Archive | February 27th, 2014

The roots of Iraqi resistance

NOVANEWS

From the ANSWER Coalition archives

From the ANSWER Archives:

March 19, 2014, marks the 11th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. During the next weeks the newsletter will feature key articles from the ANSWER Coalition archives that ANSWER and associated groups published before and during the invasion, and throughout the U.S. occupation of Iraq. This is a critical period of U.S. history and the voices of those who led the mass anti-war and anti-occupation movement during this period are largely erased from the U.S. mainstream media. Please read and share this important article originally published in May 2008 about a key moment in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Share it with young people who were not yet teenagers when the Bush administration invaded Iraq in one of the greatest war crimes in modern history.

By Michael Prysner
Originally published on May 9, 2008

The writer is an Iraq war veteran.

I clearly remember the first children I saw in Iraq. They were digging through a burning pile of trash, pulling out discarded food packages and stomping out the flames before searching inside. In those first days of the invasion, I thought maybe we would be bringing some type of relief to the poverty that existed. Instead, unemployment in Iraq has soared to roughly 70 percent. Those who do work not only suffer from low wages but must work under a brutal occupation where simply traveling to work can leave you imprisoned, disabled or dead.

Rummaging through garbage as a means of survival has become a harsh reality for the people of Iraq, but their struggle for survival goes beyond enduring hunger and poverty. On May 4—over five years later—three children rummaged through a pile of trash in Baghdad’s impoverished Madinat al-Sadr district, looking for empty bottles they could sell. As they searched through the garbage, a U.S. helicopter swooped overhead and unleashed its machine guns. The bullets, designed to demolish buildings and vehicles, tore through their bodies. They died on the pile of trash they had hoped would feed their families.

The occupation of Iraq has not only brought unrelenting violence to the region, but has also plunged the country into poverty. According to a 2007 Oxfam report, nearly half of the Iraqi population lives in “absolute poverty,” with up to 8 million Iraqis requiring immediate emergency aid. Their report declared, “Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, health care, education, and employment.”

Oppression breeds resistance

Deep poverty combined with the daily violence and repression of an occupying army culminated in the development of the guerrilla resistance. The U.S. corporate media—the mouthpiece for the banks, the Pentagon, and Wall Street—has scrambled to define the Iraqi resistance on their own terms. They have attributed the violence in Iraq to al-Qaeda, loyalty to Saddam Hussein or “radical Islam” to name but a few. The overall message is that the U.S. military is meeting resistance because of cultural backwardness, not the material conditions in Iraq created by the United States.

CNN recently ran a story on educational classes given to detained resistance fighters in Iraq. Wolf Blitzer explained, “We’ll look at how we are breaking them of their anti-U.S. hatred.” It is implicitly understood that the resistance movement in Iraq is driven by ignorance, and those who resist the occupation have not yet had the epiphany that submission to the United States will bring peace and prosperity. The armed struggle of the Iraqis is portrayed as idealist in nature, not an inevitable result of the material realities of occupation and oppression in Iraq.

The true causes of the Iraqi resistance can be found in V.I. Lenin’s writings on the liberation of oppressed nations, still relevant nearly a century later: “Imperialism is forcing the masses into this struggle by sharpening class antagonisms to an immense degree, by worsening the conditions of the masses both economically—trusts and high cost of living, and politically—growth of militarism, frequent wars, increase of reaction, strengthening and extension of national oppression and colonial plunder.”

To understand the resistance, it is vital to grasp that Iraqis did not choose to fight against the occupation; they were forced into it by the economic conditions created by over a decade of sanctions, the devastation of war, imperialist plunder and the political conditions under the occupation. Iraq’s long history of resistance is deeply ingrained in the consciousness of its people.

The ruling class tries to delegitimize the Iraqi resistance, claiming that the Iraqi people do in fact have political power and can make their voices heard through the “democratic process.” The notion that such “democracy” will solve the problems of the Iraqi people is a travesty—no democratic facade built under occupation will give the Iraqis the power to vote imperialist troops out of their country.

Sectarian violence a product of occupation

Washington set up the Iraqi government not so that it would serve the interests of the Iraqi people, but so that it would facilitate and manage imperialist interests within Iraq. U.S. officials intentionally designed the new Iraqi government to create conflict among the Iraqi population.

In violation of the International Humanitarian Law, the Bush administration established Iraqi political institutions based on sectarian and ethnic division. Dr. Saeed Hasan Almusawi, former Iraqi representative to the United Nations, asserts that “this policy intended to change the identity of Iraqis from the national one to [an] ethnic and sectarian one [and to] incite sectarian violence and destroy the social fabric of Iraqi Society.”

This policy was codified in the U.S.-backed Iraqi Constitution, which divided Iraq into three separate regions on a sectarian basis. The aim of the imperialists is to characterize the resistance in Iraq as anything but a national liberation struggle, and to dismantle any hint of a national identity.

The United States has used these sectarian wedges to promote the racist idea that the Iraqi people would simply slaughter each other if U.S. forces were to withdraw; in reality, sectarian strife would not exist had it not been actively fostered by the occupation. As a U.S. military study “discovered” in November 2007, “Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of ‘occupying forces’ as the key to national reconciliation.” (Washington Post, Dec. 19, 2007)

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke it down bluntly: “The occupation is trying to divide Sunnis and Shias. It is trying to drive a wedge between Sadris and the Sunnis. I love the Sunnis. I am a Shia, but we are all Iraqis.” (Al Jazeera, April 2)

Sadr and his Mahdi Army have vacillated between all-out resistance and compromise with the occupation. Nevertheless, his calls for national unity and the end of the occupation have resonated strongly with Iraqis and led to major confrontations with U.S. and Iraqi forces, whose strategy rests on the division of the Iraqi people.

