Saturday, April 30, 2011

Libya News Bulletin: NATO Strike Assassinates Libyan Leader's Son, Grandchildren

Nato strike 'kills Gaddafi's youngest son'

Libyan government spokesman says air strike kills Saif al-Arab Gaddafi and three of the Libyan leader's grandsons

Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, the youngest son of the Libyan leader, and three of his grandchildren have been killed in a NATO air strike, a Libyan government spokesman said.

Gaddafi and his wife were in the Tripoli house of his 29-year-old son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, when it was hit by at least one missile fired by a NATO warplane late on Saturday, according to Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.

"The house of Mr Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was attacked tonight with full power. The leader with his wife was there in the house with other friends and relatives.

"The leader himself is in good health, he wasn't harmed," the spokesman said, adding that Muammar Gaddafi's wife was also unharmed but other people in the house were injured.

"This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country. This is not permitted by international law. It is not permitted by any moral code or principle.

"What we have now is the law of the jungle," Ibrahim told a news conference.

"We think now it is clear to everyone that what is happening in Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians."

Ibrahim would not give the names of the three children, who he claimed were killed, except to say they were nieces and nephews of Saif al-Arab and that they were younger than 12. He said they are not releasing the names yet to protect the privacy of the family.

He said the compound that was hit was in the Garghour neighborhood.

"It seems there was intelligence that was leaked. They knew about something. They expected him for some reason. But the target was very clear, very, very clear. And the neighbourhood, yes of course, because the leader family has a place there, you could expect of course it would be guarded, but it is a normal neighbourhood. Normal Libyans live there," he said.

The 29-year-old Saif al-Arab Gaddafi is the most unknown of the Libyan leader's children, Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Tunisia, said.

"He's one of the low-profile of his children and has been largely invisible since the conflict began", she said.

"He hasn't been visible in any significant form. He hasn't appeared on TV or made any speeches, he hasn't been on any crowd-rallying marches."

Ibrahim said Saif al-Arab was a civilian and a student who had studied in Germany.

Report questioned

Ibrahim had earlier taken journalists to the remnants of a house in Tripoli, which Libyan officials said had been hit by at least three missiles. Given the level of destruction, it is unclear that anyone could have survived.

Benghazi rebels, who control a vast swathe of the east of the country, say they cannot trust Gaddafi.

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton, reporting from Benghazi, said there were "an awful lot" of suggestions in Libya that the news of the deaths could be fabricated.

"One of the main spokesmen for the Transitional National Council, Abdul Hafez Goga, is saying he thinks it could all be fabrication, that it may well be Gaddafi is trying to garner some sympathy," she said.

"Back in 1986, Gaddafi once claimed that Ronald Reagan, then US president, had launched a strike on his compound in Tripoli and killed his daughter. Many journalists since then dug around and found out that the actual child that had died had nothing to do with Gaddafi, that he sort of adopted her posthumously."

Three loud explosions were heard in Tripoli on Saturday evening as jets flew overhead. Volleys of anti-aircraft fire rang out following the first two strikes, which were followed by a third.

NATO statement

In a press release issued early on Sunday, NATO said it had staged air strikes in Tripoli's Bab al-Azizya neighbourhood but did not confirm Libyan claims that strongman Gaddafi's youngest son and three grandchildren were killed.

"NATO continued its precision strikes against Qaddafi regime military installations in Tripoli overnight, including striking a known command and control building in the Bab al-Azizya neighbourhood shortly after 1800 GMT Saturday evening," the statement said.

"All NATO's targets are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the... regime's systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals," said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO's Operation Unified Protector.

Bouchard said he was aware of unconfirmed reports that some of Gaddafi's family members might have been killed in the strike, adding: "We regret all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of the ongoing conflict."

Rifle fire and car horns rang out in Benghazi as news of the attack spread.

Cars whizzed by the sea front beeping their horns and shouting "God is greatest" as the night sky was lit up by red tracer fire.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Libya front line turns quiet as rebels regroup

By Leila Fadel,
Saturday, April 30, 8:07 PM
Washington Post

AJDABIYA, Libya —The halls of the main hospital here are eerily quiet, the mattresses rolled up on folding beds. Stretchers are stacked in storage closets. Doctors and nurses sit and wait.

Over the past two weeks, Al Magaryaf Hospital emptied out as a city that was once an intense battleground became a ghost town.

Rebel fighters are now lying in wait in pockets of the city. Others stand watch at Ajdabiya’s western gate, and farther west along the highway, scouting for signs that forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi might be headed their way.

Some of the volunteer warriors who had rushed to join the uprising have moved back to Benghazi, the de facto capital of the opposition-held east of the country, for the training they badly need.

Their positions mark a shift in strategy for those seeking to depose Gaddafi. In the early weeks of this conflict, rebels fought erratically along a coastal road, progressing unevenly against better-armed government-backed forces. The fighting, which took a heavy human toll and depleted ammunition reserves, plunged the country into a bitter stalemate.

Now, the rebels are regrouping, getting the training they need to prepare fresh advances, opposition leaders here say. But the lull in fighting could also mean that Gaddafi’s forces are themselves regrouping on the other side of the battle lines.

“Basically [the rebel fighters] are sorting out their house and putting everything in perspective,” said Jalal el-Gallal, a rebel spokesman in Benghazi.

The rebels are digging trenches to fortify their positions, finding vantage points on hilltops to watch Gaddafi’s forces and putting together a reliable communications system. Gallal said he hopes the past is behind them now, when untrained fighters made decisions to advance independently, with no plans to take and hold ground.

“In the past, going forward has always meant being pushed back,” he said.

Western observers say a military victory for the rebels is unlikely. There isn’t enough time to train these men who before the conflict had never carried weapons. Instead, the rebels are hoping that NATO firepower and sanctions will chip away at Gaddafi’s inner circle, making it untenable for the leader to remain in power, a Western observer in Benghazi said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

“One has to conclude: They will never win this war using their military,” the observer said.

After weeks of deafening battles, the rattle of artillery and gunfire has mostly ceased in this strategic city, which serves as the final frontier before the largely Gaddafi-controlled west of the country.

About 20 miles west of Ajdabiya, rebel fighters scout the road but have not advanced toward Gaddafi’s forces, which are stationed in the oil hubs of Brega and Ras Lanuf. Defectors from the Libyan military who now belong to the rebel-run Libyan National Army guard the main road on the city’s western edge. These soldiers persuaded the roughly 5,000 volunteers who haphazardly had been advancing west to return to Benghazi for training, said Col. Hamed al Hassi, the first commander to defect from Gaddafi’s military.

“We had a problem with the young men at the [western] gate. They would just move west and engage,” he said. Now only seasoned soldiers are gearing up for battle, he said.

Hassi stood on the dusty road just outside the gate surrounded by charred tanks from Gaddafi’s military that were hit last month by a NATO airstrike. Rebel fighters have since destroyed the green arch that marked the western entrance to the city, worried it was being used as a target.

“Now it’s a timeout that seems to have been imposed on both sides,” Hassi said.

The last direct combat was a week ago, in Brega, he said. Now Gaddafi’s forces are inside that city, and the rebels remain on the outside. “We’re patiently waiting.”

At the hospital, Suliman Refadi, 41, a volunteer doctor from the eastern city of Darna, padded along the empty, fluorescent-lit hallway in blue scrubs. For 56 days he has treated gunshot and shrapnel wounds, and counted the dead from the battles in Ajdabiya and farther west.

“We are ready for an emergency,” he said. “Now it’s completely calm and we have no patients.”

Military commanders have instructed ambulance drivers not to go more than 20 miles outside Ajdabiya, where a gas station marks the midpoint between the city and Brega, worried they would take fire from Gaddafi’s forces. The only recent patients suffered from appendicitis and heart palpitations. Only one rebel, with a shrapnel wound, has been brought in during the past 10 days.

The rebel army has ordered its fighters not to move until they get new orders, the doctor said. “Two weeks ago there was no control and now finally the Libyan National Army is taking control,” Refadi said.

The fighting will be even bloodier when it resumes, he said. “This is the calm before the storm.”

NATO raids on Libya "a form of new colonialism": S. African expert

JOHANNESBURG, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Ongoing NATO airstrikes on Libya represent a form of new colonialism and the Libya crisis risks evolving into a prolonged conflict with even more bloodshed and chaos, a South African expert on international affairs says.

NATO's operations in Libya could not continue forever, Anna Alwes, a research fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said in an interview with Xinhua. "The world's nations knew this well and they must be careful in not pushing it too far."

The Western powers justified their intervention with allegations that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi killed many civilians, Alwes said. But "are we sure there were really so many thousands of deaths as the Western media has reported?" she asked.

