Archive | February 17th, 2016

Calls for Investigating Circumstances of Detainee’s Death in Deir al-Balah Hamas Investigation Service Facility

NOVANEWS
PCHR Calls for Investigating Circumstances of Detainee’s Death in Deir al-Balah Investigation Service Facility

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to initiate an investigation in the death of the detainee Salem Eid (40) in Deir al-Balah Investigation Service facility yesterday, few hours after he was arrested, and to publish the investigation results.

According to information obtained by PCHR from the victim’s family, at approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 17 February 2016, the family of Ashraf Salem Eid (40) was informed of Ashraf’s death while he was detained in Deir al-Balah Investigation Service facility and the corpse was transported to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Monir Salem Eid (44), the victim’s brother, said to a PCHR’s fieldworker that his brother was summoned on Monday, 15 February 2016, to refer to Deir al-Balah Criminal Investigation Service to be questioned on grounds of the murder of his uncle Nawaf Selmi Eid on the previous day inside his apartment in al-Zawayda area in the central Gaza Strip.

Ashraf was released on the same day, but on the next day morning, 16 February 2016, he was summoned again for interrogation. Monir added that he tried to visit his brother at Deir al-Balah Investigation Service facility, but he was told that his brother was not there. In addition, at 01:00 yesterday, one of his relatives told him that his brother was dead and the corpse was in al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. When Monir saw the corpse of his brother in the morgue, he noticed blue signs on the wrists.

Chief of the Central Gaza Strip Police said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Eid was suffering from diabetes, but he sustained circulatory collapse while being detained in the facility. Therefore, he was transported by an ambulance to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, but he died on his way to the hospital. The victim’s family denied that Ashraf was suffering from diabetes, they refused to receive and anatomize the corpse unless by an unbiased doctor.

 

In light of the above, PCHR:

1.      Calls upon the Attorney General and the Ministry of Interior in Gaza to initiate an investigation in the death of the detainee Salem Eid and publish the investigation results; and

2.      Stresses that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for the lives of all prisoners and detainees inside the detention facilities; therefore, the PA is responsible for treating them in dignity, including offering medical care, according to the 1998 Correction and Rehabilitation Centers’ Law

 

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The creation of Islamophobia in Western imperialist countries

NOVANEWS

www.lalkar.org

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There has been a huge increase in violence and discrimination against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in France since the attack on Paris by Belgian Muslim terrorists. The fact that the increase is huge is in itself hardly surprising as a hatred of Muslims, especially black and Arabic Muslims, in France was already at a very high level among the French masses, the media and particularly the government. Many point to the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher supermarket in January of 2015 (after those attacks, a 281 percent rise in anti-Muslim incidents was registered in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the first quarter of the previous year, according to the National Observatory Against Islamophobia), followed by the attack on an American-owned chemical factory near Lyon in June 2015, as the reason for the high level of anti-Islamic violence and discrimination – but of course those attacks didn’t spring from nowhere.

France is an old imperialist power whose history is steeped in invasion, oppression and massacre within Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. The French Foreign Legion didn’t after all exist primarily as a refuge for the scum of Europe! France fought a brutal and murderous war against the Algerian people in the 1950s and 1960s to keep that country chained to France, and during the subsequent civil war, the conflict often spilled out back home. Nor can its present activities in Africa and the Middle East be seen as anything less than oppression for the sake of French imperialism. In January 2013, France launched an operation in Mali which then encompassed neighbouring African states. Several thousand French troops continue operations there, with airstrikes that regularly kill indiscriminately. Furthermore, since 2014, France has been part of the so-called anti-Isis coalition in Iraq; while this year it widened its military operations to include airstrikes on Syrian territory, on the excuse of the Paris terror attacks.

The treatment of immigrants and French people of African and Middle Eastern descent in France has always been at variance with the claimed national ideology of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity!’ In 2005 in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, one of the country’s most deprived areas, two young men of African descent were chased by police, wrongly it later emerged, to the point where the youths ran into an electricity substation in an effort to evade the beating or possible death that would follow their being caught. The very least that these two frightened young lads could expect was being fitted up for some crime or other with the jail time that follows. In the end the entering of the substation itself sealed their fate and they were both fatally electrocuted. There followed riots among the oppressed black (mainly Muslim) communities across France who could relate only too well to the injustice and racism that led to the young men’s deaths.

In a report on hate crimes in 2008, Human Rights First, claimed that ” In France, according to official statistics, people of North African origin-largely of Muslim background-are the object of the majority of hate crimes classified as ‘racist’ by the authorities. One French NGO, the Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France, reported a 20 percent rise in hate-motivated acts (including violent incidents) against Muslims: in 2007, there were 65 such acts, compared with 54 and 53 incidents in 2006 and 2005, respectively. 

In 2004 France passed a law that reasserted the right of the government to exclude “conspicuous” religious symbols such as crosses, skullcaps and headscarves from public schools. In 2011 the law was extended to ban the wearing of full-face veils inall public places, not just schools. The full-face veil is not worn universally by Muslim women and no one who does not want to wear one should have to. However, it should also be the case that what is a religious/cultural piece of clothing should not be banned from use by those who do want to wear one. The cowl of many types of Christian nun can be just as unrevealing, never mind the face altering properties of make-up. However, such arguments apart, the whole point of the French government decision was to gather the support of the non Muslim majority behind what was essentially a slur upon Islam that somehow Muslim women whose faces were covered were ‘hiding something’ or acting illegally in some way.

Research from INSEE, France’s national statistical agency, indicates that in 2013, the unemployment rate for all immigrants was approximately 17.3%, nearly 80% higher than the non-immigrant rate of 9.7%, and descendants of immigrants from Africa have a significantly more difficult time finding work regardless of their abilities.

In May 2015 France passed a wide-reaching surveillance law intended to improve the ability of the country’s intelligence services to identify potential terrorists. These laws will initially be used against Muslim communities but as the imperialist crisis deepens all French citizens will feel the sharp end of them.

This is the background to the increased anti Muslim fear and attacks which is just as important to understand as the terrorist attacks by the brain-washed jihadi suicide squads. In fact it is this background of deprivation and discrimination that is more of a recruiting sergeant for the ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh (the name seems to change in the bourgeois press every other week) than the various so-called hate preachers. Without that never-ending oppression and discrimination how many young French Muslims would want to give their lives to ‘fight back’?

The increased attacks on Muslims in France include one that took place on 18 November when a young woman wearing a veil was attacked in Marseilles. She was leaving a metro station in the centre of the city when she was approached by a man in his 20’s who called her a terrorist, making reference to her wearing a hijab before he punched her in the neck and sliced her breast with some sort of razor.

Yasser Louati, a spokesperson for The Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), has said that he has been inundated with reports and complaints since the November terror attack including one Muslim woman saying she had been rammed by a shopping trolley, while another had been punched by a male stranger. In Nanterre, a woman with a 5-month-old baby was pushed and cursed at by an old man. Louati also said that many of the individuals who were targeted were women wearing items of clothing that marked them out as Muslims. He revealed that he had also received many calls from Muslims worrying, not without good reason, whether it was safe to send their children to school.

France’s six million-strong Muslim minority is Europe’s largest and it makes up about eight-nine percent of the population. Apart from the attacks on individuals across the country, mosques, shops and family homes too have been targeted with graffiti attacks, fire bombs and threats.

The alienation and demonisation of Muslims is sweeping the Western imperialist counties. Attacks against Muslims in London alone have more than tripled since the Paris terrorist atrocity, with the majority involving violence/harassment.

Released figures show that; the Metropolitan police claim that they had received 24 reports of Islamophobic incidents in the week ending 10 November, three days before the massacre in the French capital. That figure rose to 46 in the week ending 17 November, four days after the attacks. There was a further rise of reported attacks in the week ending 24 November, when the tally reached 76. These figures were roughly mirrored across Britain with the main targets of violence/harassment against individuals being women. After the 2005 London bombings, police reported that the rate of hate crimes in the city – mostly targeting Muslims – rose six-fold. In the USA the anti-Muslim hysteria is much the same with mosques being threatened, shot at and fire-bombed. In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, anti-Muslim crimes in the U.S. jumped 1,600 percent. In Germany fire-bombing of mosques and Muslim shops has become a regular occurrence -along with attacks on refugees, of course.

The media’s portrayal of events also helps to colour people’s perceptions of, and conclusions from, those events. Editors/journalists control the importance and substance of readers/viewers’ beliefs about the event. If we compare news coverage of the January 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and Borno, Nigeria, we can see significant variance in the overall coverage, headline style and discourse usage regarding the two events. In particular, the British and American news coverage positively framed France through detailed, sympathetic coverage and negatively framed Nigeria by overgeneralising and placing blame. Basically, people (read majorities) in imperialist countries matter more, especially when you are trying to mobilise those majority populations in those imperialist countries for war.

Donald Trump is seen as a bumptious oaf with his call to ban Muslims entering the USA while expelling those living there to ‘Muslim’ countries, but people like him are used to give voice to things that wouldn’t be said by ‘respectable’ bourgeois politicians until, of course, someone like Trump introduces it and then it’s fair game for general discussion. In Britain we have the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, announcing that he was launching the UK branch of the rightwing group Pegida. He said he would campaign to ban all Muslim immigration to the UK for five years, prevent the building of new mosques and ban the funding of mosques abroad. In France the job is being done by Robert Chardon, mayor of Venelles, a town in the south of France, who has said; “We must ban the Muslim faith in France.” He has also called for the country to remove a secularism law dating back to 1905 and to “promote the practice of the Christian faith“. Chardon’s utterances also include; ” We also need a Marshall Plan to send Muslims to countries where the religion is practiced.”

