Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Juju Fever' Ebbs as Julius Malema's Adjourns Until Friday

'Juju fever' ebbs as Malema's hearing adjourns till Friday

Aug 31 2011 16:49

The disciplinary hearing involving ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and five of his colleagues has been adjourned until Friday, the league said on Wednesday afternoon.

"Malema is consulting lawyers inside at the moment," spokesperson Floyd Shivambu told reporters outside ANC headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

He said the hearings would continue at the venue on Friday.

The youth league's deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi thanked those who had gathered outside for their support.

"A lot has happened that we can't tell you about right now, due to internal matters, but we want to tell you that victory is certain."

He also thanked supporters for their behaviour on Wednesday.

"We are the future of South Africa. The future depends on us as the youth."

When he and Shivambu finished speaking the crowd dispersed.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told the Mail & Guardian the inquiry would continue "in parts".

“The people appearing are no longer there but the members of the disciplinary committee will continue deliberating on what has happened so far,” he said.

Mthembu would not elaborate on the decision to have the hearing temporarily delayed.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the hearing continued and the disciplinary committee would deal with each of the accused individually.

No recusals

Reports on Wednesday said Malema failed in a bid on Tuesday to get the ANC members hearing the charges to recuse themselves.

Committee chair Derek Hanekom, Mining Minister Susan Shabangu and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane were on the panel.

Malema supporters on Wednesday marched in the streets around Luthuli House, whistling, blowing vuvuzelas and pointing at the building and saying, "Voetsek".

Some held up placards stating, "Juju a profound thinker ... a champion of our economic policies".


The South African Students Congress (Sasco) and the Eastern Cape ANC condemned the violent behaviour by ANC Youth League supporters on the first day of the hearing.

"We are extremely angered by the reported sexual harassment and assault on a female journalist by these hooligans who purport to be ANC Youth League members," Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana said outside Luthuli House.

"We call on the ANC Youth League not just to distance itself but to act decisively against those within its ranks who committed this sexual assault ... and those who trashed equipment," he said.

On Tuesday, rioters trashed Johannesburg's streets and attacked journalists and police officers, several of whom were hit by rocks, while women journalists reported being groped.

The ANC in the Eastern Cape also "strongly condemns the regrettable acts of hooliganism".

"We are utterly dismayed by the burning of the ANC flags, T-shirts and posters bearing the face of the president. We request the NEC [national executive committee] to spare no effort in identifying these culprits and they must face the full might of our disciplinary processes," said provincial spokesperson Mlibo Qhoboshiyane in a statement.

"It is our view that those who have taken the responsibility to mobilise and bus crowds to gather outside Luthuli House -- the leadership of the ANC Youth League -- should also take full responsibility for the violence, criminality and ill-discipline that has accompanied these crowds."

'Discipline the youth'

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Limpopo also called for ANC Youth League officials to be disciplined.

Earlier on Wednesday, supporters, including some children, held posters saying: "Hands off our youth league president"; "Juju fever"; and "Juju never said let's bomb Botswana like imperialists from Libya or Iraq".

Some wore T-shirts portraying the face of ousted president Thabo Mbeki, who was removed from office a few months after Jacob Zuma became leader of the ANC.

Journalists and police in riot gear watched from behind a barbed wire barricade.

'Don't touch SA or its journalists'

On Tuesday, Malema urged his supporters to refrain from attacking the media and police.

Police officials said a colleague who was hit by a rock on Tuesday had received stitches in hospital and was back on duty on Wednesday.

Most businesses were open again after closing their doors on Tuesday.

Malema, league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer general Pule Mabe were facing charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in ANC ranks.

This was after Malema said the league would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and to help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was "in full co-operation with imperialists" and was undermining the "African agenda".

-- Sapa

ANC Youth League Demonstrators May Face Charges

ANC HQ rioters identified, journalists asked to lay charges


The police have identified people involved in acts of violence associated with ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"Those who were involved in acts of violence have been identified and arrests may be effected while investigation progresses," Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said on Wednesday.

Marching for Malema

Hundreds of Julius Malema supporters gathered in the streets of Johannesburg on Tuesday as Juju faced the first day of his disciplinary hearing. Journalists and police were pelted with rocks and other debris, and T-shirts bearing Jacob Zuma's face were burnt.

On Tuesday, groups of youths demonstrating in support of Malema and four of his colleagues, who are up for disciplinary hearings by the ruling party, threw rocks, bottles and bricks at journalists and police in the Johannesburg city centre.

One police officer had to have stitches to his head and at least seven journalists were struck by the projectiles.

Dlamini said police were monitoring a small group which gathered in Beyers Naude Square, close to Luthuli House on Wednesday.

They asked anybody, particularly journalists, injured during Tuesday's events to lay charges.

"Relative to what happened yesterday, we think the behaviour of people outside was better [on Wednesday]," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said, even though the ANC did not condone people gathering to support someone who faced disciplinary measures.

Disrupting school

On Tuesday, the ANC called the events "un-ANC" and blamed the league.

This view was supported by the alliance partners: Congress of South African Trade Unions, the South African Communist Party, and the Congress of South African Students -- who were accused of taking children out of school to attend.

The ANCYL itself condemned the burning of a T-shirt bearing a picture of President Jacob Zuma, who is also ANC president, but blamed agent provocateurs for the violence.

National Freedom Party Gauteng spokesperson Zangezwa Mvelase said the education department should investigate how the children were taken out of school.

Education department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said that according to its information, pupils from 21 schools in Gauteng were taken to the CBD to support Malema.

The department would wait for the outcome of the police investigation, but in the meantime principals whose schools were affected would send it a report.

"We must differentiate -- schools are an education field, not a political field."

A 'complex' situation

The police have been criticised for not making immediate arrests, but Jan Burger, senior researcher at the crime and justice programme of the Institute for Security Studies said: "It's one of those very complex situations."

From 2006, the year restructuring of the police began, public policing officers were redeployed to police stations and did not attend regular training as before.

The impact of the events in Ficksburg earlier this year, where protester Andries Tatane was killed, allegedly by a police bullet, showed a "complete absence of command and control" in such situations, he said.

Burger said it was evident at a recent workshop that police were concerned not only about their image, but also about the level and standard of public order policing.

"They are struggling within themselves to determine where they are and what level of professionalism they are at, but they still have to deal with everyday incidents of crowd control."

No permission

There were aspects of the Luthuli House incident of which the public were not aware. These included the level of intelligence the police had.

Application for permission for gatherings contained information on the number of people expected to attend and whether there would be marshals. This enables the police to plan the measures they would have in place. No permission was applied for Tuesday's gathering.

"So, we don't know if the police had intelligence, and how accurate it was, if they had it," said Burger.

It appeared that because of the politically charged atmosphere, there could have been political direction in terms of how police were deployed and what they did.

"They knew what the demonstrations would be about -- in support of Julius Malema. They knew that it would be a very difficult situation to control, with young people who are known for their sometimes, unruly, outright disorderly or criminal behaviour," he said.

"But at the same time, they knew they knew the political ramifications if they reacted a little too quickly or over hastily."


National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele went to Luthuli House, but it was not clear what he was asked to do and what instruction he issued to the police, said Burger.

He believed that the police handled the situation in the best way possible, but that there should still be consequences.

"The ideal [solution] would be to identify people on the video footage and to act against them. At least the organisers should face consequences in terms of existing legislation [the Public Gathering Act]."

Burger said he was happy that the focus had shifted from how police managed such events, to how organisers managed their protests.

