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The UN Losing Poker Hand in Libya

Featured image: Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar

In poker, smart players know that the best thing to do with a weak hand is dump it.

Not so the United Nations. Libya is doubling down on backing the failing Government of National Accord (GNA), hoping that by reopening its UN base in the capital, the previously fortified “Palm City Complex,” things will improve.

They are also sending some sending in Gurkha “Security Guards,” but nowhere near enough to actually make a difference against the Tripoli-based militias. For two hundred years the Gurkhas have been the most feared force in the British Army. If anyone can destroy the Tripoli militias, they can, but what’s the point? Why shore up an unelected five-man government?

The GNA was created by the UN two years ago to unite the country and end the civil war. Instead, the GNA’s cabinet is unable even to unite Tripoli, which is “controlled” by various militias. Hence the need for Gurkhas to stop militias overrunning the ostentatious UN compound, “Palm City,” which is itself a provocation to the Libyan people.

The elected parliament in Tobruk, rival to the GNA, is increasingly calling the shots. Thanks to the increasingly popular Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Tobruk now controls the majority of the country and its oil infrastructure and ports. The idea that the GNA will ever rule over areas held by Tobruk is laughable. But, having created the GNA, the UN remains determined to back it. Last week Haftar banned GNA personnel from visiting the East — so much for the alleged French July détente efforts.

What makes the UN case so hopeless is that outside powers are split and at odds – in particular France and Italy — over who to support.

One European country is even pondering supporting the son of the late Colonel Gaddafi — that is how desperate the situation has become.

Italy supports the GNA because militias in western Libya are in a position to stop people-smuggling. Italy faces parliamentary elections in 2018 and politicians are aware the electorate will focus on the immigration issue.

Most migrants from Libya end up in Italy, not France, and for Paris migration is less important than combating terrorism. Haftar is already combating Islamist terrorists in Libya, making France a natural ally.

“Serraj leverages off of Italian support,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a doctoral candidate in geopolitics and Libyan commentator, adding “and you can be sure Haftar makes use of the prestige of France’s apparent support for his military campaign. On the ground, the inability of foreign states to coordinate among themselves on Libya has always generated more chaos.”

In July, Fayez Serraj, the UN-designated prime minister from the Government of National Accord, met with Haftar in Paris to sign a peace deal between the two sides. But neither leader actually signed the document. In an interview with France 24, Haftar later stated,

“Serraj is a good man, but he cannot implement what he agrees to.”

Russia showed its support for Haftar by inviting him aboard an aircraft carrier earlier this year. It has since hedged its bets, insisting it is working for reconciliation by talking to all sides, including the Misrata-based Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos (BMB) militia.

Yesterday the BMB militia surprisingly pledged its support for an unknown multi-millionaire businessman Basit Igtet, a Swiss based Libyan with alleged links to Israel and designs on becoming President of Libya!

One thing must be made clear: The BMB Militia are enemies of Haftar’s LNA.

Lev Dengov, head of the “Russia’s Contact Group for a Libyan settlement,” recently stated,

“Tripoli and Tobruk personnel share the same embassy building in Moscow, engineered by us, to bring them closer to each other.”

Britain is trying to have it both ways. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who presumably facilitated the Gurkhas’ deployment, visited Serraj to show support, flying east to see Haftar on the of 24th August at his headquarters, urging the field marshall to keep to the “unsigned” agreement announced in Paris. But why should Hafter do so? It’s farcical.

The United States has kept a low profile thus far. Though rumour has it there has been a shift in policy in the last few days. Expect Rex Tillerson to get involved in the near future.

With the big powers so divided, and the GNA experiment having failed, the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, a Lebanese politician, said by some to be distrusted by the Russians, would have done better to dump the GNA.

Instead Salame is planning to send UN staff and “British Gurkhas,” disguised as “guards,” into the Tripoli cauldron, putting many lives needlessly at risk to support a failed and unelected government.

When will the UN throw in its losing hand? And when will Russia return to the aces it had when it supported Haftar?

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Kagame Cracks Down Hard in Rwanda, Victoire Ingabire in Danger

NOVANEWS

Featured image: Victoire Ingabire (Source: Friends of Victoire)

I spoke to Joseph Bukeye, an officer of Victoire Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi party in Brussels, Belgium.

Ann Garrison: What danger is Victoire Ingabire facing now in her seventh year in prison?

Joseph Bukeye: Starvation. She requires a special diet which has been provided by our staff since her arrest. Two people have been authorized to see her, but they have both been arrested. No one else is allowed to see her.

AG: And what’s your source of information about this?

JB: Her lawyer and our own sources.

AG: Five more members of your party, FDU-Inkingi, have been arrested in Kigali, as has at least one member of another opposition party. Do you have any word of them?

JB: A total of 10 members of our party have been arrested plus one from our sister party PDP-Imanzi. Three of ours, the driver, the security guard, and the house worker, were set free yesterday. Family members were denied access to the seven still detained. Our lawyer managed to see two of them today.

AG: Diane Rwigara, the woman who attempted to challenge Paul Kagame for the presidency this year, has also been arrested, so this seems to be part of a wider crackdown on any opposition. Do you have any idea why it is happening now?

JB: It is indeed a well orchestrated campaign to uproot the opposition. Kagame has just managed to get himself “re-elected,” and he doesn’t want any dissenting voices from any corner. He is facing growing dissent within his own party and he does not want to have to face the opposition parties on another front. He does not care whether the opposition is Hutu or Tutsi; he just wants to stifle it. His relations with neighbours are souring, and his plan to oust Burundi’s leadership has failed. He fears retaliation.

AG: Do you know when the regional African Court of Human and People’s Rights might rule on Victoire’s appeal of her sentence in Rwanda?

