Archive | December 10th, 2015

Nazi Gestapo Musta’ribeen unit arrests four children from Al-Tur

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Posted by:Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

The Musta’ribeen unit (undercover police) arrested on Thursday four children after leaving their schools in the village of Al-Tur east of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the Musta’ribeen attacked students after leaving their schools in Al-Tur and arrested four of them. The occupation forces also raided the area and heavily fired tear-gas in the area.

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Palestine: subject to Nazi beating and being critically injured

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Nazi Magistrate judge decided on Thursday night to release the Jerusalemite injured child Adham Fayez Obeidat (14 years) from the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber.

Amjad Abu Asab, head of Jerusalemites detainees and prisoners families committee, explained that Adham was arrested on 17/11/2015 by the Nazi Gestapo Musta’ribeen unit (undercover police) while heading to school in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan. He was subject to severe beating which required him to be transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital (by the occupation forces) where he stayed for 12 days.

Abu Asab added that Obeidat suffered a critical malfunction in his heart’s muscle due to severe beating and underwent a surgery where a device to organize his heart beats was implanted.
He added that the child was then transferred to Al-Maskobyeh interrogation center where he stayed for nearly two weeks; the occupation prevented the child’s family from visiting their son under the pretext of being “detained”.

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Nazi occupation forces arrest six children and two young men

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Musta’ribeen unit (undercover police) arrested four children after leaving their schools in the village of Al-Tur east of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that Nazi Gestapo (undercover police)          Musta’ribeen attacked students after leaving their schools in Al-Tur and arrested four of them. The occupation forces also raided the area and heavily fired tear-gas in the area.

The detainees are 15-year old Amir Sami Muhyee Eddin Abulhawa, 15-year old Khader Wael Khader Abu Ghannam, 13-year old Haitham Nasim Hasan Khweis and 15-year old Ali Taha.
The Musta’ribeen unit assaulted and severely beat the children during the arrest and took them to an unknown place; they forced Abu Ghannam to sign papers without knowing what he is signing on.

The forces also arrested Daoud Yousef Mheisen and Ala’ Hasan Mohammad Diab from the village of Esawyeh; Mheisen was arrested after being detained by Nazi police under the pretext of driving without a license. He was insulted resulting in the breakout of verbal altercations between him and the police.

The forces also arrested on Thursday night 12-year old Mohammad Riyad Ajloni and his 14-year old brother Ala’.

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ leaving Homs under truce deal

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Hundreds of Syrian civilians and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi RAT’s  have begun leaving the last district they control in the city of Homs, under a ceasefire deal recently reached with the government.

They departure from al-Waer neighborhood, part of peace deal local authorities recently agreed on, started on Wednesday and is aimed at clearing the city of gunmen and weapons, Governor of Homs Talal al-Barazi announced, according to the SANA news agency.

Barazi told reporters that some 700 people – including 400 women and children and 300 fighters – would be evacuated on Wednesday.

The operation is carried out under the patronage of the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Its first stage suggests the militants will be giving up “medium and heavy weapons”. Those who want to leave the city will be allowed to keep only “light weapons,” the governor added.

“We are implementing the first stage, which will be complete at the end of next week,” Barazi said, according to AFP.

During the second stage, all of the militants willing to get back to their normal lives will have their legal status restored.

Around 2,000 Saudi Zio-Wahhabi and their families are expected to leave the city, once known as “the capital of the revolution.” Buses will take them to the rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Following the evacuation, all state institutions are expected to resume operation in Homs.

The truce mediated by the UN was reached on December 1, after two years of ongoing sporadic talks.

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California Cops Shoot Two Innocent Black Men, Then Accuse Them of Murder

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Sputnik 

Two innocent black men who were shot by Los Angeles area cops have been falsely accused of murder even though the victim was actually struck and killed by a police vehicle.

Robert Pickett, 35, and Darryl Lewis, 39, testified in federal court that they were simply going about their business in May 2011, when Officer Mike Bollinger of the Inglewood Police Department approached them with his gun drawn.