"We can't condone [events] and expect the police to resolve everything, because they have limits. We all know what happens when the police reach the situation where they have to use force," he said. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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Palestinians Threatened by United States Congress Over Statehood Appeal

US Palestinian aid could be cut if it continues to seek statehood

A movement to cut US aid to the Palestinian Authority if it pursues its application for recognition at the United Nations has gained ground with a bill seeking to block funding to any United Nations agency that supports the Palestinian bid.

By Phoebe Greenwood in Tel Aviv
11:20PM BST 31 Aug 2011

Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the bill to Congress with 57 co-sponsors. The proposed legislation would also stop US funds to the UN Human Rights Council and an anti-racism conference, which she claims is a platform for anti-Israel rhetoric.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said that this is the latest in a series of financial threats made by powerful lobbies in both the United States and Israel designed to deter the Palestinians from appealing to the United Nations on September 20.

Israel's Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz this week refused a request to deliver tax revenue owed to the Palestinian Authority two days early so that it could pay salaries before the start of week-long holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, Israel retains control of Palestinian borders and the collection of Palestinian tax revenue, which comprises around two thirds of the authority's annual budget. Israel withheld this revenue for two weeks In May following the Fatah/ Hamas reconciliation.

Sizeable injections of foreign investment into the Palestinian Authority in 2010, including $470 million from the US, saw nine per cent economic growth. But the economy is fragile and relies on foreign aid. The UN estimates that 25 per cent of Palestinians live below the poverty line. .

Israel Brace for Palestinian Statehood Bid at United Nations

Israel braces for Palestinian statehood bid at United Nations

By Joel Greenberg,
August 31, 5:00 PM

JERUSALEM — Israel is preparing security forces as well as diplomatic and legal responses for a planned Palestinian bid for admission as a state to the United Nations next month, but officials say they do not expect a major eruption of unrest as a result of the move.

Despite intensive Israeli diplomatic efforts to head off U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, a senior official involved in shaping the Israeli response said the government was resigned to the General Assembly endorsing the move in late September.

“We’re aware that we have very little ability to prevent it, because it’s the U.N., so we have to learn to live with it,” said the official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss the subject freely.

He described the United Nations as a body with an automatic anti-Israeli majority.

The official said Israel was preparing for fallout from the U.N. vote on three fronts: in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and possibly on Israel’s borders, in the diplomatic arena and in international forums.

On the ground, Israeli military and police forces are preparing for what the official called a “worst-case scenario,” in which masses of Palestinians march on Israeli checkpoints and West Bank settlements, and possibly on the country’s borders. Palestinians used such tactics in May, on the anniversary of Israel’s establishment, and in June, to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war, drawing deadly Israeli gunfire.

Security officials said that Israeli police and army have stocked up on nonlethal crowd-control equipment and carried out drills to prepare for mass protests, and that border units have been readied for possible marches to Israel’s frontiers. The army has trained rapid-response teams at Israeli settlements on how to deal with approaching Palestinian crowds.

Despite the preparations, the prevalent official assessment is that the U.N. vote will not trigger a major eruption of Palestinian unrest. Part of that expectation stems from plans by the Palestinian Authority to limit celebrations to the West Bank areas it controls and prevent confrontations with Israeli forces and settlers, which could turn violent.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called for peaceful demonstrations, and he has ruled out a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel.

In a recent interview with Israeli Army Radio, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his “assessment and hope” was that the U.N. vote would pass quietly. Using similar language, the senior official who briefed reporters said he was “doubtful” that the extreme scenarios prepared for by the military would materialize.

The official said he did not think that the U.N. vote would alter Israel’s relations with other nations, but he cautioned that recognition of statehood would provide a strong basis for Palestinian legal action against Israel in international tribunals and other bodies. He said Israeli legal officials were preparing for such challenges.

In an op-ed article in the New York Times in May, Abbas wrote that U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state would “pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”

The official who briefed reporters asserted that the Palestinians appear intent on avoiding negotiations and taking their case to the United Nations, “where it doesn’t cost them anything” because of the assured majority in their favor. Palestinian officials have said that their U.N. bid is a last resort as efforts to negotiate with the Israeli government prove fruitless and Israel continues to expand settlements on land they seek for a state.

U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state along Israel’s 1967 boundaries with the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be a “strategic mistake,” the official said, because it would entrench both the Palestinians and Israel in unbridgeable positions. Prospects for negotiations, he said, would be set back “many years.”

Washington also has opposed the Palestinian U.N. initiative, calling it a unilateral attempt to determine the outcome of a conflict that should be resolved through negotiations.

"Democracy Now?": Meet Professor Juan Cole, Consultant to the CIA

August 30, 2011

"Democracy Now?": Meet Professor Juan Cole, Consultant to the CIA


Juan Cole is a brand name that is no longer trusted. And that has been the case for some time for the Professor from Michigan. After warning of the “difficulties” with the Iraq War, Cole swung over to ply it with burning kisses on the day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. His fervor was not based on Saddam Hussein’s fictional possession of weapons of mass destruction but on the virtues of “humanitarian imperialism.”

Thus on March 19, 2003, as the imperial invasion commenced, Cole enthused on his blog: “I remain (Emphasis mine.) convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides.” Now, with over 1 million Iraqis dead, 4 million displaced and the country’s infrastructure destroyed, might Cole still echo Madeline Albright that the price was “worth it”? Cole has called the Afghan War “the right war at the right time” and has emerged as a cheerleader for Obama’s unconstitutional war on Libya and for Obama himself.

Cole claims to be a man of the left and he appears with painful frequency on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now as the reigning “expert” on the war on Libya. This is deeply troubling – on at least two counts. First, can one be a member of the “left” and also an advocate for the brutal intervention by the Great Western Powers in the affairs of a small, relatively poor country?

Apparently so, at least in Democracy Now’s version of the “left.” Second, it appears that Cole’s essential function these days is to convince wavering progressives that the war on Libya has been fine and dandy. But how can such damaged goods as Cole credibly perform this marketing mission so vital to Obama’s war?

Miraculously, Cole got just the rehabilitation he needed to continue with this vital propaganda function when it was disclosed by the New York Times on June 15 that he was the object of a White House inquiry way back in 2005 in Bush time. The source and reason for this leak and the publication of it by the NYT at this time, so many years later, should be of great interest, but they are unknown.

Within a week of the Times piece Cole was accorded a hero’s welcome on Democracy Now, as he appeared with retired CIA agent Glenn Carle who had served 23 years in the clandestine services of the CIA in part as an “interrogator.” Carl had just retired from the CIA at the time of the White House request and was at the time employed at the National Intelligence Council, which authors the National Intelligence Estimate.

It hit this listener like a ton of bricks when it was disclosed in Goodman’s interview that Cole was a long time “consultant” for the CIA, the National Intelligence Council and other agencies. Here is what nearly caused me to keel over when I heard it (From the Democracy Now transcript.):

AMY GOODMAN: So, did you know Professor Cole or know of him at the time you were asked? And can you go on from there? What happened when you said you wouldn’t do this? And who was it who demanded this information from you, said that you should get information?

GLENN CARLE: Well, I did know Professor Cole. He was one of a large number of experts of diverse views that the National Intelligence Council and my office and the CIA respectively consult with to challenge our assumptions and understand the trends and issues on our various portfolios. So I knew him that way. And it was sensible, in that sense, that the White House turned to my office to inquire about him, because we were the ones, at least one of the ones—I don’t know all of Mr. Cole’s work—who had consulted with him. (Emphases mine.)