One month after NATO nations launched military operations in Libya, pro- and anti-government forces in the country are still locked in a seesaw battle.

Echoing views from many other fellow experts from around the world, Alwes believes the Libya crisis now risks turning into a prolonged conflict.

"I see no immediate solution to the conflict between NATO forces and the Libyan rebels on one side, and Muammar Gaddafi on the other. The ongoing civil war is fated to become an internal cancer that will destroy territorial unity and lead to a partition," she said.

She said that it appears Gaddafi would fight till the very end, while rebels of the Transitional National Council (TNC) were also unlikely to give up resistance, though they would not be able to oust Gaddafi on their own.

Under these circumstances, while "the best solution (for the West) would be that Gaddafi is killed during a raid," it sounds "quite unrealistic" for two reasons, she said.

First, it's hard to locate where the Libyan leader actually is, she said. Secondly, the rising opposition from the international community against NATO's intervention makes the intensification of the military operations even more difficult.

Alwes ruled out the possibility the Western countries might sell weapons to the rebels or deploy ground troops. A possible exit strategy from the crisis would be through intense negotiations, which, however, would simply lead to "a division of territory and natural resources between the TNC and Gaddafi, monitored by the interests of Western nations."

"Whether Gaddafi stays or goes, the turmoil-wracked country is likely to be in for more of a rough time. Whichever way this goes, I think there's going to be a good amount of chaos," she said.

Even if the Western nations succeeded in removing Gaddafi from power, the expert said, Libya still faces an uncertain future, with the same ingredients that led to long conflicts as in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan.

She predicted more bloodshed if Gaddafi steps aside. "We could see some tribal uprisings" as competing groups seek a share of Libya's oil wealth, she said, describing the likely scenario as "not very pretty."

In Michigan, African Americans Have Double the Jobless Rate of Whites

In Michigan, African Americans have double the jobless rate of whites

Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 11:05 AM
By Jackie Headapohl

African Americans in Michigan have double the unemployment rate of whites.

The pain of joblessness in Michigan has been particularly severe for African Americans, according to a new research brief from the Economic Policy Institute.

African Americans in Michigan have experienced unemployment rates of 20 percent or higher in virtually every quarter since early 2009, including a 2010 annual unemployment rate of 23.4 percent, rivaling the top unemployment rates seen during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

By contrast, Michigan’s white unemployment rate declined from a peak of 12.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009 to 9.5 percent in the last quarter of 2010.

In fact, the unemployment trend for blacks has been so bad that their lowest rate of 12.2 percent in 2008 nearly matched the recession’s highest rate of 12.7 percent in 2009 for whites.

In 2010, Michigan’s African American unemployment rate was 47 percent higher than the 15.9 percent national average of unemployment for African Americans.

"The Michigan economy has a long way to go to a solid recovery. With the future of the U.S. auto industry remaining precarious, Michigan’s economic future will continue to be fragile for some time," the EPI writes."The pain and uncertainty of the Great Recession has been felt disproportionately by Michigan’s African American workforce. Until the Michigan economy gets solidly on track, these disparities are likely to persist."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ten Reasons Why the U.S. War in Libya Is a CIA Operation News


Ten reasons why the U.S. war in Libya is a CIA operation

By the Historical Research Group of the Nation of Islam

Updated Apr 28, 2011 - 9:53:49 AM

( - The U.S.-led attack on Libya is an American operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), planned and initiated long before any “protests” started in Libya this February.

Under the guise of “protecting innocent civilians,” the U.S. military, Africom, NATO, and the United Nations are now bombing Libya, raining destruction upon the Libyan economic and military infrastructure and killing untold numbers of innocent Africans. Here are just 10 of the many obvious reasons why this so-called “spontaneous” protest was from beginning to end another CIA operation.

1. The United States' motives are suspect. The “humanitarian” concern expressed by the American government has not taken long to evaporate. The claim that Col. Muammar Gadhafi was “slaughtering his own people” cannot be substantiated by any independent evidence, and no “journalists” are even asking for evidence. The White House's policy advisor and Israeli lobby official Dennis Ross claimed that “up to 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it.” Ross has produced no proof of a massacre—and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen both confirmed, “We've seen no confirmation whatsoever.” Russian military has been monitoring the unrest via satellite from the very beginning, and they say that the claimed “slaughter” is imaginary. CIA √

2. The world media have shown a shocking lack of curiosity. Just as with the U.S. debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times leads a coordinated campaign of propaganda, rumor-mongering, and the demonization of Muammar Gadhafi. Some articles appear to be written in advance and closely follow the prescription of the Washington consulting firm Wirthlin Group, which determined that “the message most likely to motivate public support for war on Iraq was the perception of Saddam Hussein as an evil madman who even committed atrocities against his own people and had to be stopped.” The major media's appetite for this “killing-his-own-people” line is textbook CIA propaganda and belies the fact that they are at this very hour operating from a swank hotel that is under Gadhafi's total control in Tripoli. Even though they continue to spread unsubstantiated “rapes” and “cluster bombings,” and “fears of massacres,” and child-targeting, these “journalists” don't appear to be frightened for their lives. CIA √

3. The “rebels” are Al-Qaeda. When Col. Gadhafi first claimed that the rebels were members of Al-Qaeda, no one believed him. But according to a 2007 report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point titled “Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters In Iraq,” eastern Libya—the very center of the current uprising—is a well-known Al-Qaeda stronghold. The same people the U.S. is fighting three wars to destroy are the “rebels” the U.S. is protecting, supplying, training, and attempting to install into power in Libya. And if the West Point military analysts knew this to be true in 2007, why did they not bomb those Al-Qaeda strongholds in the way they are bombing Gadhafi's forces now? CIA √

4. Rebel “leaders” are CIA agents. The “rebel” leader, a man named Khalifa Hifter, left the Libyan government and set up his own militia financed by the CIA. He then spent two decades living within minutes of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where, according to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, he had no apparent source of income. Shortly after the 2011 “protests” began, the CIA airlifted him into Benghazi and told the press to start calling him the “leader” of the rebels. CIA √

5. The Libyan uprising is not “spontaneous.” The incident that allegedly spurred the Libyan “rebellion” was the arrest of an activist lawyer on February 15, 2011. This ignited a wave of protests that spilled over onto the
Internet and other media. But an unusually large number of YOUTUBE videos and TWITTER messages have emerged that are suspiciously similar and seem to be a product of the Pentagon's recently uncovered project to develop software that allows it to secretly manipulate social media sites to influence Internet conversations and spread propaganda.

These suspicious “free Libya” sites all claim to be homegrown, but YOUTUBE and other social media sites cannot be accessed by Internet users in Libya.

The “revolution” websites are all in English even though the language of Libya is Arabic, with English rarely spoken and only in the big cities. Despite their dubious origins, professional media groups like CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera have amplified these anonymous and uncorroborated video postings as legitimate news sources.

And some of the “spontaneous” websites are clearly fraudulent. One that calls itself “LIBYAN REVOLUTIONARY CENTRAL” ( was created on February 14—A DAY BEFORE the original protest. And the website is registered in Ohio as a non-profit organization with a 501c3 tax exempt ID number! CIA √

6a. Whites are desperate for Libyan oil. America and Europe are dependent on the type of oil that is only found in Libya. It is a very high quality “sweet” oil with low sulfur content. Europe's refineries cannot process other types of high sulfur oil, so when Gadhafi recently suggested he could find better customers for Libyan oil in India, China, and Russia, it made Europe desperate for an immediate Libyan “uprising.” CIA √

6b. New oil infrastructure already in place. Only days after the “spontaneous” protests the “rebels,” who were mostly seen in grainy cell phone videos chanting slogans and waving banners, had organized themselves into a sophisticated corporate entity and announced their formation and launching of the “Libyan Oil Company” to supervise oil production for all of Libya, and their creation of the “Central Bank of Benghazi” as a monetary authority. The French government instantaneously recognized these new business entities formed by “the rebels” even though it was still publicly wondering who the rebel leaders were. CIA √

7. CIA history in Libya. The CIA has a LONG documented history of attempts to overthrow Col. Gadhafi. At least four major CIA operations, some in partnership with the Israeli Mossad, have been conducted since 1972. Gadhafi's use of oil revenues to organize and uplift Africa from its colonial destruction is EXACTLY the opposite of America's foreign policy, which has always sought to strip Africa of its raw resources to enrich the multinational corporations. Col. Gadhafi has invested billions of dollars in projects to help emerging African countries become independent. He has worked to establish a “United States of Africa”—an effort to unite Africa to finally overcome the damage caused by centuries of European colonialism. It was Gadhafi who drove the African Union's efforts toward a single African Parliament, a single currency, and a single army. The CIA has no other function than to stop this kind of Black unity and progress. CIA √