Pickett claims that Bolliger “parked his car at the corner, got out armed with his shotgun cocked, loaded and ready to fire” and shot at the two men.

“No questions asked, no weapons seen, no words offered or exchanged,” Pickett wrote in a federal complaint. “Defendant Bollinger blasted three shotgun rounds at the hapless and unarmed plaintiffs, striking them and wounding them as they sought to take cover from assault, leaving them in critical condition, bleeding face-down on the ground.”

The two men were outside the apartment complex where Lewis lived as the officer arrived alone to respond to a call of a home invasion involving two black men armed with handguns. No other information was provided about the alleged robbers.

“Without warning, without investigation, without knowledge of who was in the area, of who the suspects were or what they looked like, and in violation of all training and standard police protocol, [Bollinger] approached the apartment gate and immediately shot Mr. Lewis and Mr. Pickett,” the complaint alleges.

Pickett, who has a young son, was shot seven times, including in his head.

Lewis, a father of four, was shot in the back and three times in his legs.

As more officers arrived on the scene, the two men say it had become apparent to the police that they had the wrong guys, and that the officers set to covering it up.

An officer also struck and killed a pedestrian while rushing to the scene.

Mysteriously, stolen items from the robbery that had initially prompted the police response appeared at the scene, as well as two weapons.

“The problem for defendant Bollinger and the rest of defendant police officers was that neither plaintiff was armed; neither possessed a weapon of any kind. Likewise, neither plaintiff was in possession of any of the stolen items supposedly taken by the suspect in the robbery,” the complaint states. The robbery victims also did not name Pickett and Lewis as the people who had entered their home.

The complaint also states that the first photos from the scene “do not show any weapon nor any of the stolen items. Some of the responding officers to the scene failed to see any weapons purportedly belonging to either plaintiff. Somehow, however, two handguns appeared and stolen items appeared as well. It was determined by subsequent forensic analysis before plaintiffs’ criminal trial, that neither plaintiff was in any way connected physically with the weapons or the items.”

The men reportedly did not receive medical treatment for an hour, and the officer allegedly told them that he “he did not give a f*** that he had shot him in the head.”

Pickett and Lewis were charged with murder of the pedestrian killed by the police car, attempted murder of Bollinger, and carrying loaded firearms.

The innocent men then spent a year in jail awaiting their trial, which eventually exonerated them.

They now seek punitive damages for civil rights violations, unreasonable and excessive force, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and failure to intervene, train, supervise and discipline, Courthouse News reported.

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In The NY Times, Palestinian Dead Are Nameless Numbers

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By Barbara Erickson 

Since the beginning of December at least 10 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli security forces. Only one of these deaths has received brief mention in The New York Times; the rest have been deemed unfit to print.

During this same period, no Israelis died from Palestinian attacks, so we can assume this is the reason for the show of indifference at the Times. Israeli deaths in these circumstances usually make headlines.

The recent Palestinian victims ranged in age from 15 to 37. All but one were male, and it was the lone female, Maram Hasouna, who managed to make the news in a story about young women joining the ranks of would-be attackers during the current Palestinian uprising.

The victims include: Ma’moun Raed al-Khatib, 16; Maram Hasouna, 19; Taher Faisal Fannoun, 17; Mustafa Fadel Fannoun, 19; Abdul Rahman Wajeeh Barghouti, 27; Anas Bassam Hammad, 21; Mazin Hasan Ureiba, 37; Omar Yasser Skafi, 21;  Malek Akram Shahin, 18, and  Ihab Fathi Miswadi, 21.

Security forces claimed that nine of the victims had attempted to attack Israelis. Only one, Shahin, was killed in other circumstances—during clashes that took place when troops invaded Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem.