That seems like strange toil for a man of the “left.” But were the consultations long drawn out and the association with the CIA a deep one? It would appear so. Again from the transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the way James Risen (the NYT reporter) writes it, he says, “Mr. Carle said [that] sometime that year, he was approached by his supervisor, David Low, about Professor Cole. [Mr.] Low and [Mr.] Carle have starkly different recollections of what happened. According to Mr. Carle, [Mr.] Low returned from a White House meeting one day and inquired who Juan Cole was, making clear [that] he wanted [Mr.] Carle to gather information on him. Mr. Carle recalled [his] boss saying, ‘The White House wants to get him.’”

GLENN CARLE: Well, that’s substantially correct. The one nuance, perhaps, I would point out is there’s a difference between collecting information actively, going out and running an operation, say, to find out things about Mr. Cole, or providing information known through interactions. (Emphasis mine.) I would characterize it more as the latter.

And later in the interview Carle continues:

On the whole, Professor Cole and I are in agreement. The distinction I make is it wasn’t publicly known information that was requested; it was information that officers knew of a personal nature about Professor Cole, which is much more disturbing. There was no direct request that I’m aware, in the two instances of which I have knowledge, for the officers actively to seek and obtain, to conduct—for me to go out and follow Professor Cole. But if I knew lifestyle questions or so on, to pass those along. (Emphasis mine.)That’s how I—which is totally unacceptable.

It would seem then that the interaction between the CIA operatives and Cole was long standing and sufficiently intimate that the CIA spooks could be expected to know things about Cole’s lifestyle and personal life. It is not that anyone should give two figs about Cole’s personal life which is more than likely is every bit as boring as he claims. But his relationship with the CIA is of interest since he is an unreconstructed hawk. What was remarkable to me at the time is that Goodman did not pick up on any of this. Did she know before of Cole’s connections? Was not this the wrong man to have as a “frequent guest,” in Goodman’s words, on the situation in the Middle East?

This is not to claim that Cole is on a mission for the CIA to convince the left to support the imperial wars, most notably at the moment the war on Libya. Nor is this a claim that the revelation about the White House seeking information on Cole was a contrived psyops effort to rehabilitate Cole so that he could continue such a mission. That cannot be claimed, because there is as yet no evidence for it. But information flows two ways in any consultation, and it is even possible that Cole was being loaded with war-friendly information in hopes he would transmit it.

Cole is anxious to promote himself as a man of the left as he spins out his rationale for the war on Libya. At one point he says to Goodman (3/29), “We are people of the left. We care about the ordinary people. We care about workers.” It is strange that a man who claims such views dismisses as irrelevant the progress that has come to the people of Libya under Gaddafi, dictator or not. (Indeed what brought Gaddafi down was not that he was a dictator but that he was not our dictator.) In fact Libya has the highest score of all African countries on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) and with Tunisia and Morocco the second highest level of literacy. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide.

Whither the Left on the Question of Intervention?

None of this is all too surprising given Cole’s status as a “humanitarian” hawk. But it is outrageous that he is so often called on by Democracy Now for his opinion. One of his appearances there was in a debate on the unconstitutional war in Libya, with CounterPunch’s estimable Vijay Prashad taking the antiwar side and Cole prowar.

It would seem strange for the left to have to debate the worth of an imperial intervention. Certainly if one goes back to the days of the Vietnam War there were teach-ins to inform the public of the lies of the U.S. government and the truth about what was going on in Vietnam. But let us give Democracy Now the benefit of the doubt and say that the debate was some sort of consciousness raising effort. Why later on invite as a frequent guest a man who was the pro-war voice in the debate? That is a strange choice indeed.

This writer does not get to listen to Democracy Now every day. But I have not heard a full-throated denunciation of the war on Libya from host or guests.

Certainly according to a search on the DN web site, Cynthia McKinney did not appear as a guest nor Ramsey Clark after their courageous fact finding tour to Libya. There was only one all out denunciation of the war – on the day when the guests were Rev. Jesse Jackson and Vincent Harding who was King’s speechwriter on the famous speech “Beyond Vietnam” in 1967 in which King condemned the U.S. war on Vietnam.

Jackson and the wise and keenly intelligent Harding were there not to discuss Libya but to discuss the MLK Jr. monument. Nonetheless Jackson and Harding made clear that they did not like the U.S. war in Libya one bit, nor the militarism it entails.

If one reads, or The American Conservative, one knows that one is reading those who are anti-interventionist on the basis of principle. With Democracy Now and kindred progressive outlets, it’s all too clear where a big chunk of the so-called “left” stands, especially since the advent of Obama.

In his superb little book Humanitarian Imperialism Jean Bricmont criticizes much of the left for falling prey to advocacy of wars, supposedly based on good intentions. And Alexander Cockburn has often pointed out that many progressives are actually quite fond of “humanitarian” interventionism.

Both here and in Europe this fondness seems to be especially true of Obama’s latest war, the war on Libya.

It is little wonder that
the “progressives” are losing their antiwar following to Ron Paul and the Libertarians who are consistent and principled on the issue of anti-interventionism.

Democracy Now, quo vadis? Wherever you are heading, you would do well to travel without Juan Cole and his friends.

John V. Walsh can be reached at After wading through Cole’s loose prose and dubious logic to write this essay, the author suspects that the rejection of Cole by the Yale faculty was the result of considerations that had little to do with neocon Bush/Cheney operatives.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

US Imperialism Has Deadliest Month in Afghanistan War of Occupation

US has deadliest month in Afghan war

Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:54PM GMT

August 2011 has become the deadliest month for US troops in the decade-long war in Afghanistan with 66 American soldiers killed in the month.

The figure, released by the Associated Press on Tuesday, eclipsed the earlier figure of 65 belonging to July 2010.

Most fatalities were those of an August 6 helicopter crash in which 30 US troops lost their lives. The victims were aboard a Chinook shot down by Taliban militants in Afghanistan's Wardak Province in the single deadliest incident of the Afghan war.

Twenty-three other American troops died this month in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces in southern Afghanistan. The remaining 13 were killed in eastern Afghanistan.

Besides the 66 Americans killed so far this month, the US-led NATO coalition also suffered the loss of two British, four French, one New Zealander, one Australian, one Polish and five other troops whose nationalities have not yet been disclosed.

So far this year, 403 US-led soldiers, including at least 299 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan, according to the AP tally.

There are currently about 150,000 US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan, almost 100,000 of them American forces.

US President Barack Obama has ordered the withdrawal of the 33,000 extra troops he dispatched to the war, with 10,000 to be out this year and another 23,000 to be withdrawn by the summer of 2012, leaving about 68,000 US troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

Britain, France Deploy Ground Troops in Libya

UK, France deploy ground troops to Libya

Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:8PM GMT

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has confirmed that some of its member countries such as Britain and France may have troops deployed to Libya.

An unnamed NATO official admitted that Britain and France have deployed ground troops inside the Libyan territory, but said it would be "unfair to call them NATO forces."

Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said there is "direct evidence" that British and French Special Forces were carrying out ground operations in Libya in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1973.

The resolution, passed in March, authorized a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said last week the alliance had no troops on the ground in Libya, and would not have any after the regime fell.

"The leading role in the post-Gaddafi period in supporting the Libyan people rests with the United Nations and the Contact Group. NATO will be in a supporting role… NATO will have no troops on the ground," Lungescu told reporters in Brussels.

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox told Sky News last week that the rebels were getting intelligence and reconnaissance assistance from NATO.

Last week, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper claimed that Britain's elite Special Air Service regiment (SAS) were helping the rebels hunt down Col Muammar Gaddafi, whose forces they say have lost control of most of the country including the capital Tripoli.

Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, though the transitional government says he is still in hiding in Tripoli.

The rebels, who invaded Tripoli a week ago backed up by NATO, have offered a USD1.3 million reward and amnesty from prosecution for anyone who kills or captures Gaddafi.

Libyan Loyalist Forces Entrap Western-backed Rebels in Ragdaline

Gaddafi remnants entrap fighters in town

Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:55PM GMT

Forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have reportedly entrapped opposition fighters in Libya's western town of Ragdaline near the Tunisian border.

Latest reports say at least one person was killed and four others wounded in Ragdaline on Monday, AFP reported.

The battle started when fighters entered Ragdaline thinking there would be no resistance. They were, however, showered with mortars and rockets fired by Gaddafi loyalists.

"They set us up. The people of Ragdaline told us that we could come in peace, and suddenly we were under fire," an opposition fighter said.

Moreover, pro-Gaddafi snipers were positioned in houses across the town, targeting anyone who would pass through the center of the town.

Some of the fighters decided to retreat to a checkpoint while others chose to stay and fight and wait for reinforcements.

The development comes as fighters prepare to launch an assault on Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte in a final showdown to seal their months-old reign of terror.

United Nations Officials Outline Plan for Imperialist Control of Libya

UN officials outline plan for Libya's post-conflict future
2011-08-31 07:52:16

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon and his advisor for post-conflict Libya said here Tuesday that they have plans for bringing an integrated, politically led mission to the troubled North African country, which appears to be nearing the end of a months-long conflict.

"My aim is to get UN personnel on the ground as quickly as possible, under a robust Security Council mandate," Ban told the Security Council as he delivered a briefing on the situation in Libya.

Along with Ian Martin, his special advisor on post-conflict planning, the secretary-general, in consultation with Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), had devised a basic plan for post-conflict Libya.

According to Ban, the plan will operate under three principles, the first being Libyan ownership of the post-conflict recovery and strategizing.

"Our most important job will be to ensure that multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts are complementary and correspond to Libyan wishes," said Ban. "In turn, this will require Libya's transitional authorities to provide clear priorities--short-term and longer-term."

He emphasized that "Libya's future is for Libyans to decide."

The second principle, Ban said, should be timely responses to requests by the Libyan authorities for assistance in tasks like restoring rule of law, strengthening institutions and civic processes, protecting human rights, and strengthening initial economic recovery.

Ban said that coordination of work -- the third principle -- is essential to successful recovery and reconstruction efforts.

"Our on-the-ground teams will work closely with the country's leadership to ensure that confusion and duplication of effort are kept to a minimum, and that time and financial resources are not wasted," the secretary-general said.

He related to the council the dire humanitarian situation that still exists in Libya, even as the rebel forces under the NTC have overrun Tripoli.

"According to our latest reports, an estimated 60 percent of Tripoli's population is without water and sanitation," said Ban. " UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) engineers are working to repair the pumping stations that conduct water from the Great Manmade River to the capital and other areas, but we do not know how long it will take to restore service. Clearly, ongoing security concerns make the situation precarious at best."

Ban added that there have been some positive developments on the humanitarian front as well. The reopening of Tripoli's seaport has allowed international humanitarian workers as well as aid and supplies into the country. Hospitals are beginning to reopen.

Speaking to reporters after the Security Council held closed consultations on Libya, Martin said that the outlook appeared good for the secretary-general's plan.

"There was a very strong endorsement in the council of the approach that was reflected in the secretary-general's statement that we are taking to plan the support of the United Nations to Libya as the conflict comes to an end," said Martin.

Martin explained that after attending the Sept.1 meeting of the International Conference for Support of Libya, Ban will be able to present "his initial proposals for an advanced UN integrated mission to Libya" to the Security Council.

"What is very clear is a strong wish in the council but also on the part of the NTC, that the UN should play the key role in supporting overall international assistance to Libya in the phase ahead," said Martin.

United Nations Set to Intervene in Libya Amid Imperialist Occupation

UN to Lead Initial Post-Gadhafi Phase in Libya

Margaret Besheer
United Nations

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that there is broad international consensus that the United Nations should lead the post-Gadhafi phase in Libya. Mr. Ban told the U.N. Security Council that the National Transitional Council, or NTC, appears to be largely in control of the capital, Tripoli, and that he believes a “quick conclusion” to the conflict is in sight.

Mr. Ban told the 15-member council that he has spoken several times during the past week with the Chairman of the NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil. He said they discussed the U.N.’s role in Libya during the coming months in areas such as election assistance, justice, security enforcement and humanitarian assistance.

The secretary-general said the Libyan people are looking to the international community for help and that the National Transitional Council will outline its specific needs in the coming days.

Mr. Ban noted that the heads of regional organizations, including the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League, also support the United Nations leading post-conflict efforts.

“My aim is to get U.N. personnel on the ground absolutely as quickly as possible, under a robust Security Council mandate,” he said.

Mr. Ban's special advisor on post-conflict planning, Ian Martin, told reporters after the council’s meeting that U.N. assistance would not be in the form of peacekeepers deployed to the country, but that the NTC might consider U.N. assistance in training Libya's future police force.

“In our discussions with the NTC, it is very clear that the Libyans want to avoid any military deployment by the U.N. or others. They are very seriously interested in assistance with policing to get the public security situation under control and gradually develop a democratically accountable public security force,” Marten said.

Also Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee on Libya approved the release of a little more than a billion dollars in frozen Libyan assets from British banks.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said the money would go to help address urgent humanitarian needs, pay the salaries of key public sector employees and free up cash in the Libyan economy. Those funds are in addition to the $1.5 billion held in U.S. banks that the committee unfroze last Thursday.

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African Union Under Pressure From Imperialists to Recognize Counter-revolutionary Rebels in Libya

August 30, 2011

AU Rejects Charge of Failing to End Libya Conflict

Peter Clottey

The African Union (AU) is rejecting criticism that it has failed to help bring an end to Libya’s civil war. Critics say behind the alleged failure are divisions among heads of states and their personal relationships with deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

AU spokesman El-Ghassim Wane said the continental body has been actively involved in finding a solution to the conflict.

Last week, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council met to find solutions.

“The key element of the decision that was taken,” said Wane, “is to encourage the Libyan stakeholders to establish a broad-based and inclusive government which, once established, will occupy the seat of Libya at the African Union. Our focus is to promote stability [and] democracy, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to help them achieve their goals.”

Failure Charged

Critics say the continental body is sidelined and has remained largely infective in finding solutions to the conflict between Gadhafi loyalists and the rebels.

They contend the AU only called for dialogue at the beginning of the crisis despite the use of violence by Gadhafi loyalists, which critics say undermined the regime’s legitimacy.

Critics also said the continental body remained quiet while a UN resolution allowed NATO to use any means necessary to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone against Gadhafi’s air force.

Wane rejected the accusations as unfortunate.

“From the onset of the crisis, we condemned the violence directed at the civilian population. We called for respect for human rights and to ensure that the aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy…and human rights are upheld,” said Wane. “It was on that basis that the AU established a committee to follow up on the roadmap that was agreed upon.”

He also said the AU will continue to promote reconciliation in Libya and to help the country build institutions that will serve as a foundation for democracy and the rule of law.

Recognizing Rebels

The African Union has yet to officially recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate Libyan government, despite several member states doing so.

The AU has called for an inclusive transitional government and for a constitutional and legislative framework for the democratic transformation that will lead to elections in Libya.

Wane said the AU is committed to ensuring peace.

“We made very sustained efforts, and we made them based on some fundamental principles,” said Wane. “The first one being of course is the need to ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the people are fulfilled…[and] in a peaceful manner.”