8. Libyan invasion planned prior to 9/11. In a 2007 filmed interview, 4-star United States Army Gen. Wesley Clark discussed a Pentagon memo under Donald Rumsfeld that, in his words, “describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” CIA √

9. The U.S. companies in Libya are invisible. Many U.S. corporations that have been, are now, and will continue to do business in Libya are UNDER NO PRESSURE to leave or “give back” their profits, or alter their business activity with Gadhafi's so-called “murderous regime.” Curiously, they have achieved a status different from that of The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, which also had a business relationship with Libya—but for comparatively infinitesimal sums. The U.S. companies in Libya whose Libyan business arrangements have yet to be questioned are many, and include:

Chevron Oil
Hess Corporation
Marathon Oil Corporation
Occidental Petroleum
Sheraton Hotels
Exxon Mobil
Dow Chemical
Four Seasons Hotels
Shell Oil
United Gulf Construction
Valmont, and White & Case
Marriott Hotels
Intercontinental Hotels

In reality, the CIA works for the multinational corporations to tenaciously protect their world interests. CIA √

10. Rape is charged. A distraught, English-speaking, Arab woman fortuitously finds her way from days of gang rape by Gadhafi's soldiers into the only hotel in Tripoli where foreign journalists are encamped (apparently dropped off by her tormentors) where she reports of her ordeal to the gathered media who immediately, unquestioningly, broadcast the brutal crime to the world as proven fact.

She claimed that she was detained at a checkpoint, tied up, abused, then led away to be gang raped—all whilst her assailants were defending Tripoli against a Western bombing campaign. “They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up,” she said, her face streaming with tears. “They violated my honor, look at what the Gadhafi militiamen did to me.”

Everybody who heard this woman's claims—except 100 percent of the Western media—immediately remembered October 1990, when a sobbing 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave unsworn testimony in a Congressional hearing chaired by Zionist congressman Thomas Lantos in which she described what she saw in a Kuwaiti hospital with her own eyes: “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where … babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

The girl was actually the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador, and had been coached by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton to give false testimony. Three months passed between the hearing and the start of the first Gulf War during which the fabricated incubator story was repeated over and over again by seven U.S. senators and ten times by President G.H.W. Bush himself.

It was recited as fact in congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows like Nightline, and at the UN Security Council. It is cited as the single most persuasive reason that the American public backed the first Iraq War. None of those involved with the hoax have ever faced legal reprisals.

The number ten is arbitrary, and does not represent the full extent of possibly the most brazen CIA overthrow attempt in their long and murderous history. That which drives the entire Western industrial infrastructure—petroleum oil—is the only thing on the minds of the charlatan leaders of the West, and the world watches in horrified awe as each blunder they make is exposed to the light in almost real time.

The poor Libyan people and their revolutionary African champion Muammar Gadhafi are under severe assault by the very same people who only yesterday assured him he was their partner and friend. It is a 6,000-year-old history of tricks and deceptions that The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us about, and it has now run its course and is bringing a well-deserved demise to Western rule.

Imperialists Plot to Seize Billions in Libyan Assets

Libyan rebels urgently need assets unfrozen-Italy

Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:23pm GMT

Meeting in Rome to discuss unfreezing assets
Libyan rebels have 40 pct of funds needed for April/May
Handing Libyan assets to rebels complicated - experts

By Deepa Babington

BENGHAZI, Libya, April 29 (Reuters) - The international community must unfreeze Libyan assets abroad urgently to prevent rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi from running out of funds, Italy's envoy to rebel-held eastern Libya said on Friday.

Libya's interim national council has estimated it has only about 40 percent of funds needed to cover its budget for April and May, Guido De Sanctis, Italy's representative to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi said.

Libyan assets abroad were frozen after Gaddafi's brutal crackdown on protesters against his four-decade rule.

But Western officials and experts say any attempt to unfreeze them and hand them to the rebels will be complicated and could face legal obstacles that could take years to clear.

Fears over how long the rebels, who rose up against Gaddafi's rule in February, can keep up military operations and pay salaries for public workers have risen as the conflict enters its third month and has reached stalemate.

"This is an extremely urgent issue to resolve," De Sanctis told Reuters, referring to the freeing up of Libyan assets.

Ali Tarhouni, a rebel official in charge of economic and financial matters, said insurgents were facing serious challenges ensuring food, fuel and medical supplies in areas under their control.

"The problem is that the private sector cannot import because our assets are frozen," he told Al Jazeera television.

The issue will be among those discussed at a meeting of Western and Middle Eastern states in Rome next month, which is also expected to seek ways of allowing oil from Libya's east to be sold on world markets.

Although a broad agreement on unfreezing assets needs to be reached, it may have to be ultimately pushed through by groups of countries with close business ties to Libya, De Sanctis said.

Italy, Gaddafi's closest Western ally before it recognized the rebel national council, froze Libya's stakes in bank UniCredit and other Italian companies last month as part of European Union sanctions. The United States has frozen more than $34 billion in Libyan assets.

France said earlier this month it supports unfreezing Libyan assets abroad to help the rebels.

Libya's former colonial ruler, Italy has also joined the NATO-led air campaign against Gaddafi's forces and provided bases and aircraft to support the rebels.

Italy's embassy in Tripoli was ransacked this week by Gaddafi supporters who took down the Italian flag and raised the Libyan flag over the building, De Sanctis said.

As well as securing funds, Libya's opposition needs to quickly establish a fully-functioning administration to ensure it does not lose public support as the conflict wears on, De Sanctis said.

An Italian business group that visited Benghazi said urgent improvements needed to be made to the electronics systems for air traffic control and the city's port to revive business links, he said. (Editing by Sami Aboudi in Cairo and Janet Lawrence)

Libya News Update: Government Arms Youth, Workers Against NATO and Western-backed Rebels

Libya's civilian fighters

Gadhafi portrays large-scale arming to protect home front

By Karin Laub
Associated Press

GAZAHIYA, Libya - A 22-year-old student balanced an unloaded grenade launcher on his shoulder, grunted loudly in place of an explosion as he pulled the trigger, then handed the weapon to the next man.

The military drill on the lawn of a clinic in a remote village in government-controlled western Libya was part of what Moammar Gadhafi's regime has tried to portray as a large-scale arming and training of the home front. Reporters on a government tour were also taken to a school where two teenage boys fired Kalashnikov rifles in the air.

The scenes appeared to have been hastily arranged. Men at a desert shooting range - barrels set up as targets on a rocky plain - said they had been bused to the site for the first time that day. A few dozen middle-school boys were participating in a military rally in their school yard and some said they had received their fatigues just a day earlier.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said last week that hundreds of thousands of rifles were being given to civilians to defend the home front, a claim impossible to verify because of tight limits on journalists. About a dozen Libyans interviewed in three different areas recently said they had been handed Kalashnikovs from municipal weapons depots.

The reports that the government was arming supporters first emerged at the start of the uprising against Gadhafi in mid-February. The government says it is arming people to defend against foreign ground troops - even though there are none in western Libya - rather than to fight fellow Libyans.

However, the attempt to show civilians training with weapons could be a sign Gadhafi loyalists are growing more nervous about their grip on western Libya. There has been persistent fighting in two major pockets of rebel resistance in that part of the country, including the city of Misrata, where rebels have held out during a two-month onslaught.

Those training this week in the Tarhouna district, 45 miles southeast of the capital of Tripoli, seemed unsure of who their enemy was. Some struggled with whether they would shoot at fellow Libyans who have risen up against Gadhafi.

Volunteers said they had been told they must defend their homes against NATO ground troops but would not be asked to go to the front.

Student Sanna Kanouni, 16, said she was learning how to handle a rifle to repel the "barbarian, colonial crusader aggression." Asked what she knew about the rebels in eastern Libya, she said they were drug-taking foreigners, not Libyans - repeating a line put out by the government.

Omar Musbah Omar, 23, said that he had been training off and on for the last month and that he and his four brothers had Kalashnikovs to keep at home. He said he would never raise a weapon against a fellow Libyan. But, he said, "we're ready for NATO."

Find this article at:

Libya Arms Civilians to Fight Insurgency

Wall Street Journal

Libyan authorities are instructing civilian volunteers, some as young as 11, in the use of automatic rifles and distributing the weapons among households here to combat an insurgency against Col. Moammar Gadhafi, according to people being trained.

The extent and quality of the instruction, which the government stage-managed for foreign journalists Wednesday in this Gadhafi stronghold, are unclear. But the effort, if widely carried out, would appear to raise the risk of widening Libya's 10-week-old conflict.