All of the deaths are newsworthy, but some of the fatalities involved details that add particular news value: Ureiba was a Palestinian Authority intelligence officer; Barghouti was an American citizen; and doctors reported that Shahin was shot in the head with a hollow point bullet, a weapon held to be illegal under international law. None of these factors, however, was enough to rouse the interest of the Times.

Instead, since the first of this month the newspaper has provided us with stories about wine making in Israel, the discovery of a possible ancient model of the Temple of Herod, the arrest of suspects in a fatal arson attack, a look at the risks of banning an Israeli Islamic group, the conviction of two Israeli youths in the killing of a Palestinian teen last year, the conviction of a Palestinian lawmaker and Israel’s attempt to draw Russian tourists.

The 10 who died so far this month are likely to appear as nothing more than numbers in future Times reports. As of today they have brought the total dead since Oct. 1 to at least 113. This compares with 17 Israelis.

Even in reporting this kind of data, the Times makes an effort to obscure the fact that Palestinians are suffering disproportionately at the hands of their well-armed occupiers. In a formulaic explanation for the numbers gap, the Times nearly always blames the victims entirely, saying that Palestinians were killed when they tried to attack Israelis or during violent protests.

Little or nothing will be said of the doubtful cases, in which witnesses dispute the official accounts and video evidence shows that the victims were posing no danger to troops. We can also expect that the Times will fail to mention human rights groups’ charges that a number of the victims were assassinated in extrajudicial executions.”

The Palestinian dead rarely get their due in the Times, which prefers to consign them to tally sheets. Were they to appear in full context, as human beings with histories and families, this might elicit sympathy for them and condemnation of Israel, and this cannot be allowed.

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Turkey detains & deports Russian journalists investigating ISIS oil trade reports

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RT 

Russian journalists preparing an investigative report into Ankara’s alleged involvement in the oil trade with ISIS have been detained and deported from Turkey. Moscow strongly condemned the treatment of the Rossiya 1 TV crew, demanding explanations.

“We strongly condemn the illegal actions of the Turkish authorities,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Such an attitude towards the media is absolutely unacceptable.”

On Monday, the press crew of the TV program ‘Special Correspondent’, headed by Alexander Buzaladze, were detained in southeastern Turkey by authorities in civilian clothes. The journalists were preparing an investigative report into the alleged smuggling of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) oil into Turkey.

The trouble for the Rossiya 1 TV crew started only once they arrived at the border, Buzaladze said after the deportation. He told Russian state-owned channel Vesti that while the crew worked in Istanbul and Ankara they had faced no opposition from the authorities.

But as soon as they tried to film close to the Turkish-Syrian border the crew was “blocked [by] the Turkish security forces” leaving them no time to even “get the camera out.”

The Russian crew was arrested in Hatay province bordering Syria as they were on their way to the neighboring province of Gaziantep. According to Buzaladze, there the journalists wanted to film “the border itself, military hardware, people that work at the border, and the border crossing.”

Turkish authorities were first of all concerned “whether we had a camera,” Buzaladze says.

“The first thing they wanted to know [was] if we had a camera. The camera was left in the luggage compartment, locked in a case. Despite this, they took our documents, we were taken to the police station, later we were photographed, fingerprinted, brought to the doctor for a medical examination to confirm that we are in a sane state, and that we are alive and well,” the journalist said.

The crew was later informed by the Turkish side that they were being deported. At the same time, authorities failed to explain the reason behind their move, Buzaladedze notes. The Russian journalists were escorted by police to the airport and put on a plane back to Russia.

Throughout the entire incident the Turkish authorities refused to cooperate with Russian diplomats on the ground. The Russian Foreign Ministry wants to know the real reasons behind the detention of the Rossiya 1 crew, and remains curious as to what “rules” were violated by the Russian journalists.

“The Turkish authorities refused to give explanations to representatives of the Russian Embassy in Turkey who got in touch with the crew shortly after its detention,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The group was deported apparently under the pretext of its members having violated laws for foreign journalists working in Turkey.