He also acknowledged that events beyond the AU’s control have thwarted the group’s objectives.

“We also made very sustained efforts to find a political solution, because we believe [that] is the best way of ensuring the long term stability of Libya.”

Africans in Libya Fear For Their Lives Amid NATO, Rebel Terror

Africans in Libya fear for lives

Telegraph, UK

African nationals living in Libya say they are being persecuted by anti-Muammar Gaddafi forces hunting mercenaries.

The ousted Libyan leader employed nationals from different Africans nations as part of a special protection force.

Scores of black men were arrested during the battle for the Col Gaddafi stronghold of Abu Salim in Tripoli.

At least 20 black men were found dead outside Col Gaddafi's compound after his forces were pushed out of the premises when Libyan rebels captured Tripoli.

Their hands were tied behind their backs and some of them had been shot in the head.

While some migrants were said to be stranded near a seaside resort, according to media reports, others had fled the city.

On the road south out of Tripoli, about 200 people are hiding in a small encampment made of two small outbuildings shielded by a small wall and a metal door.

Most of them come from Nigeria, some are Ghanaian.

Some of them fled three months ago after the companies they worked for left the country, evacuated their own nationals and drove the rest away from the fighting without any means of returning home.

First it was the fighting that drove them out, now its the fear of being picked up and beaten up.

NATO Escalates War Crimes in Libya

NATO Escalates War Crimes in Libya

Thousands reported dead as fighting continues for control over oil-rich North African state

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

While the United States and the other NATO countries express their satisfaction over the destruction they are engineering against the North African state of Libya, thousands of people have been reported killed in the assault on Tripoli and other parts of the country since August 20. Rebel units operating under the banner of the Transitional National Council (TNC or NTC) after being transported into the capital of Tripoli are engaging in widespread abuse that includes looting, the destruction of public property and the killing of government loyalists and civilians.

On August 23 the Bab al-Aziziyah compound that was formerly inhabited by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family was bombed again by the NATO forces. After severe damage was done to the massive structure and its surroundings, the TNC rebels entered the area where they were filmed by international media outlets breaking up and destroying everything in sight and later carting away ornaments, consumer goods, furniture and art work.

Although this orgy of destruction and theft was portrayed in the West as symbolic of the fall of the Libyan government, this compound had been bombed repeatedly by the U.S. and NATO warplanes for months. It was the scene of numerous assassination attempts against Muammar Gaddafi and other government officials earlier on in the war which has been characterized by large-scale air strikes since March 19.

These acts of criminality have been carried out jointly between the NATO fighter jets, special forces and intelligence units from the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Qatar as well as the western-backed rebels. Government personnel and other citizens and residents of Tripoli are being targeted by the rebels and their imperialist financiers and coordinators.

Humanitarian Crisis Spreads Throughout Libya

Since March 19 the U.S. and NATO forces have executed approximately 20,000 sorties over the country that resulted in at least 7,500 air strikes. As a result of this massive bombing that has been accompanied by sabotage, theft and murder by the rebels beginning on February 17, the humanitarian situation in Libya and its neighbors has reached critical proportions.

The country’s oil industry, factories, water supply systems, food storage facilities, communication installations and hospitals were targeted during the ongoing war that has lasted for over six months. As a result the country has suffered growing shortages of medicines, food, technical supplies and potable water.

In an article published on the Middle East North Africa Financial Network website, the impact of the bombing and the marauding attacks by the rebels led by the special forces and intelligence operatives from the NATO countries, has created the worst social conditions in Libya since the Al-Fatah revolution led by Gaddafi in 1969. This website quoted Ali Hamed, who is described as a supporter of the attacks against the government, still revealed that in Tripoli “For nearly four days, we have no water, no electricity, no petrol…. We worry especially about the water.” (, August 29)

The article goes on to admit that “The few open stores here have mostly bare shelves. People stand in line for bread, pay greatly inflated prices for black-market fuel and scrounge for water to drink or bathe. They still hear daily bursts of gunfire.”

In addition, “Throughout Tripoli, gas stations are closed. Piles of trash are being cleared in some areas…. At a supermarket in the capital’s upscale Hay al-Andalus section, empty produce boxes are piled outside as men and women search inside for food; a small pan of ground beef is the only meat in the butcher section.”

Many residents within the capital fear that the city could be completely without water in a few days. Many neighborhoods in and around Tripoli are already bereft of water and electricity and the rise of sickness and deaths are reaching critical proportions.

Illustrating the incompetence of the rebel forces that have moved into the capital by the NATO, the Guardian of Britain quoted a TNC official as saying that “We don’t know the electricity problem, we don’t know the water problem, we don’t know the communication problem. In the next few days we will have answers.” (Guardian, UK, August 27)

Meanwhile one of the most gruesome scenes resulting from the NATO bombing and the TNC rebel onslaught against the capital of Tripoli was the discovering of hundreds of bodies at the Abu Salim hospital in the south of the city. The hospital was attacked by the invading opposition forces leaving people to die amid the lack of medical assistance and the overall horrendous conditions.

Even the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the government-owned world news service, reported on the mass deaths discovered at Abu Salim hospital. The British government played a major role in the bombing of Tripoli and surrounding areas over the last several weeks where hundreds have been killed and made homeless.

The BBC report stated that “More than 200 decomposing bodies have been found abandoned at a hospital in a district of the Libyan capital Tripoli that has seen fierce fighting. A BBC correspondent found corpses of men, women and children on beds and in the corridors Abu Salim’s hospital.” (BBC, August 26)

This same article continues noting that “Our correspondent says the stench was appalling. People were trying to clean up some of the mess and return the hospital to normality, but that was an impossible task because of the sheer number of bodies, he adds.”

Other reports of massacres are surfacing throughout the country. The TNC forces and NATO are trying to blame the supporters of the Libyan government under Gaddafi of committing atrocities yet these claims remain largely unsubstantiated.

However, what is clear is the central role of the U.S. and NATO in the destruction of the state of Libya. A country which enjoyed the highest standard of living in Africa had achieved tremendous gains in the technical and scientific fields over the last four decades. Today the country has been tremendously setback through western-imposed sanctions, a naval blockade, blanket bombings and media vilifications.

Fighting Continues for Control of the Country

Although the TNC rebels and their NATO backers have been proclaiming victory over the government and people of Libya since August 21, fighting still rages on throughout the country. In Tripoli, the security situation remains unsettled as loyalist forces remain in defensive postures against the rebel units.

The rebels are facing formidable resistance in their efforts to advance on the city of Sirte, which is the home of Muammar Gaddafi. The TNC officials said that they were forced to retreat from positions near Sirte amid a barrage of rockets fired by the Libyan military operating in the region.

Even the BBC admitted that the TNC chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and other leaders of the rebel formation, are remaining in the east of the country due to continued resistance by loyalist forces in Tripoli and the west of the country. This situation is unlikely to change for some time to come.

According to the Telegraph in London in regard to the situation around Sirte, “Guerrilla fighters from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya have been advancing towards the city in recent days, but have so far got only as far as the edge of Bin Jawad, a town around 100 miles away. Fawzi Bukatif, a rebel commander, said attempts to persuade the Sirte loyalists to surrender had so far been fruitless. ‘We are waiting for people in Sirte to come out and talk but we’ve got no answer up to now.’” (Telegraph, UK, August 29)

In addition to the resistance against the NATO and TNC rebel forces in Tripoli and Sirte, the western-backed rebels are still unable to reopen the main highway between Tripoli and neighboring Tunisia, which is an essential supply route for oil and food. Although it has been announced that the border-crossing post at Ras el-Jedir is under TNC control, the loyalist forces are heavily shelling the road at Zawara some 35 miles east of the frontier.