"We want every home to have a Kalashnikov in case of necessity to fight against the enemy," Abdel al-Muftah, who oversees the training in Tarhouna, told students in a high school classroom, a pair of binoculars hanging over his desert-camouflage uniform. "Any day now, we expect the enemy to attack us here."

Behind him as he spoke, 16-year-old Sannah Kanouni fumbled with a Kalashnikov rifle, trying to follow a trainer's tip on disassembling it. The gun toppled on its side.

Losing focus, Ms. Kanouni got swept up in a mini-demonstration by her classmates, pumping her fist and chanting: "Only Allah, Moammar and Libya!"

Adult weapons trainers led a similar rally in the courtyard of an elementary school, firing their weapons skyward. Among the participants was Abdullah Iyad, a fifth grader in a brand-new camouflage uniform his mother had purchased. Smiling, the 11-year-old said he had just received his first hour of training to take apart a Kalashnikov and put it back together.

The foreign journalists had been bused to this rural district 80 kilometers, or 50 miles southeast of Tripoli to watch weapons training at schools, the grounds of a clinic and a windswept desert plain.

As did Ms. Kanouni, many of the trainees displayed more enthusiasm for their 69-year-old leader, at least when television cameras were rolling, than competence with the weapons placed in their hands.

The government's message was that people here and in other rural districts outside Tripoli would pose an obstacle to any advance by the rebels toward the capital from the cities they hold in eastern Libya. This community of 300,000 people is seat of the Tarhouna tribe, a pillar of Col. Gadhafi's regime.

Yet people interviewed here about their training said they would simply defend their home ground rather than join in any government offensive. Reflecting the government's line, many of them sounded incredulous that Libyans had risen against Col. Gadhafi, whom they said was being attacked mainly by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with an assist on the ground from militants of Al Qaeda.

"Our enemy is the barbarian, colonialist crusader aggression," said Ms. Kanouni, who wore a black headscarf fully covering her hair. "It's NATO, [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and Barack Obama."

Col. Gadhafi's government has in the past distributed weapons to civilians, including children, and for years has put high school students through military instruction. But many adults being trained now say they are receiving weapons for the first time, and school officials here say military training is now being given to children before high school, though they say it is not required below seventh grade.

Mr. al-Muftah, the training overseer, said the new emphasis on arming civilians here began after NATO air strikes demolished a sprawling local army facility in late March in its campaign to blunt Col. Gadhafi's armed assault on protesters seeking his ouster. The wreckage of dozens of buildings resembling hangars and the remains of scattered armored vehicles were visible behind a tall concrete wall that had been partly blasted away.

He said about 200 people were being trained for four hours each day for up to nine days at each of 15 locations in the district. Each person completing the training goes home with a Russian-made Kalashnikov, he said.

"My job is to lead a group to fight NATO; we heard NATO will bring in soldiers on the ground," said Moamar Abugarar, a 37-year-old high school Arabic teacher who is helping to train 40 men, ages 18 to 70, on the lawn of a local clinic.

He said his pupils—drivers, computer engineers, doctors and farmers—were learning to use Kalashnikovs, shoulder-fired grenade launchers and Russian-made artillery guns mounted on pickup trucks.

Those weapons, along with some M-60 machine guns, also were on display outside town along with 100 volunteers who had been bused from Tarhouna to fire them across the desert and pose for TV crews.

Gadhafi Girds for Long Survival Battle Omar Musbah Omar, a 23-year-old jobless resident of Tarhouna, said the desert gathering was more than a media pseudo-event.

He said he and each of his three brothers had recently been given Kalashnikovs and trained to use them—his first such instruction since high school.

But he voiced a sentiment heard from other recent trainees: If the regime's enemy really turns out to be Libyans, rather than some foreign force, he would try to reason with them as brothers rather than shooting. "I'd put my gun down," he said.

NATO Intercepts Libyan Ships Laying Mines

Wall Street Journal

North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials Friday said they had intercepted Libyan government ships laying mines in the harbor of the besieged port city of Misrata in eastern Libya.

NATO officials declined to immediately release further details. They said their more immediate focus was closely monitoring the movements of forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in northwest Libya, and that NATO is preparing to ramp up its military efforts near the Tunisian border.

NATO's Operations Director for the mission characterized NATO's strategy as a change of tack. "Our campaign will now shift targets to now hit more pro-Gadhafi troops targeting civilians," said Brigadier General Rob Weighill in comments relayed by video to Brussels from Naples. "We cannot, and will not, disclose the plan. You will see the results in the next few days."

Asked what he meant, he said NATO was watching "more activity in Zintan and Yefren," two cities near the Tunisian border.

Brig. Gen. Weighill said NATO's mission has been, and will continue to be, successful. "We know these air strikes are having a serious impact on Gadhafi's ability to hurt his own people."

He said NATO still couldn't confirm the deaths this week of pro-Gadhafi forces. "Of course, we regret any loss of human life, especially if it involves forces protecting civilians."

Brig. Gen. Weighill said Col. Gadhafi's regime is getting more aggressive. "Pro-Gadhafi forces continue to shell the citizens of Misrata with longer-range artillery, mortar and rockets," he said. "They are indiscriminately firing high explosives and their rounds into the cities."

He called the actions "morally wrong," adding that the government has disabled a desalination plant in Misrata and continues to hide behind women and children in the city.

Still, NATO officials denied they were trying to kill Gadhafi. "It is not our policy to target and attempt to kill an individual," said Brig. Gen. Weighill said.

NATO officials said that while NATO is protecting civilians, the rebels are still facing an uphill road. Abdel-Fatah Younes, a rebel leader, met with NATO officials on Thursday. NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said it was for an "exchange of views."

Brig. Gen. Weighill downplayed hopes that the rebels were gathering momentum in their battle against pro-Gadhafi forces. "To suggest they're winning would be overly optimistic," said Brig. Weighill. "They are putting up a very spirited fight. They are being supported on a daily, hourly basis by NATO aircraft that are striking forces close to civilian populations."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has delivered his first report to the U.N., said Ms. Romero. The report makes clear that NATO's "campaign has stopped large-scale attacks on civilians in Libya, and has allowed humanitarians missions access to the city of Misrata," she said.

"It is a very fluid situation on the ground but the actions of NATO forces have saved many, many lives and will continue to do so."

Write to John W. Miller at

Libyan fighting spills into Tunisia

By Scott Peterson, Staff writer April 29, 2011
Dehiba, Tunisi

Libya's civil war spilled into southern Tunisia on Friday, as scores of troops loyal to Col. Muammar Qaddafi burst across the border and into a nearby town after failing to recapture a remote border post that has become a rebel lifeline.

Two Libyan government rockets landed in the Tunisian town of Dehiba and angry residents attacked one of the Libyan military vehicles with stones, causing it and its antiaircraft gun to overturn, killing the driver.

The presence of armed forces blasting their weapons inside a neighboring country would have been an international incident anywhere else. But the ebb and flow of this conflict – and the porous desert border between Libya and Tunisia – meant that Tunisian officials could do little to stop the incursion.

The Tunisia military and border police pulled back entirely from their border positions during the heaviest fighting late Thursday.

The rebel flag was raised again at this post on Friday morning, the final result of a three-pronged attack by Colonel Qaddafi's forces that began Thursday afternoon. The battle initially brought victory to loyalists – and a raising of their green flag for the first time since rebels seized control here one week ago.

Battle on the border

But a fierce battle that stretched into the night saw loyalist troops surrounded and finally forced to flee, with 162 entering Tunisia with 18 vehicles.

The Tunisian military disarmed the Libyans, but then escorted them back to an illegal crossing point frequented by smugglers. The loyalists were given back their arms and expected to resume their fight.

"Dehiba is very important for the [anti-Qaddafi] rebels for resupply – they are battling for that corner," says Samir Abdelmounem, a Tunisian doctor who treated wounded rebels and Qaddafi loyalists alike in the Dehiba hospital.

"And this population feels great solidarity with [the rebels], like they are family," says Dr. Abdelmounem. The Tunisians "detest Qaddafi's soldiers, they have a horror of them."

Tunisian soldiers were posted in front of the hospital, he said, because "people wanted to come here and finish them off."

Two houses in Dehiba, a couple miles back from the border, were hit with Libyan rockets. Stray bullets struck one Libyan refugee boy in the foot and wounded a Tunisian man.

Surprise attack

Rebels said they were surprised at the attack by Qaddafi forces and said they had hired local guides in the difficult desert mountain terrain, and to provide details of rebel strength and location.

"Even the Nalutis [locals from the nearest Libyan town of Nalut] were astonished: How did they come from that way?" says a rebel named Wajdi who works on the Tunisian side of the border.

"The rebels learned something because of that; we will never leave this area weak again," says Wajdi.

Neither will they depend on NATO for help: Wajdi was in direct contact with NATO during the fighting, providing real-time details of possible targets.