There are those who, understanding that IS/ISIS etc. is a product of imperialism and an instrument of imperialist aggression against legitimate governments in the Middle East, believe that the November terrorist attacks in Paris were a false flag event. We don’t, but either way, they served imperialism. If it had been a false flag operation, imperialism, having planned it, would make use of it to divide the working class at a time of imperialist crisis and the imposition of deep austerity measures that considerably lower working-class living standards. Equally, if, as is more likely, it was not a false flag operation, the imperialists were as ever quick to jump on it to make the same use of it as if it had been. Can we suggest that instead of trying to find evidence and argue about whether it is a false flag or not we should concentrate on the fact that our real enemy is trying to divide us further at a crucial time and that we need to alert people to that danger.

As if to prove the imperialist willingness to use any and every excuse to promote its own interests, the British government is putting forward the idea that the rules covering prosecution of armed police who shoot people should be dropped so that our wonderful policemen won’t be put off firing when confronted by nasty terrorists! And what is the justification that is being claimed for this very sinister move? The attacks on Paris! Hopefully the vast majority of people will see through this, but just in case: since 1995 a total of 55 British police officers have opened fire on and killed members of the public yet not one of them has ever faced prosecution – and in only two cases have the names of the officers been revealed.

We are not here to promote any religion but nor do we go along with the bourgeois oppression of minorities either. We must oppose anything that caused the deviation of workers, whatever their beliefs re deities, from the necessary unity that they need to defend their interests and to carry out the historic task of socialist revolution that will save our planet for future generations to live in real peace and plenty.

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Climate change conference – Imperialist hands irreversibly tied by the profit motive

NOVANEWS

www.lalkar.org

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World leaders and diplomats scrambled to a deal in Paris at the COP21 conference. Extra time was required to strike a deal, avoiding egg on the face of leaders. Hailed as historic, the deal ultimately amounts to very little.

If the deal is actually implemented, global temperatures are still set to rise by 3oCelsius above pre-industrial levels. The ambition was to keep this figure down to 1.5o Celsius. Therefore, the deal fails on its own terms. This is also above the 2 oCelsius limit given by scientists who warn against going any higher (The Guardian, 14 December 2015).

Shamefully, “Under US insistence, the 31-page agreement was explicitly crafted to exclude emissions reductions targets” (The Guardian, 13 December 2015).

The agreement was also entirely anti-democratic. With the scramble for a deal came conveniently overlapping meetings. Such a state of affairs is fine for the imperialist countries and their small army of diplomats. For small countries this meant they were effectively barred from participation ( The Guardian, 14 December 2015).

China

Much maligned by the imperialist media, China has already made giant strides in tackling climate change. The research undertaken in connection with China’s recently-published Third National Assessment Report on Climate Change revealed that temperatures in the country had risen by 0.9-1.5 degrees over the past century. This trend threatens devastation for the heavily populated coast.

With that in mind the Chinese government has already taken a raft of measures. Last year alone saw $90 billion of government investment in renewable energies. It installed an unprecedented 23 gigawatts of wind power in 2014. Consequently, coal use dropped by 4.7% last year. Furthermore, ” Greenpeace says China has shut down 18GW of old coal plants, and is likely to shut another 60GW by 2020… The latest “high efficiency low emission” (HELE) facilities cut CO2 by 25pc-33pc. ” (The Telegraph, 16 December 2015).

Additionally, up to 8 new nuclear power plants are to be built each year. This will give a total of 110 by 2030. In the first quarter of 2015 the Chinese built more solar panels than exist in all of France – while in Britain, post-COP21, our own government has announced solar subsidies are to be cut by 65%! Our government further laughed in the face of the deal by investing £175 million in dirty diesel fuels (The Guardian, 17 December 2015).

With such measures the Chinese authorities are trailblazers with regards to tackling climate change, whilst the finger-waggers lag behind.

Any casual viewer of 24 hour news would probably hold China, ‘the world’s biggest polluter’, and as the main climate change culprit. However, given the size of its population, it requires an element of sleight of hand to make such a presentation. While China is the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, it also contains the largest number of people. Indeed when we compare to China to the imperialist and developed countries, the true culprits soon emerge. The Chinese government has correctly attacked imperialism’s “simplistic narrative” (The Telegraph, 2 December 2015). For instance, figures for 2014 from the European Commission’s Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research, show that China emits 7.6 tons per capita of carbon dioxide. The United States emits a whopping 16.5 tons per capita. This means for each US citizen more than double the emissions are made than for each Chinese citizen. Qatar is responsible for an unbelievable 39.13 tons per capita. The Saudi fiefdom emits 16.8, the United Arab Emirates 21.3, Australia 17.3, Canada 15.9, Japan 10.10 and South Korea 12.3. Clearly, China is not the problem here.

This becomes further evident by way of historical data. The Commission also lists figures dating back to 1990. In that year the same countries produced the following per capital emissions: the US 19.6, Qatar 34.8, Saudi Arabia 10.4, U.A.E 31.24, Australia 16.10, Canada 16.2, Japan 9.6 and South Korea 6.2. At this time, China emitted a tiny 2.1 tons per capita. Peak emissions for the other countries mentioned also occurred throughout the 2000-2010 period (http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2ts_pc1990-2014).

The figures clearly show that China was very late to arrive at the carbon party. Quite simply, when China was emitting tiny amounts of carbon, other countries had long been pumping it into the environment. It does not take a genius to see the link between fossil fuel use and industrialisation. Any economy relies on labour power, but an industrialised economy needs labour power plus energy. Countries like our own have polluted heavily for over a century. If figures for the entire period were available, we can only imagine the astronomical aggregate pollution. Again, China was late to the party, therefore, aggregate emissions would be comparatively tiny.

By constantly attacking China over climate change, the imperialists seek to punish China for its success in raising over 600 million people out of poverty. This was done on the back of economic growth necessarily fuelled by fuel. The imperialists have long enjoyed the fruits of industrialisation and development. Now they wish to deny China (and others) access to these fruits. Holding back Chinese development is a long term strategic objective of imperialism. To hold back the tide would be more achievable. China will grow with or without fossil fuels, as its recent diversification of the power supply shows.

Other countries in the crosshairs

It is of course not only China which imperialism seeks to undermine. The imperialists use climate change as a weapon against the entire developing world, as well as anti-imperialist and progressive countries. The issue is used to create a cultural climate (for lack of a better term) where significant fossil fuel usage is politically untenable.

This cultural climate benefits imperialism by causing economic harm to many of the world’s forces of progress. Needless to say, if there is less demand for fossil fuels, producers of these fuels will be hurt. This means an attack on Russia’s economy, on Venezuela, on China and Iran. It is an attack on socialist Cuba which depends on Venezuelan oil.

Imperialisms historic abuse of our environment show they care not one bit for it, our planet or mankind. Evidently their motives are to be found elsewhere.

The countries most likely to be economically harmed, are in many cases, the most keen to slow down and even halt global warming. Such countries want to save our planet. But they want to do it in a fairer manner.

At the Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Cuban representative argued that global warming is a problem relating to production and human consumption. Pedro Luis Pedroso further stated that, therefore, a new economic order is required (Prensa Latina, 1 December 2015). This mirrors the position of the CPGB-ML, “you’ve got to be red to be green.”

G-77 countries, which include China, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Vietnam, argued in favour of a fairer share of the burden on climate change. They correctly state that it is primarily the developed countries which should foot the bill owing to their historical emissions. This was a response to the Paris draft agreement calling on countries other than developed countries to contribute. It is worth noting that China had already pledged $3 billion per annum in climate finance. This would go towards the global $100 billion to be raised by 2020.

“Climate finance money is used to combat the effects of global warming in two main ways. The first is to use it for mitigation purposes. Many developing countries are interested in investing in projects that will be both profitable and energy efficient in the long term, but they lack funds. A country may, for example, be unable to develop solar panels without outside investment. Such nations, therefore, look to wealthier, developed countries to invest in these initiatives, which have an environmental benefit.

“Climate finance money is also used for adaption. The countries that are most vulnerable to climate change are generally those with the least resources. A nation may want to build a dam to prevent floods or relocate residents away from coastal areas. It is an expense that many developing countries cannot afford and to adequately protect residents the government may have to divert money from vital services such as education and healthcare….

“Developed nations have greater capacity to fund research into new sustainable technologies, but the developing world wants to ensure that these advances are also beneficial and accessible to them.

“Small island states are pressing for compensation for climate change damage they have already suffered, so-called loss and damage. The United States and other countries are reluctant to introduce new legal liabilities into the text of the agreement that could open them up to a raft of legal and financial vulnerabilities.

“ActionAid’s Harjeet Singh warned that loss and damage was ‘not a bargaining chip.’ Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu was in no mood to compromise on the topic at a news conference last weekend.

“‘The world is dragging its feet,’ Sopoaga said. ‘We must have loss and damage included in the legal agreement out of Paris’ ” (LA Times 9 December 2015).

In contrast the United States wants (and what it wants it gets from the ‘international community’ of stooges) any money given to be on a voluntary basis. In other words, they will help who they want, when they want, and on their own terms. The US does not want to be duty bound to pay for the damage it has caused. It of course also wishes to move away from differentiation, whereby the historic polluters pay more than developing countries. “The idea of even discussing loss and damage now or in the future was off limits. The Americans told us it would kill the COP,” said Leisha Beardmore, chief negotiator for the Seychelles ” (The Guardian, 13 December 2015).