The lack of a clear explanation forces the Ministry to speculate that the journalistic investigation might have uncovered something which Turkey would rather not share with the world in light of Turkish-Russian tensions following the shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber last month.

“One gets the impression that Ankara is scared that correspondents of the Rossiya 1 TV channel may throw a spotlight on facts about the illegal activities carried out in the Turkish-Syrian border area [that] the Turkish government would prefer to keep in the shadow[s],” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

According to Rossiya 1 TV channel, the journalists arrived in Turkey on an assignment “to make a package on what is actually happening on the border between Turkey and Syria, and to clarify the situation with the traffic across the border of militants and illegal oil tank trucks.”

The scandal over alleged oil profiteering on the part of Turkey follows the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey in Syrian airspace amid the ongoing campaign against ISIS oil infrastructure on the Syria-Turkey border. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the act as “a stab in the back” by terrorist supporters and accused Turkey of involvement in the illegal oil deals with IS.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry commissioner for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said via Twitter that the latest incident shows that the Turkish authorities are ignoring international obligations with respect to the protection of journalists. Dolgov also called for international condemnation of the incident, including by the OSCE.

Overall, the latest incident, according to the ministry, is just part of the ongoing trend by the Turkish authorities to crack down on freedom of speech in the country.

“The international organizations, including the OSCE, have repeatedly drawn [the] attention of the world public to this. In this regard, the detention of the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet Can Dundar and the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul in late November over a report about the involvement of the Turkish intelligence agencies in the supplies of weapons to militants in Syria is indicative in this respect,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “The journalists were charged with ‘espionage, disclosure of state secrets and terrorism.’ They are facing life in prison.”

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Oscar-nominated Ukraine documentary distorts story of Maidan

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By Ivan Katchanovski 

The documentary film Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom has been shortlisted for Oscar in the documentary category. This film presents a typical version of the Maidan massacre and other cases of political violence during the ‘Euromaidan’ movement in Ukraine in late 2013, early 2014. All the cases of violence directed against Euromaidan are attributed to government forces and to agents provocateurs, while all revelations and videos of pro-Maidan snipers are ignored or edited out.

But this film also includes a previously undisclosed brief video in which a round of an automatic gunfire is heard on Maidan Square shortly before all police units fled the square on February 20, 2014 after suffering multiple casualties.

The film provides another illustration of international politics affecting representation and misrepresentation of foreign countries in Hollywood films. My study of all American, Canadian, and British movies depicting post-communist countries shows that Ukraine and Ukrainians were portrayed very negatively when Ukraine was not a U.S. ally. But the portrayal become relatively more positive after the pro-Western turn following the ‘Orange Revolution’ or 2004-05.

Similarly, when the Soviet Union was an ally of the U.S. during World War II, Mission to Moscow (1943) favorably presented Stalin and show trials during the Great Terror, and The North Star (1943) depicted in positive portrayals the anti-Nazi resistance by Ukrainian villagers and Soviet collectivization. These movies distorted the history of the Soviet mass terror and ignored the artificial famine in Ukraine, which followed the Soviet collectivization of agriculture and resulted in several million deaths in the Soviet Union.

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My family’s dilemma over Syria

I understand my mother’s suspicion of foreign interference in the Arab world, but I still believe in the need for Assad to go
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his sniper rifle in Aleppo
 
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires his sniper rifle from an abandoned family home in Aleppo. Photograph: Goran Tomasevic/REUTERS

The conflict in Syria has divided Syrian families, mine included. While my mother and I usually see eye to eye on Arab politics, Syria has caused heated debate between us. Our differences are not along the black and white lines of pro- or anti-regime, as many prefer to view the issue, but revolve around the likely after effects.

My mother’s concerns stem from a deep-seated suspicion of foreign (particularly western) interference in the Arab world – a suspicion validated by history – and the fact that her family belongs to two of Syria’s numerous minorities: Christians and Armenians.

