Newsletter - Racism, Propaganda And Wars

unnamed (3)

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This week, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which promoted giving Palestine to the Jewish people, will be celebrated in London. Around the world, there will be protests against it calling for Britain to apologize for the damage it inflicted. Students from the West Bank and Gaza will send letters to the British government describing the negative impacts that the Balfour Declaration, and the Nakba in 1948, continue to have on their lives today. As Dan Freeman-Maloy describes, the Balfour Declaration is also relevant today because of the propaganda co-existing with it that justified white supremacy, racism and empire. British imperialists believed that democracy only applied to “civilized and conquering peoples,” and that “Africans, Asians, Indigenous peoples the world over – all were … ‘subject races,’ unfit for self-government.”

The US, Africa And A New Century Of War

Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group, 2nd battalion cry at the tomb of US Army Sgt. La David Johnson at his burial service in the Memorial Gardens East cemetery on October 21, 2017, in Hollywood, Florida. Sgt. Johnson and three other US soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017. (Photo: GASTON DE CARDENAS / AFP / Getty Images)

By William Rivers Pitt for Truthout – Most Americans’ broad ignorance regarding Africa is a long-standing phenomenon, one perpetuated from the top down. In 2008, the campaign staffers tasked to wrangle Sarah Palin were terrified people would discover she thought Africa was one big country. In 2001, President George W. Bush told a gathering in Sweden, “Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to none other than the US-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014, said, “There’s no reason the nation of Africa should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations.” That’s twice in one sentence, Joe. After four elite US soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger several weeks ago, and after President Trump made a gut-grinding botch of offering condolences to the families of the fallen, Africa policy has become a hot topic in US politics. Beyond the febrile fodder of yet another presidential humiliation lay the deeper question: What were those four soldiers doing in Niger? South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Armed Services Committee that oversees the Pentagon, apparently just found out that the US has roughly 1,000 troops stationed in Niger. When asked why they were there, he gave the standard reply we always hear in the age of the Authorization of Use of Military Force: fighting terrorists.

U.S. Military Activity Is A “Recruiting Tool” For Terror Groups Across West Africa

Screenshot 2017-10-28 at 2.49.26 PM

By Nick Turse for The Intercept – THE MISSION NEVER made the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post. It wasn’t covered on CNN or Fox News. Neither the White House chief of staff, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nor the president ever addressed it in a press briefing. But from mid-January to late March 2013, Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group deployed to the impoverished West African nation of Niger. Working alongside local forces, they trained in desert mobility, the use of heavy weapons, and methods of deliberate attack. On May 15 of that year, another contingent of Special Forces soldiers arrived in Niger. For nearly two months, they also trained with local troops, focusing on similar combat skills with an emphasis on missions in remote areas. From the beginning of August until mid-September, yet another group of Green Berets traveled to the hot, arid country for training, concentrating on desert operations, heavy weapons employment, intelligence analysis, and other martial matters, according to Pentagon documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act. One constant of all of these counterterrorism missions, which were carried out by small teams of elite U.S. troops operating alongside Nigerien forces, was a concentration on reconnaissance. Until recently, such missions were conducted without notice or media scrutiny.

‘U.S. Aims To Dominate Land, Resources And Labor Of African People’

US military training in Africe. Source Wikimedia

By Abayomi Azikiwe for Muslim Press – “United States foreign policy towards Africa has not fundamentally changed since World War II. Washington’s aim is to dominate the land, resources and labor of the African people,” Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, told Muslim Press in an interview. In what follows, the full transcript of the interview has been presented. Muslim Press: What has been the result of U.S. foreign policy in African countries? How has U.S. foreign policy in Africa changed since Donald Trump became president? Abayomi Azikiwe: United States foreign policy towards Africa has not fundamentally changed since World War II. Washington’s aim is to dominate the land, resources and labor of the African people. Successive administrations backed the colonial policies of Britain, France, Portugal and the former settler-colonial regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa. In Feb. 1966, the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson engineered a military and police coup against the First Republic of Ghana under President Kwame Nkrumah. Later in Oct. 1975, the administration of President Gerald Ford deployed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to support a military intervention into Angola by the former racist apartheid South African Defense Forces (SADF) to prevent the genuine independence of that former Portuguese colony.