For the US, the Paris Agreement was an attempt to create a barrier to development. It looked to dodge the bullet of paying for the disasters it has caused. It looked to make rising countries pay for the environmental crimes of imperialism. It looked to make the countries who face devastation and potential Armageddon bear the responsibility. Essentially it blamed the victims.

Far from being willing to shoulder a fair burden, it regards the whole exercise as another opportunity for profiteering. Influenced by Goldman Sachs, for the US, “capital markets can and should play an important role in addressing environmental challenges

In fact, “Financial institutions are already making large profits from financing many activities related to global warming. The most common funding is for clean energy solutions, underwriting green bonds and structuring catastrophe-linked securities to help clients to manage climate change risks.

“Trillions of dollars are available for climate and renewable energy projects. The US bank Goldman Sachs created an environmental funding framework in 2005 and has allocated $150bn to finance clean energy projects by 2025.

“Corporations were involved in just about every aspect of COP21, including helping to pay for the summit. Meanwhile, a few select non-governmental organisations were permitted only to look over the draft of the agreement at the end of each day. Organisers kept thousands of protesters away from the delegates.

“Largely because of the power corporations wield, the COP21 agreement includes mostly business-friendly market place solutions” (Al Jazeera, 18 December 2015).

Profiteering, however, can ultimately no more save the planet than it can feed the hungry. Just as the poor cannot afford food, they cannot afford renewable energy projects designed to produce billions in profits for imperialism.

In the aftermath of Paris, there is much scope for skepticism.

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Venezuela: Maduro says it is time to end cohabitation and coexistence with the bourgeoisie

NOVANEWS

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On 6 December, legislative assembly elections were held in Venezuela which were disastrous for the ruling progressive Chavista government since they resulted in an opposition coalition (MUD – Movimiento de la Unidad Democrática) gaining a two-thirds majority in the legislative assembly. This critical majority is just enough to enable the opposition to cause serious disruption to the implementation of the policies of the governing executive power in Venezuela controlled by the Chavista PSUV, which is not due for re-election until 2019. In the meantime it will be so crippled by an antagonistic Legislative Assembly to have been correctly labelled a ‘Lame Duck’ government by Kejal Vyas in the Wall Street Journal of 15 December.

The powers of the Legislative Assembly to cause trouble to the Venezuelan government are significant:

” A two-thirds majority gives the opposition all of the institutional weapons necessary to reverse many of the key transformations of the Venezuelan state achieved by the Bolivarian Revolution over the last seventeen years.

“They will now be empowered to revoke critical revolutionary legislation such as the Organic Law of Communes, the Organic Work and Workers’ Law (LOTTT), among numerous others, repeal international treaties such as the ALBA-TP and PetroCaribe, as well as pack the Supreme Court with an eye towards impeaching President Nicolas Maduro .” (Lucas Koerner,’Facing Opposition Onslaught, Chavismo Must Return to Roots’, venezuelanalysis.com, 9 December 2015).

And furthermore:

” The constitution, rewritten and amended under Chávez, gives the opposition means to fight back. After its election win it can reject the government’s budgets and veto the president’s longer foreign trips. With a two-thirds majority of the assembly, the MUD can dismiss and appoint Supreme Court judges and members of the electoral commission. This is not a straightforward process. To unseat a judge, the assembly must charge him with a ‘grave offence’, which must be seconded by one of a trio of government-appointed officials. The assembly can impeach ministers more easily, but the government can then appoint his or her successor.

” The constitution allows for more drastic measures. With its ‘supermajority’ the MUD could summon a convention to rewrite the constitution. More likely is a move to initiate a referendum to recall Mr Maduro from office, which would be followed by a new presidential election. This would require the signatures of a fifth of the electorate, and could happen starting in early 2016 (when Mr Maduro will have served half of his six-year term). If he is recalled after the early part of 2017, the vice-president would serve out the rest of Mr Maduro’s term .” (‘Reasons to celebrate’, The Economist, 12 December 2015).

What all this amounts to is the largely comprador bourgeoisie now controlling the legislature, while the working class and oppressed classes generally are now controlling the executive power. The military is believed still to be firmly in the hands of the Chavistas, though there can be little doubt that the bourgeoisie – overwhelmingly made up of white people of Spanish descent – and its imperialist backers will have been working overtime to reverse that situation, and it yet remains to be seen what success they have achieved, if any.

Notwithstanding the powers that the opposition now have to attack the Venezuelan revolution, the progressive classes are not without powers. The most potent constitutional power is the presidential power to make laws without recourse to the legislature at all, a power that could prove really meaningful so long as the government can continue to rely on the support of the Venezuelan army:

” Maduro currently holds enabling powers that were granted to him by the National Assembly in March 2015 to shield the country from US aggression, after US president Barack Obama signed an executive order designating Venezuela as an ‘extraordinary threat’ to US national security .” (‘Venezuelan Communist Party & Trade Unions ask President to pass Workers’ Councils Law’, Rachael Boothroyd Rojas, Venezuelanalysis, 15 December 2015).

The Venezuelan Communist Party is advocating that Maduro should pass laws giving ‘workers’ control’ to Workers’ Councils. This might provide the means to enable working-class organisations to seize the reins of economic power, and is something that Hugo Chávez promised but has to date never been implemented. The appropriate legislation has been in draft stage for many years and the draft currently contains 17 different articles which, if passed into law, ” would set the stage for bringing key areas of the economy under workers control; including the planning of national production in conjunction with the government and using workers’ councils to audit the use of resources. The PCV has described the law as transcendental in the ‘transition’ from capitalism to socialism in Venezuela .” (Ibid).We will consider below to what extent this measure would be sufficient.

Should the Chavistas fight back at all when they clearly lack an electoral mandate?

Naturally, if the President were to rely on enabling laws on the pretext that they are necessary as a counter to US imperialist interference, this would be decried as dictatorial and undemocratic in the light of the ‘clearly expressed will of the Venezuelan people to see the back of the revolution’. However, the fact is that, contrary to superficial appearance, the Venezuelan people, far from wanting to see the back of the Bolivarian revolution, in fact want to see it deepened, and quickly.

As Lucas Koerner (op.cit.) points out: “… while the opposition has indeed won a super-majority and the concomitant legal power to pursue these changes, this does not necessarily mean that they have a popular mandate to carry out such a reactionary agenda.

“That is, they have won an election widely viewed as a punishment vote against the ruling PSUV amidst a severe economic crisis, but they have not, however, reconstituted neoliberal hegemony.

“Polls have long shown that the vast majority of the Venezuelan people support the radical social democratic initiatives of the Bolivarian Revolution, including the social missions, as well as measures to defend the working class, such as food price regulations and periodic minimum wage increases. Likewise, over two-thirds of the population oppose neoliberal policies, such as the privatization of the state oil company PDVSA or of the state electric company CORPOLEC.

“Across the continent, neoliberalism remains deeply discredited, forcing the right to hide behind center-left discourse and/or revert to mediatized cultural sound-bites. In 2013, opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles sought to market himself as the rightful heir to the late Hugo Chávez, promising to continue the social missions as well as other social democratic policies of the Bolivarian government. Mauricio Macri similarly reversed previous comments regarding the privatization of Argentine state enterprises towards the end of his campaign, presenting himself at times as an efficient administrator of the Kirchner legacy, an image that he spliced with empty signifiers like ‘hope’ and ‘change’.

“Over 62% of Venezuelans consider themselves ‘partisans or followers of the ideals of Hugo Chávez’, which does not necessarily make them all revolutionary socialists, but it does indicate a consensus regarding the legitimacy of popular participation and social democratic state policy.”

Moreover, ” With 40% support, the PSUV still gained the votes of more than five million Venezuelans, even in the midst of excruciating hardship. Five million Venezuelans remain firmly committed to socialism and the Chávez vision. Five million Venezuelans have risen to say no to US imperialism and capitalism in the face of a crushing economic war, in the face of an unmistakable rightward shift in Latin America as the Empire makes its countermove against all the gains the Left has made in the last two decades. Five million Venezuelans remain steadfast in their commitment to the Bolivarian Revolution ” (Eric Draitser, ‘ Assessing Venezuela’s elections: the good, the bad, and the indifferent Counterpunch, 15 December 2015).

There may also have been some tampering with the polls since there appear to have been an extraordinarily high proportion of null votes which have operated against the government. This is currently being investigated.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that ordinary Venezuelans have of late been suffering grave hardship. Venezuelan socialism has been heavily reliant on oil revenues which the Chavistas, having the support of the bulk of the Venezuelan army, were to a large extent able to divert out of the pockets of US imperialist multinationals into making social provision for Venezuelan people, thereby alleviating poverty to a considerable degree, eliminating illiteracy, providing medical services, initiating community projects to provide employment, etc., etc. However, as we have pointed out in the past, the export of Venezuelan oil has necessarily been accompanied by use of the petrodollars generated to pay for imports, which in turn have undermined the building of competitive local industries to absorb the labour power of Venezuela’s millions of displaced peasants. Although there are jobs in the oil industry and in the distribution of the imports, this simply is not enough. The PSUV has certainly made every effort to create employment through the projects that it funds, but, as was pointed out recently in a meeting to discuss the election result held in London by the Venezuela Solidarity Committee, this is necessarily a slow process when the reins of the economy are in the hands of the bourgeoisie, i.e., when as a result profitability rather than the needs of the people is still the driving force of the economy.