The rebels have again called upon the NATO fighter jets to intensify their bombing operations over Sirte in order for them to advance toward the city. From inside Sirte, there have reports of missiles launched at rebel positions as far away as Misrata.

Inside Misrata itself there have been demonstrations against the TNC rebels for their appointment of a former Libyan governmental official who defected from Gaddafi as the security administrator for the port city which has been the scene of heavy fighting over the last several months. The TNC is by no means a cohesive alliance and without the backing of the U.S. and NATO, their poorly-trained units would have been defeated by late March.

Further evidence of the total reliance upon NATO by the TNC rebels was revealed when their chairman Abdel Jalil was quoted on August 29 from Qatar as saying that “Even after the fighting ends, we still need logistical and military support from NATO. Backing up this line of thinking, U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the NATO joint operations command, told a news conference in Doha that “We believe the Gaddafi regime is near collapse, and we’re committed to seeing the operation through to its conclusion.” (Financial Times, August 29)

As the fighting continues inside of Libya, the United Nations has drawn up plans to intervene with a so-called peacekeeping force in North Africa. A leaked document entitled “United Nations Post-Conflict Deployment to Libya” says that “The priorities of the mission will be to assist the transitional authorities in their efforts to manage a peaceful, orderly and democratic transition process to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people.” (UN Document on Libyan Intervention)

African Union Refuses to Recognize Rebels

Despite the enormous pressure coming from the United States and NATO countries, the 54-member African Union has refused to recognize the rebel TNC forces as the legitimate rulers of Libya. In a meeting held recently at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the continental organization, which was headed by Muammar Gaddafi in 2009, is still demanding that a government of national unity by established in Libya that would include loyalists from the Gaddafi government.

The African Union since March 11 has called for a ceasefire, the removal of foreign forces from the country, a halt to the bombing by the U.S. and NATO and the holding of internationally supervised elections. The rebels have not been elected by anyone inside of Libya and therefore their presence in the capital is not considered legitimate by the AU.

In a August 26 statement from the AU it says that “the Peace and Security Council calls for the formation of an inclusive transitional government, the establishment of a constitutional and legislative framework for the democratic transformation of Libya as well as for support toward the organization of elections and a national reconciliation process.” Yet the U.S.-NATO military alliance and the rebels have rejected all overtures by the AU to intervene in the Libya crisis.

In Zimbabwe the government has ordered the expulsion of an envoy who says that he represents the TNC in Harare. An interview with the National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda he stated that “Certain things have happened. There are threats of divisions within the African Union over events in Libya where people are fighting to further their own interests.” (Bulaway 24 News, August 29)

Lieutenant-General Sibanda also said that “It is such events that show the weakness of organizations like the AU when they fail to deal with rebels with one voice and with a common goal as a continent. The country is secure only as far as we make it, but if we decide to invite foreigners then we will have challenges.”

Cynthia McKinney National Tour Demonstrates Widespread Opposition to Libya War

Former U.S. Congressperson and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney wrapped up a 21-city tour in Denver on August 28. She spoke in Detroit on August 27 to over 200 people at the University of Michigan Center located in the heart of the city.

McKinney’s tour drew hundreds of activists in each location throughout the country. At the Detroit meeting, solidarity statements were made by Mark Fancher of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Fred Vitale of the Detroit and Michigan Green Party, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, which organized the meeting, as well as Workers World Party.

The event also featured the youth band Siaire Reign and Black Reign who opened the program with revolutionary songs of resistance and struggle. Former Congressperson McKinney, who visited Libya in June, reported on the bombing of civilian areas inside the country and the need for people in the U.S. to oppose the imperialist war drive that is spreading throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Nigerian Government Arrests Suspects Over Bomb Blast at United Nations House

Govt arrests suspects over bomb blast at UN House

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 00:00
From Alabi Williams (Lagos), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt), Oghogho Obayuwana, John-Abba Ogbodo, Collins Olayinka, Nkechi Onyedika and Lillian Chukwu (Abuja)

THE Federal Government has announced the arrest of some suspects in connection with last Friday’s bombing of the United Nations (UN) House in Abuja.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said President Goodluck Jonathan would give details of the arrest and other security measures put in place by the government at the appropriate time.

At a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, Ringim said the government had stepped up security in all the accredited diplomatic missions in Nigeria.

Ringim said the decision was taken at an emergency security meeting, adding that government would henceforth ensure that an upgraded security cover is given beyond the physical structures of the missions, such as the provision for the personal safety of all envoys.

He spoke as the UN appealed to families protesting their exclusion from arrangements for the evacuation of their injured relations in the bomb blast to South Africa to remain calm.

The global body said its determination to save the lives of the victims informed the sudden trip on Sunday.

It said further arrangements were concluded yesterday to fly more victims abroad, adding that the UN is planning to take one or two family members to stay with the wounded in the South African hospital.

Last Friday, a suspected suicide bomber in a car crashed into the UN House in Abuja, killing several Nigerians and other nationals, who worked with some UN agencies.

The new security move is part of efforts to ensure that relations between Nigeria and other nations do not suffer on account of the blast.

Craving the understanding of the international community of the new dimensions of terrorism, Ashiru, who was flanked by Ringim and the ministers of state, Prof. Viola Onwuliri and Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, said “everything is being done to make Abuja as safe as possible.

Security has now been stepped up not just for the general good of all but especially for your persons, mission buildings and facilities.

“International terrorism has taken a new dimension. We believe that concerted efforts have to be made by everyone of us in confronting and defeating the evil. This is not just limited to Nigeria. What is needed now is sensible action and collective responsibility.

We are providing that here and will be counting on the global community’s support.”

Acknowledging that mails from the diplomatic community had been pouring into his office requesting for security guarantees and coverage, Ringim said: “Whatever the requests are, I have been mandated to look into them and provide whatever is within our resources and means. I want to assure you that Nigeria’s security agencies have been charged to leave no stone unturned to making your jobs go smoothly.”

Disclosing that some arrests had been made over the bomb blast, the police chief said: “I want to also let you know that security agents have made some arrests. Mr. President will make a pronouncement on that at the appropriate time.

But you will have all necessary security that you require. Of course, the government, security agencies and the intelligence circle are concerned about what has happened. We have discussed and reached a strategy on how we can provide further security. We are serving not just only Nigerians in this but also collaborating with agencies in the entire West African sub-region.

In this regard, we will go round from mission to mission to further discuss with you and know all that you require in terms of security. We will meet your needs in order that you may feel more secure in Nigeria and relations do not suffer in this regard.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli and French governments have assured Nigeria of support in these trying times.

A statement by the Israeli government yesterday through the Israeli embassy, noted among others that “Israel severely condemns the car bomb attack which targeted the UN compound in the Nigerian capital.”

Also, France in a statement by its Minister Foreign and European Affairs Alain Juppe, described the incident as an “attack on humanity.”

It said France condemns “this heinous and cowardly act. In these tragic circumstances, France reaffirms its solidarity with the UN agencies, its personnel, and with respect to their efforts on behalf of the Nigerian people.”

In a reaction to the grievances expressed by the victims’ families on the South African trip, some UN officials told The Guardian yesterday in Abuja that with the arrival of the ambulance to take the injured to Johannesburg and the critical conditions they were, it was necessary that certain protocols be set aside in the efforts to give them better treatment abroad.