JB: Very soon. Probably during the ongoing session of the court. Kagame no doubt sees that coming soon and feels more embattled. The court has no enforcement authority, but a ruling in Victoire’s favor will further damage his image.

AG: What can anyone do to help Victoire and the other opposition leaders in prison or detention?

JB: People can attempt to turn press attention to the situation and ask their governments to demand that the prisoners are all given due process, The US and the UK are the top donors to Rwanda, so it is especially important to contact them.  Ask them to demand due process, fair trials, and access to subsistence commodities for the prisoners as long as they are detained. They can also object to the West’s double standard regarding Rwanda and Burundi. Western governments, with the help of the UN Human Rights Council, are pushing for an ICC indictment of Burundian officials, when the human rights abuse in Rwanda is much worse.

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Struggles Challenging Neo-Colonial Regime Prompts Postponement of ‘Israel’-Africa Summit in Togo

NOVANEWS

Millions oppose the continuation of successive Gnassingbe administrations after five decades

Featured image: Togo President Faure Gnassingbe with Israeli PM Netanyahu

A controversial gathering which was scheduled to be held in the West African state of Togo has been called off amid a burgeoning movement aimed at the removal of a French-backed political dynasty.

Called the Israel-Africa Summit, the event was obviously designed to enhance the political and economic role of Tel Aviv on the continent.

Absent of any serious attempts to resolve the Palestinian question related their right to self-determination and nationhood along with the ongoing occupation of the Golan Heights in Syria, the state of Israel is seeking to undermine any appearance of anti-imperialist sentiments among African leaders. Reversing developments in years pass when progressive and moderate African governments gave diplomatic and material support to the anti-Zionist movement in Palestine and surrounding countries, Israel is making a bold offensive to strengthen relations with African Union (AU) member-states.

The summit was to have taken place in October in Lome the capital. Several leaders in Africa had already objected to the meeting and said they would not attend.

News of the postponement came from the Israeli Foreign Ministry which noted that the President of Togo would not be in a position to hold the summit at this time. Mass demonstrations have erupted in Togo demanding the removal of the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe who has ruled the country since his father’s death, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005. The elder Gnassingbe seized power in a military coup in 1967. Therefore, the country has been ruled by one family for 50 years.

According to an article published by the Associated Press on September 11, it conveys:

“In a statement Monday (Sept. 11), the ministry said the decision had come at the request of Togo’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, after consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It said talks would continue ‘to guarantee the full success of the summit.’ The statement gave no reason for the decision. But Togo has been experiencing unrest in recent days, with thousands of protesters demanding presidential term limits amid anger over the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.”

This announcement represents a setback in Israeli foreign policy towards Africa. The convening of such a summit on the continent would represent a major departure from the traditions of solidarity with the struggling peoples of the world particularly in the Middle East.

Largely stemming from the failed British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 in the aftermath of the nationalization of the Suez Canal by the-then President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the newly-emerging African states began to look critically at Tel Aviv. Just over a decade later during the so-called “Six Day War” of June 1967 between Egypt, Syria and Jordan against the Israeli state, where Tel Aviv more than doubled its size by seizing control of the Sanai in Egypt right up to the Suez Canal, while at the same time occupying the Golan Heights of Syria and the taking of the West Bank previously under Jordanian authority, most African states severed diplomatic relations with Israel.

Six years later in 1973, Egypt under President Anwar Sadat launched an offensive taking back vast stretches of the Sinai from Israeli control, lead to the escalation of tensions even further. Two years later in 1975, the United Nations General Assembly voted to declare that “Zionism is racism”, intensifying the isolation of Tel Aviv. Eventually in 1991, the resolution against Israel was revoked by the same UN General Assembly.

The London-based Independent newspaper noted that in the current situation:

“A number of African countries were reportedly threatening to boycott the October 23-27 event, in protest at Israel’s conduct in the Palestinian conflict. Morocco’s King Mohamed VI stayed away from a summit of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS in Liberia in June, because Netanyahu was invited. “

Togolese Masses Take to the Streets in Early September

Perhaps the most significant factor in the decision to postpone the summit was the unrelenting mobilizations by opposition parties and coalitions in Togo aimed at the resignation of the current administration of Gnassingbe. During August 19-20, tens of thousands marched and rallied in defiance of the national government.

Reports indicated that as many as 7 people were killed by police and military forces inside the country. Many others were arrested and 15 members of a leading opposition group, the Pan-African National Party (PNP), were sentenced to prison terms.

A new round of mass demonstrations against the Gnassingbe administration erupted on September 6-7. The government in response reportedly shutdown internet connectivity preventing the various opposition groups from communicating among themselves as well as limiting access to information related to developments inside the country and internationally.

Togo opposition on the march for removal of neo-colonial regime in Lome

Thousands of Togolese marched into the central area of Lome on September 7 facing down the security forces. Later police fired teargas to disperse the crowd arresting some 80 people.

Al Jazeera described the September 7 demonstrations emphasizing that:

“The scale of this week’s protests, which the opposition said were attended by hundreds of thousands of people, represented the biggest challenge to Gnassingbe’s rule since the aftermath of his ascension to power in 2005. US-based company Dyn, which monitors the internet, said traffic dropped off at 09:00 GMT in what critics said was a move by the government to suppress protests as other African governments have done. Residents said that text messages had also been blocked. The communications minister could not immediately be reached for comment on the cuts.”

Those seeking to remain informed about the mass demonstrations of September 6-7 were forced to travel to the border between Togo and Ghana in order to have access to internet services. Officials within the Gnassingbe regime admitted that internet services were blocked citing concerns of threats to national security.

Demonstrators told members of the press they wanted a return to the reform constitution enacted in 1992. This document limits the existing administrations from remaining in office for more than two terms.

Nonetheless, after the ascendancy of the current president, amendments were made which allowed the perpetuation of the Gnassingbe family rule. Efforts aimed at reform have been met with fierce repression from the government.