Be that as it may, all the public spending on social provision that depended on the high price of oil in the world market has been totally undermined by the fact that the world price of oil has dropped from $140 a barrel to $40. To maintain social spending the Maduro government had to print money that was not backed up by the prices obtainable for the commodities that Venezuela is producing, and the result has been rampant inflation, felt by the poor in terms of rapidly increasing prices of the basic food and other requirements on which they depend. Attempts by the government to restrict the prices at which staples are sold simply resulted in these items ceasing to be readily available, and making shopping a total nightmare of shortages, high prices and queues.

All this was unceasingly castigated as being the result of ‘incompetence’ on the part of the Venezuelan government, a message whose force was backed up by millions of dollars of US aid to the anti-Chavista, pro-comprador, political groupings, to help ensure that it was blasted out day after day, hour after hour, from every possible medium of communication for months and years on end. It is not, however, a question of ‘incompetence’ but an ideological question of whether or not a government should put the needs of its people before corporate interests in profiteering – which is all the Venezuelan government has done. And in so doing it has demonstrated not its own bankruptcy but the bankruptcy of the capitalist system which it has been attempting to force into delivering a reasonable standard of living to the masses. In other words, the Venezuelan government has proved to the world for once and for all that with the best will in the world this is simply impossible, and that in the long term it can’t be done.

So what happens now?

One thing is certain and that is that were President Maduro to resign along with his government, handing over the government to the opposition, or were the opposition able through forcing the President to stand down somehow to seize executive power in the near future, the opposition is far less able to provide a solution to Venezuela’s economic woes, as even The Economist cannot but admit:

” The MUD, an ideologically diverse group of small parties united only in their opposition to chavismo, is not much readier to cope. It promised voters change, but offered no coherent economic plan .” (‘Reason to celebrate’, op.cit.).

There may be craven hopefuls who believe that with the Chavistas out of government, the US imperialist assault through maintenance of low oil prices and the imposition of sanctions will come to an end and as a result the economic situation will improve – but they would certainly be bound to be disappointed since the whole point of US imperialist intervention in Venezuela is to put an end to the situation of US corporations being deprived of their right to milk Venezuelan resources to the limit at the expense of the Venezuelan people.

The Economist tells us:

” Reformers will have to devalue the bolívar, whose official level is nearly 150 times its black-market rate, raise the price of petrol, which now costs practically nothing, and reduce the budget deficit, which is roughly 20-30% of GDP. Devaluing the currency and freeing prices will push up inflation, which hits the poor hardest. A reforming government will need help from the IMF to cushion the pain of adjustment.” (‘A democratic counter-revolution’, 12 December 2015). And we all know that ‘help’ from the IMF does not come cheap!

It can hardly be denied that the Venezuelan people will pay a very heavy price were the PSUV government to be unseated.

As it is, the opposition have all kinds of plans to roll back the gains of the Bolivarian revolution, in particular the price controls and the protection of labour rights. However, other plans include de-nationalisation and the sell-off of strategic national enterprises utilities and public services to imperialist bloodsucking concerns:

The fight back

Meanwhile the Maduro government is mounting a rearguard action trying to get legislation protective of people’s rights pushed through parliament before 5 January when the new Legislative Assembly takes over. Maduro is quoted by the Financial Times as saying in a speech addressing the Venezuelan military: “We’re facing a large-scale crisis, a counter-revolutionary crisis, that is going to generate a power struggle“. And the signs are that it is not a struggle from which the Chavistas have any intention of standing down:

Forces loyal to Mr Maduro have responded to defeat in legislative elections this month with defiant words and executive action aimed at clinging on to power. Defeated lawmakers plan to appoint a group of new judges to Venezuela’s Supreme Court who will be able to veto laws passed by the opposition.

“‘This is no time for cohabitation or coexistence with the bourgeoisie,’ Mr Maduro said. Socialist legislators have vowed to pass laws and make appointments to protect their revolution. ‘We will be here until midnight on January 4,’ said outgoing National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello.

“On Tuesday, Mr Cabello swore in Susana Barreiros, the controversial judge who gave a long prison term to opposition leader Leopoldo López, as head public defender. ‘Go ahead with your roles, let the dogs keep barking,’ Mr Cabello told her. He also announced that the appointment of new Supreme Court judges will take place on December 23, setting up a potential institutional stand-off with new opposition legislators who may seek to impeach them.” (Andres Schipan, Financial Times, ‘Venezuela on edge of political crisis’, 16 December 2015).

Furthermore, ” although Maduro has yet to respond to the PCV’s request [for the law on workers’ control to be quickly promulgated], last week he passed a string of laws aimed at protecting citizens and workers from any conservative legislation brought before congress by the incoming rightwing legislators, including bringing the state media channel ANTV under workers’ ownership .” {Venezuelanalysis op cit.}

The key issue, however, was summed up by President Maduro when he said “this is no time for cohabitation or coexistence with the bourgeoisie“. Venezuela’s economic woes are a direct result of that cohabitation and coexistence in the past. The question is now whether the proletariat has on its side the strength and the forces to put that cohabitation and coexistence to an end, since nowhere and at no time has the bourgeoisie ever gone quietly – and the Venezuelan bourgeoisie is, furthermore, backed to the hilt by US imperialism. The Venezuelan revolution has the advantage of a national army that the bourgeoisie does not control, but ultimately all will depend on whether the people are ready to fight to the death to defend their class interests and on whether the leadership of the proletarian revolution is up to the challenge that the next phase, the phase of the dispossession and overthrow of the bourgeoisie, will undoubtedly pose.

The Venezuelan revolution has been lauded to the sky so far in opportunist circles precisely because it apparently gave credence to the theory that it is possible to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish socialism by peaceful, parliamentary means, and, further, to organise a capitalist economy for the benefit of the masses of working class and peasantry. In the special circumstances that arose in Venezuela, where the ruling bourgeoisie had alienated the national army through its white chauvinism, thereby depriving itself of the most essential prop of bourgeois state power, it was indeed for a while possible for a socialist government to take power and implement measures of significant importance for the benefit of the proletarian masses of Venezuela, and quite rightly this opportunity was duly seized. However, the laws of capitalist economics are inexorable. Just as King Canute could stand on the sea shore and order the tide to go back, and find it apparently obedient for a while, inevitably the tide did turn and heartlessly demolish his apparent power, so the Venezuelan revolution has come up against the capitalist economic crisis that has devastated the price of oil, at least for the time being. But Venezuela is a very large country containing a wealth of natural resources. It has everything it needs to build socialism through a carefully and creatively planned economy, mobilising to the full the masses of the Venezuelan people, so long as bourgeois interests are eliminated and prevented from interfering with the process. This will of course require massive reorganisation and upheaval, that will face the deadly opposition of imperialism and all its ideological lackeys both ‘left’ and right, but it is the only real way forward.

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Rhodes Must Fall!

NOVANEWS

2F88533E00000578-0-image-a-11_1451089104328

We send our congratulations and support to those students of Oxford University who have initiated a campaign to topple Cecil Rhodes Statue, which stands outside Oriel College, half-way up the well known university town’s High Street (pictured).

This seemingly innocuous campaign, echoing those initiated by the South African students of Capetown and Johannesburg, is considered threatening enough by many of our journalists and politicians to call forth a considerable amount of negative coverage in the pages of our daily newspapers and in other mass news media, including, inter alia, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, the Daily Mail, and the Telegraph. We note that the issue was even thrown in – apparently in passing – to several reactionary diatribes passing themselves off as pious sermons on recent Radio 4 Today programs’ thought for the day“.

Many of these carefully worded dissuasions rely on apparent truisms – “You can’t wish away the past; real change is about more than symbolism; democracy is about freedom to express all points of view”, etc., to make the point that we shouldn’t pull down Rhodes’ statue, or get rid of such ‘symbols’ of oppression.

But of course, the ‘cultural’ symbol goes along with the reality. And if you walk around Britain, you will find more than a few shameful examples of imperialist exploiters and warmongers glorified in statues and street names. No doubt some will survive for posterity, but the British working class has every reason to tear these symbols down, and not just the symbols of British imperialism, but the reality of its class rule and our oppression. This is the underlying reason that we are told to be tolerant and regard the history of British imperialism with ‘balance’.

All these widely circulated reports, editorials, and denunciations, of course, constitute totally independent and ‘objective’ commentary, you understand. None of this is ‘bourgeois propaganda’. Oh no!

Who was Cecil Rhodes?

Many of you will have heard of Cecil Rhodes – the British colonial ‘adventurer’ who made his fortune in colonial South Africa, notably profiting from gold and diamond mining using colonial slave-labour.

Rhodes the exploiter

He founded the De Beers corporation – which remains a monopoly capitalist force that has outlived political Apartheid, and  continues to play a major role in the domination and oppression of the masses of South Africa today – with all its ongoing poverty, oppression and division that continues to reflect the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

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Rhodes the Imperialist

Rhodes was a true ‘father figure’ of British Imperialism, and famously advocated an expansion of the British Empire, in order to use the proceeds of super-exploitation of the colonies to mitigate the miserable standard of living of the British domestic proletariat, and thus avert revolution. British Workers, we should recall, were seething with revolutionary resentment against their conditions of crushing exploitation and poverty at the beginning of the 20th century.

Rhodes set out with his own colonial expeditionary force to conquer Matabeleland and there founded – upon the subjugation and forced labour of the conquered Indebe and Shona poeples – his very own colonial fifedom, named modestly in his own honour: “Rhodesia”.