Although, the death toll is expected to be higher, 23 persons have so far been confirmed killed in the blast by the Federal Government and the UN.

Last Sunday, the UN medical team took four of the critically injured from the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital, Abuja to the Mil Waker Trauma Centre, South Africa for further treatment.

But yesterday, one of the victims’ family, said “a worrisome dimension” was introduced by the UN at the point of departure of the wounded to South Africa.

A worried man, who described himself as the next of kin to one of the victims, told The Guardian that they were summoned to a meeting by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro at the Transcorp Hilton at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday while their wards were being prepared for the South African journey.

He said when they returned to the National Hospital, they were told that their wards had been airlifted without any approval from their relations.

“It really looks fishy, adequate approval should have been obtained from us because we don’t have full details of where they were taken to in South Africa.

“At least, a family member should have been made to accompany them (victims) on the trip. Yes. We agree they should be evacuated for better medical care but we should have been there at the point of departure,” the source said.

The Guardian learnt that after Migiro arrived in Nigeria, spirited efforts were made to transfer some of the victims from the National Hospital to Johannesburg, which the families accepted.

The Country Director of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. David Okello, said: “I have received several relatives coming to basically say they were not consulted when evacuation of the victims was being made.

I understand their concern but we are dealing with a very delicate situation here. We have a team of experts that have come, some from New York and are working with national doctors.

“We want to reassure the families that this evacuation is to save lives. I want you to understand and remain calm. Yes, they would have been there at the point of departure but some of the relatives were not in the hospital, and a quick decision had to be made as the air ambulance was waiting.

I am sorry if there are issues about the notification at the point of departure. The time of having to wait was not there. We lost too many lives and we are not ready to lose even one more. I know four people have already arrived in South Africa now but under critical conditions.

“There are a few others (victims) going this morning (yesterday). Relatives should appreciate that the evacuation is a decision to allow the injured to come off the trauma alive.

The UN is discussing the idea of one or two close relatives of each victim to accompany the patient. I think all these can be arranged without any drama.

“They have evaluated all the injured of the blast and a decision was made to try and save lives. Those who are critically injured with blasts in sensitive parts of the organ have to be evacuated as a matter of urgency. So the evacuation is to try and save the lives of the injured and we have to understand that this is a medical decision taken by those who are taking care of these patients to save their lives under intensive care and facilities in South Africa,” he said.

Okello added that prompt departure was key to saving “these precious lives and this is the utmost priority of the international bodies.”

He said that the WHO medical officials would continue their relentless service in Nigeria and “people should understand that we are traumatized now but we will see how we will re-programme ourselves. We need an office space and we are in contact with government on this.”

Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the suicide bomb attack on the UN office, describing the “mindless violence as counter-productive to peace and progress.”

Atiku in a statement yesterday, noted that indiscriminate violence against the innocent could not solve any problem in any society, stressing that there is no alternative to dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

He said as an international institution committed to peace and the well-being of humanity, the UN officials should be protected at all times rather than being attacked for whatever reason.

And worried by the Federal Government’s apparently inability to curb well-orchestrated acts of lawlessness and other threats to national security, some eminent Nigerians under the platform of Project Nigeria, have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly convoke a conference where the future of the country would be addressed.

The group made up of seasoned bureaucrats, human rights activists and professional associations made the plea after a meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the weekend.

In a statement issued at the end of the parley, which was signed by Chief Audu Ogbeh, a leader of the Action Congress of

Nigeria (ACN) and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the body wants the President and the National Assembly to work out the modality to enable a revisit of the Nigerian federation.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has also condemned the blast at the UN office describing it as unfortunate and unacceptable.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, ABPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said that the growing incidence of insecurity in the country had become unacceptable and urged the government to protect Nigerians and their property.

Similarly, the NBA has charged the government to prioritise the deployment of intelligence gathering as a means of curbing the spate of bombings in the country.

Its National President, Joseph Daudu, made the plea yesterday in Abuja at the public presentation of Project Swift Count, the final report of the April general elections.

He argued that the use of road-blocks to check for bombs in cars had proved to be a futile strategy, which he claimed had added to the hardship faced by the people.

Author of this article: From Alabi Williams (Lagos), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt), Oghogho Obayuwana, John-Abba Ogbodo, Collins Olayinka, Nkechi Onyedika and Lillian Chukwu (Abuja)

Welcome to Libya's 'Democracy,' Courtesy of NATO

Welcome to Libya’s ‘democracy’, courtesy of NATO

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 02:00
Zimbabwe Herald
Pepe Escobar

The Big Gaddafi has barely left the building - the Bab-al-Aziziyah compound - and the Western vultures are already circling overhead; the scramble is on to seize the "big prize" - Libya's oil and gas wealth.

Libya is as much a pawn in a serious ideological, geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic chessboard as a pedestrian morality play sold as a TV reality show; idealistic "rebels" win against Public Enemy Number One.

Once the public enemy was Saddam Hussein, then it was Osama bin Laden, today is Muammar Gaddafi, tomorrow is President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, one day it will be Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The enemy is never the ultra reactionary House of Saud.

How NATO won the war

The spectacular reappearing act of Gaddafi's son Saif al-Gaddafi notwithstanding, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has virtually won the Libyan invasion, not civil war please! (or "kinetic military activity", according to the White House). The masses of "Libyan people" were spectators at best, or bit part actors in the form of a few thousand ‘rebels" carrying Kalashnikovs.

The top billing was R2P ("responsibility to protect"). From the beginning R2P, manned by France and Britain and backed by the US, magically turned into regime change. That led to the unsung stars in this production being Western and monarchical Arab "advisers", as in "contractors" or "mercenaries."

NATO started winning the war by launching Operation Siren at Iftar - the break of the Ramadan fast - last Saturday evening, Libya time. ‘Siren' was the codename for an invasion of Tripoli. That was NATO's final - and desperate - power play, after the chaotic "rebels" had gone nowhere after five months of fighting Gaddafi's forces.

Until then, NATO's plan A was to try to kill Gaddafi. What R2P cheerleaders - left and right - had dubbed "steady NATO attrition' boiled down to praying for three outcomes; Gaddafi killed, Gaddafi surrenders, Gaddafi flees.

Not that any of this prevented NATO bombs from falling on private homes, universities, hospitals or even close to the Foreign Ministry. Everything - and everyone - was a target.

"Siren" featured a colorful casting of "NATO rebels", Islamist fanatics, gullible embedded journalists, TV-friendly mobs, and Cyrenaica youth manipulated by opportunist Gaddafi regime defectors eyeing fat cheques by oil giants Total and BP.

With "Siren", NATO came out all guns (literally) blazing; Apache gunships firing nonstop and jets bombing everything in sight. NATO supervised the landing of hundreds of troops from Misrata on the coast east of Tripoli while a NATO warship distributed heavy weapons.

On Sunday alone there may have been 1 300 civilian deaths in Tripoli, and at least 5 000 wounded. The Ministry of Health announced that hospitals were overflowing. Anyone who by that time believed relentless NATO bombing had anything to do with R2P and United Nations Resolution 1973 was living in an intensive care unit.

NATO preceded "Siren" with massive bombing of Zawiya - the key oil-refining city 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. That cut off Tripoli's fuel supply lines.

According to NATO itself, at least half of Libya's armed forces were "degraded" - Pentagon/NATO speak for killed or seriously wounded. That means tens of thousands of dead people.

That also explains the mysterious disappearance of the 65 000 soldiers in charge of defending Tripoli. And it largely explains why the Gaddafi regime, in power for 42 years, then crumbled in roughly 24 hours.