"I was talking to them live ... and nothing," says Wajdi.

"Unfortunately we supply them information but we keep waiting a long time for a reaction."

As he spoke, a column of black smoke rose from the Libyan side of the border, where rebels burned the clothes and personal effects of the fleeing Qaddafi loyalists. One dead loyalist had had his toes tied together, apparently to prevent him running away before he died.

For two and a half months, rebels in Libya's remote western mountains, which are dominated by ethnic Berbers who have always challenged Qaddafi's rule, have taken up arms to join the antigovernment revolution.

Crucial crossing for rebels

This border crossing has played a significant role. Rebel capture of it a week ago was a blow to Tripoli and enabled rebels to boost their long-hobbled supply chain, leading to an upswing in fighting.

Tunisian national guardsmen said they believed some of the Qaddafi loyalists who crossed Friday were intent on attacking a camp of Libyan refugees on the edge of Dehiba.

That failed, but there was drama in the Dehiba hospital, where the 12 injured Qaddafi soldiers were taken, along with three injured rebels. Doctors were struck by the fact the loyalist troops appeared so young, and that two were so traumatized that they tried to run away upon arrival, and had to be caught by Tunisian soldiers.

Hospital staff immediately separated the rebels and loyalists into two different wings of the building.

Explained Abdelmounem: "It's so we don't have any more problems than we already have."

In Afghan War, 13 US-led Soldiers Killed

In Afghan war, 13 US-led soldiers killed

Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:50PM

Separate violent incidents have killed at least 13 US-led foreign troops in various parts of Afghanistan since Wednesday, the Western military alliance says.

According to NATO, three US-led foreign soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan on Thursday. Two US-led soldiers were killed in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, 8 American soldiers were killed after an Afghan Army pilot opened fire on them at a Kabul airbase two days ago.

The deaths take to 48 the number of US led foreign forces killed so far this month compared to 33 in April 2010.

At least 156 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

According to official figures, more than 2,437 US-led soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

The increasing number of troop casualties in Afghanistan has sparked widespread anger in the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the continuation of the Afghan war.

South African Photographer Honored for Soweto Rebellion Photo From 1976

South Africa photographer honored for Soweto photo

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A South African photographer is being honored for helping expose apartheid's brutality to the world with a picture that ended his career.

On Wednesday, celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa because it is the anniversary of the country's first all-race elections, President Jacob Zuma will bestow national honors on Sam Nzima for a photograph reminiscent of the "Pieta" he took showing a dying Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old shot by police during the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprising.

Nzima is receiving the Order of Ikhamanga, which recognizes South Africans who excel in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. He joins such past winners as jazz legend Hugh Masekela and novelist Alan Paton.

Nzima said in an interview Wednesday his photograph seen around the world "tells the story of what happened. You don't even need a caption to see that something terrible has happened."

Nzima, 75, said police were so enraged by the attention his photograph drew, he feared they would kill him. He left Johannesburg and his newspaper to become a businessman in a small eastern South African town.

But his photograph continued to draw attention. Nzima has spoken to students at a German high school named for Pieterson, and attended exhibitions that included his photograph in the United States, Briton and the Netherlands. Later this year, he will go to Belgium.

Pieterson was the first to die from police gunfire after Soweto students were ordered to disperse. The students were protesting an order that black students to be taught in Afrikaans, the language of the white-minority rulers.

Hundreds of blacks, many of them young people, were killed in ensuing clashes nationwide. Conflict escalated in the 1980s and finally led to apartheid's demise in the early 1990s.

Nzima said he arrived in Soweto early that morning in 1976, assigned to cover what he thought would be peaceful protests. He watched students paint signs.

"One said, "Afrikaans must be abolished.' Another, 'We are being fed the crumbs of education,'" Nzima recalled.

The marchers were confronted by a white police officer who told them he would shoot if they did not disperse, Nzima said. Instead, Nzima said, they began singing, "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika ," or "God Bless Africa."

"That song, which is the national anthem today, was banned then," Nzima said.

The police began shooting, and Nzima saw a boy fall. A tall boy picked him and began to run. Nzima took six pictures as the boy was taken to the nearest car, driven by a colleague from his newspaper, and taken to a clinic. There, he was pronounced dead and identified as Pieterson.

Nzima, working at a time when restrictions on reporting on conflict were draconian, removed the film and hid it in his sock. Later, police forced him to expose film in his camera, but the photos of Pieterson were safe.

"A lot of people ask me, why didn't I help Hector Pieterson?" Nzima said. "It was not my duty. A journalist must do his job. My job is to take pictures."

And this picture, he said, made a difference.

"This picture was an eye-opener for the whole world."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Morocco Cafe Blast Kills 14

Morocco Café Blast Kills 14 in Widely Condemned ‘Terrorist’ Act

By Donna Abu-Nasr and Mariam Fam
Bloomberg News
Apr 28, 2011

A blast ripped through a restaurant in downtown Marrakech, Morocco, killing at least 14 people, including Europeans, in what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a “terrorist attack.”

“Acts of terrorism must not be tolerated wherever and whenever they occur,” Clinton said in a statement released in Washington last night. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also condemned the act of terrorism and United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “firm rejection of the use of indiscriminate violence against innocent civilians.”

“Killing innocent people in this way could be nothing but an act of terror,” Karim Taj, chief of staff for the North African nation’s communications minister, said in an interview yesterday. “It’s too early to confirm that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.”

The attack, which injured about 20 people according to Taj, took place at the Argana Restaurant in a square that is a tourist destination. Six French nationals were among the dead in the cafe, Al Arabiya television reported, without saying where it got the information.

“Everything was covered in blood. The scene is horrifying,” Tarek Bozid, a 33-year-old photographer and Marrakech resident who went to the scene, said in a telephone interview. “Tables were broken and glass was shattered.”

Morocco’s MADEX Free Float Index (MOSEMDX) fell as much as 3.5 percent and declined 1.6 percent, the most since April 1, to 9,694.51 at the 3:30 p.m. close of trading in Casablanca yesterday.

Getting Out

“Foreigners are getting out,” Amine Larhrib, head of the international desk at CDG Capital Bourse said in a telephone interview yesterday from Casablanca. “They’re afraid of getting stuck like they did in Egypt. This is just a normal reaction to the news, but I think this is an isolated incident.”

A series of terrorist bombings occurred in 2007 in Casablanca, including two that were detonated simultaneously outside the U.S. Consulate General and the American Language Center. Similar attacks in Casablanca in 2003 targeted restaurants and hotels, according to the U.S. State Department website.

No U.S. casualties from the explosion have been reported, Liz Gracon, a U.S. public affairs officer, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Casablanca.

The State Department website notes that “the potential for terrorist violence against U.S. citizens and interests remains high in Morocco.”

Tourism in Morocco accounts for almost 10 percent of gross domestic product. Revenue from tourism was the biggest foreign- currency earner last year, drawing 56.6 billion dirhams ($7 billion).

Moroccan Economy

Morocco’s economy may expand 4.6 percent this year compared with 3.3 percent in 2010, the state statistics office, Haut- Commissariat Au Plan, said in March.

The popular protests that ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have spread to Morocco, though they have been smaller and more peaceful. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI pledged on March 9 to create a commission to review the country’s constitution by June and for a referendum to be held after that. He promised to allow religious freedom and more transparent justice.

Morocco “will confront this hideous criminal act” and is “determined to press ahead with its democratic project,” Taj said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Donna Abu Nasr in Dubai at; Mariam Fam in Cairo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

Africa and the Politics of Contradictions

Africa and politics of contradictions

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 22:33

THERE is an unexplained wonder of political history where the people with a track record of going to war, who are ready to go to war, and have gone to war and destroyed millions of lives, are the most vocal in talking about peace, human rights and the protection of civilians from military attacks.

The United States, France and the UK have a terrible history of murderous slavery, cruel colonisation of other peoples, and despicable modern day imperialistic tendencies.

This history is indelible and cannot be denied or wished away.

But Amos Wilson noted: "If accepting the truth about the situation of African peoples and other people in the world today means exposing the European to himself, of course he is going to ignore that expose."

When writers expose the real motives of Westerners for the unjust war they are currently launching on Libya, what Western powers can only do is ignore that expose, while pushing a propaganda line that says the war is about protecting Libyans from their monstrous leadership.

It is people without love who talk about love most often. It is people without grassroots participation in the decision making process of their own countries who preach about democracy the most. It is people with atomic bombs and earth shattering nuclear weapons who preach loudest about international peace.

It is people with lethal bombs and sophisticated military aircraft who preach most about the protection of Libyan civilians while spraying Libyan cities with deadly bombs - of course in the name of benefitting the very civilians whose lives and infrastructure they are destroying.