Rhodes the Racist – for profit

Unsurprisingly, Rhodes was a racist to the core, justifying his personal looting, merauding, robbery, and murderous conquest with the usual colonialist platitudes. Rhodes was free with his opinion of Black Africans, and other enslaved ‘colonial’ peoples:

The native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise

For the Rhodesian it is absurd to take the untutored savage, accustomed as he is from time immemorial to superstitious and primitive ideas of law and justice, and suddenly try to govern him by the same code of laws that govern a people with many centuries of experience and enlightenment”.

Like all colonial administrations, Rhodesia operated a strict code of oppression along racial as well as class lines. Rhodesia remained an apartheid state right up until its overthrow by the national liberation struggle led by ZANU, ZANLA, and Robert Mugabe, who should rightly be considered as Zimbabwe’s founding father, much as Mandela is regarded in South Africa. An excellent article on the history of the anti-colonial struggle in Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – can be read in Lalkar here.

Rhodes (imperialism) and the split in Socialism:

Rhodes was forthright in declaring his desire to bribe the working-class movement in order to turn it away from Socialism – and his view on the necessity of creating an ‘aristocracy of labour’ (a term coined by Engels) to avert revolution has been the objective basis of the Social Democratic political movement that the Labour Party continues to represent today, as supported by revisionist communist groups and trotskyites alike. That is why the latter fail to recognise Lenin’s key teachings on imperialism.

imperialismthe-highest-stage-of-capitalism

The following quotation of Cecil Rhodes, for example, is cited in chapter 6 of Lenin’s book “imperialism the highest stage of capitalism.” which should be read and understood by any thinking worker who seeks real and meaningful change in our exploitative society.

I was in the East End of London (a working-class quarter) yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for ‘bread! bread!’ and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism…. My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.”

What’s at stake today?

The reason British imperialists still care about this seemingly ‘historic’ and apparently settled question is not just the size of the bursary donated by the Racist Rhodes, which continues to finance the US-UK scholarship program.

rhodesscholarships

The real question here is one of the ongoing exploitative interests of imperialism, and to a large extent the fear of the British and South African Bourgeoisie, that the South African black population will seek to settle the as yet unresolved colonial question (famously laid down in the ANC’s Freedom Charter) of the iniquitous distribution of land, mineral and industrial wealth – stolen from them at gunpoint, and accumulated by their slave labour (as all wealth has been looted from the exploited masses of all countries) and still conspicuously concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of overwhelmingly white farmers industrialists and bankers.

While demonised in the imperialist US and British Media (including our ‘objective’ BBC) the revolutionary redistribution of land and mineral resources effected in Zimbabwe under the heroic leadership of ZANU and Robert Mugabe inspires celebration among the South African masses.

We would encourage our readership and all comrades to learn more about the legacy of Rhodes, and the liberation struggle in Rhodesia – Zimbabwe. In particular we recommend: Chimurenga! edited by Harpal Brar. This and other titles can be purchased from Mutiny Books, or by contacting the CPGB-ML bookshop directly.

chimurenga

For our part, we welcome the long overdue toppling of Rhodes’ statue at Cape Town University in South Africa, and the Oxford campaign that has been inspired by the articulate anti-racist, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist rhetoric of the South African students.

statue-must-fall_cus

Our bourgeoisie, like that of South Africa, is keen to repaint the bloody history of colonialism in pretty colours, in order to justify and embellish their current exploitative activities and the legacy of class society. Hence the careful painting of Rhodes as a ‘Great man of History’.

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Rhodes’ statue removed by overwhelming demand of the Students at UCT (Capetown, South Africa, April 2015)

Working people cannot afford to look upon our exploiters in this detached, forgiving and laissez-faire way. For our struggle is far from over, and we must set our sights firmly on toppling exploitative capitalism, in its highest, most rabid and bloodthirsty, monopoly phase. Rhodes is indestinguishable from the edifice of British imperailism and we welcome this campaign to remove his pernicious ‘cultural’ influence.

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Corruption and organised crime at the heart of the I$raHell state

NOVANEWS
Israeli whistleblower Rafi Rotem in handcuffs

By Joseph Zernik

When someone blows the whistle on mass corruption in government, you would expect them to receive the status of whistleblower and be given the necessary protection.

Not so with Rafi Rotem, who used to be head of the Tax Authority Senior Intelligence Office in Israel.

Rotem exposed organised crime in the Tax Authority starting in 2002, following a series of political appointments at the top of the authority, including huge tax breaks to tycoons and organised crime-related businesses, sex bribes to a tax investigator and the murder of a “source”.

Over the past 14 years Rotem has been subjected to harassment, intimidation and revenge by the authorities. He lost his job, his home, his possessions, and remains homeless to this day. Will he succeed to get the senior officials who are still not being investigated to face justice?

In this interview Rotem talks about why he is convinced that he will end up in prison. He fears that, after almost 14 years, they want him killed.

In a 2013 interview, former Israeli Attorney-General Manny Mezouz said the Tax Authority scandal, exposed by Rafi Rotem, was “…the closest to organised crime” and that “the punishment of those involved did not reflect the severity of their crimes and the entire affair…”

Judicial complicity

The main culprit is Judge Vardah Samet of the Tel Aviv Labour Court.

Up to 2003, Rotem regularly received excellent appraisals. But in retaliation for his whistleblowing, he was framed in court as an employee who engaged in intimidation and physical threats against colleagues. Although Israeli law requires that negative comments or complaints placed in an employee’s personnel file include the employee’s response, no such responses by Rotem were found in documents that were filed by the state prosecution service in the Tel Aviv Labour Court. Moreover, these records were admitted by Judge Vardah Samet with no affidavits, and the authors of the records failed to appear in court and never took the stand for cross interrogation.

Likewise, the National Labour Court rejected Rotem’s appeal, and failed to address in its ruling the obvious violations of court procedures by Judge Samet, who admitted inadmissible evidence.

In the Supreme Court of Israel, a panel of three judges – Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Uzi Vogelman – sitting as the High Court of Justice, summarily denied a petition by Rotem in 2008. The court again ruled that Rotem was not a whistleblower, and that his case was only a case of soured relations in the workplace.

The petition had been signed by 14 employees of the Tax Authority.

It should be noted that the ruling of the High Court of Justice on Rotem’s petition was served unsigned by the judges, uncertified by the clerk of the court, with no accompanying letter by the Office of the Clerk (authentication), and bearing the disclaimer “subject to editing and phrasing changes”. Such paper cannot be deemed a valid court judgment by any reasonable person. Rotem’s request for a signed and certified copy of this decision, addressed to Supreme Court Presiding Judge Asher Grunis, remains unanswered.

Rotem’s case demonstrates how obstructive the High Court of Justice, a national tribunal for the protection of rights pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has become over the past decade.

Police misconduct

Rotem’s case also raises concerns regarding the conduct of the Israeli police. Prior to his whistleblowing, Rotem received a number of appreciation and commendation letters from the Israeli police for his help as Tax-Authority intelligence officer in solving various crimes, unrelated to tax issues, most notably the murder of a judge. But after his whistleblowing, the police detained Rotem numerous times on false charges, and he was severely beaten by the police who also treated him as a suspect in various unrelated crimes.

The case as a whole raises serious concerns regarding systemic corruption in the Israeli government in general and the Israeli justice system in particular. Moreover, the case illustrates the close relationship between the government and organised crime in Israel.

Awaiting justice

These are some of the key issues on which Rotem and over a dozen of his colleagues signed a letter requesting an investigation:

  1. Obstruction by the office Binyamin Netanyahu (then finance minister) of a tax investigation – the case of a senior Likud party person who was caught smuggling a container of electronic goods.
  2. Obstruction of tax investigation by senior Tax Authority officers – the case of tycoon Nohi Dankner, involving hundreds of millions of shekels
  3. Obstruction of a tax investigation by senior Tax Authority officers – the case of Reuven Gavrieli, a well known crime figure, involving tens of millions of shekels.
  4. Obstruction of a tax investigation by senior Tax Authority officers – the case of Gibor-Sport Corporation involving senior Likud party figures.
  5. Disappearance of a major tax investigation file concerning Deckel-Goldmine from a high security office in the Tax Investigations Department; refusal of the security officer of the department to investigate the case; and refusal of senior officers to restore the file from the parts that were still preserved in various computer systems.
  6. Abandonment of an intelligence source, which led to his murder, and later and attempt by the Israeli police to cover up the case by presenting it as a suicide.
  7. Extortion of sexual bribes by a tax investigator from a tax fraud suspect (recorded on video).
  8. Intimidation and retaliation against whistleblower Rafi Rotem, a victim, witness and informant.
  9. Obstruction of justice in the case of Rotem v Ministry of Finance and the Tax Authority in the Tel-Aviv Regional Labour Court, by Judge Varda Samet. This concerned the retaliatory actions against whistleblower Rotem and his eventual dismissal. Samet’s husband represented at that time Gibor-Sport Corporation, and their daughter works for the same law firm as well. The obstruction of a tax investigation against Gibor-Sport Corporation was a key issue in the litigation. But Judge Samet never disclosed her conflict of interests and never recused herself from the case. In the litigation of this case Judge Samet admitted inadmissible evidence, likely forged documents, while failing to allow the appearance of the corresponding witnesses. In this case, only an unsigned “judgment” record was discovered. Another copy of this “judgment”, also unsigned and uncertified, was unlawfully admitted as evidence in the case of Rotem v Baram.
  10. Obstruction of justice in the case of Rotem v Baram and State of Israel in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court by then Magistrate Judge Shohana Almagor (now a district judge). This was a libel case. Eyal Baram, a supervisor in the Tax Authority, described Rotem as a “crime figure” and “psychiatric case”, in revenge for his whistleblowing, The facts were affirmed in court, but the purported “judgment” by Judge Almagor denied the claims. Inspection of the court file revealed numerous unsigned court orders and protocols by Judge Almagor, which were never duly registered and never duly served.
  11. Obstruction of justice in the case of Rotem v Samet in the High Court of Justice. The cause of the petition was the conduct of Judge Samet in the case of Rotem v Ministry of Finance. In this court case no lawful petition process was conducted. The respondents never filed a response. But Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Uzi Fogelman issued a “judgment”, which reiterates the ruling of Judge Varda Samet in the Labour Court, that Rotem was no whistleblower and that the entire case originated in “muddied labour relationships”. The electronic records in this case show at once that the case was closed following a judgment given during a sitting in the Supreme Court, and that no actual hearing was conducted. The “judgment” in this case was never duly served, and in response to repeated requests by Rotem to Presiding Justice Asher Grunis to provide a signed and certified copy of the “judgment”, only perverted court records were provided.
  12. Obstruction of justice in the case of State of Israel v Rafi Rotem in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. The case has been ongoing in that court for the past year and a half. It is about “insulting a public servant” and “abuse of electronic communication lines”.