US Military Presence In 53 of 54 African Countries

war

By Rachel Blevins for Activist Post – While many Americans are aware that the United States is at war in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan because of the media attention given to those conflicts, the news that four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger came as a surprise that left some asking the question, “Since when is the U.S. at War with Africa?” Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed on Oct. 4, after their team was reportedly ambushed by “ISIS-affiliated militants traveling by vehicle, carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.” Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul weighed in on the situation, and noted that this appears to be one more war the U.S. is fighting without approval from Congress—and it is a war that includes the presence of U.S. troops in 53 out of the 54 nations in Africa. “Now, when the Pentagon and the administration have had some pressure on them, you know, instead of having 100 people there, they’re admitting we have 6,000 people in Africa, and they even put a number on it. They say ‘we have some military in 53 of the 54 countries in Africa.’ That’s pretty expansive,” Paul said.

A U.S. Soldier Died In Niger. What On Earth Are We Doing There?

Hightower-Endless-Afghan-War-Kenny-Holston-21-600x399

By Peter Certo for Other Words – In our military-revering culture, it’s a strange thing for a president to start a war of words with the grieving families of slain soldiers. Strange, yes. But from Donald Trump’s campaign season feud with the parents of Humayun Khan, who died protecting fellow soldiers in Iraq, to his recent feud with the mourning widow of La David Johnson, who died on patrol in Niger, it’s no longer surprising. At root in the latest spat is a comment Trump made to La David’s widow Myeshia Johnson: “He knew what he signed up for.” Myeshia thought that remark was disrespectful — she later said it “made me cry.” Beyond insensitive, though, there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t true. Why, after all, should La David have expected to die in a dusty corner of Niger — a Saharan country most Americans (and, one suspects, their president) couldn’t find on a map? And where the U.S. isn’t actually at war? If you were surprised to learn the U.S. has nearly a thousand troops in Niger, you’re not alone. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Armed Forces Committee, told NBC he “had no idea.” Neither did Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat. Well, the surprises may keep coming.

Chocolate Barons Devastate National Parks In West Africa

Screenshot 2017-10-23 at 10.41.53 AM

By Davis Harper for Eco Watch – For several years, chocolate barons have devastated forests to make room to plant cocoa, a crop that naturally grows in shade. Now, a report from Mighty Earth—a nonprofit that works to conserve threatened landscapes—shows new evidence that illegal deforestation is occurring in protected areas; specifically, in the national parks of West Africa. The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce a combined 2.6 million tons of chocolate—60 percent of the world’s supply. It’s no wonder so many of these nations’ protected lands are at risk. According to Mighty Earth’s report, 10 percent of Ghana’s tree cover has been replaced by cocoa monocultures. The Ivory Coast, once heavily forested and extremely biodiverse, has lost seven of its 23 protected areas to cocoa. Due to habitat loss, its chimpanzees are now endangered, and its elephants are nearly extinct. This means that companies like Mars, Nestlé, Hersey’s and Godiva are on the hot seat for making products using cocoa grown by uncertified sources. “Chocolate companies have taken advantage of corrupt governance in Ghana and the Ivory Coast to deforest parklands,” saic Glenn Horowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. With a rising demand for the world’s guiltiest pleasure, chocolate companies are also taking advantage of farmers—on average, these growers are paid less than 80 cents a day.

Recolonization Of Africa By Endless War

1libya

By Dan Glazebrook for RT. Exactly six years ago, on October 20th, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was murdered, joining a long list of African revolutionaries martyred by the West for daring to dream of continental independence. Earlier that day, Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte had been occupied by Western-backed militias, following a month-long battle during which NATO and its ‘rebel’ allies pounded the city’s hospitals and homes with artillery, cut off its water and electricity, and publicly proclaimed their desire to ‘starve [the city] into submission’. The last defenders of the city, including Gaddafi, fled Sirte that morning, but their convoy was tracked and strafed by NATO jets, killing 95 people.

African Peasants Highlight Interconnected Struggles At Via Campesina Global Conference

Screenshot 2017-08-03 at 1.03.44 PM

By Boaventura Monjane for Toward Freedom – (Derio, Basque Country) Peasants across Africa are intensifying their struggles against land grabs and other harmful policies that promote industrial agriculture. At a recent international conference organized by the world’s largest peasants movement, Via Campesina, African peasants had opportunities to share their experiences of struggle and to learn. “It is amazing to see how linked our struggles are”. With a countenance showing enthusiasm and eagerness, Nicolette Cupido could not conceal her emotions. There are two main reasons for her excitement. It was the first time she attended a global conference of peasants’ movements starting July 16 in Derio, in the outskirts of Bilbao, Basque Country. Her movement, the Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (FSC), South Africa, was among the new organizations accepted into membership of Via Campesina. A community organizer and a member of the FSC, Nicolette engages in food production at home and community gardens in Moorreesburg, a village in Western Cape, 120Km away from Cape Town. She grows a variety of vegetables, that is the way she contributes in building food sovereignty. “I plant tomato, unions, beetroot, cabbage and carrots. The struggle for food sovereignty has to be practical, too”, she said. Like Nicolette, about 20 other African peasants representing movements from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Ghana attended the conference.