I grew up on heartwarming stories of my mother being raised in a tolerant, secular society, where people of all faiths intermingled freely and happily. She speaks with nostalgia of helping her Jewish neighbour in Aleppo during the Sabbath, and of her marriage to my late father – a Muslim – during which religion was never an issue between them, or their families. These fond memories, and the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict, shape her views.

In a cruel twist of fate, my relatives in Aleppo – proud Syrians – are now forced to flee their homeland, the country that gave their parents’ and grandparents’ generations hospitality and sanctuary from Ottoman Turkish forces. In our regular phone calls they tell us of terrifying experiences that paint a picture of growing extremism that is under-represented in media coverage.

My mother’s concerns over sectarianism were first raised during George Bush’s “war on terror”, which she blames for intentionally radicalising people of all faiths and ethnicities across the Middle East to enable a policy of divide and rule, including in Syria, which she has visited annually ever since she left the country decades ago.

To her, Syria’s revolution has accelerated an existing trend because those powers that have traditionally espoused sectarianism in the region are intimately involved, under the false guise of democracy and human rights. She believes Syria is headed for the type of vicious civil war seen in neighbouring Iraq just a few years ago, and in neighbouring Lebanon before that.

I understand and sympathise with most of her views, and share her concerns about developments in Syria, particularly in the light of the difficulties that more homogenous Arab societies have recently faced when overthrowing their dictators.

Despite all that, though, I still firmly believe in the need for Bashar al-Assad and his regime to go. There is simply no feasible or acceptable scenario whereby he and his party can continue their decades-old, repressive, totalitarian rule.

Bashar may be secular but, like his late Iraqi counterpart Saddam Hussein, he is an equal opportunities oppressor, and the rich history of coexistence in both countries was not created by the Ba’ath parties. Indeed, my mother’s inclusive childhood predates the Assad dynasty.

If a post-Assad Syria is to avoid the abyss of civil war, under no circumstances should minority rights be hindered. However, while it must be acknowledged that support for Assad is not limited to minorities, and opposition to him does not come solely from the Sunni Muslim majority, there are those who resent what they see as minorities’ complicity or silence regarding his crackdown.

At the same time, one cannot ensure minority rights by repressing the majority (as has happened to Syria’s Sunnis) – that, too, is a sure way to civil war. So it is incumbent on the opposition to reassure the minorities, and incumbent on minorities to stand with their revolutionary compatriots. Basically, the rights of all should be considered, respected, and treated as equal.

Unfortunately, the opposition has been divided from the outset and has failed to come up with a unified vision for post-Assad Syria. Continued defections from the government and army, while boosting opposition morale, have also raised suspicions about the motives of some recent defectors, and added to the ranks of those with differing agendas and backers seeking possible leadership roles.

Furthermore, the Free Syrian Army has become something of a franchise that covers all manner of fighters without a unified command and control structure. This has led to credible reports of human rights abuses and possible war crimes, such as the execution of Assad loyalists and the targeting of state media.

If opposition tactics become no better than those of the regime, the legitimate goals and aspirations of the revolution will be lost, morally and practically.

The regime has cynically played on sectarian fears to maintain its rule, with some in the opposition at times taking the bait.

Assad’s brutal reaction to the revolution made its militarisation inevitable: with the continued killings of peaceful protesters, calls for reform became demands for regime change, those who preferred a peaceful transition saw the need to defend themselves, and an insistence against foreign help turned into pleas for assistance.

The crisis in Syria has gained a sinister momentum that the best of intentions may no longer be able to stop. It is high time to end the “finger-pointing and name-calling” that caused Kofi Annan to resign as the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, and to acknowledge that there is no single narrative to the conflict.

Just as the disagreements in my own family will never cause animosity between us, so too must differences in wider Syrian society be treated as among one family. Of course this is easier said than done under the present circumstances, but it must be done – the very social fabric of the country is at stake. What we need is reflection and sanity on all sides before it is too late.