The people of Iraq have every right to resist the occupation, and to liberate their country from national oppression. U.S. workers fighting for jobs, education, and health care have the duty to support the Iraqi resistance against the occupation that has destroyed their economy, schools and hospitals. Soldiers in the U.S. military, many of whom join to escape economic hardship, must realize that their fight is not against Iraq’s suffering poor, but against the billionaires who sent them to fight for profits. Activists truly committed to end the war must stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq, who are engaged in a heroic fight against imperialism under the most adverse circumstances.

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‘US, EU staged classic regime change in Ukraine’

NOVANEWS
RT interview with Brian Becker

The following interview of ANSWER Coalition National Coordinator Brian Becker was conducted by RT

The EU and US have carried out a classic coup d’état in Ukraine using ultra-right forces as human material, anti-war activist Brian Becker told RT. And cementing that victory with an IMF aid package would place Ukraine on a Greek path into Europe.

RT: The US and the EU are considering providing Ukraine with billions of dollars of financial aid. Do you think this will be effective considering the current climate in the country?

Brian Becker: Well the aid package comes because the United States and the EU have staged what is really a classic coup d’état ousting the elected government in Ukraine and carrying out the regime change which we felt was their agenda from the beginning ever since November when the EU gave Ukraine an ultimatum: “Are you with the EU, are you going to integrate into the EU – which of course eventually means integration into NATO – or are you with Russia?”

They were the ones who provoked this crisis, the protests started afterwards. A classic coup d’état has taken place. A rump session of parliament has ousted the existing, constitutionally-elected president. And now there is a reign of terror by semi-fascist and ultra-right groups against others.

So the aid package has to be seen in that context. Behind the aid package, which is designed to stabilize Ukraine as it integrates into the planned integration into the EU, is austerity measures that are really going to hurt the Ukrainian people, especially working people and the poor. That is the real path into the EU. It’s not going to be the German path. It will be the Greek path for Ukraine.

RT: Catherine Ashton is in Kiev right now and a number of US top officials are set to visit the country in the coming days. What does Brussels and the US hope to achieve during those visits?

BB: Well they are basically taking over. The human material has been far-right parties. Of course many citizens have legitimate grievances against the Yanukovich government, there is an intertanglement of all that, but the main vanguard of this movement was the ultra-right, semi-fascist, and hard right but they have had wind in their cells because of the intervention of the EU and the European governments and the US.

Anti-government protesters hold shields as they guard the Ukrainian Parliament building in Kiev February 22, 2014. (Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko)

And of course they are there now to show the new government, the coup d’état, that “we the West with all of our vast power, our banks, our military, our intelligence agencies, we are with you.” This is designed to shore up those that have taken the power in Ukraine against what may be the next stage of the struggle against those who wanted to go on a different path, who had historically closer relations to Russia or who don’t want just to be minions of the EU and the imperialist powers of the West.

RT: If you look at the beginning of all this, this has kind of started as Ukraine and their relationship with the EU, Brussels now says it will not be signing a trade agreement with Ukraine for now and will wait for the outcome of May’s elections. What are the chances of the deal being sealed then?

BB: The EU is playing with carrots and sticks. There is economic integration, which is going to mean that big parts of Ukraine’s working population will see a deterioration in their living style. The fantasy about entering Europe, with streets being lined with gold, that is a fantasy because the real project is the IMF-based austerity program. They can’t fully implement that program right at the moment because it will be a stark reminder of or a confrontation with the reality that integration into the EU will be a bad deal for many, many Ukrainians, millions of them.

So they may want to hold off for a few months in order to try and stabilize the situation politically. Now that they ousted the existing government, carried out the regime change in this important country in that it’s historically tied to Russia – 46 million people, the second-biggest military in Europe – they want to hold off because that economic program has a lot of sticks, not just carrots, mostly sticks for the poor and working people of Ukraine.

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We stand with the Bolivarian Revolution

NOVANEWS

Statement from the ANSWER Coalition

Massive march in support of the government

The ANSWER Coalition extends its full solidarity to the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro, and the masses of people who are courageously defending their revolution from U.S.-backed violence and destabilization. We demand that the U.S. government immediately end all interference in Venezuela and respect the people’s democratic choice and right to self-determination.

Beginning earlier this month, an extreme, fascist element of the opposition launched a wave of violence aimed at destabilizing the country and provoking a coup to remove democratically-elected President Nicolás Maduro. Demonstrations in support of the government have been attacked, and barricades guarded by armed gangs of opposition supporters have severely disrupted life in many major cities. Many government supporters have been murdered by these gangs, and others have died because of road accidents or being unable to receive medical attention because of the blockades.

The corporate media in both Venezuela and the United States, as well as the U.S. government, have been working hard to spread lies about the character of these demonstrations, in line with their overarching goal of assisting the overthrow of the Bolivarian Revolution. It is critical to understand that these protests do not represent the progressive demands of poor and working people, but the desperate, violent actions of a tiny group in society that is terrified of losing the wealth and power it has accumulated through centuries of exploitation. These groups receive regular infusions of millions of dollars from the U.S. government to keep their isolated organizations alive.

This violence has been exacerbated by what is accurately called an “economic war” being waged by Venezuelan capitalists, who are hoarding goods and inflating the country’s currency to artificially induce inflation and shortages. Again, this is being spun by the global corporate media, which falsely portrays the situation as an economic crisis caused by the government’s policies.

The attempt by U.S. imperialism to overthrow the Bolivarian revolutionary government in Venezuela must be seen in the broader historical pattern of intervention in Latin America. There has not been a single instance in the last century where the United States did not utilize its economic, political and military power in an effort to defeat, subvert or overthrow progressive movements and governments in Latin America.

In 1954, the CIA overthrew the progressive government of Árbenz in Guatemala. In 1961, the U.S. led a proxy invasion into Cuba and has maintained an economic blockade since. The U.S. government supported the fascist military government in Brazil to defeat the left. The CIA led the economic destabilization and eventual overthrow of the socialist Salvador Allende government of Chile in 1973. When the Sandinistas took power in 1979 after toppling the Somoza dictatorship, the U.S. government launched the so-called Contra War until the Sandinistas were finally ejected from power. It was the CIA working with the Salvadoran military that killed tens of thousands in El Salvador. In 1983, the U.S. government invaded Grenada and in 1989 it invaded Panama. Each and every intervention is given a new rationale, but the bottom line is that U.S. banks and the Military-Industrial Complex want to completely dominate Latin America’s land, labor and natural resources.