Understanding the mounting mass pressure, members of parliament have announced the need for a bill to institute reforms. Nonetheless, opposition figures are quite skeptical of such a move at this time.

Coalition Broadens Through the Emergence of PNP

These recent demonstrations have reached a critical point with the emergence of the Pan African National Party (PNP) leader Tikpi Atchadam, 50, as a central figure in the mass mobilizations over the last month. The party has reached out to form a broader alliance with the Combat for Political Change (CAP 2015) which brought together opposition groups in over the last few years.

PNP was formed in 2014 and has no representation in parliament. Atchadam is from the northern region of Togo as is the Gnassingbe family. The willingness of the various opposition parties to work together has created a dynamic movement committed to the toppling of the existing administration.

Atchadam has never before run for president. Parliamentary opposition leader of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), Jean-Pierre Fabre, 65, has also formed a coalition with the PNP in the interests of political transformation.

Fabre has run unsuccessfully for president on several occasions. The ANC leader repeatedly charged that the elections were rigged and not representative of the Togolese political will.

In response to the growing demonstration against President Gnassingbe, members of his ruling Rally for the Togolese People (RPT) have also staged demonstrations in support of the government. At present President Gnassingbe is chair of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) therefore hampering the capacity of the organization to effectively address the current political impasse inside the country.

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“Civil War” and Geopolitics in South Sudan

NOVANEWS

A Western Journalist Killed in South Sudan – What Really Happened? A number of major geopolitical moves are currently afoot in Africa. Make no mistake about it: neocolonialism is alive and well on the continent.

Featured image: US freelancer Christopher Allen killed while reporting in South Sudan (Source: Twitter)

Last week, Christopher Allen, a young American journalist was killed on the 27 August by South Sudanese government forces near the Ugandan border of South Sudan.

Allen’s death is tragic and unfortunate and so are the deaths of the two government soldiers and 16 rebels that were also killed in the firefight. All of these deaths are unnecessary and tragic for all the families concerned who will be mourning the loss of fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.

But there are no good guys in this story and no bad guys. The government of Salva Kiir and the rebels under opposition leader Riek Machar are both constructs of Empire in Africa. Salva Kiir became president in 2011 and one of his first acts of the new South Sudan was to hand over nearly 50% of the oil rights to Rothschild’s Glencore.

It doesn’t require a great imagination to see this as payment for Empire’s role in funding and armingJohn Garang’s SPLA. Garang probably underestimated the malevolence of his benefactors. He for his part, had a genuine mission to improve the lot of his people. He was dispatched in a helicopter crash. Coincidentally (or not), the helicopter was owned by President Museveni.

South Sudan has been at civil war which is described as a tribal conflict between Nuer and Dinka. Such an anthropological dissection of society is itself one of Empire’s constructs and has been the modus operandii of warfare in Africa for at least half a century. It is a strategy of war written about in a book called Gangs and Counter-Gangs by British General Sir Frank Kitson; a strategy first used to full effect in Kenya during the Mau-Mau Rebellion of the 1950s. The strategy is simple – divide and rule. Once again Riek Machar is being used as the tool to continue South Sudan’s destabilization, to justify western soft power disguised as humanitarian intervention. Quite why he is being used to topple Salva Kiir is not clear. Salva Kir has perhaps been looking East towards China and Russia instead of West.

Earlier this year the government raised the fees for foreign aid workers permits from $100 to $10 000. There are 2 ways of looking at this. The government could be profiting from international aid as famine once again threatens the region and an influx of aid workers is expected.Or this is the government’s attempt to reduce foreign intervention from the humanitarian soft power complex.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has begun refusing visas for Washington’s humanitarian aid workers many of whom can be regarded as spies and trouble makers, an act which is highly commendable. High-profile American journalist and UN-affiliated operative Jason Stearns also had his visa denied last year, as did Human Rights Watch journalist, Ida Sawyer.

A number of serious questions have been raised about Stearn’s role acting as a US gatekeeper in Rwandan and Central African affairs.

As to the role of the young journalist Christopher Allen, it is unfortunate. Interestingly, he had also been sent to the Ukraine as a journalist. However, instead of recognizing the situation in 2014 as a CIA sponsored coup, he chose to report the western favoured ‘color revolution’ narrative. Ukrainians now find themselves with a government of fascist NeoNazis who are CIA tools and puppets. The story of Ukraine is similar to that of so many African countries, like in Libya to mention only one. How much longer can the fake liberal American missionary-like zeal for intervening in other countries, fool itself?

Unfortunately for the multitude of well-meaning people worldwide fighting for “human rights” in Africa is really not what it appears to be.

Meanwhile, the western mainstream media continues with a standardised narrative, effectively begging for some form of UN or western/NATO intervention. It’s an all too familiar pattern:

‘The war has created the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis and both sides of the conflict have been accused of abuses.’

We leave you with the definitive article on this subject written by journalist Keith Harmon Snow and entitled:

EXPOSING U.S. AGENTS OF LOW-INTENSITY WARFARE IN AFRICA: The “Policy Wonks” Behind Covert Warfare & Humanitarian Fascism

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Attempted Political Coup Underway in Kenya

NOVANEWS

Supreme Court in 4-2 majority nullifies August 8 presidential election

 

In an unprecedented legal decision four members out of seven within the Kenyan Supreme Court struck down the results of the presidential elections which were held on August 8.

Four members voted in favor of nullification, two were dissenting, while one chief justice was in hospital and did not participate in the decision.

This is the first time in Africa’s 66-year history of electoral politics where such a significant occurrence has taken place.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, was declared the winner of the poll carried out less than a month ago with 54 percent of the votes counted. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, 72, who ran on behalf of the opposition coalition known as the National Super Alliance (NASA), garnered 44 percent.