The High Price Of Desertification: 23 Hectares Of Land A Minute

zim-farmer-629x420

By Busani Bafana for IPS – BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Jun 15 2017 (IPS) – Urban farmer Margaret Gauti Mpofu would do anything to protect the productivity of her land. Healthy soil means she is assured of harvest and enough food and income to look after her family. Each morning, Mpofu, 54, treks to her 5,000-square-metre plot in Hyde Park, about 20 km west of the city of Bulawayo. With a 20-litre plastic bucket filled with cow manure in hand, Mpofu expertly scoops the compost and sprinkles a handful besides thriving leaf vegetables and onions planted in rows across the length of the field, which is irrigated with treated waste water. Mpofu’s act of feeding the land is minuscule in fighting the big problem of land degradation. But replicated by many farmers on a large scale, it can restore the productivity of arable land. “I should not be doing this,” Mpofu tells IPS pointing to furrows on her field left by floodwater running down the slope during irrigation. “The soil is losing fertility each time we irrigate because the water flows fast, taking valuable topsoil with it. I have to constantly add manure to improve fertility in the soil and this also improves my yields.”

Corporations & Western Governments Continue To Profit From Looting Africa

Flickr/ Gigi Ibrahim. Martyrs & Revolution

By Ben Dangl for Counter Punch – A recent report published by a coalition of African and British social justice organizations lays bare the truth that foreign corporations and wealthy governments continue to profit from the looting of the world’s most impoverished continent. In 2015, the year the most recent data is available, African nations received $162 billion in aid, loans, and remittances. At the same time, $203 billion was taken from these nations through resource extraction, debt payments, and illegal logging and fishing. “We find that the countries of Africa are collectively net creditors to the rest of the world, to the tune of $41.3 billion in 2015,” explain authors of the report, titled How the World Profits from Africa’s Wealth. “There’s such a powerful narrative in Western societies that Africa is poor and that it needs our help,” explained Aisha Dodwell, a campaigner with Global Justice Now, one of the organizations that authored the report. “This research shows that what African countries really need is for the rest of the world to stop systematically looting them,” Dodwell said. “While the form of colonial plunder may have changed over time, its basic nature remains unchanged.”

AFRICOM Spearheads Escalation Of US “Scramble For Africa”

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan / AFP

By Eddie Haywood for WSWS – The chief of the US African Command (AFRICOM), General Thomas Waldhauser, warned last week in an annual report to Congress that resource constraints on his forces are threatening to undermine Washington’s influence over Africa. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, AFRICOM was created with the mission of exerting greater military influence over Africa in order to maintain and facilitate Western capitalism’s exploitation of the continent’s vast economic resources and its working masses. In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, General Waldhauser warned that AFRICOM’s “inadequate surveillance, poor supply chain networks…

The Legacy of Malcolm X

Malcolm X in 1963. AP

By Ahmed Shawki for Jacobin. After his visit to Africa, Malcolm began to argue that the black struggle in the United States was part of an international struggle, one that he connected to the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. He also began to argue in favor of socialism. Referring to the African states, he pointed out, “All of the countries that are emerging today from under the shackles of colonialism are turning towards socialism.” He no longer defined the struggle for black liberation as a racial conflict. “We are living in an era of revolution, and the revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against the oppression and colonialism which has characterized this era,” he said. “It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as purely an American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiters.”

Obama’s Legacy In Africa: Terrorism, Civil War And Military Expansion

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 9.03.51 AM

By Eric Draitser for Mint Press News – The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change. But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction. The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.”

US Special Operations Troop Deployments In Africa Surged In 2016

Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

By Eddie Haywood for WSWS – At the close of 2016, Africa saw a dramatic surge in the number of US Special Operation forces deployed across the continent. Since 2006, the US military has increased its operations in Africa from just 1 percent of overall global Special Operations to more than 17 percent. The rate at which troops have been surged on to the continent far surpasses that of any other region in the world, including Washington’s substantial military operations in the Middle East. There were 700 Special Operation commandos deployed across Africa in 2014; by 2016, the number had more than doubled, to 1,700.