The ANSWER Coalition is committed to demonstrating our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their government not only in words, but in the streets. We have already initiated and participated in protests across the country, often confronting supporters of the fascist opposition.

Read reports from actions in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15again in D.C. on Feb. 19, Chicago on Feb. 22 and Los Angeles on Feb. 23.

We will continue to take to the streets and demand “U.S. hands off Venezuela!” Long live the Bolivarian Revolution!

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The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalize Muslim Political Dissent

NOVANEWS

Moazzam Begg, a native-born British citizen of Pakistani descent, spent three years incarcerated in the most notorious detention camps created in the post-9/11 “War on Terror”: all without ever being charged with any crime.

Arrested in Pakistan in 2002, he was transferred to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where he suffered torture and witnessed U.S. interrogators beat an innocent taxi driver to death, and then onwards to Guantanamo Bay where he would be detained for the next three years in conditions he’d describe as “torturous”.

Throughout this time Begg, now 45, was repeatedly deprived of legal counsel and was prohibited from even viewing the alleged evidence against him. After public outcry in his home country resulted in his repatriation to England in 2005, Begg went on to become a human rights activist — writing books, and advocating for other post-9/11 detainees through his organization Cageprisoners, whose self-described mission is: “working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror”; “campaigning against the War on Terror”; and “working with survivors of abuse and mistreatment across the globe.”

Much of this work has included investigating the claims of others who were tortured with the complicity of the British government. It is in retaliation for this activism, he says, that he has been repeatedly harassed, including repeated interrogations and the confiscation of his passport last December at Heathrow Airport, when agents told him it was “not in the public interest” for him to retain it. In an article he published about that incident, Begg two weeks ago wrote: “I am certain that the only reason I am being continually harassed….[is because of] investigations and assertions based on hard evidence that British governments, past and present, have been wilfully complicit in torture.”

On Tuesday, Begg was arrested in an “anti-terror raid” on his home outside Birmingham, charged with “terrorism” offenses for having allegedly traveled to Syria to assist Syrian rebels. He was among four other people arrested that day, all due to Syria-related offences.

Curiously, however, Begg’s last visit to Syria was in the relatively distant past. He visited the country last in December 2012 — for what he said were advocacy purposes and to continue his investigation on torture victims renditioned to the country by Western intelligence agencies. Several individuals of Syrian descent were notoriously renditioned to the Assad regime by the U.S. for interrogation and torture, including the Canadian citizen Maher Arar, whose treatment resulted in a formal apology from the Canadian government and compensation of close to $10 million.

Crucially, it appears that Begg was given explicit permission to take this trip to Syria by Britain’s MI5. In his last article, he described:

[I]n October 2012, I was called by an MI5 officer who said they wanted to talk to me about my views on the situation in Syria…I agreed to speak to them and meet at a hotel in East London. Both MI5 and I had our lawyers present. At the end of the meeting I was assured by MI5 that my proposed return to Syria to continue my work would not be hindered, and it wasn’t.

This raises the obvious question: if the British government had concerns about his involvement with militant groups in Syria, why did it specifically meet with him to green-light his trip there? Furthermore, if his arrest was related to his December 2012 trip, why would the government wait more than a year to arrest him for it?

That’s all independent of the bizzare spectacle of charging someone with “terrorism” offenses for allegedly helping rebels which the U.S. government itself is aiding and for whom intervention was advocated by the U.S. president as recently as last year. Indeed, in 2012, the year Begg made his trip, the widespread view in the West of Syrian rebels was that they were noble freedom-fighters who deserved as much help as possible, not “terrorists” whom the law made it a crime to assist. In the same year another major visiting supporter to the opposition movement was John McCain – an indication of how much mainstream Western support the uprising enjoyed at the time.

Begg has long been a vituperative critic of the British government’s conduct during the War on Terror but throughout this time he has always been a public figure under constant media and government scrutiny. The notion that he’d be able to engage in terrorism surreptitiously on a trip sanctioned by MI5 — then hide this for over a year — seems dubious in the extreme.

While the timing of his arrest makes little evident sense from a national security perspective, it does appear to correspond remarkably to his advocacy work. Cageprisoners’s media officer, Cerie Bullivant, yesterday noted: “Moazzam has been very open about his international travel and his objectives, including importantly exposing British complicity in rendition and torture. …[T]he timing [of his arrest] coincides with the planned release of a CAGE report on Syria and a major news piece that was due to be televised soon.”

In his last, seemingly prescient Facebook post, published just hours before his arrest, Begg wrote: Sometimes knowing too much can be a curse.” UK-based human rights investigator Nawaz Hanif told The Intercept that the charges against Begg are a transparent attempt at silencing political dissent:

The arrest of Moazzam Begg under British anti-terror laws is eerily similar to the detention of David Miranda a few months ago – both utilizing vague terror allegations to stifle investigations into abuses of power….It is pertinent to ask British authorities why Moazzam is being arrested a day before his report on torture and rendition is to be released, and over a year since he last stepped foot in Syria.”

This explanation is all the more credible given the exploitation of terrorism charges by both the U.S. and UK governments throughout the post-9/11 era. There has been a consistent attempt by government authorities to stifle political activism among those criticizing civil rights abuses as well as foreign military expansionism. Predominantly, the brunt of this suppression has focused on Muslim minority communities in the West.

The No Separate Justice campaign, along with the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, have documented numerous cases of Muslim political activists who have been arrested and detained for their public criticisms of the conduct of the War on Terror — usually under the guise of highly-tendentious terrorism charges. Individuals such as Tarek MehannaFahad HashmiJubair AhmadEmerson Winfield Begolly, and others have come to the attention of authorities for their highly public expressions of dissent, charged with terrorism, and then handed long prison sentences under extreme circumstances of incarceration rivaling those at Guantanamo.