What we must always recognise is that Africans do have a huge stake in ensuring the continuation of the failure of large segments of our own population, and Libya is no exception.

There are numerous contradictions in the African society and these are issues of great importance in determining the problems bedevilling the continent.

Many of our people have an amazing excuse that says the circumstances determining our lives today are beyond our control. So there is a belief that other people are totally responsible for the state of Africa today and therefore we have neither say nor control over these issues.

There is an extent to which this might be true when one looks at colonial history and what slavery did to the people of Africa. But when post-colonial influences end up creating psychological problems for the African individual it becomes time for self-reflection.

One has to see the apathy Africa is expressing over the military aggression in Libya today. The African leadership is apathetic if and when not complicit. They have given up and most have resigned from the African life, leaving the fate of their countries to the dictates of Western aid and to the will of Western political elites and their NGO arms.

When a whole president of a country becomes a victim of psychological problems to the extent of giving up effort and acknowledging that Africa is powerless and cannot do without handholding from Westerners, then we have to be alive to the reality that our hope as a continent is right in the abyss.

It is the apathy and resignation on the part of our African leadership that helps a great deal in maintaining the post-colonial imperial system that subjugates Africa today.

There is a fear of uniting and trusting each other, the inexplicable fear of coming together and solving our problems together. This explains a lot the great deal of political polarisation within our body politic.

Political parties in Africa are like armies going to war against each other, as opposed to mental bodies competing in the battle of ideas. We threaten our political rivals with sloganeering, violence, financial muscle, and the eventuality is often intolerance and armed confrontation.

It is probably only in Africa where singing, shouting, dancing, eating and drinking are integral components of structuring a successful political party.

Not only are we convinced that it is just not in us to unite and solve our problems together as a people, but many of us are so much awed by the might of white imperialism that there is this belief that the dominance of imperial powers is in itself indomitable.

In fact, imperialism maintains itself largely on the effect of the apathy and hopelessness of its victims. It is purely the apathy and ignorance of Africans that is maintaining the Western aggression in Libya today.

It is quite unthinkable that a coalition of the willing from Africa could decide to go and bomb a European country, banking on the apathy and ignorance of Europeans.

As Libya is burning, Africa is busy fearing who could be next and our own people are heard bragging that Zimbabwe could be next, Uganda is next, Ethiopia is next and so on.

Cheering the monster in the house is quite understandable when it is coming from individuals with psychological problems emanating from the effects of slavery and colonisation. It is a socially constructed mental disorder.

We are witnessing a period when a section of our people is drowned in the fear of the white man, resigned from life and hope, incapable of self-initiative, and absolutely mesmerised by the glitter of Western civilisation.

There are those among us who try to deal with the discrepancy between what the imperial system dictates Africa can achieve, and our failure to achieve even that.

One easy way out has always been the lowering of the African aspiration, fitting the African story into a lesser place that will not tamper with Western interests within our own continent.

So, South Africa battles to lower the aspiration of blacks in repossessing their colonially stolen lands; to lower the aspiration of the black person in having control over the mineral resources of that country, and to lower the aspiration of the African to become an employer and not an employee, as is defined by colonial tradition.

The moment Julius Malema talks land redistribution or nationalisation of mines, there are always those among us who are quick to remind the rest of Africa that such aspirations must be lowered so that white investors are not scared. The irony of protecting one's own chains is exactly what perpetuated slavery and colonialism.

And, Africa is openly threatened that the West will do a Zimbabwe on anyone that dares threaten post-colonial imperial economic interests on the continent. Of course Zimbabwe embarked on an ambitious land redistribution programme that resulted in the strangulation of its economy through a murderous sanctions regime illegally imposed by the US, the EU and other Western outposts.

Then there are other African leaders who try to inflate their achievements, to inflate their personalities. They gloat and brag about economic growth that is based on over 70 percent Western donor aid. They gloat about rising to political power as puppets funded and directed by Western elites. They look around pompously as they show-case what they describe as "our friends from the international community".

We see the average African middle class citizen being very boastful, being so egocentric, bragging a great deal about personal achievements, pumping themselves up, and pumping even smallest of achievements up into gigantic exploits.

This is just a measure of the destruction that has occurred to the self-esteem of the African - the effect of colonial hegemony over the African life. A family car is to an average African middle class citizen what Virgin is to Richard Branson.

We have an entire country to build in Zimbabwe and the challenges in doing so are massive. Yet we have a nationalist community that buries itself in the great history of our liberation struggle. Yes I am speaking of the kind of historicism that has developed in this community as a means of avoiding reality.

I am talking of people who live their lives in history, and dig among the glory of fallen heroes, dig among the many lives so sadly lost for the cause of our liberty, and a people who build themselves a false pride, and pump themselves up about the achievements of our glorious history - of course without facing the perils of the current reality and preparing for the future.

We have some within the nationalist community whose definition of the future is limited to the future of their own political careers. These have no vision for posterity, no vision for a Zanu-PF after their own lives, no vision for a Zimbabwe inhabited by generations to follow in fifty years time.

President Robert Mugabe has been quite explicit with his vision for a Zimbabwe after him. He seeks the empowerment of the indigenous Zimbabwean so that control of the means of production is in local hands from now and forever more.

Some of our nationalists, for lack of a better term in most cases; pride themselves in making the youth feel good - pumping them up and making them gloat and glow about our great past. But they avoid dealing with the present, and they do not educate the youth in terms of coping with the future.

Who will adequately equip our youth to defeat imperial hegemony and to remove Eurocentric power from dominating African affairs? Who will help Africa to remove these insane people who are about to destroy Libya and its wonderful infrastructural developments? We have a leadership that function in the interest of the status quo.

Then we have those among us who holler about the devilishness of white imperialism, the evilness of the white elite, and they leave it at that.

Deriding Westerners and shouting against imperialism does not necessarily perform a full service for our people. There must be a lot of other things involved. For example there is really no point deriding the Westerner from the comfort of wealth acquired by corrupt means.

It is like the devil preaching against evil. We cannot have a leadership that fears to take risk and are only happy to be opportunistic and vulturistic. Africa cannot develop for as long as our political culture still accommodates such political boofheads.

In fact the biggest risk a country can ever take is never to take any risks. We see many of our African politicians blowing up their minor political achievements as a means of ignoring the real challenges facing the people they represent.

We have a system in Africa which, after teaching our youths the continent's political history, the only notable achievement we get is that the young people are left with a greater sense frustration and inferiority. In fact some of our elderly Africans have argued that teaching such history is not good for African youths - arguing that it is tantamount to brainwashing the young minds.

We did see a lot of political opposition to the Zimbabwe National Youth Service's national orientation programme a few years back. The argument was that teaching the youth about the country's liberation struggle was tantamount to brainwashing the same youths, that teaching them about the evils of pre-independence white domination was tantamount to hate speech.

Julius Malema is currently before the South African courts being charged with hate speech, simply for singing a liberation war song. Some black people actually believe that Malema has a case to answer - not because they fail to understand that there once was an armed struggle for independence in South Africa, but because they are awed by the colour supremacy of those who are sponsoring the prosecution of Julius Malema. They believe these superior people never take anyone to court unless that person has done something wrong.

We have Africans wailing against the exhumation of the bones at Chibondo in Mount Darwin because they argue that the site of the bones is traumatising and may upset some of our children.

It is like the white sponsored doctrine that says teaching slave history to black Americans will only make the taught a bunch of criminals. It is a very convenient way of running away from history - a history so full of evil that some would rather it were never mentioned. Now we have European writers leading in creating opinion over what is happening in Ivory Coast and in Libya.

Again this is like a white teacher teaching black history or slave history.

Teaching this history in its objective and correct form would be to condemn the very people who today are in control of the global society in which we live. While it has happened many times, and good on those whites that have done it in the past - what this means is that the white teacher will have to condemn his or her own people, in reality himself or herself.

So those who tell us about Libya cannot be expected to condemn themselves. But it really needs no explanation to figure out that the invasion of a sovereign state for the sake of removing its political leadership is illegal and unacceptable.

So what is discussed in the media today is the nature and conditions of the politics of Libya, not the nature and condition of the invading Western forces.

What is discussed in white written slave history is the nature and condition of slavery, not the nature and condition of the slave master.

The same goes for colonialism. White written colonialism discusses the nature and condition of colonialism itself, not the nature and condition of the colonial master.

And today we are made to discuss the nature and condition of democracy and human rights, not the nature and condition of the democratisation masters pushing all nationalities into compliance with the West's dictates.

The questions dealt with in the history that shapes our lives today are not questions about the mental stability and characteristics of those who enslaved and colonised us, those who continue to dominate us today, and we never get to ask if these same people should continue to be influential over our lives.