NATO's Siren call - after 20 000 sorties, and more than 7 500 strikes against ground targets - was only made possible by a crucial decision by the Barack Obama administration in early July, enabling, as reported by The Washington Post, "the sharing of more sensitive materials with NATO, including imagery and signals intercepts that could be provided to British and French special operations troops on the ground in addition to pilots in the air."

That is, without the Pentagon's unmatched firepower know-how, satellites and drones, NATO would still be engaged in Operation Quagmire Forever - and the Obama administration would not be able to milk a major victory in this "kinetic" drama.

Who are these people?

Who are these people who suddenly erupted in joy on US and European television screens?

After the smiles to the cameras and the Kalashnikovs shooting the skies, get ready for some major fratricidal fireworks.

Ethnic and tribal trouble is bound to explode.
Many of the Berbers from the Western mountains, who entered Tripoli from the south this past weekend, are hardcore Salafis. Same with the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi nebula from Cyrenaica, which has been instructed by US Central Intelligence Agency boots on the ground.

As much as these fundamentalists "used" the Europeans and the Americans to get close to power, they may become a nasty guerrilla force if they are marginalized by the new NATO masters.

A large Benghazi-based "revolution" sold to the West as a popular movement was always a myth. Only two months ago the armed "revolutionaries" barely numbered 1 000. NATO's solution was to build a mercenary army - including all sorts of unsavory types, from former Colombian death squad members to recruiters from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who pinched scores of unemployed Tunisians and tribals disgruntled with Tripoli.

All these on top of the CIA mercenary squad - Salafis in Benghazi and Derna --and the House of Saud squad - the Muslim Brotherhood gang.

It's hard not to be reminded of the UCK drug gang in Kosovo - the war NATO "won" in the Balkans. Or of the Pakistanis and Saudis, with US backing, arming the "freedom fighters" of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Then there's the dodgy, Benghazi-based, Transitional National Council's cast of characters.

The leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, Gaddafi's justice minister from 2007 until his resignation on February 26, studied sharia and civil law at the University of Libya. That might entitle him to cross rhetorical swords with the Islamic fundamentalists in Benghazi, al-Baida and Delna - but he could use his knowledge to press their interests in a new power-sharing arrangement.

As for Mahmoud Jibril, the chairman of the council's executive board, he studied at Cairo University and then the University of Pittsburgh. He's the key Qatari connection - having been involved in asset management for Sheikha Mozah, the ultra high-profile wife of the emir of Qatar.

There's also the son of the last monarch of Libya, King Idris, deposed by Gaddafi 42 years ago (with no bloodshed); the House of Saud would love a new monarchy in northern Africa.

And the son of Omar Mukhtar, the hero of the resistance against Italian colonialism - a more secular figure.

The new Iraq?

Yet to believe that NATO would win the war and let the "rebels" control power is a joke. Reuters has already reported that a "bridging force" of around 1 000 soldiers from Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan will arrive in Tripoli to act as police. And the Pentagon is already spinning that the US military will be on the ground to "help to secure the weapons." A nice touch that already implies who's going to be really in charge; the "humanitarian" neo-colonialists plus their Arab minions.

Abdel Fatah Younis, the "rebel" commander killed by the rebels themselves, was a French intelligence asset. He was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood faction - just when the Great Arab Liberator Sarkozy was trying to negotiate an endgame with Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's London School of Economics son now back from the dead.

So the big winners in the end are London, Washington, the House of Saud and the Qataris (they sent jets and "advisers," they are already handling the oil sales). With a special mention for the compound Pentagon/NATO - considering that Africom will finally set up its first African base in the Mediterranean, and NATO is one step closer to declaring the Mediterranean "a NATO lake."

Islamism? Tribalism? These may be Libya's lesser ills compared to a new fantasyland open to neo-liberalism. There are few doubts the new Western masters won't try to revive a friendlier version of Iraq's nefarious, rapacious Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), turning Libya into a hardcore neo-liberal dream of 100 percent ownership of Libyan assets, total repatriation of profits, Western corporations with the same legal standing of local firms, foreign banks buying local banks and very low income and corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, the deep fracture between the center (Tripoli) and the periphery for the control of energy resources will fester. BP, Total, Exxon, all Western oil giants will be gratefully rewarded by the transitional council - to the detriment of Chinese, Russian and Indian companies. NATO troops on the ground will certainly help to keep the council on message.

Oil executives estimate it will take at least a year to get oil production back to pre-civil war levels of 1.6 million barrels per day, but say annual earnings from oil could reap Tripoli's new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels, 3% of the world's reserves and worth some $3.9 trillion at today's oil price.

Known gas reserves stand at some 5 trillion cubic feet.

Thus in the end R2P wins. Humanitarian imperialism wins. The Arab monarchies win. NATO as global Robocop wins. The Pentagon wins.

But even that is not enough for the usual imperial suspects - already calling for the deployment of a "stabilization force". And all this while lost-the-plot progressives in assorted latitudes continue to hail the Holy Alliance of Western neocolonialism, ultra-reactionary Arab monarchies and hardcore Salafis.

It ain't over till the fat Arab lady sings. Anyway, on to the next stop; Damascus.

--Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge.

His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

I Will Continue to Emulate My Husband, Says Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru

I will continue to emulate my husband: VP Mujuru

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 02:00
Herald Reporter

VICE President Joice Mujuru says she will continue emulating the works of her late husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru.
Speaking to a delegation from the United Methodist Church at her residence yesterday, VP Mujuru said she would not give up the good works that her late husband was doing.

"I always ask myself how I am going to do the things that my husband was doing.

"However, I believe God is going to show me the way.

"I told myself that a real soldier should not be found with a bullet at the back.

"If you are found with a bullet at the back it means that you were shot while running away.

"A real soldier should be found with a bullet in the front to show that you were fighting, that is what I have decided to do. Handisi kuzodonhedza mukombe kana kuti baton stick yanga iina VaMujuru.

"People have given testimonies about what kind of a person he was and I am going to emulate that," she said.

VP Mujuru said it was important for the church to visit people who would have lost their loved ones so that they would not feel lonely.

She said they were still waiting for the outcome of investigations into Gen Mujuru's death.

"Zvatakanzwa ndizvozvo. Nyaya iripo ndiyoyo, takangomirira kuti vana mazvikokota vafambe nenyaya iyi vagotitsetsenurira kuti zvingava zvakaitika ndezvipi nekuti pane dzimwe nguva unogona kumboti pamunhondo, pamusasa kana kutombowira mumvura, wozoti aah.

"What is important is that we remain united, like what we saw during the funeral," she said.

She said Rtd Gen Mujuru had a lot of friends from all corners of the world with some of them having visited to console her.

United Methodist Church Bishop, Eben Nhiwatiwa encouraged VP Mujuru to put her trust in the Lord.

He said God was the only one who could console her and provide her with the comfort that Gen Mujuru used to provide her.

"You should put your trust in the Lord in everything you do. God will never forsake you and he will guide you both at work and at church.

"We are indebted to you because you left this country to free the whole nation and not only your family. We don't want you to be stressed because you did a great job for the country," he said.

The delegation was led by Chief of Protocol in the President's Office, Ambassador Munyaradzi Kajese.

Meanwhile, police investigations into the death of Gen Mujuru have entered the second week amid reports that investigators are still reconciling evidence.

The investigating teams are yet to submit reports to the Police General Headquarters.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said: "There is nothing significant to talk of yet as reports are still being reconciled."

Gen Mujuru died in a fire at his Alamein Farm two weeks ago. He was declared a national hero and buried at the National Heroes Acre.