The indictment, prosecuted by the Tel Aviv police, is contrary to common sense and the fundamentals of justice. Policemen and law-enforcement officers abused Rotem for years after his whistleblowing. None of the policemen who abused and beat Rotem was ever held accountable, but Rotem is now prosecuted for insulting them! In this court case, the evidence shows obstruction of justice through collusion between Judge Yael Pradelsky, the prosecution authorities and the Public Defender’s Office (including pro-tem Tel-Aviv District Public Defender Elkana Leist and National Public Defender Yoav Sapir). The evidence of obstruction of justice in this case was filed with Chief Justice Asher Grunis and Presiding Judge of the Tel-Aviv Magistrates Court Hadassi-Herman, but both refused to initiate corrective actions. The responses of Chief Justice Grunis to such notices defy common sense and the fundamentals of justice.

13. The refusal of the former and the current state ombudsman, Yosef Shapira, to duly register and examine complaints by Rotem, and also his refusal to provide him with due protection as a whistleblower. Such conduct by ombudsman Shapira also included the issuance of perverted records by his office.

Therefore, the case documents what is termed in criminology as “organised state crime”.

If those under suspicion are ever brought to justice, it is likely the whole government could fall in Israel.

Rotem has dedicated his life to the cause of cleaning up not only the Tax Authority, but all the officials involved in the deceptions. Yet little is known about him outside the country. Inside, he is considered by many as a hero.

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Syria – Peace Talks and an Empire Running Amok

NOVANEWS
Global Research
General view of U.N. Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura attending a meeting on Syria with representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Featured image: General view of United Nations (U.N.) Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attending a meeting on Syria with representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council (P5) at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse   – RTX228S7

February in Geneva. It is utterly frustrating living the daily lie and slander propaganda against Russia and against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, of this ‘neutral’ country, Switzerland, where soon peace talks are expected to begin. The UN hub in Geneva has in the past often served for peace negotiations, for mediation talks, but also failed more often than not, always when the American interests were not accommodated by an agreement.

How could it be different in the case of Syria? – Switzerland, like Brussels, has become the epicentre of European neoliberal politics with a broadcast system emitting half-hourly Putin and Assad bashing news. The first being labelled as a human rights abuser responsible for the Ukrainian war, for the ‘annexation’ of Crimea, for thousands of Syrian deaths and tens of thousands of refugees, as a result of Russia bombarding Syria; refugees stranded and starving at the Turkish border and eventually invading Europe. Mr. Assad is being called a ferocious dictator, who does not shy from killing his own people and has to be removed for the good of the world. There is constant talk about a ‘transition government’, meaning without Mr. Assad, not even remotely considering that Syria is a sovereign nation, and that the Syrian people should have a say in who will be their president – and not at all foreign forces, who are responsible for the criminal massacres and war in the first place.

Mr. Assad and his secular Arab Socialist Ba’ath party is indeed not convenient for the neo-colonial interests of the west. Never mind that he had been re-elected with a more than 80% majority by Syrians, just about 20 months ago. Mr. Gadhafi, who intended with the riches of Libya to free Africa from the continuous economic oppression of the west, was also a socialist at heart and very inconvenient for the fascist capitalist west. Frankly, what Swiss news are portraying is worse than Fox and CNN together and doesn’t make for neutral grounds amenable for peace talks.

Constant western-biased anti-Russia, anti-Assad propaganda is not offering the friendly neutral environment needed to talk seriously about peace. It rather emits an ambiance of negative vibes, a premise for doomed negotiations, even before the talks begin. Add to this, that Washington has absolutely no intention to reach a permanent cessation of armed conflicts, a ‘peace agreement’. All Washington wanted in Munich and will want in Geneva is time and space for its allies-in-crime, the European NATO puppets, the Saudis, the Turks, the Isis – and the ‘moderate rebels’ (sic-sic) to re-arm and regroup.

Washington will never let go – of its objective of regime change in Syria. It is not in their game plan; it’s not in the cards, it’s not part of the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century) which is still highly valid and being followed almost to the letter. The PNAC pursues total submission of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – and ultimately full spectrum dominance and world supremacy, control of all the globe’s resources and of all the globe’s people. A dispensable army of slaves. In fact, this massive army of serfs is much too large for the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon empire’s taste. These people cost too much; they eat too much; they use too many resources.

And here we come to a number of the monster’s multiple destructive tentacles: The people-mass eventually has to be reduced to about a billion or two. Easier to control and manage. The Rockefeller / Kissinger dictum of the fifties and sixties – from which emerged an economy of control: GMO-agriculture that can inflict famine, infertility (as already tested in the 1990s in India) and deadly or debilitating diseases. Another tentacle spreads biological and disease warfare, take the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 and the recent Zika outbreak, not coincidentally emerging and being tested in Central and South America, notably in Brazil, a country Washington wants to subdue and dominate, much like they have managed in Argentina with an ‘election coup’

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/argentina-a-quiet-neoliberal-coup-detat-in-latin-americas-southern-cone/5492654

 http://www.globalresearch.ca/argentina-revisited-one-month-on-towards-a-neoliberal-democratic-dictatorship/5502615).

The Zika virus has been created in the early sixties, is patented and is owned by the Rockefeller Foundation

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-owns-the-zika-virus/5505323).

Yet another killer-arm of the Washington monster is inflicting mass destruction through the western dollar-based financial system, as We the People continue witnessing in Greece, without even a hint of interfering in solidarity with our European brothers. Nothing, zilch. Self-styled King Obama knows there is no risk of interference by Europe. His puppet, Draghi, a Goldman Sachs exec, and President of the so-called European Central Bank (sic) is directing the European economy on behalf of the FED. Mr. Draghi is the epitome of a hypocrite.

The European un-leaders are bought by neo-capitalism and its projected personal gains for them. They are spineless stooges without courage of standing up for their sovereign rights. Anybody, any nation who would dare to intervene on behalf of Greece, on behalf of European solidarity, on behalf of the cradle of Europe and of Democracy itself, is scared to be sanctioned, economically, or if must be, by assassination. As a daily occurrence, killer drones – all approved by Assassin-in-Chief Mr. Obama himself – are launched from the US main military base in Europe, the Ramstein airbase in Germany, the stronghold of Europe who has sold her soul and honor to the Anglo-Zionist empire, based in Washington, with branches in Tel-Aviv and Brussels.

The EU is so subjugated to the nefarious White House – Pentagon – FED-cum-Wall Street ‘troika’ – for reasons which are difficult to comprehend – that they keep obeying orders for ‘sanctioning’ Russia, like pathetic masochists. These sanctions hurt Europe much more than they hurt Russia. We are made to believe that Russia’s economy suffers tremendously, that Russians become increasingly unhappy with their government, that Russia is at the brink of breaking down with social upheavals. This is far from correct. Maybe that would be the case, if Russia were still to depend on the west, as she did when Gorbachev and Yeltsin sold out the Russian Federation to Washington in the 1990s. But Russia is no longer dependent on the west. Russia and China have forged a new alliance with the remaining BRICS (Brazil, India and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and Iran. The truth is that Mr. Putin still has an approval rating of close to 80%.

So – what chance for Syria? – Let it not be forgotten, the empire will never let go, not as long as it is still kicking. And kicking it is, though ever more feebly – but ever more ferociously, as does a dying beast. The United States and her vassal allies are on a deadly amok rampage which includes Syria and the entire MENA region. Any country in the path of resistance, like Venezuela, Brazil, Iran, Syria, Palestine and others – will never be free and at peace, no matter how many billions are spent on fake peace talks, and even make-believe Peace Accords, see Iran – these countries are intended to eventually go the way of Libya, or the way of Greece – or both – unless – unless Europe wakes up. Granted, it would almost take a revolution. But it is never too late. Over the past few months there has been plenty of talk by EU/EC officials, including Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, that the EU and its common currency are at the verge of collapse. Do they actually believe it? Or is it again sheer propaganda? It doesn’t really matter, but a collapse might be the solution for countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland – back to their roots, regroup and rehabilitate their economy as sovereign nations.