To use the analogy of the Middle East as a playground for outside powers, the situation in Syria is akin to onlookers egging on two people to fight. Syrians must keep in mind that it is those who are fighting, not those encouraging them, who will bear the scars.

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Ignoring Canada’s real history in Uganda very poor scholarship

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By Yves Engler 

A recent Globe and Mail article (reprinted on Rabble.ca) by Gerald Caplan detailing Canadian relations with Uganda made me mad.

Why?

It was not so much for what’s in the article, but rather what it ignores, which is reality. Any progressive author writing about Canada’s foreign affairs betrays his readers if he ignores the bad this country has done and feeds the benevolent Canadian foreign-policy myth.

Canadians have had ties to Uganda for many decades”, writes Caplan, a self-described “Africa scholar” citing the establishment of diplomatic relations soon after independence. He also mentions many Canadians who “found their way to the country” amidst instability and the federal government taking in Asians expelled by Idi Amin. The former NDP strategist points to some private Canadian aid initiatives in the country and details a Canadian lawyer’s contribution to a suit over the Ugandan government’s failure to provide basic maternal health services, which may violate the Constitution.

But, Caplan completely ignores the unsavory – and much more consequential – role Canada has played in the East African country.

For example, he could have at least mentioned this country’s role during the “scramble for Africa” when Canadians actively participated in subjugating various peoples and stealing their land. This is necessary to acknowledge if we are ever to build a decent foreign policy.

In the late 1800s a number of Canadian military men helped survey possible rail routes from the East African Coast to Lake Victoria Nyanza on the border between modern Uganda and Kenya. The objective was to strengthen Britain’s grip over recalcitrant indigenous groups and to better integrate the area into the Empire’s North East Africa-India corridor.

Beginning in 1913 dozens of Canadian missionaries helped the colonial authority penetrate Ugandan societies and undermine indigenous customs. The preeminent figure was John Forbes who was a bishop and coadjutor vicar apostolic, making him second in charge of over 30 mission posts in Uganda. A 1929 biography describes his “good relations” with British colonial authorities and the “important services Forbes rendered the authorities of the Protectorate.”

In 1918 Forbes participated in a major conference in the colony, organized by Governor Robert Coryndon in the hopes of spurring indigenous wage work. The Vaudreuil, Québec, native wrote home that “it’s a big question. The European planters in our area, who cultivate coffee, cotton and rubber need workers for their exploitation. But the workforce is rare. Our Negroes are happy to eat bananas and with a few bits of cotton or bark for clothes, are not excited to put themselves at the service of the planters and work all day for a meager salary.”

British officials subsidized the White Fathers schools as part of a bid to expand the indigenous workforce.

Canadians were also part of the British colonial authority. Royal Military College of Canada graduate Godfrey Rhodes became chief engineer and general manager of Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours in 1928. The Victoria, BC, native was in Uganda for over a decade and was followed by Walter Bazley, a colonial administrator in Bunyoro from 1950 to 1963 (after Ugandan independence, Bazley joined the Canadian public service).

Throughout British rule Ottawa recognized London’s authority over Uganda. After fighting in the 1898 – 1902 Boer War Henry Rivington Poussette was appointed Canada’s first trade commissioner in Africa with “jurisdiction extending from the Cape to the Zambesi, including Uganda.”

Poussette and future trade representatives helped Canadian companies profit from European rule in Africa. By independence Toronto-based Bata shoes controlled most of the footwear market in Uganda while a decade before the end of British rule Falconbridge acquired a 70% stake in the Kilembe copper-cobalt mine in western Uganda. In a joint partnership with the London controlled Colonial Development Corporation, the Toronto company’s highly profitable mine produced more than $250 million ($1 billion today) worth of copper yet paid no income tax until its capital was fully recovered in 1965. In 1968, post-independence leader Milton Obote increased the country’s copper export tax and then moved to gain majority control of the mine. Falconbridge quickly stripped out $6 million in special dividend payments and threatened to withdraw its management from the country.