The Supreme Court has mandated that a revote be held within 60 days. Supporters of the NASA coalition began to celebrate what they perceived as a ruling which will provide Odinga yet another opportunity to seek the highest office in the East African state.

Odinga ran for the presidency against Mwai Kibaki in 2007. Disagreements over the outcome led to internecine conflict resulting in the deaths of over a thousand people.

Later in 2013, Odinga lost to Uhuru Kenyatta by a substantial margin. Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rejected the results and later filed a legal challenge in the Kenyan courts. This attempt to overturn the elections in 2013 failed.

“Unascertained” Evidence Lead to the Nullification

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the majority opinion delivered by Chief Justice Daniel Kenani Maraga was that it lacked any substantial findings documenting the claimed violations of the Kenyan constitution. The chief justice said that such proof would be presented within the next 21 days.

Therefore, with campaigning for the revote getting underway immediately, there will be a gap in the initial messaging since the basis for the nullification has not been spelled out by the majority members of the Supreme Court. President Kenyatta in a statement to the media on September 1 said that he emphatically disagreed with the decision to designate the election results invalid although he would respect and abide by the ruling.

Kenyatta said that it was:

“important to respect the rule of law even if you disagree with the Supreme Court ruling. Your neighbor will still be your neighbor, regardless of what has happened. My primary message today to every single Kenyan is peace. Let us be people of peace.”

The president referred to the four justices in Kiswahili as “wakora”, meaning crooks. He asserted that their decision was politically motivated in deciding to “cancel the elections.”

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses crowd on Sept. 1, 2017 (Source: Abayomi Azikiwe)

Later the Jubilee party leader and president reminded Chief Justice Maraga that he was still the head-of-state in Kenya. Furthermore, Kenyatta warned his opponents within the Supreme Court that they would be monitored closely by the government.

Kenyatta asked during the press conference:

“Do you understand me? Maraga should know that he is now dealing with the serving president. We are keeping a close eye on them. But let us deal with the election first. We are not afraid.”

A summarized dissenting opinion from Justices Jackton Boma Ojwang and Njoki Susanna Ndungulaid out eight points of disagreement. Their arguments point to the failure to cite any specific instances of electoral practice which run contrary to the Kenyan constitution.

The minority summary emphasizes in point three that:

“Whereas the substance of the case founded on illegality and irregularity rests on the voting-results electronic transmission process, there is substantial information showing that, by law, the conduct of the election should have been mainly manual, and only partially electronic. Hardly any conclusive evidence has been adduced in this regard, which demonstrates such a manifestation of irregularity as to justify the invalidation of the election results.” (Standard article by Fredrick Obura, Sept. 1)

Moreover, the most revealing sections of the dissenting opinion are located in points five and six which notes:

“Much of the evidence which the majority opinion adopts is largely unascertained, apart from standing in contradiction to substantial, more credible evidence. In such a marginal state of merits in the case challenging the conduct of elections on 8th August, 2017, it is clear to me beyond peradventure, that there is not an iota of merit in invalidating the clear expression of the Kenyan people’s democratic will, which was recorded on 8th August, 2017.”

In other words it is unconscionable when four members of a high court can reverse the popular will of the millions of Kenyan voters who elected President Uhuru Kenyatta to a second term of office. The nullification of the presidential election is providing further political ammunition to the NASA coalition in their efforts to question the legitimacy of the Kenyan Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IBEC). Odinga is also calling for the resignation and prosecution of the IBEC Chair Wafula Chebukati and other officials for alleged crimes committed against the people.

Moreover, this Supreme Court ruling could open up legal challenges to other office holders whom secured their positions as a result of the August 8 elections within the parliamentary and county governmental structures. Therefore, the potential for widespread destabilization utilizing the electoral process remains an ominous threat.

An article published by the Daily Nation on September 1 warned:

“The judgment by the Supreme Court on the presidential results petition has put the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at the mercy of candidates who lost in the elections. Legal experts on Friday (Sept. 1) argued that Chief Justice David Maraga’s judgment will set precedence for hundreds of similar petitions at the lower courts. Lawyer Gordon Ogolla said the candidates who contested various seats were waiting to hear what the court would decide before lodging their appeals. According to Mr. Ogolla, the judgment poked holes in almost all the stages of the electoral process, giving other candidates a reason to think they lost unfairly and thus head to the court and use those grounds to protest their loss.”

International Impact of the Supreme Court Ruling

The elections were subjected to a rigorous outside monitoring process involving the African Union (AU), the United Nations, Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Carter Center from the United States, European Union (EU), among others. These observer missions unanimously agreed that the election process was free and fair saying it represented a landmark in democratic practice for the continent.

Consequently, such a ruling by the Supreme Court has grave implications for Kenya’s relationship with the broader global community. Since the country has the largest economy in the East Africa region, this decision could impact its interactions with its neighbors as well as trading partners internationally.

After the announcement voiding the elections by the Supreme Court, volatility in the Kenyan stock market resulted in a temporary suspension of trading. Also the value of the national currency, the shilling, fell against the U.S. dollar.

Kenya has maintained an annual growth rate of five percent. The nation is largely dependent upon agricultural production, commodity export and tourism. In recent years with the discovery and exploitation of oil, prospects for exponential development are on the horizon.

According to CNN Money as it relates to the current situation:

“Observers are worried that the ruling could result in a repeat of 2007, when the country plunged into widespread violence following elections. John Ashbourne of Capital Economics estimated before the vote that a similar crisis would cut roughly three percentage points off quarterly economic growth.” (Sept. 1)

It is important to recount that in 2013, both the U.S. and Britain, the former colonial power, threatened retribution if Kenyans elected Kenyatta as president. The president and his Vice-President William Ruto were investigated by the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible trial related to events stemming from political violence during the post-election period of late 2007 and 2008.