This is the premise we have to keep in mind when we talk about possible ‘solutions’ to the “Syria crisis”, the “refugee crisis”, the “economic crisis”, even “the oil crisis”. They are all fabricated. While the western elite is in charge and We, the People, allow the empire to lash around the world with economic sanctions, with bombs, with threats of a nuclear WWIII – and nobody even remotely seems to attempt stopping the monster (except for Russia) – there is simply no chance in heaven and on earth that our globe will be able to live in harmony and peace. To have a chance at peace, the multi-tentacled monster must be subdued and silenced. And we are not talking about more blood. It is a question of countries like Switzerland which had a historic reputation of diplomatic mediation to wake up, to shed their fears of Washington, regain full sovereignty and regain their prowess of independence and autonomy to act as a fair and honest peace broker. The same applies to the rest of Europe: Wake up!

What is of course never mentioned by the main stream media pundits, who pretend knowing every detail so arrogantly well, down to the populace convincing details, is that this war was instigated by the CIA already in 2007, identifying and training their terror organizations, leading in 2011 to a full-fledged civil war under the pretext of the Arab Spring (sic) against the legitimate, democratically elected President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. That’s not all: these terrorist groups have now permanent US / NATO advisors, permanent funding from the US, NATO and EU NATO countries, the Saudis, Qatar and Turkey.

Russia’s Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev, when he recently talked to Euro News, made a few excellent points, about Russian sovereignty and Russia’s growing economic independence from the west. But he seems to still be dreaming of ‘coming to an agreement with our [western] colleagues and partners on key issues [on Syria]…’ – what is meant with colleagues and partners are the US and its European minions. – Mr. Medvedev, what does it take to get real, to face reality? There is no intention of the US and its allies-in-crime to reach an agreement on Syria, under which Syria would remain a sovereign nation, that would be honoured by the west. Everything is fake. The ‘serious’ peace talks are fake. Look at Palestine. Fifty years of ‘Peace Talks’, but the Israeli killing (with full US consent) of Palestinians and the destruction of their legitimate home land is today more brutal than ever.

How, Mr. Medvedev, could such peace talks be real if the main protagonist, the government of Bashar al-Assad is not even invited to the table in Munich or eventually in Geneva? How can that be real? Terrorists and assassins, like the Saudis, the Turks, Washington and their common brain-children, the IS terrorists in various forms and shapes, including ‘soft or moderate opposition groups’ are there. Moderate opposition– Media pundits, give us a break! – Even a Pentagon general not long ago admitted it was difficult to identify the five or six moderate rebels, whose training cost the US hundreds of millions. Does this speak for peace, or for war, for more bloodshed? How come, Mr. Medvedev, the legitimate leader of the Syrian Republic, whose fate is being discussed, is not invited? Does this give you hope to eventually reach an agreement with those criminals you would like to see as ‘colleagues and partners’, whose only goal is ‘regime change’? – With all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, facing reality is healthier than being disappointed time and again.

Then there is the illusion that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed and therefore in force and being implemented. Do you realize, Mr. Medvedev, that the United States never honors any agreement that does not serve them and has absolutely no intention, never had, to implement this or any other arms reduction treaty? To the country. You must be aware that Washington and the Pentagon just a few days ago announced with big fanfare to quadruplicate the military budget for NATO in Europe, putting more men and tanks and missiles closer to the Russian border. This is not exactly an arms reduction – wouldn’t you say?

Perhaps and most likely you know this all. But playing the ‘diplomatic hope card’ vis-à-vis these warrior thugs does not – never – incite them to be honest peace makers. To the contrary, when Washington and its European cronies see Russia’s desperate attempt to make friends with the west, they just further demolish, denigrate, vilify and deceive Russia through their presstitute media, so as to ridicule any truthful Russian effort to seek world harmony rather than conflict.

To witness how Washington thinks and acts by imposing punishment (sanctions) and lifting them (the carrot and stick approach), just look at Iran – some of the sanctions were barely lifted a few weeks ago, when new ones were imposed. And the game goes on. In the foreseeable future no authentic and truthful coalition or military cooperation is likely between your country, Mr. Medvedev, which has candid intentions, and the deceptive west, not as long as the monster is breathing.

If the US is calling the shots on Syria peace talks, whenever and wherever they may take place, with the legitimate government of Syria not even present, there is no hope for Syria. Russia must be firm. Regime change is not on the table. The people of the sovereign nation of Syria are the only ones to elect their president. This principle must be upheld, not only for Syria’s sake, but it must set a precedent for other cases to follow.

 

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria – Peace Talks and an Empire Running Amok

US-Made Cluster Munitions in Yemen used against Civilians

NOVANEWS
BLU-108 canisters

Featured image: Two BLU-108 canisters, one with with two skeet (submunitions) still attached, found in the al-Amar area of al-Safraa in northern Yemen’s Saada governorate after an attack on April 27, 2015.

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition is using recently transferred US-manufactured cluster munitions in civilian areas of Yemen contrary to US export requirements.

Field research by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations; interviews with witnesses and victims; and photographs and video evidence confirm that a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is using banned cluster munitions in Yemen. The coalition of nations has been conducting a military operation in Yemen against Houthi forces, also known as Ansar Allah, since March 26, 2015.

Human Rights Watch believes the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is responsible for all or nearly all of these cluster munition attacks in this period because it is the only entity operating aircraft or multibarrel rocket launchers capable of delivering five of the six types of cluster munitions that have been used in the conflict.

One type of air-dropped cluster munition used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, manufactured by Textron Systems Corporation of Wilmington, Massachuetts. Human Rights Watch has investigated at least five attacks involving the use of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons in four governorates since March 2015.

Most recently, CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons were used in a December 12, 2015 attack on the Yemeni port town of Hodaida, injuring a woman and two children in their homes. At least two civilians were wounded when CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons were used near al-Amar village in Saada governorate on April 27, 2015, according to local residents and medical staff.

“Sensor Fuzed Weapons are touted by some as the most high tech, reliable cluster munitions in the world, but we have evidence that they are not working the way they are supposed to in Yemen, and have harmed civilians in at least two attacks,” said CMC chair Steve Goose, Human Rights Watch arms division director. “The evidence raises serious questions about compliance with US cluster munition policy and export rules.”

While any use of any type of cluster munition should be condemned, there are two additional disturbing aspects to the use of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons in Yemen. First, US export law prohibits recipients of cluster munitions from using them in populated areas, as the Saudi coalition has clearly been doing. Second, US export law only allows the transfer of cluster munitions with a failure rate of less than 1 percent. But it appears that Sensor Fuzed Weapons used in Yemen are not functioning in ways that meet that reliability standard.

In recent years, the US has supplied these weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both of which possess attack aircraft of US and Western/NATO origin capable of delivering them. CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons are the only cluster munitions currently exported by the US, and the recipient must agree not to use them in civilian areas. According to the US government, CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons are the only cluster munition in its active inventory “that meet[s] our stringent requirements for unexploded ordnance rates,” with a claimed failure rate of less than 1 percent.

According to a Textron Systems Corporation datasheet, the CBU-105 disperses 10 BLU-108 canisters that each release four submunitions the manufacturer calls “skeet” that are designed to sense, classify, and engage a target such as an armored vehicle. The submunitions explode above the ground and project an explosively formed jet of metal and fragmentation downward. The skeet are equipped with electronic self-destruct and self-deactivation features.

However, photographs taken by Human Rights Watch field investigators at one location and photographs received from another location show BLU-108 from separate attacks with their “skeets” or submunitions still attached. This shows a failure to function as intended as the submunitions failed to disperse from the canister, or were dispersed but did not explode.

Yemen, the US, and Saudi Arabia and its coalition members should join the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, Human Rights Watch said.

In a March 30, 2015 letter the Cluster Munition Coalition U.S. urged President Barack Obama to review the 2008 cluster munitions policy, and to remove the exception allowing cluster munitions that result in less than 1 percent unexploded ordnance rate.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on US-Made Cluster Munitions in Yemen used against Civilians

Finding the Islamic State a Safe House, Courtesy of US-NATO

NOVANEWS

“A Salafist Principality in Eastern Syria”

syria2

Every villain needs a safe house and the Islamic State (IS) is no exception. Luckily for IS, it has two, possibly three waiting for it, all of them courtesy of NATO and in particular the United States.

The war in Syria has been going particularly poor for IS. With Russian air power cutting their supply lines with Turkey and the Syrian Arab Army closing in, it may soon be time for them to shop for a new home.

If the war is going bad for IS, it is going even worse for the supporting powers that have armed and funded them. To understand where IS might go next, one must first fully understand those supporting powers behind them. The premeditated creation of IS and revelations of the identity of their supporters were divulged in a Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo first published in 2012.

It admitted:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

The DIA memo then explains exactly who this “Salafist principality’s” supporters are (and who its true enemies are):

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

Before the Syrian war, there was Libya…

The DIA memo is important to remember, as is the fact that before the Syrian conflict, there was the Libyan war in which NATO destroyed the ruling government of Muammar Qaddafi and left what one can only described as an intentional and very much premeditated power vacuum in its place. Within that vacuum it would be eventually revealed through the death of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens that from the Libyan city of Benghazi, weapons and militants were being shipped by the US State Department first to Turkey, then onward to invade northern Syria.

And it appears the terrorists have been moving back and forth both ways through this US-sponsored terror pipeline. IS has since announced an official presence in Libya, and Libya now stands as one of several “safe houses” IS may use when finally pushed from Syria altogether by increasingly successful joint Syrian-Russian military operations.

Before Libya, there was Iraq… 

Iraq, devastated by a nearly decade-long US invasion and occupation, has teetered on the edge of fracture for years. Sectarian extremism is eagerly promoted by some of the US’ strongest regional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia. The US itself has been cultivating and encouraging the separatist proclivities of select Kurdish groups (while allowing Turkey to invade and torment others) in the north, while Wahhabi extremists seek to dominate the north and northwest of Iraq.

