their own, and this included White European nations.  This perspective will help settle all the disputes, we need to drop this “racism” nonsense. 

Comments for “Diversity Israeli-Style “

Henrique said (December 14, 2013):

In my view Judaism was created (even Freemasonic sources admit it was invented not much earlier than Christianism, probably two or three centuries before ) to front for a much older system of intellectual ( “scientific”) and financial control by a special class of “anointed” people from selected bloodlines.

The whole trick revolves around money as always ( and people migrate because they come from total misery, etc. ) but involves a more subtle strategy, as culture creation ( why are their lands miserable, why can`t they “take care of themselves” – is hopelessness also in the DNA ?)
and culture generally stem from religion.

Well, Judaism is the “religion of reason” as they say, a political project in disguise, the religion of moneyed intellectual elitism which invariably ( can`t be otherwise ) develops eugenical traits. Money, law, science and blood legitimizing each other.

Abolishing usury for a stable monetary mechanics, so people and communities can build their lives without depending on any form of international system and it`s fluidity and vulnerabilities, is the only way to defeat this thing that uses Judaism as a front and wants to devour the world.

Without the superpowerful and untouchable Money Establishment, law and science would fall in the hands of the people, and whatever happened then, at least would correspond to the will of many.

Apart from that, all talk is just frivolous mental masturbation about who has the right of what, according to IQ tests that “prove” this and that, etc, etc. Type of conversation that borders on psychopathy.

Joyce said (December 14, 2013):

David A. says “Ashkenazim, having the highest concentration of administrative and financial skills of any group on the planet, have a right to maintain their group, and are right to be untrustworthy of out-marriage to Mizrahi Jews.”

You are right on David. They do have the highest concentration of administrative and financial skills of any group on the planet. It is interesting that you yourself stopped short of attributing this to higher intelligence. Actually, you stopped short of giving any explanation at all.

So, I would like to posit a hypothesis of my own to explain why Ashkenazim have the highest concentration of administrative and financial skills on the planet. I posit that it is because they have been more deceived by their scriptures than any other group of people on the planet. By that I mean that they have been deceived into believing that they are free to cheat non-Jews, or in the case of Israelis, that they are free to cheat anyone and everyone and that it is for the good of Zionism, whereas other peoples on this planet have moral restraints that hold them back from behaviors and schemes that they consider to be immoral and unethical. So, restating your claim, my hypothesis is that Ashkenazim have the lowest concentration of moral and ethical restrain of any group on the planet due to their reliance on and interpretation of scripture.


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North Korea executes Kim’s uncle for alleged military coup plan


North Korea said today that it executed Kim Jong Un’s uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader’s former mentor, long considered the country’s No 2.

In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.

Just days ago, North Korea accused Jang, 67, of corruption, womanising, gambling and taking drugs, and said he had been “eliminated” from all his posts.

But today’s allegations, which could not be independently confirmed, were linked to a claim that he tried “to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state”.

Pyongyang’s statement called him a “traitor to the nation for all ages,” ”worse than a dog“ and ”despicable human scum“ who planned a military coup – rhetoric often reserved in state propaganda for South Korean leaders.

In the North Korean capital, people crowded around billboards in an underground station displaying the morning paper and news of the execution. North Korea’s main newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a headline on its online version that said: “Eternal traitor firmly punished.”

A radio broadcast of the news was piped into the underground network. People sat quietly and listened as the announcer listed Jang’s crimes.

During his two years in power, Kim Jong Un has overseen nuclear and missile tests, other high-profile purges and a barrage of threats this spring, including vows of nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul. In contrast, his father, Kim Jong Il, took a much lower public profile when he rose to power after the death of his father, Kim Il Sung, in 1994.

It is not clear what Jang’s execution and Kim Jong Un’s very public approach to leadership say about the future of a country notoriously difficult for outsiders to interpret. Some analysts see the public pillorying of such a senior official, and one related to the leader, as a sign of the young ruler coming into his own and solidifying his grip on power.

“Whatever problems it faced, North Korea has usually acted in a way to bolster its leaders,” said Chin Hee-gwan, a professor at South Korea’s Inje University. “By showing a little bit of a reign of terror, it’s likely that Kim Jong Un’s power will be further consolidated.”

But others see signs of dangerous instability and an indication that behind the scenes, Kim Jong Un’s rise has not been as smooth as previously thought.

“North Korea’s announcement is like an acknowledgement that Kim Jong Un’s government is still in a transitional period,” said Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea’s Kyungnam University.

The execution could be followed by more purges, Lim predicted, but Kim Jong Un will eventually ease up in his approach to domestic affairs because he will face a bigger crisis if he fails to revive the struggling economy and improve people’s living standards.

There are fears in Seoul that the removal of Jang and his followers – two of his aides were executed last month, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said – could lead to a miscalculation or even an attack on the South.

Top South Korean presidential security and government ministers held an unscheduled meeting today to discuss Jang’s execution and its aftermath, according to the presidential Blue House.

Seoul’s Defence Ministry said the North Korean military has not shown any unusual activities and there was no suspicious activity at the North’s nuclear test site and missile launch pads.

There are also questions about what the purge means for North Korea’s relationship with its only major ally, China. Jang had been seen as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms and an important link between Pyongyang and Beijing.

Although the high-level purges over the last two years could indicate confidence, Victor Cha, a former senior White House adviser on Asia, said he sees signs of “a lot of churn in the system”.

“If he has to go as high as purging and then executing Jang, it tells you that everything’s not normal in the system,” said Mr Cha, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think-tank in Washington. “When you take out Jang, you’re not taking out just one person – you’re taking out scores if not hundreds of other people in the system. It’s got to have some ripple effect.”

North Korea has recently turned to attempts at diplomacy with South Korea and the United States. But tensions have remained high since Pyongyang’s threats in March and April, which included warnings that it would restart nuclear bomb fuel production.

There was no immediate word about the fate of Jang’s wife, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il, although some analysts believe that because she is directly related to the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and has been reportedly ill, she may be spared Jang’s fate. She was also seen as an important mentor to Kim Jong Un after her brother’s 2011 death.

The White House said that “if confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime”.

The KCNA report was unusually specific in its accusations at times. For instance, it criticised Jang for not rising and applauding his nephew’s appointment to a senior position because Jang “thought that if Kim Jong Un’s base and system for leading the army were consolidated, this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power”.

One resident in Pyongyang, Kim Un Song, a doctor at a hospital, said she was surprised at the news but supported the execution.

“We trust and believe only in Marshal Kim Jong Un. Anti-revolutionary elements can’t shake our faith. I don’t know if there are more out there, but they will never shake our faith,” she said. “It’s very good that he was executed.”

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