The cases against both Kenyatta and Ruto were dropped by the ICC for lack of evidence. The ICC has almost exclusively been preoccupied with events in Africa and has failed to investigate any of the war crimes and other atrocities committed by the western imperialist countries particularly the U.S. and Britain.

During the May 2013 fiftieth anniversary summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the AU, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU held extensive discussions on whether to withdraw as a continental group from the Rome Statute, the ostensible legal document which underpins the validity of the ICC.

Efforts by three African states to reject the Rome Statute have been thwarted. In Gambia, a state which withdrew from its jurisdiction had its government overthrown in early in 2017.

The Republic of South Africa, whose President Jacob Zuma, announced its intentions to withdraw from the oversight of the ICC, was subjected to a Constitutional Court ruling which said that it could not implement such a policy decision absent of the passage of legislation by parliament. South African opposition forces have utilized the courts to obstruct the capacity of the African National Congress (ANC) government to enact measures which adhere to the protocols of the AU and other policy imperatives related any semblance of genuine sovereignty and national independence.

Burundi, which made a similar declaration regarding the ICC, has been largely isolated by former colonial powers and neo-colonial governments due to a domestic constitutional court ruling granting the ability of President Pierre Nkurunziza to serve for a third term. During the Pentagon-NATO war of regime-change against the North African state of Libya in 2011, the ICC began an investigation into the now deceased former leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi and other high-ranking officials within the previous government.

These events in Kenya must be viewed within the broader context of the current post-colonial political conjuncture on the African continent. Despite the existence of liberation struggles throughout the region since the post-World War II period, the imperialist states led by the U.S. remain committed to the political and economic domination of the AU member-states.

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Mossad agent who infiltrated Daesh arrested in Libya

NOVANEWS

Image of Ephraim Benjamin, a Mossad agent [masralarabia]

Libyan security forces have arrested a Mossad agent who held a leading position in Daesh in the north-eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the Israeli website Inian Merkazi reported.

The Hebrew website whose name translates to “Central Issues”, added that Ephraim Benjamin is a Jewish spy and that he mingled with Libyans following the 2011 revolution that resulted in the ouster of Leader Moammer Ghaddafi.

Masr Alarabia website described him as one of Mossad’s “Arabists” who are characterised by Arab features and who speak Arabic fluently in local dialects.

Nazi Mossad Arabists are known for infiltrating Palestinian protests and arresting demonstrators, as well as assassinating anti-occupation Palestinian activists, according to Masr Alarabia.

Nazi spy Benjamin had reportedly become a prominent imam of a large mosque in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, then he became a Daesh leader who commanded 200 fighters from the militant group.

Read: Hundreds of Daesh corpses await repatriation from Libya

The spy, who was known in Libya as Abu Hafs, was arrested two months ago and accused by the Libyan authorities of gathering intelligence information on Daesh for Mossad.

The Zionist website cited the incident as evidence used by Arab media to justify the common conspiratorial argument propagated in some Arab circles about the Jewish Nazi regime being behind the rise of Daesh in the region.

Libyan media outlets describe Benjamin as the “Mossad sheikh” who was arrested by local authorities.

Daesh began to operate in Libya in 2015. Many believe that the video posted by the group on 12 February of the same year from the city of Sirte, featuring the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, as the official announcement of the militant group’s emergence in the north African country even if militant operations were believed to have been committed by Daesh prior to that date.

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Trudeau’s pal in Rwanda a ruthless dictator

NOVANEWS
By Yves Engler 

Why is the Trudeau government supporting Africa’s most ruthless dictator?

After amending the constitution to be able to run indefinitely Paul Kagame recently won 98.63 per cent of votes in Rwanda’s presidential election. In response, Canada’s High Commissioner Sara Hradecky tweeted “Congratulations to Rwandans for voting in peaceful presidential election” and “Canada congratulates Paul Kagame on his inauguration today as President of Rwanda.” The latter tweet was picked up by the state propaganda organ New Times in a story titledHeads of State, diplomats laud Kagame’s ‘visionary leadership’.”

If garnering 99 per cent of the vote wasn’t a clue that Kagame is a dictator, the High Commissioner could’ve taken a look at Canada’s ‘paper of record,’ whose Africa bureau chief has shined a critical light on Rwanda in recent years. At the start of 2016 The Globe and Mail reported on two new books describing the totalitarian nature of the regime.

“Village informers,” wrote South Africa-based Geoffrey York.Re-education camps. Networks of spies on the streets. Routine surveillance of the entire population. The crushing of the independent media and all political opposition. A ruler who changes the constitution to extend his power after ruling for two decades. It sounds like North Korea, or the totalitarian days of China under Mao. But this is the African nation of Rwanda — a long-time favourite of Western governments and a major beneficiary of millions of dollars in Canadian government support.”

In 2014 York wrote an investigation headlined “Inside the plots to kill Rwanda’s dissidents,” which provided compelling evidence that the regime had extended its assassination program outside of east Africa, killing (or attempting to) a number of its former top officials who were living in South Africa. Since the initial investigation York has also reported on Rwandan dissidents who’ve had to flee Belgium for their safety while the Toronto Star revealed five individuals in Canada fearful of the regime’s killers.

On top of international assassinations and domestic repression, Kagame has unleashed mayhem in the Congo. In 1996 Rwandan forces marched 1,500 km to topple the regime in Kinshasa and then re-invaded after the Congolese government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. This led to an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003, which left millions dead. Rwandan proxies have repeatedly re-invaded the mineral rich eastern Congo. In 2012 The Globe and Mail described how “Rwandan sponsored” M23 rebels hold power by terror and violence” there.

The Rwandan government’s domestic repression and violence in the Congo is well documented. Yet I couldn’t find a single tweet or comment by Hradecky critical of Kagame since she became High Commissioner in January. Yet she found time to retweet Kagame’s International Women’s Day message that “Realizing women’s full aspirations is inextricably linked to achieving whole nation’s potential.”