IS itself has made its way into all of these trouble spots, coincidentally. And should the terrorist organization be flushed for good from Syria, it may find these spots yet another “safe house” that surely would not have existed had the US not intervened in Iraq, divided and weakened it and to this day worked to keep it divided and weak.

Before Iraq there was Afghanistan..

Of course, and perhaps the most ironic of all of IS’ potential “safe houses,” there is Afghanistan. Part of the alleged reasoning the United States embarked on its war in Afghanistan, stretching from 2001 to present day, was its supposed desire to deny terrorists a safe haven there.

Yet not only are terrorists still using the country as a safe haven, as pointed out in great detail by geopolitical analyst Martin Berger, the US intervention there has created a resurgence of the illegal illicit narcotics trade, and in particular a huge resurgence of opium cultivation, processing and exporting. This means huge financial resources for IS and its supporters to perpetuate its activities there, and help them project their activities well beyond.

Berger’s analysis lays out precisely the sort of narco-terrorist wonderland the US intervention has created, one so perfect it seems done by design, a blazing point on a much larger arc of intentionally created instability.

Where Russian bombs cannot follow… 

Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan would be ideal locations to move IS. Libya’s state of intentionally created lawlessness gives the US and its allies a fair degree of plausible deniability as to why they will be unable to “find” and “neutralize” IS. It will be far more difficult for Russia to organize military resources to effectively strike at IS there. Even in Iraq, Russia has significant hurdles to overcome before it could begin operating in Iraq to follow IS there, and only if the Iraqi government agreed.

Afghanistan would be problematic as well. The ghosts of Russia’s war in Afghanistan still linger, and the US is already deeply entrenched, allegedly fighting a terrorist menace that seems only to grow stronger and better funded by the presence of American troops.

But while IS will be safe from complete destruction in Syria, where it looks like finally Damascus and its allies have begun to prevail, relocating outside of Syria and its allies arc of influence in the Middle East will drastically reduce its ability to fulfill its original purpose for being, that is, the destruction of that very arc of influence.

Furthermore, its reappearance elsewhere may change regional geopolitical dynamics in unpredictable ways. It is very unlikely IS’ new neighbors will wish to sit idly by while it broods. Libya’s neighbors in Egypt and Algeria, Afghanistan’s neighbors in Pakistan, China and Iran, and Iraq itself along with Syria and Lebanon, all may find themselves drawn closer together in purpose to eliminate IS in fear that it may eventually be turned on any one of them as it was on Syria.

What is least likely is that those “supporting powers” realize this is a trick tried one time too many. While that is certainly true, it appears to be the only trick these powers have left. They will likely keep IS around for as long as possible, if for no other reason but to exhaust its enemies as they attempt to chase it to the ends of the earth.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Finding the Islamic State a Safe House, Courtesy of US-NATO

Ghana and the 1966 Coup Against Kwame Nkrumah

NOVANEWS

The Role of African Americans in the African Revolution

Global Research
Kwame_Nkrumah_(JFKWHP-AR6409-A)

Solidarity with Ghana represented over a century of identification with the homeland

Five decades ago on Feb. 24, 1966, a coup was carried out against Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leader of the Ghana independence movement and the chief architect of the 20th century African revolutionary struggle.

Nkrumah, the founder of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) in 1949, which led the former British colony of the Gold Coast to national independence in 1957, was out of Ghana on a peace mission aimed at bringing an end to the United States intervention in Vietnam. The president had stopped over in Beijing, Peoples Republic of China, for consultations with Premier Chou En-lai and had planned to continue on to Hanoi.

When Nkrumah later met with Chou he informed him that there had been a military coup in Ghana. His initial reaction was disbelief yet the Chinese leader told him that these setbacks were in the course of the revolutionary struggle.

The coup was carried out by lower-ranking military officers and police officials with the direct assistance and coordination by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the State Department. Leading members of the CPP were killed, arrested and driven into exile while the party press was seized along with the national radio and television stations.

CPP offices were attacked by counter-revolutionary mobs encouraged by the CIA and the military-police clique that had seized power. Books by Nkrumah and other socialist leaders were trashed and burned.

Cadres from various national liberation movements who had taken refuge in Ghana and were receiving political and military training were deported by the coup leaders who called themselves the “National Liberation Council” (NLC). Other fraternal allies of the Ghanaian and African Revolutions were fired from their jobs within the government, the educational sector and media affairs.

The CIA involvement was widely believed to be pivotal at the time but in later years firm documented proof was brought to light with the declassification of State Department files which originated under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. A letter of protest had been sent by U.S. Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, G. Mennen Williams, to the Ghana embassy in Washington during late 1965 in the aftermath of the publication of Nkrumah’s book “Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism”, which outlined the central role of Washington and Wall Street in the continuing underdevelopment of Africa.

Nkrumah and African American History

Kwame Nkrumah was born in the Nzima region of Ghana at Nkroful in 1909. He would later travel to the U.S. in 1935 to pursue higher education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the country founded during slavery in 1854.

Lincoln was an ideal atmosphere for Nkrumah who studied the social sciences, philosophy and theology. He became involved in the African American struggle through work with the African Students Association where he served as president for several years as well as the Council on African Affairs with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr. William A. Hunton and Paul Robeson.

He became a licensed Presbyterian clergyman giving him access to speaking engagements in numerous African American churches. Nkrumah worked during his college days doing odd jobs and experiencing severe economic deprivation.

Leaving the U.S. in 1945, Nkrumah settled in Britain for two years where he helped organized the historic Fifth Pan-African Congress at Manchester in October of that year. The gathering was chaired by Du Bois and enjoyed the participation of other leading figures within the African liberation movements including George Padmore of Trinidad, who had worked with the Communist International during the late 1920s and early 1930s; Amy Ashwood Garvey, the first wife of Marcus Garvey, who held left-leaning politics; Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; along with representatives of trade unions, farmers’ organizations and students.

After Nkrumah returned to Ghana in late 1947 and with the founding of the CPP less than two years later, he would land in prison twice for organizing against British imperialism. Due to his party’s mass support during a colonial-controlled reform election in February 1951, Nkrumah was released from prison and appointed Leader of Government Business as part of a transitional arrangement towards independence won later in March 1957.

Nkrumah MLK

During the independence period Ghana became a haven for African American political figures, artists, professionals and business people. Some within this group became staunch defenders of the Nkrumah government which was under increasing pressure from the CIA and the State Department after 1961.

Nkrumahs and Dubois

Several hundred African Americans took up residence in Ghana including Maya Angelou, a writer, dancer and supporter of African liberation movements; Alice Windom of St. Louis, a social worker and educator who helped organize the itinerary of Malcolm X when he travelled to Ghana in May 1964; Vicki Holmes Garvin, a labor activist and member of the Communist Party served as a co-worker with Robert and Mabel Williams in China several years later after leaving Ghana; Julius Mayfield, a novelist and essayist who left the U.S. amid the attacks on Robert Williams, worked in Ghana as a journalist and editor of African Review, a Pan-Africanist journal in support of the CPP government; W.E.B. Du Bois was given Ghanaian citizenship and appointed as the director of the Encyclopedia Africana; Shirley Graham Du Bois, the second wife of Dr. Du Bois, a political organizer, member of the Communist Party, prolific writer and producer, was appointed by Nkrumah to head Ghana National Television; among others.

Malcolm X in Ghana with Maya Angelou, Julius Mayfield, Alice Windom, Vicki Garvin

After the coup in February 1966, most of the progressive African Americans were forced to leave Ghana due to the pro-imperialist character of the NLC regime. Dr. Du Bois had died in August 1963. However, his wife who worked as a leading figure in the Ghana government was placed under house arrest by the military-police officials. Shirley Graham Du Bois left Ghana and later lived in Egypt and China where she died in 1976.

 U.S. Imperialism Continues Destabilization of Africa

Five decades later the CIA and State Department are still heavily engaged in destabilization of African states and progressive movements. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), founded in 2008, is constructing airstrips, drone stations and military bases in various regions across the continent. The anti-imperialist struggle in regard to interventions in Africa is just as relevant today as it was in 1966.

African American political organizations played a key role in influencing Nkrumah from the 1930s, until his removal from power in 1966 and beyond, right up until his death in 1972 in Romania. Although the overthrow of the Nkrumah government was designed by U.S. imperialism to halt the advance of the African Revolution and the internationalization of the struggle of African Americans, solidarity efforts accelerated from the late 1960s through the 1990s when the last vestiges of white-minority rule were eliminated in South Africa and Namibia.

Younger generations of African American activists can gain much from the study of the intersection between the struggle for liberation inside the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the African continent. It was during this period after the conclusion of World War II and extending to the beginning of the 21st century that tremendous gains were won in the areas of national liberation, Pan-African unity and socialist-orientation.

Today with a strong emphasis being placed on the demonstrations against the use of lethal force against African Americans by the police and vigilantes, identification with broader struggles taking place within the African world are often overlooked. Despite the ideological advances of the previous period where people of African descent began to identify as African Americans, there appears to be an uncritical reversion back to a U.S.-centered approach resurrecting “blackness” in contravention to notions of an “African Personality and Pan-Africanism” advanced by Nkrumah and his collaborators.

These developments, if gone unchecked, will break off the African American movement from its most natural allies among like-minded forces within the entire African world. In addition, with a lack of emphasis on internationalism, the African American struggle will be hard pressed to reach its full potential through winning allies throughout the world.

Posted in USA, AfricaComments Off on Ghana and the 1966 Coup Against Kwame Nkrumah

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