The largest civil rights organization in the U.S., CAIR, was smeared by the DOJ in 2003 as an unidicted co-conspirator in a terrorism case (but given no opportunity to contest the innuendo), while the nation’s largest Muslim charity was prosecuted on terrorism charges for the crime of sending money to Palestinians deemed terrorists by the U.S. Government. Federal courts in the U.S., and to a lesser extent in the UK, have been subservient in the extreme to national security claims by the government, all but ensuring that accused Muslims are convicted even when the evidence is at its flimsiest. All of this, coupled with widespread community surveillance, has sent a message that aggressive political dissent among Muslims will not be tolerated and can easily be criminalized as “terrorism”.

For his part — and despite his horrific experiences — Begg has always maintained that whatever animosity he has felt has not been towards America but to the government which abused him, saying in a 2006 interview: “I’m absolutely clear in my mind that there are a great number of American soldiers who are good, decent people. … Do I hate Americans? No. Do I hate the administration? I think unreservedly.”

While government suppression of activists usually begins by targeting unpopular minority groups such as Muslims, it is clear that the dragnet is already beginning to expand, as exemplified by the recent threats and detentions of journalistswhistleblowers and other activist groups under terrorism laws.

The arrest of one of the West’s most prominent Muslim war on terror critics is almost certain to further stifle political activism within the Muslim community and more broadly as well.  Utilizing extremely dubious terrorism charges against domestic dissidents has been a hallmark of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. That such tactics are commonly condemned when implemented by authoritarian governments such as China,Egypt and Russia – and yet enthusiastically implemented at home with little objection – exemplifies the corrosive measures and accompanying mentality which are undermining the foundations of Western freedoms.

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Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine

NOVANEWS

“In the upside-down world that has become the U.S. news media, the democratically elected president was a dictator and the coup makers who overthrew the popularly chosen leader were ‘pro-democracy’ activists,” writes Parry. (Photo: DPA) There was always a measure of hypocrisy but Official Washington used to at least pretend to stand for “democracy,” rather than taking such obvious pleasure in destabilizing elected governments, encouraging riots, overturning constitutional systems and then praising violent putsches.

But events in Ukraine and Venezuela suggest that the idea of respecting the results of elections and working within legal, albeit flawed, political systems is no longer in vogue, unless the “U.S. side” happens to win, of course. If the “U.S. side” loses, then it’s time for some “shock doctrine.” And, of course, the usual demonizing of the “enemy” leader.

Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was surely no one’s idea of a pristine politician, though it looks like there are few to none of those in Ukraine, a country essentially controlled by a collection of billionaire oligarchs who jockey for power and shift their allegiances among corrupt politicians.

But Yanukovych was elected in what was regarded as a reasonably fair election in 2010. Indeed, some international observers called the election an important step toward establishing an orderly political process in Ukraine.

But Yanukovych sought to maintain cordial relations with neighboring Russia, which apparently rubbed American neocons the wrong way. Official Washington’s still-influential neocons have been livid with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin because he cooperated with U.S. President Barack Obama in averting U.S. wars against Iran and Syria.

In both cases, the neocons thought they had maneuvered Obama into confrontations that could have advanced their long-term strategy of “regime change” across the Middle East, a process that started in 2003 with the U.S. invasion of Iraq but stalled with that disastrous war.

However, last year, prospects for more U.S. military interventions in two other target countries – Iran and Syria – were looking up, as Israel joined with Saudi Arabia in stoking regional crises that would give Obama no choice but to launch American air strikes, against Iran’s nuclear facilities and against Syrian government targets.

Putin’s Interference

That strategy was going swimmingly until Putin helped bring Iran to the negotiating table over guarantees that its nuclear program would not lead to a nuclear weapon. Putin also brokered a deal to avert threatened U.S. air strikes on Syria over disputed evidence regarding who launched a chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus. Putin got the Syrian government to agree to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

So, Putin found himself in the center of the neocons’ bulls-eye and – given some of his own unforced errors such as defending Russia’s intolerance toward gays and spending excessively on the Sochi Olympics – he became the latest “designated villain,” denounced and ridiculed across the neocon-dominated op-ed pages of the Washington Post and other major news outlets.

“The idea seems to be to cement in the minds of impressionable Americans that it is okay for the U.S. government to support the overthrow of democratically elected presidents if they have flaws.”

Even NBC, from its treasured spot as the network of the Olympic Games, felt it had no choice but todenounce Putin in an extraordinary commentary delivered by anchor Bob Costas. Once the demonizing ball gets rolling everyone has to join in or risk getting run over, too.

All of which set the stage for Ukraine. The issue at hand was whether Yanukovych should accept a closer relationship with the European Union, which was demanding substantial economic “reforms,” including an austerity plan dictated by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych balked at the harsh terms and turned to Ukraine’s neighbor Russia, which was offering a $15 billion loan and was keeping Ukraine’s economy afloat with discounted natural gas.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the EU was driving too hard a bargain or whether Ukraine should undertake such painful economic “reforms” – or how Yanukovych should have balanced the interests of his divided country, with the east dominated by ethnic Russians and the west leaning toward Europe.

But protesters from western Ukraine, including far-right nationalists, sought to turn this policy dispute into a means for overthrowing the elected government. Police efforts to quell the disturbances turned violent, with the police not the only culprits. Police faced armed neo-Nazi storm troopers who attacked with firebombs and other weapons.

Though the U.S. news media did show scenes of these violent melees, the U.S. press almost universally blamed Yanukovych – and took almost gleeful pleasure as his elected government collapsed and was replaced by thuggish right-wing militias “guarding” government buildings.

With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws often unanimously, as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene. Amazingly, the U.S. news media treated all this as uplifting, a popular uprising against a tyrant, not a case of a coup government operating in collusion with violent extremists.