Re-tweeting a tyrant’s message or applauding spurious elections are clear forms of support for the “butcher of Africa’s Great Lakes.” But, Hradecky has offered less obvious backing to the regime.

On July 4 Hradecky tweeted “From the Canadian High Commission, we wish Rwandans a Happy Liberation Day!,” which was picked up by the New Times in a story titled “Messages of solidarity as Rwanda marks Liberation Day.”

The Ugandan-sponsored Rwandan Patriotic Front officially captured Kigali on July 4, 1994. Trained at a US military base in Kansas, Kagame’s forces apparently waited to take the capital so their Liberation Day could coincide with their US backers’ Independence Day, a public relations move that continues to pay dividends as demonstrated by a July NPR story titled In Rwanda, July 4 Isn’t Independence Day — It’s Liberation Day.”

Four years after 3,000 Ugandan troops “deserted” to invade their smaller neighbour the force of mostly exiled Tutsi took Kigali. Today, Rwanda continues to be ruled by largely English-speaking individuals who often are descended from those who had authority in a monarchy overthrown during the 1959–61 struggle against Belgian rule. The Guardian recently pointed to “the Tutsi elite who dominate politics and business” and the Economist detailed “The Rwandan Patriotic Front’s business empire” in the country.

Underpinning the “liberation” story is a highly simplistic, if not counterfactual, account of the 1994 genocide. Widely hailed as the person who ended the killings, Kagame is probably the individual most responsible for the mass slaughter. His RPF invaded Rwanda from Uganda, engaged in a great deal of killing and blew up the presidential plane, an event that unleashed the genocidal violence.

As Hradecky should know, last year the Globe and Mail described two secret reports documenting Kagame’sdirect involvement in the 1994 missile attack that killed former president Juvénal Habyarimana, leading to the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people died.”

Echoing Kigali’s narrative, Hradecky published a half dozen tweets (or retweets) in April commemorating the Genocide. “Canada stands with Rwanda to commemorate the victims of Genocide,” read one. Hradecky also retweeted a Government of Rwanda statement: “Today marks the beginning of the 23rd Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.”

Promoting simplistic commentary on the subject effectively strengthens a regime that derives much of its legitimacy from purportedly stopping the genocide.

From commemorating Liberation Day to applauding questionable elections, Canada’s High Commissioner has provided various forms of ideological support to Africa’s most ruthless dictator. That should embarrass everyone who wants this country to be a force for good in the world.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Trudeau’s pal in Rwanda a ruthless dictator

An Off-the-Record Genocide: Global Resource Extraction Economy Destroys DR Congo Indigenous Groups

NOVANEWS
 

On April 27, 2017, a hapless cow wandered off-course during a seasonal cattle drive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ended up over the campfire of some Indigenous hunters. The traditional lands of these groups (Batwa and related groups) are routinely trampled by cattle, cut for old-growth timber, or grabbed for mineral resources including diamonds and coltan — generally illegally. As their wild game diminishes from these impacts, the Batwa have come to view cattle as fair game. 

The cattle herders followed their cow’s tracks, and upon learning her fate, agreed to share the meat with the Batwa. But when they returned to their village, a local self-appointed “defense militia” was infuriated, returning to kill and mutilate eight of the Batwa.

The global economy’s demand for hard-to-obtain minerals and tropical timber, coupled with a long history of contempt and exploitation by neighboring tribes, have made these Batwa hunter-gatherers easy targets for land grabs and violence. Specifically targeted during a massive regional conflict to gain control over resources, in the early 2000s, an estimated 70,000 Batwa were tortured, killed and even cannibalized in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to American University’s Inventory of Conflict and Environment Case Studies.

There is only one word for the attempted eradication of an entire group of people through the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children, whatever the reason. That word is genocide.

The conflict is now heating up again, this time in southeastern DRC. Since September 2016, volunteer investigators on the ground have been gathering names and numbers of Indigenous community members killed, injured, raped and displaced. These numbers, no doubt gross underestimates, show that well over 1,200 Batwa have been killed in the past 12 months — primarily in skirmishes with non-Indigenous neighboring communities intent on expanding their access to land and resources.

In one recent case, on July 4, 2017, a national online news source in DRC said that daylong clashes between Batwa and other ethnic groups were triggered after the Batwa killed two adversaries near the provincial capital of Kalemie. No casualty list was provided in the news article, but according to our sources, 189 Batwa people were killed that day, including men, women and children.

In the worst attack we have documented so far, on the night of January 13-14, 2017, there was a nighttime attack against the Batwa near a town called Moba. Six hundred Batwa people were slaughtered outright; at least 1,600 women and girls were brutally raped, and were being cared for using traditional medicines because there are no health centers. No pain-killers; no antibiotics; no urgently-needed surgeries; no forensic evidence; no psychological counseling. More than 40 of those women and girls had already died or were on the verge of death several days after the attack.

A desperately inadequate RFI news report on the event, translated from French, says,

“On 13 January, clashes took place … 25 kilometers from the city of Moba. Four villages were partially or totally burned down and the population fled to Moba. In total, 24 people — four Bantus and twenty [Batwa] — lost their lives in one week.”

Is this destined to be an off-the-record genocide?

Knowledgeable sources on the ground say that neighboring tribes are intent on exterminating (yes, a dehumanizing term) the Indigenous people, and that the DRC government is determined to prevent word of this massacre from becoming known internationally. This is to be expected: President Joseph Kabila, who refuses to hold elections as required by DRC’s constitution, prefers to get rid of anything that stands in the way of enriching elites in his kleptocracy. Indigenous people’s traditional land rights are an impediment to uncontrolled resource extraction.