Falconbridge: Portrait of a Canadian Mining Multinational explains:

Although Kilembe Copper was both profitable and socially important in the Ugandan economy, this did not prevent the Falconbridge group from withdrawing capital as rapidly as possible just before president Obote forced it to sell Uganda a controlling interest in 1970. The implication was that its management team would be withdrawn entirely if the government did not restore Falconbridge’s majority ownership. Dislocation in the lives of Ugandan people was a price the company seemed willing to pay in this tug-of-war over the profits from Uganda’s resources.

The Kilembe mine also contaminated Elizabeth National Park and tailings seeped into Lake George, near Uganda’s western border with the Congo.

Upon taking office, General Idi Amin returned control of the Kilembe mine to Falconbridge. (This was maintained for several years, after which Amin returned the mine to his government.) He had managed to overthrow Obote’s government in January 1971 with the aid of Britain, Israel and the US. A British Foreign Office memo noted that Obote’s nationalizations, which also included Bata, had “serious implications for British business in Uganda and Africa generally… other countries will be tempted to try and get away with similar measures with more damaging consequences for British investment and trade.”

While this country’s “Africa scholars” have largely ignored Canada’s position towards Amin’s rise to power, the available documentation suggests Ottawa passively supported the putsch. On three occasions during the early days of the coup (between January 26 and February 3, 1971) the Pierre Trudeau government responded to inquiries from opposition MPs about developments in Uganda and whether Canada would grant diplomatic recognition to the new regime. Within a week of Obote’s ouster, both External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp and Prime Minister Trudeau passed up these opportunities to denounce Amin’s usurpation of power. They remained silent as Amin suspended various provisions of the Ugandan Constitution and declared himself President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Army Chief of Staff and Chief of Air Staff. They failed to condemn a leader, now infamous, for plunging the nation into a torrent of violence.

In African Pearls and Poisons: Idi Amin’s Uganda; Kenya; Zaire’s Pygmies, Alberta bureaucrat Leo Louis Jacques describes a conversation he had with the CIDA liaison officer in Uganda who facilitated his 1971-73 appointment to the Uganda College of Commerce. Asked whether the change in government would affect his CIDA-funded position, the aid agency’s liaison officer in Uganda, Catrina Porter, answered Jacques thusly: “‘Yes, there was a coup on January 25th, 1971 and it was a move that promises to be an improvement. The new administration favours Democracy and Western Civilization’s Democracy, while the former one favoured the Communists.’ I [Jacques] said, ‘I understand the present government is being run by the Ugandan army under the control of a General named Idi Amin Dada. What is he like?’ Porter said ‘General Amin’s gone on record as saying he loves Canada and the Commonwealth. He also vowed that his country of Uganda would have democratic elections soon. The British and Americans have recognized him as the Ugandan government and so do we.’”

Two years after the coup the Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi visited to ask Amin to reverse his plan to nationalize Bata shoes. After the meeting, the High Commissioner cabled Ottawa that he was largely successful with Bata and also mentioned that “KILEMBE MINES (70 PERCENT FALCONBRIDGE OWNED) IS DOING WELL.”

But, just in case you think it’s just our unsavoury history that Caplan ignores, there’s more. He also also ignores more recent developments such as SNC Lavalin’s alleged bribery in the country, Montréal-based Canarail’s contribution to a disastrous World Bank sponsored privatization of the Kenya and Uganda railway systems or Ottawa’s “logistical support and some funding for the Uganda led [military] force” dispatched to Somalia to do Washington’s dirty work.

Why did this article make me so mad? Because it’s part of a pattern of the social democratic Left ignoring how Canadian corporations and governments impoverish the Global South. Too often social democrat intellectuals dim, rather than enlighten, progressives’ understanding of Canada’s role in the world.

To preserve his position at the Globe and Mail and CBC Caplan may feel he needs to feed the benevolent Canadian foreign-policy myth. But, he should at least show some decency and spare Rabble.ca from this nonsense.

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