In the upside-down world that has become the U.S. news media, the democratically elected president was a dictator and the coup makers who overthrew the popularly chosen leader were “pro-democracy” activists.

A Curious History

There’s also a curious history behind U.S. attitudes toward ethnically divided Ukraine. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency – as he escalated Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union – one of his propaganda services, Radio Liberty, began broadcasting commentaries into Ukraine from right-wing exiles.

Some of the commentaries praised Ukrainian nationalists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solution” against European Jews. The propaganda broadcasts provoked outrage from Jewish organizations, such as B’nai B’rith, and individuals including conservative academic Richard Pipes.

According to an internal memo dated May 4, 1984, and written by James Critchlow, a research officer at the Board of International Broadcasting, which managed Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broadcast in particular was viewed as “defending Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrainian broadcast of Feb. 12, 1984 contains references to the Nazi-oriented Ukrainian-manned SS ‘Galicia’ Division of World War II which may have damaged RL’s reputation with Soviet listeners. The memoirs of a German diplomat are quoted in a way that seems to constitute endorsement by RL of praise for Ukrainian volunteers in the SS division, which during its existence fought side by side with the Germans against the Red Army.”

Harvard Professor Pipes, who was an informal adviser to the Reagan administration, also inveighed against the RL broadcasts, writing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russian and Ukrainian services of RL have been transmitting this year blatantly anti-Semitic material to the Soviet Union which may cause the whole enterprise irreparable harm.”

Though the Reagan administration publicly defended RL against some of the public criticism, privately some senior officials agreed with the critics, according to documents in the archives of the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. For instance, in a Jan. 4, 1985, memo, Walter Raymond Jr., a top official on the National Security Council, told his boss, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, that “I would believe much of what Dick [Pipes] says is right.”

This three-decade-old dispute over U.S.-sponsored radio broadcasts underscores the troubling political reality of Ukraine, which straddles a dividing line between people with cultural ties oriented toward the West and those with a cultural heritage more attuned to Russia. Though the capital Kiev sits in a region dominated by the western Ukrainians, the Russian-allied Ukrainians represent most of the population, explaining Yanukovych’s electoral victory.

Loving a Putsch

Now, right-wing militias, representing those historical resentments toward the Russians and hostility toward the Jews, have seized control of many government buildings in Kiev. Faced with this intimidation, the often-unanimous decisions by the remaining legislators would normally be viewed with extreme skepticism, including their demands for the capture and likely execution of Yanukovych.

But the U.S. press corps can’t get beyond its demonization of Putin and Yanukovych. The neocon Washington Post has been almost euphoric over the coup, as expressed in a Feb. 24 editorial:

“Ukraine has shaken off its corrupt president and the immediate prospect of domination by Russia — but at the risk of further conflict. The decision by Viktor Yanukovych to flee Kiev over the weekend triggered the disintegration of his administration and prompted parliament to replace him and schedule elections for May.

“The moves were democratic — members of Mr. Yanukovych’s party joined in the parliamentary votes — but they had the effect of nullifying an accord between the former government and opposition that had been brokered by the European Union and tacitly supported by Russia.

“Kiev is now controlled by pro-Western parties that say they will implement the association agreement with the European Union that Mr. Yanukovych turned away from three months ago, triggering the political crisis.

“There remain two big threats to this positive outcome. One is that Ukraine’s finances will collapse in the absence of a bailout from Russia or the West. The other is that the country will split along geographic lines as Russian speakers in the east of the country, perhaps supported by Moscow, reject the new political order.”

The Post continued, “What’s not clear is whether Mr. Putin would accept a Ukraine that is not under the Kremlin’s thumb. The first indications are not good: Though Mr. Putin has been publicly silent about Ukraine since Friday, the rhetoric emanating from his government has been angry and belligerent. A foreign ministry statement Monday alleged that ‘a course has been set to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions.’”

So, the Washington Post’s editors consider the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president to be “democratic” and take comfort in “democratic” actions by a legislature, despite the curious lack of any no votes and the fact that this balloting has occurred under the watchful eye of neo-Nazi storm troopers patrolling government offices. And, according to the Post, the Russian government is unhinged to detect “dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods.”

The New York Times editorial page was only slightly less celebratory, proclaiming: “The venal president of Ukraine is on the run and the bloodshed has stopped, but it is far too early to celebrate or to claim that the West has ‘won’ or that Russia has ‘lost.’ One incontrovertible lesson from the events in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is that the deeply divided country will have to contend with dangerous problems that could reverberate beyond its borders.”

There has been, of course, a long and inglorious history of the U.S. government supporting the overthrow of elected governments: Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and others. After Yanukovych, the next target of these U.S.-embraced “democratic” coups looks to be Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

In these cases, it is typical for the mainstream U.S. news media to obsess over perceived flaws in the ousted leaders. On Wednesday, for instance, the New York Times made much of an unfinished presidential palace in Ukraine, calling it “a fugitive leader’s folly.” The idea seems to be to cement in the minds of impressionable Americans that it is okay for the U.S. government to support the overthrow of democratically elected presidents if they have flaws.

The outcomes for the people of these countries that are “saved” from their imperfect leaders, however, often tend to be quite ugly. Usually, they experience long periods of brutal repression at the hands of dictators, but that typically happens outside the frame of the U.S. news media’s focus or interest. Those unhappy countries fade from view almost as quickly as they were thrust to center stage, next to the demonization of their elected leaders.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine

Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

NOVANEWS

A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct a counter-measure wash down on the flight deck to remove potential radiation contamination while operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance in support of Operation Tomodachi, March 22, 2011. Picture taken March 22, 2011.

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.

The Reagan had joined several other U.S. ships in Operation Tomodachi (“Friendship”) to aid victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami. Photographic evidence and first-person testimony confirms that on March 12, 2011 the ship was within two miles of FukushimaDai’ichi as the reactors there began to melt and explode.