Less expected is the lack of forthright information by the UN’s peacekeeping force in DRC. The UN’s radio station in DRC routinely downplays these incidents, and fails to distinguish between deaths of Indigenous peoples and others. A July 11, 2017, article in IRIN, which reports on crises for the UN, left the dangerous misimpression that conflict and large-scale internal displacements of people in this region are instigated primarily by Indigenous Batwa militias. Without providing any objective breakdown of casualty statistics or detailed descriptions of incidents, the article presents, unchallenged, the anti-Batwa statements of individuals, primarily from the very tribal groups who are engaged in driving the Batwa off their lands.

This opacity is a major contributing factor to the ongoing crisis, providing cover for those looking to profit from the chaos. Local news sources fail to provide acceptable coverage, and international media are (rightly) afraid to send reporters in. The DRC government’s information cannot be trusted. UN investigators have been killed. Local journalists have been killed. Human rights advocates have been killed or barred from entering the country. International NGOs have sounded the alarm about conflicts and conflict minerals in the region, but only one organization has paid close attention to the genocide against the Indigenous Batwa. And on July 19, 2017, the UN announced plans to shut down five of its monitoring and peacekeeping bases in DRC, courtesy of the Trump administration’s refusal to meet US funding commitments.

There is, however, a way to obtain accurate and timely information on the situation: from the locals. My organization works with a network of local groups and individuals who are already on the ground and can tap into sources of information from the various ethnic communities and factions. Their cross-verified Field Reports provide one of the only current sources of insight into the devastation faced by the Batwa in eastern DRC.

With awareness comes the possibility of transformation. On January 16, 2017, just two days after the Moba massacre, delegates from organizations across the region convened along the shores of Lake Kivu to form a multi-ethnic coalition to defend the survival and rights of the Batwa people. With strong Batwa leadership, they developed a plan of action to monitor human rights violations and violent conflict, undertake legal interventions, launch a region-wide public awareness campaign on behalf of Indigenous rights, and implement genuine conflict resolution mechanisms (unlike the feeble government efforts led by Emmanuel Shadary, an internationally sanctioned human rights violator, which have failed to bring necessary issues and actors to the table).

We have a choice: we can either look away in horror, or we can take action to help stop the killing. If Congolese people of all ethnic backgrounds can join together to defend Indigenous rights, despite the horrendous civil and regional conflict of the past two decades, the least we in the international community can do is to back them up where we have influence. We need to educate ourselves and others, then support civil society efforts on the ground, demand that African Union and United Nations peacekeepers do their jobs, and block multinational resource extractive companies from providing financial incentives for genocide.

My colleagues in DRC end many of their communications with the exhortation, “Courage!” Let’s follow their lead.

Posted in Africa, DR CongoComments Off on An Off-the-Record Genocide: Global Resource Extraction Economy Destroys DR Congo Indigenous Groups

Still Spinning On Libya

NOVANEWS
By James W. Carden 

In recent weeks, the Washington Post’s Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan has published a series of remarkable dispatches from war-torn Libya, which is still reeling from the aftermath of NATO’s March 2011 intervention and the subsequent overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

On July 2, Raghavan reported on what amounts to Libya’s modern-day slave trade. According to his report, Libya is “now home to a thriving trade in humans. Unable to pay exorbitant smuggling fees or swindled by traffickers, some of the world’s most desperate people are being held as slaves, tortured or forced into prostitution.”

The numbers help tell the tale. “The number of migrants departing from Libya is surging,” writes Raghavan, “with more than 70,000 arriving in Italy so far this year, a 28 percent increase over the same period last year.”

On August 1, Raghavan returned to the pages of the Post with a disturbing portrait of life in Tripoli, reporting that: “Six years after the revolution that toppled dictator Moammar Gaddafi, the mood in this volatile capital is a meld of hopelessness and gloom. Diplomatic and military efforts by the United States and its allies have failed to stabilize the nation; the denouement of the crisis remains far from clear. Most Libyans sense that the worst is yet to come.”

Raghavan notes that “Under Gaddafi, the oil-producing country was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations.” Under his rule, “Libyans enjoyed free health care, education and other benefits under the eccentric strongman’s brand of socialism.” It would be difficult not to see, Raghavan writes, “the insecurity that followed Gaddafi’s death has ripped apart the North African country.”

Taken together, Raghavan’s reports should come as a rude shock to stalwart supporters of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Yet the embarrassing fervor with which many embraced the intervention remains largely undiminished – with, as we will see, one notable exception.

An Upside-Down Meritocracy

Anne Marie Slaughter, who served as policy planning chief at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, emailed her former boss after the start of the NATO operation, to say: “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have never been prouder of having worked for you.”

Five months after the start of NATO operation against Gaddafi, Slaughter went public with her approval in an op-ed for the Financial Times titled “Why Libya Skeptics Were Proved Badly Wrong.” Proving, if nothing else, that the foreign policy establishment is a reverse meritocracy, Slaughter holds an endowed chair at Princeton and is also the well-compensated president of the influential Washington think tank New America.

President Obama’s decision to intervene received wide bipartisan support in the Congress and from media figures across the political spectrum, including Bill O’Reilly and Cenk Uyghur.

Yet the casus belli used to justify the intervention, as a U.K. parliamentary report made clear last September, was based on a lie: that the people of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi were in imminent danger of being slaughtered by Gaddafi’s forces.

The report, issued by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, states that “Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

The report also noted that while “Many Western policymakers genuinely believed that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered his troops to massacre civilians in Benghazi … this did not necessarily translate into a threat to everyone in Benghazi. In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty. US intelligence officials reportedly described the intervention as ‘an intelligence-light decision.’”