This is why some among us believe that the same people are fighting on behalf of civilian Libyans today - even by bombing the same civilians in whose name they fly their murderous planes over Libyan air space, of course with the full blessing of Ban Ki Moon's United Nations.

We have been made to see an imaginary genocide "averted" by real Western firepower and the world is being coerced to imagine that Gaddafi was about to commit genocide in Benghazi just before the messianic West came with the love and mercy of Arch-angel Michael.
Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on reason@rwafawarova.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

'A Fire Which Could Burn Everyone,' Reflections of Fidel Castro

Havana. April 28 2011

Reflections of Fidel

A fire which could burn everyone

(Taken from CubaDebate)

ONE can be in agreement or not with Gaddafi’s political ideas, but nobody has the right to question the existence of Libya as an independent state and a member of the United Nations.

The world has still not accomplished what, from my point of view, constitutes an elemental question for the survival of our species today: the access of all peoples to the material resources of this planet. There is none other within the solar system which possesses the most elemental conditions of life as we know it.

The United States has always tried to be a melting pot of all races, creeds and nations: Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indian and people of mixed race, with no differences other than those of master and slave, rich and poor; but all within the limits of its borders: Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, the Atlantic to the east, and the Pacific to the west. Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii were simple historical accidents.

The complicated aspect of the matter is that it is not about a noble desire of those fighting for a better world, which is as worthy of respect as the religious beliefs of the peoples. Just a few types of radioactive isotopes emanating from enriched uranium consumed by electronuclear plants in relatively small quantities – given that they do not exist in nature – would suffice to put an end to the fragile existence of our species.

Burying those growing volumes of nuclear waste under sarcophaguses of cement and steel, is one of the greatest challenges of technology.

Incidents such as the Chernobyl accident or the Japanese earthquake have exposed those mortal risks.

The issue I wish to approach today is not that, but the shock with which I observed yesterday, via Walter Martínez’ Dossier program on Venezuelan television, the footage of the meeting between Robert Gates, chief of the Department of Defense, and British Defense Minister Liam Fox, who visited the United States to discuss the criminal war unleashed by NATO on Libya. It was almost hard to believe, the British minister took the Oscar; he was a bundle of nerves, he was tense, he spoke like a madman, he gave the impression that he was spitting out words.

Of course, first he arrived at the Pentagon entrance, where a smiling Gates was waiting for him. The flags of the two countries, that of the former colonial British Empire and that of its stepchild, the empire of the United States, fluttered on high on both sides while the anthems were played. The right hand on the chest, the rigorous and solemn military salute of the host country’s ceremony. That was Act I. After that the two ministers entered the U.S. Defense department. One would imagine that they talked at length given the footage I saw when each one returned with a speech in his hands, doubtless previously drafted.

The framework of this whole spectacle was constituted by military personnel. From the left hand angle one could see a young soldier, tall, slim, seemingly red-haired, shaven head, a cap with a black visor rammed on almost to his neck, presenting a rifle with a bayonet, unblinking and apparently not breathing, the very stamp of a soldier ready to fire a bullet or a nuclear missile with a destructive capacity of 100,000 tone of TNT. Gates spoke with the smile and naturalness of a lord and master. The Briton, on the other hand, did so in the way that I detailed.

It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen; he exhibited hatred, frustration, rage and threatening language toward the Libyan leader, demanding his unconditional surrender. He seemed to be indignant because NATO’s powerful aircraft had been unable to crush the Libyan resistance in 72 hours.

He only needed to exclaim, "Blood, toil, tears and sweat!" like Winston Churchill did when calculating the price to be paid by his country for fighting Nazi aircraft. In this case the Nazi-fascist role is being played by NATO with its thousands of bombing missions with the most modern fighter planes that the world has ever known.

The last straw was the U.S. government decision authorizing the use of drone aircraft to kill Libyan men, women and children, as in Afghanistan, thousands of kilometers distant from Western Europe, but this time against an Arab and African people, right in front of the eyes of hundreds of millions of Europeans and no less than in the name of the United Nations.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated yesterday that such acts of war were illegal and exceeded the framework of the United Nations Security Council agreements.

The gross attacks on the Libyan people, which are acquiring a Nazi-fascist nature, could be utilized against any Third World nation.

The resistance that Libya has put up really amazes me.

Now that bellicose organization is dependent on Gaddafi. If he resists and does not comply with its demands, he will go down in history as one of the great figures of the Arab countries.

NATO is fanning a fire which could burn everyone!

Fidel Castro Ruz
April 27, 2011
7:34 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

African American Jobless Rate Tops 17% While Obama Attempts to Convince Voters

Study: African-American jobless rate tops 17%

Triangle Business Journal
by Lee Weisbecker
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 4:49pm EDT

Hit harder during the Great Recession, African-American workers in North Carolina have enjoyed fewer benefits from the recovery, according to a new study.

The Economic Policy Institute and the Raleigh-based North Carolina Budget & Tax Center say the unemployment rate for African-Americans averaged 17.2 percent in 2010 – essentially twice the 8.6 percent average for whites in the state.

The peak jobless rate for African-American hit 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

For whites, the peak was 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

So much for the downturn.

As for the recovery, the researchers found that, while the unemployment rate for whites had fallen by 1.5 percent by the end of 2010, it still stood at 17.5 percent for African-American.

“Every community in North Carolina has suffered through the Great Recession,” says Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center, “but African-Americans have taken a particularly painful hit.”

In 2010, African-American comprised 21 percent of North Carolina’s population, following a 17 percent increase in population over the preceding decade (during which the overall population increased 18.5 percent and the white non-Hispanic population increased 10 percent).

Tri-State Defender Online -

President Obama launches nationwide outreach to African Americans

By Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Published on 04/28/2011

President Obama and his administration will reach out to African Americans in coming months in a campaign to detail what the president is doing for them.

President Obama and his administration will reach out to African Americans in coming months in a campaign to detail what the president is doing for them.

A week after announcing his 2012 reelection bid, Obama sent African-American senior White House advisors into African-American communities across the U.S. to share stories about how the administration is working to enhance their quality of life.

“We’re taking the White House on the road,” Michael Blake, Obama’s director of African-American Outreach, told BlackAmericaWeb.

“There are a lot of positive and transformational initiatives to help the African-American community that people are not aware of.”

Through the program, the administration looks to reach more than one million African-Americans and hold 100 events in African-American communities across the country throughout the rest of 2011. A new web site detailing the president’s outreach to these communities has also been created.

Blake has already appeared at Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, Ga., and in African-American communities in Philadelphia. He also plans to travel to San Jose, Calif. and Chicago, Ill.

“We’re crisscrossing the country and taking our stories directly to people about how the African-American community is benefiting from the Obama administration,” Blake said. “We’re literally going to people’s homes and have direct conversations. We’re getting out of D.C. and approaching our efforts from a community level.”

The outreach comes at a time when unemployment remains high, especially among African Americans, and three months after the president singled out job creation as a central target of the administration’s domestic policy.

According to a White House news release, the president’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget would provide a $50 billion investment in infrastructure in an effort to use transportation spending – airport improvement, highway building, and high-speed rail development – to jump-start job creation.

Also, his budget proposal calls for funds to go to entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs in inner cities. The plan would also continue the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Tax Grants, which accelerate growth in the “green” industry and allow employers to hire more workers.

Obama spoke about his plans to stimulate job growth at a recent National Action Network Gala.

“We are going to keep fighting until every family gets a shot at the American Dream,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript.

“That’s our North Star. That’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night – the hopes and dreams of people who work hard every single day, look after their families, take care of their responsibilities, and just need a little bit of help to make it.”

(Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers)

Sudan News Update: President Al-Bashir Threatens to Wage War in South Kordofan

Sudan President Al-Bashir threatens to wage war in South Kordofan, says Abyei will “remain northern”

April 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has reiterated claims that the contested oil-producing region of Abyei belongs to the north, and threatened to wage war in the border state of South Kordofan if the newly independent South Sudan opted for confrontation there.

Ownership of Abyei region is claimed by both north and south Sudan, which voted earlier this year to secede in a referendum promised under the 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended nearly half a century of intermittent north-south civil wars.

Abyei’s status was supposed to be decided in a referendum vote in January, but north and south Sudan disagreed on whether members of the north-backed tribe of al-Messriya, whose nomads cross over to Abyei for a few months a year to graze their cattle, should be allowed to vote alongside the south-linked tribe of Dinka Ngok.

In an inflammatory speech he delivered on Tuesday, Al-Bashir laid stress on the north’s ownership of Abyei. "I say it and repeat it for the million times, Abyei is northern and will remain northern," he declared.