In the midst of a snow storm, deck hands were enveloped in a warm cloud that came with a metallic taste. Sailors testify that the Reagan’s 5,500-member crew was told over the ship’s intercom to avoid drinking or bathing in desalinized water drawn from a radioactive sea. The huge carrier quickly ceased its humanitarian efforts and sailed 100 miles out to sea, where newly published internal Navy communications confirm it was still taking serious doses of radioactive fallout.

Scores of sailors from the Reagan and other ships stationed nearby now report a wide range of ailments reminiscent of those documented downwind from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific and Nevada, and at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. A similar metallic taste was described by pilots who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and by central Pennsylvanians downwind of Three Mile Island. Some parts of the atolls downwind from the South Pacific bomb tests remain uninhabitable six decades later.

Among the 81 plaintiffs in the federal class action are a sailor who was pregnant during the mission, and her “Baby A.G.,” born that October with multiple genetic mutations.

Officially, Tepco and the Navy say the dose levels were safe.

But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and published in Japan Focus, Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.

Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings “compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”

On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.

Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in the Japan Focus article as saying:

At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).

The transcript then contains discussion of health impacts that could come within a matter of “10 hours. It’s a thyroid issue.”

Tepco and the Navy contend the Reagan did not receive a high enough dose to warrant serious concern. But Japan, South Korea and Guam deemed the carrier too radioactive to enter their ports. Stock photographs show sailors working en masse to scrub the ship down.

The $4.3 billion boat is now docked in San Diego. Critics question whether it belongs there at all. Attempts to decontaminate U.S. ships irradiated during the Pacific nuclear bombs tests from 1946-1963 proved fruitless. Hundreds of sailors were exposed to heavy doses of radiation, but some ships had to be sunk anyway.

Leaks at the Fukushima site continue to worsen. Despite its denials, Tepco recently admitted it had underestimated certain radiation releases by a factor of 500 percent. A new report indicates that particles of radioactive Cesium 134 from Fukushima have been detected in the ocean off the west coast of North America.

Global concerns continue to rise about Fukushima’s on-going crises with liquid leaks, the troubled removal of radioactive fuel rods, the search for three missing melted cores, organized crime influence at the site and much more. The flow of information has been seriously darkened by the pro-nuclear Abe Administration’s State Secrets Act, which imposes major penalties on those who might report what happens at Fukushima.

But if this new evidence holds true, it means that the Navy knew the Ronald Reagan was being plastered with serious radioactive fallout and it casts the accident in a light even more sinister than previously believed.

The stricken sailors are barred from suing the Navy, and their case against Tepco will depend on a series of complex international challenges.

But one thing is certain: neither they nor the global community have been getting anything near the full truth about Fukushima.

Posted in USA, JapanComments Off on Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

In Crimea, Pro-Russian Dissent Exposes Ukraine Complexities

NOVANEWS

Armed men storm parliament building as those opposed to ‘coup’ in Kiev raise their voice… and the stakes

– Jon Queally

A Pro-Russia activist gives participants in the protest outside Crimea’s parliament building Russian patriotic ‘St George’ ribbons on 27 February 2014. (Photograph: Arthur Shwartz/EPA)As ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has reportedly surfaced in Russia, Crimean residents opposed to his ouster and the interim government taking shape in the western capital city of Kiev are rising up in opposition to what they call a ‘coup’ orchestrated by anti-democratic elements, western interference, and neo-fascists.

On Thursday morning, armed men stormed the Crimean parliament building in the city of Simferopol. After seizing the adminstrative buildings a Russian flag was raised and large crowds were reported gathering outside, voicing pro-Russian sentiments and decrying the ouster of the democratically-elected Yanukovych.

Harriet Salem, reporting for the Guardian in Simferopol, said pro-Russian supporters gathered to show support for the gunmen who seized the parliament buildings. She said:

The police have left the outside of the buildings and a pro-Russian leader gave a speech, which was shown on TV, mobilising people to come to the parliament. There are a lot of Russian flags, about 100 people outside and more and more arriving.

Later, the Guardian, which continues its live coverage here, updated their reporting to say the crowd had grown to more than 1,000 people and was still increasing.

As this tweet from ITV foreign editor James Mates shows:

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, according to Reuters, called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a “very dangerous game”.

“This is a drastic step, and I’m warning those who did this and those who allowed them to do this, because this is how regional conflicts begin,” he told a news conference.

Meanwhile, separate news reports indicated Yanukovych, who has not been seen since last weekend when he fled Kiev and was last spotted on the Crimean peninsula, is now in Russia.

According to the Associated Press:

A Russian official is quoted as saying that Moscow has accepted the plea of fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who had asked for protection.

Three Russian news agencies quoted the unnamed official saying that Yanukovych’s request for protection “was satisfied on the territory of Russia.”

Yanukovych, who fled from Ukraine’s capital Kiev last week, said in the Thursday statement that he still considers himself to be the legitimate leader.

In Kiev, the latest news was that Arseniy Yatseniuk, a leader member of the opposition coalition that ousted Yanukovych, has been appointed as Ukraine’s new prime minister by the interim government. And fellow opposition leader, Vitali Klitschko, has said he will stand for presidential elections set by the opposition forces that have now assumed control.

Lastly, as events unfold and many continue to criticize western media outlets for mischaracterizing or over-simplifying the events in Ukraine, long-time investigative journalist Robert Parry writes that the mainstream press in the U.S. has followed a familiar and troubling pattern with its coverage:

Though the U.S. news media did show scenes of [the violent melees that led to his ouster], the U.S. press almost universally blamed [the violence] Yanukovych – and took almost gleeful pleasure as his elected government collapsed and was replaced by thuggish right-wing militias “guarding” government buildings.

With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws often unanimously, as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene. Amazingly, the U.S. news media treated all this as uplifting, a popular uprising against a tyrant, not a case of a coup government operating in collusion with violent extremists.

In the upside-down world that has become the U.S. news media, the democratically elected president was a dictator and the coup makers who overthrew the popularly chosen leader were “pro-democracy” activists.