Even as it became clear that the revolution had proved to be a disaster for the country, the arbiters of acceptable opinion in Washington continued to insist that NATO’s intervention was not only a success, but the right thing to do. It is a myth that has gained wide purchase among D.C.’s foreign policy cognoscenti, despite the judgment of former President Barack Obama, who famously described the intervention as “a shit show.”

Still Spinning

A full year after the commencement of NATO’s campaign against Gaddafi, former NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stravidis took to the pages of that reliable bellwether of establishment opinion, Foreign Affairs, to declare that “NATO’s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention.”

According to Daalder and Stravidis, “the alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime.”

In 2016, a Clinton campaign press release justifying the ill-starred intervention, claimed “Qadhafi and his regime made perfectly clear what their plans were for dealing with those who stood up against his reign, using disgusting language in urging his backers to cleanse the country of these rebels. This was a humanitarian crisis.”

Astonishingly, the campaign “Factsheet” goes on to assert that, “there was no doubt that further atrocities were on the way, as Qadhafi’s forces storming towards the county’s second biggest city.” Yet there is, as both the U.K. parliamentary report and a Harvard study by Alan J. Kuperman found, no evidence for this whatsoever.

“Qaddafi did not perpetrate a ‘bloodbath’ in any of the cities that his forces recaptured from rebels prior to NATO intervention — including Ajdabiya, Bani Walid, Brega, Ras Lanuf, Zawiya, and much of Misurata — so there was,” writes Kuperman, “virtually no risk of such an outcome if he had been permitted to recapture the last rebel stronghold of Benghazi.”

Nevertheless, the myth persists. Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid, the author of Islamic Exceptionalismcontinues to insist, against all evidence, that the intervention was a success.

“The Libya intervention was successful,” says Hamid, “The country is better off today than it would have been had the international community allowed dictator Muammar Qaddafi to continue his rampage across the country.”

In this, Hamid is hardly alone. Left-activists in thrall to a Trotskyite vision of permanent revolution also continue to make the case that NATO’s intervention was a net positive for the country.

In a recent interview with In These Times, Leila Al-Shami claimed that “If Gaddafi had not fallen, Libya now would look very much like Syria. In reality, the situation in Libya is a million times better. Syrian refugees are fleeing to Libya. Far fewer people have been killed in Libya since Gaddafi’s falling than in Syria. Gaddafi being ousted was a success for the Libyan people.”

 

 Full article

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Police Reject Diplomatic Immunity for Robert Mugabe’s Wife Over Model ‘Assault’

NOVANEWS

Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe addresses party supporters at an event on the outskirts of Harare, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

© AP Photo/ Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace has gone to ground after being arrested for allegedly beating up a model who was cavorting with her sons in a hotel room in South Africa. The incident could prove to be a hugely embarrassing diplomatic incident for South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.

President Zuma narrowly survived a vote of no confidence earlier in August, and the incident with the wife of President Mugabe — who is a close ally — is the last thing he needs.

​Gabriella Engels, 20, showed off pictures of her injuries on social media after the incident at a swanky hotel in the Sandton suburb of Johannesburg at the weekend.

She had a gaping cut in her forehead which she claimed to have suffered when she was hit by a plug on an extension lead brandished by Mrs. Mugabe.

Although he is 93, Mr. Mugabe retains a vice-like grip on Zimbabwe and last year he was confirmed as the ruling ZANU party’s candidate for next year’s presidential election.

Mrs. Mugabe, who is 41 years younger than her husband, used diplomatic immunity in a bid to escape prosecution for the incident. ​She reportedly became angry when she found Miss Engels in a room at the hotel with her sons Robert Mugabe junior, 25, and Chatunga Mugabe, 21.

Miss Engels, who is South African, claimed Mrs. Mugabe’s bodyguards did nothing to stop the attack.

“What is a girl compared to a women beating you and 10+ body guards standing back leaving her to do this s***,” she wrote on social media.

“She split my head open in 3 places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me,” claimed Miss Engels, who pointed out that as a model her looks is her livelihood.

https://twitter.com/aliiwostreet9/status/897184216705847302/photo/1

Miss Engels contacted the police on August 14, about the incident. On Wednesday, August 16, the South African Ministry of Police published a statement in which they said “the suspect” made arrangements to be interviewed at a police station at 10am on Tuesday, August 15.

“The time scheduled was changed several times. By end of business yesterday she had failed to present herself as arranged,” said the statement, which added that Zimbabwean government representatives did come to the police station.

“The suspect’s lawyers and government representatives made verbal presentations to SAPS (South African Police Service) investigators that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover,” said the police.

The police said the Zimbabwean government had then formally submitted a document invoking diplomatic immunity on behalf of the president’s wife.

“The suspect remains in South Africa and has not departed the republic. We are advised her itinerary includes amongst private matters her attendance and participation at the scheduled SADC heads of state/governments summit and bi-lateral diplomatic meetings already underway in Pretoria,” they added.

But the statement went on to say that arrangements are taking place with the Zimbabwean High Commission to make sure she is “processed through the legal system,” which suggests her diplomatic immunity has not been accepted by the police.

The Police Minister, Mbalula Fikile, has come under intense pressure on social media in South Africa to prosecute Mrs. Mugabe, but his boss, President Zuma, may not want to disrupt the good relations he has with the Zimbabwean leader.

Mr. Mugabe’s sons were previously living in Dubai, but moved to South Africa earlier this year after their parents reportedly became concerns about their partying habits.

Related:

Impoverished Zimbabwe Name $1.3Bln University After 93-Year-Old Robert Mugabe
UK ‘Ignored’ Zimbabwe Massacre to Further Own Interests, New Documents Claim
President Mugabe Confirmed as Ruling Party Candidate in Zimbabwe’s 2018 Election
South African Opposition Says Zuma No-Confidence Vote Means ANC Party ‘Death’

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Police Reject Diplomatic Immunity for Robert Mugabe’s Wife Over Model ‘Assault’

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