Meanwhile, a senior official from Al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has warned that the north would revoke its recognition of south Sudan’s independence if the latter claims ownership of Abyei in its constitution.

South Sudan lays claim to Abyei in its draft constitution, which is due to be adopted after the region officially gains independence in July.

Al-Dirdiri Ahmed, the NCP’s official in charge of Abyei dossier, told the pro-government website Sudan Media Center that his party rejects any mention of Abyei as located within the borders of South Sudan in the region’s draft constitution. He warned that his party would reconsider its recognition of South Sudan state if its new constitution states that Abyei is part of the south.

Al-Bashir, who was addressing a public rally in Al-Mujlad town in South Kordofan, where the NCP will vie in long-delayed gubernatorial and legislative elections due to be held on May 2, threatened that his party was ready to reignite war if the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which controls South Sudan, thinks of entering war in south Kordofan.

South Kordofan saw violent incidents ahead of the sensitive vote when the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF), allegedly backed by the NCP’s incumbent candidate in gubernatorial elections Ahmad Harun, attacked El-Feid earlier this month, killing 17 people and burning hundreds of houses.

Al-Bashir said that the SPLM would incur a great loss if it thinks of going back to the square of war in South Kordofan, warning that the movement must submit to the will of ballot boxes “or else boxes of bullets will decide the matter.”

President Al-Bashir and his candidate Ahmed Harun are both wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the background of atrocities committed during a government counterinsurgency campaign in the western region of Darfur, where an eight year conflict killed thousands of people and displaced millions.

Al-Bashir’s statements have sparked a response from the SPLM whose candidate in South Kordofan’s gubernatorial elections, Abdul Aziz Adam Al-Hilu, deplored Al-Bashir speech as a declaration of war.

“We condemn Al-Bashir’s Mujlad speech in which there was nothing but the language of war while we advocate peace,” Al-Hilu said in a press conference, adding that “the head of state who calls for, and preach, war should end Darfur war first.”

Al-Hilu said that his party had been warning the NCP against transforming South Kordofan State into a forefront of war against South Sudan and using the state’s people as fuel for this war.

The SPLM’s candidate went on to accuse the NCP of violating the elections law by engaging in fraudulent practices and using state-resources to support Harun’s electoral campaign, citing as an example the live-broadcasting of Harun’s speeches by the national T.V which is funded for by the Sudanese taxpayer.

South Kordofan’s election was postponed from April 2010 as the country held nationwide elections due to disagreements over the 2008 census and delimitation of geographic constituencies.

Under the CPA, the state is also due to hold popular consultations after the elections in order to decide whether the agreement has met the aspirations of its citizens and resolve any outstanding issues related to the agreement’s implementation.

Sudan ruling party says Gosh’s removal dictated by “internal consideration”

April 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese official on Wednesday broke the silence that shrouded this week’s dismissal of the presidential security adviser, Salah Gosh, denying speculations that the latter’s removal was caused by alleged power struggle within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Sudan former presidential security adviser Salah Gosh (FILE)In the first official comment on the removal of Gosh, presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Din told reporters on Wednesday that the security adviser was relieved from his position on account of what he termed as “internal consideration” without going into further details.

Ghazi went on to deny that the sacking of Gosh was an indication of escalated internal squabbles within the NCP. “Salah [Gosh] is an active person in the NCP and was so in all the positions he held, he will remain an active member of the party,” Ghazi added.

Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir on Tuesday issued a decree relieving Gosh from his duties as a presidential adviser for security affairs and director-general of the Presidential Security Advisory (PSA), few days after the security adviser was embroiled in a show of public bickering with the powerful presidential assistant and NCP’s vice-president Nafi Ali Nafi.

Nafi criticized in a radio interview on Friday the dialogue conducted by the PSA with opposition parties, and said it was not sanctioned by the NCP’s leadership, prompting Gosh to retort a day later with assertions that his dialogue enjoys approval by president Al-Bashir and Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

Gosh said that Nafi’s statement represents only himself and that his dialogue would not stop unless by direct orders from Al-Bashir.

North Sudan’s ruling party has been engaged in dialogue with two mainstream opposition parties, the National Umma Party of former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirgahni. The dialogue comes at a time of tension in the domestic political arena due to worsening economic conditions manifested in rising food prices, shortage of foreign currency and rising inflation. Meanwhile, the opposition blames Al-Bashir’s government for failure to keep the unity of Sudan following the secession of the oil-producing south Sudan in a referendum in January.

A Sudanese daily reported this week that Al-Bashir convened a meeting on Sunday between Nafi and Gosh. However, the paper said its sources were not able to confirm the outcome of the meeting.

Meanwhile, Sudan Tribune sources revealed that president Al-Bashir had summoned his security adviser at a late hour on Tuesday and informed him of the decision to relieve from his position, adding that Gosh did not enter into debate with the president and rather said “I hear and obey” then dashed out of the presidential guesthouse in Khartoum.

Gosh confirmed to the pro-government Sudanese daily that he had indeed received a decree relieving him from his duties, but he declined to divulge further details or issue a reaction.

The controversy surrounding Gosh’s dismissal as a presidential adviser mirrors that of his surprise removal in August 2009 from the helm of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), over which presided since succeeding Nafi in 2004.

Darfur mediators hand draft peace agreement, urge Sudan and JEM to make progress

April 27, 2011 (DOHA/KHARTOUM) — Darfur mediator handed today as scheduled a draft peace agreement to the three Sudanese parties participating in the Doha talks to end the eight year conflict in Darfur region. They further called on the Sudanese government and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) make progress in the direct talks.

Al-Mahmoud and Bassole in a meeting with the sudanese parties in Doha (file photo QNA)Joint Chief Mediator, Djirbil Bassole, and Qatari state minister for foreign affairs, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, announced on 19 April that the draft will be followed by a general conference for Darfur stakeholders to take place on 18-23 May to debate on the content of the agreement.

Delegation from the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) nonetheless, failed to discuss effectively a number of issues and they are yet to agree on the agenda.

"The Mediation has today, Wednesday, 27April 2011, submitted a draft Darfur peace document to the heads of delegations participating in the Darfur peace process in Doha," said a statement put out by Al-Mahmoud and Bassole on Wednesday evening.

The mediation said the parties have to study the peace document and to submit their final observations by 7 May.

However due to the slow progress in their direct discussions, they particularly urged the government and JEM to "continue to negotiate urgently and directly and to submit the outcomes of their discussions by Saturday 7 May 2011 for inclusion in the final draft document."

In their latest meeting on Tuesday 26 April, Khartoum and JEM rebels diverged on what should be discussed in the meetings. The government delegation said disposed only to discuss the draft of the peace agreement stipulating talks should not alter the draft agreement.

The rebels for their part, said the agenda should be determined according to the framework agreement signed last year and the discussion papers circulated by the two parties on the pending issues.

"We can’t accept a document we are not party in its elaboration as a framework for the talks, also we are more concerned by peace more than any deadline," said Gibreel Adam Bilal, JEM spokesperson.

Gibreel told Sudan Tribune that the government does not seek seriously to reach a peace deal with JEM "the government does not want to dialogue with us but they do not want to say that frankly".

Following the return of the Sudanese government delegation to Doha, after its withdrawal from December to mid-February, JEM and Sudanese government did not directly discuss any of the issues included in the agenda of the peace negotiations.

However JEM adopted three from four chapters discussed and agreed by the government and LJM rebels. The group further demanded to discuss the wealth sharing with Khartoum. On the pending issues, the rebels said Khartoum should prove its willingness to reach an agreement over Darfur administrative status in Doha and asked that this issue to top the agenda of the direct talks.

In the Sudanese capital, the National Elections Commission announced that the referendum on Darfur status will take place on the first of July putting more pressure on the rebel delegations.

The other rebel group participating in the talks, Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) who suffers a recent dissidence rejected the referendum saying should be part of the peace agreement and be held after its signing .

JEM spokesperson said they raised in yesterday meeting the need to include the other rebel groups emphasizing that a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement remains the best option for a durable and viable settlement in Darfur. He said the lesion of Abuja should not be repeated.

The Joint Chief mediator Djibril Bassole announced last week he is called by his government to assume the foreign affairs portfolio and he will resign after the general conference of Darfur stakeholders.

Presidential adviser in charge of Darfur file, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen told MPS from the ruling party today, Amin Hassan Omer, government’s top negotiator is called to Khartoum for consultations on the draft peace agreement.

The Sudanese government said it needs a quick conclusion of the Doha process as it plans to hold an internal process to settle the conflict with the participation of tribal leaders and civil society group.

Also, the head of the AU high level panel on Sudan, Thabo Mbeki will launch a process similar to that of Sudanese government for reconciliation and redemption in Darfur. The panel however is struggling to secure the needed funds for the operation.