What events now unfolding in Crimea seem to represent, is that Ukrainians there are also willing to pick up arms in order to defend their sense of what their country should be. What happens next has become a guessing games with enormous implications.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on In Crimea, Pro-Russian Dissent Exposes Ukraine Complexities

Terrorism with a “Human Face”: Syria Al Qaeda “Freedom Fighters” are “Not Killing Civilians”

NOVANEWS
Global Research

The attacks by opposition forces largely integrated by Al Qaeda terrorists can no longer be denied.

What is now occurring is a re-branding of the various terrorist formations covertly support by Western intelligence.

The latest slur of media disinformation consists in providing a “human face” to Al Qaeda.

While the media acknowledges that the Al Nusrah front is integrated by Al Qaeda affiliated rebels, the Islamist rebels affiliated with the New Islamic Front –which has received Washington’s ascent– are now portrayed as “freedom fighters” involved strictly in para-military operations.

Media Fabrications

According to the media reports:

1. The opposition rebels are predominantly Syrian nationals.

2. They are not targeting innocent civilians.

3. They are acting in a responsible fashion. They are no longer involved in terrorist acts. They are targeting government forces and the pro-government National Defense Force militia, set up in towns and villages across Syria.

The attack on an Alawite village in the province of Hama

A Reuters report pertaining to a recent rebel attack on an Alawite village in the province of Hama suggests that civilians deaths are few in number, largely the result of “collateral damage”, attributable to “neglect” pertaining to the government evacuation programs from the areas of combat.

Read carefully (emphasis added). The Reuters report casually denies the atrocities committed by US-NATO-Saudi sponsored terrorists:

Islamist fighters battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces seized control of an Alawite village in the central province of Hama on Sunday, part of an offensive to try to cut off supply routes from Damascus to the north of the country.

The report denies, despite ample evidence, that the “freedom fighters” killed civilians. Detailed government data on civilian casualties are dismissed;

But the government said the dead were mainly women and children and accused the fighters of committing a massacre on the eve of the resumption of peace talks in Geneva.”

Reuters prefers to quote the “evidence” provided by the fake UK based Syrian Observatory. Those killed were part of the government’s militia forces:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the Islamists killed 25 people in the village of Maan, mainly from a pro-Assad National Defence Force militia.

Residents of Maan, around 5 miles east of Syria’s main north-south highway, are from the same Alawite minority as the Assad family which has ruled Syria for the last four decades.

The Observatory said most women and children had been evacuated from the village before it was taken over.

(Reuters report Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2014

The “freedom fighters” are “overwhelmingly” Syrian national

The Reuters report fails to acknowledge something which is amply documented by media reports and official data: most of the rebels are mercenaries recruited in Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, not to mention several European countries including Britain and France.

The “freedom fighters” are “overwhelmingly” Syrian nationals according to Reuters:

Rebels fighting to overthrow Assad are overwhelmingly from the country’s Sunni Muslim majority, backed by Islamist and jihadi fighters from across the Islamic world.

“Video footage released on Sunday showed a rebel fighter performing Muslim prayers on top of a municipal building after the seizure of Maan, one of several sites in Hama targeted by the rebels in recent days. Another video showed the dead body of a pro-Assad fighter.

The Observatory said most women and children had been evacuated from the village before it was taken over.

(Reuters report Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2014

Yarmouk: The Palestinian Urban Suburb

A BBC report pertaining to the Palestinian Yarmouk, urban suburb of Damascus, sustains the legend of opposition “activists” and “freedom fighters” coming to the rescue of Palestinians:

The situation has grown desperate since last summer when the Syrian army blocked regular supplies to the camp in an attempt to force out rebels [Al Qaeda terrorists supported by US-NATO] holed up inside.

Activists’ videos and photographs have shown little children crying in hunger and with visible signs of malnutrition. Residents told the BBC that recently there have been about 100 deaths from starvation.

Palestinians are evacuated from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, on February 2, 2014 (photo credit: UNRWA/AFP)

The strategy of the Al Qaeda rebels advised by Western and Israeli Special Forces has been to block the supply routes of food and essential commodities. And then the media comes in and blames the government:

“Babies also died because there was no milk. Their mothers couldn’t breastfeed them because they were sick and undernourished.”

Palestinians in Yarmouk say they have resorted to eating boiled herbs and plants found growing near their homes.

The insinuation is that government forces –which have acted in support of the Palestinians– are responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk.

At the same time, the BBC refutes its own lies. It acknowledges that the Syrian authorities supported the Palestinians from the very outset:

The unofficial camp was set up as a home for refugees who left or were forced from their original homes because of the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel.

Although the Syrian authorities did not give citizenship to refugees, they had full access to employment and social services. Many say they had relatively good lives compared to their counterparts in other Arab countries.

Yet the BBC in its coverage of Yarmouk, insinuates that the terrorists integrated by Western advisers had the support of the Palestinians against the Syrian government and that ultimately the “freedom fighters” allowed the supply routes to be opened to the United Nations relief programs led by the UNRWA:

Armed rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad moved into the camp and found support among some Palestinian groups.

After months of negotiations, a deal was struck at the end of last year between the Syrian authorities and Palestinian representatives to allow food to be delivered to the camp. BBC, February 10, 2014

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Terrorism with a “Human Face”: Syria Al Qaeda “Freedom Fighters” are “Not Killing Civilians”

Winnie Mandela, a fierce fighter

NOVANEWS

Uncompromising force for liberation

Winnie Mandela at a funeral for 17 people massacred in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 1986
This article was published in the ‘South Africa: The Unfinished Revolution’ Edition of Liberation.
View the complete issue.

Nomzamo Winfred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela, better known as Winnie Mandela, was by Nelson Mandela’s side when he took his last breath in a Johannesburg hospital at age 95. Winnie was far more than Nelson Mandela’s wife. She always has been a force of uncompromising strength over decades in the struggle against Apartheid, holding firm despite the break-up of her family, physical torture and smear campaigns to assassinate her character.

Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 of the 38 years he was married to Winnie. While he became the “face of the movement,” during that time Winnie and many other women provided key strategic and tactical leadership for the liberation movement on a day-to-day level.

A life in the struggle

Winnie’s Xhosa name is Nomzamo, which translates to “she who tries.” At a young age, despite the Apartheid limitations on Black people’s educational opportunities, Winnie earned a degree in social work and became the first Black medical social worker in Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. Later, she earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Witwatersrand.

Winnie stayed true to her name and continued to endure, transferring her determination to succeed educationally into the South African liberation movement. She campaigned for equal rights and joined the African National Congress shortly after her marriage to Nelson Mandela. She worked to build schools and clinics for African people in the region.

While Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Winnie was exiled, jailed and tortured — but unbowed.

While Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Winnie was exiled to the remote town of Branford for many years and confined there except for occasional visits to see her husband. In 1969, she was jailed in Pretoria Central Prison and placed under solitary confinement, where she was tortured and lived under the worst of prison conditions for 18 months. Pretoria was an especially brutal prison. It was said that the prison authorities executed up to seven people a day during this time.

She remained outspoken and unapologetic in her attack on white supremacy. In 1986, she refused to dissociate herself from “necklacing,” the practice of popular justice by which the oppressed of South Africa executed police informants and other enemies of the movement with tires and gasoline.

Moderate elements of the national liberation struggle often viewed Winnie Mandela as a political liability because of her radicalism. On the other side, many fighters in South Africa and activists worldwide were inspired by her uncompromising efforts, and began to follow her political statements closely.

Winnie was the First Lady of South Africa when Nelson became president in 1994, after the defeat of the white minority regime. During this period, she functioned as the Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.

Her marriage to Nelson Mandela ended on controversial terms, and she briefly stepped back from the national spotlight. However, even after the famous divorce, she was re-elected president of the Women’s League of the African National Congress. Winnie later fully returned to politics. She remains a significant political figure today, as both a member of Parliament and the ANC National Executive Committee.

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South Africa and the continental struggle for socialism

NOVANEWS

International connections in the fight against Apartheid

The struggle against Apartheid was one front in the f ight to overcome colonialism and white supremacy across Africa.
This article was published in the ‘South Africa: The Unfinished Revolution’ Edition of Liberation.
View the complete issue.

South Africa has long been portrayed as a unique case of colonialism and racial oppression because it was governed for decades by the formal rules of “Apartheid.” But, for revolutionaries in South Africa and across the continent, the struggle, despite its unique characteristics, was a key component of the broader wave of African liberation.

Common enemies, common solutions

The transatlantic slave trade, the subsequent colonial rule by Western European powers and the formalized division of the continent in the 1885 Berlin Conference affected all of Africa.

The common enemies and problems facing the nations of Africa led in turn to common struggles and movements that largely embraced socialism and pan-Africanism as the way forward.

Beginning in the 1920s, communist and socialist parties were formed in all regions of Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa. In the 1940s, national liberation movements expanded against the old European colonial powers, and African socialists organized the main sectors of the populace to take action, from industrial to domestic workers, the unemployed, students, subsistence farmers and the landless.

The Organization of African Unity was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 1963, bringing together forces from across the continent. A key element of this first meeting was the establishment of a Liberation Committee aimed at providing assistance on all levels to those still struggling against colonial rule. Southern Africa was a major focus. While South Africa was not formally “colonized” by a foreign power, the Apartheid government dominated by the white settler population held its African population in a de facto colonial state.

South Africa as the tip of the spear

Because of its status as the most industrially developed country on the continent, South Africa was central to imperialist domination, and also a key link in the chain of continental revolution.

South Africa’s settler government used its economic and military power to destabilize attempts at greater African unity.

This took place in two principal ways. First, the South African government was able to weaken the socialist and progressive states in southern Africa via warfare. It assisted the racist regime in Rhodesia, sponsored reactionary forces in the region and employed full-scale military aggression in Angola, Mozambique and Namibia, which was a South African colony. Second, their economic power allowed reactionary African leaders like Côte d’Ivoire’s then-president Félix Houphouët-Boigny to posture as “negotiators” for “peaceful” resolution of the anti-Apartheid struggle.

South Africa justified this political and military destabilization work on the basis of “anti-communism,” because a majority of southern African liberation forces were socialist-oriented. This was also the great fear of the imperialists. They anticipated that the triumph over Apartheid South Africa would pave the way for socialism in the industrial and political center of the continent.

Unity needed for victory

The national liberation movements in southern Africa received strong support from African socialist states and pro-socialist governments, such as Ghana, Tanzania, Guinea, Zambia, the People’s Republic of Benin and the People’s Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, as well as countries like Libya and Nigeria.

Tanzania hosted ANC training camps as early as 1962, and in 1978 allotted spaces to create an educational facility for young people who had left the country in the wake of the Soweto uprising. Zambia served as the headquarters for each of these liberation struggles, providing safe havens for exiles and critical rear base areas for training and preparation for operations against the colonial enemy.

China, the Soviet Union, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and other nations in the socialist camp also provided support to southern African liberation struggles.

This international coordination among African forces and the socialist camp bore fruit in days of mass protest, mass mobilizations of civil disobedience in the townships of South Africa in the 1980s and the decisive Cuban contribution to the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, Angola. This battle safeguarded the sovereignty of Angola and hastened the independence of Namibia, as well as the release of Nelson Mandela and other senior leaders of the national liberation movement.

China’s abandonment of a principled revolutionary and internationalist foreign policy, and the later overthrow of Soviet Union, were great blows for those fighting to free themselves from capitalist and imperialist domination on the African continent. This new global situation reversed the tide of revolution and damaged the trend towards pan-African unity.

More than ever, the examples of southern Africa, from the organized class struggle of South Africa to land reform in Zimbabwe, have the ability to shape struggles against neo-colonialism across Africa. As issues of land use, ethnic conflict, living standards and national sovereignty sweep across the continent, the interconnectedness of these struggles will unite Africa and lead to true liberation: Socialism.

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