Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kenyan Navy's Newest Warship Intensifies Imperialist War on Somalia

Kenyan Navy’s newest warship takes the fight to Somalia

Written by Guy Martin
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 14:16

The KNS Jasiri is the largest vessel in the Kenyan Navy fleet and also the most recently delivered. Shortly after arriving in Kenya two months ago, it was involved in military operations in neighbouring Somalia, taking part in the battle for the coastal city of Kismayo.

The KNS Jasiri has a long and troubled history. She was ordered in July 2003 at a cost of Shs4.1 billion (USD$52 million) and was supposed to be delivered in August 2005, but never arrived due to a contractual dispute between Kenya and contractor Euromarine Industries (with Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Gondan as subcontractor). Euromarine sued the government of Kenya after payments were suspended in June 2005. The Kenyan government recalled its officers on July 18, 2005.

The 90% complete vessel was docked at the port of Ribadeo, Asturias province, Spain. In September 2006 Kenya sent a fact-finding team to Spain to investigate the KNS Jasiri. It concluded that the vessel just needed to be armed and complete sea testing and crew training before being ready for service. After years of negotiations this was eventually carried out and Kenyan sailors underwent nine months of training on the vessel prior to delivery. She was also fitted with weapons and electronic equipment before sailing for home.

After seven years of delays, the Kenyan Navy finally took delivery of the KNS Jasiri when it sailed into the port of Mombasa on 29 August. The vessel was officially welcomed by the Chief of the Kenyan Defence Forces General Julius Karangi, Kenyan Navy Commander Major General Ngewa Mukala, Kenya’s Defence Minister and the commanders of the Army and Air Force.

“This is a very unique event to welcome Jasiri and its crew who have sailed from Spain over the last few weeks. I thank the people of this country for modifying the Kenya Defence Force at great sacrifice. In return, those in uniform will live by their oath of office and defend this country. We are here because of the Kenyan people," Karangi said at the ship’s arrival.

“Jasiri has capabilities and capacities that we did not have. If there are some people out there thinking they can come to our waters and worry us, let them know that things can get very tough for them,” he said.

Shortly after her arrival in Kenya, the KNS Jasiri took part in the battle for the Somali port city of Kismayo, which was preceded by shelling from Kenyan Navy warships throughout September, with main strikes occurring on September 25. Three days later, Kenyan troops landed in Kismayo aboard five vessels, the KNS Nyayo, KNS Umoja, KNS Galana, KNS Shujaa and of course the KNS Jasiri, while ground troops surrounded the town. The vessels also transported vehicles, ammunition and guns. Hours after Kenyan forces entered Kismayo, al Shabaab militants announced on September 29 that they had abandoned the city, their last major bastion in the five-year fight against African Union and Somali government forces.

Kenya sent its troops into Somalia last October after the rebels were blamed for carrying out a series of raids on Kenyan soil targeting its security forces as well as western tourists. The rebel group, which counts foreign al Qaeda-trained fighters among its ranks, is seen as one of the biggest threats to stability in the Horn of Africa. However, in the face of military defeat, the insurgents, who once controlled swathes of the lawless Horn of Africa country, have turned to guerrilla tactics, harrying the weak Somali government with suicide bombings and assassinations.

Kenya has of late been strengthening its navy, particularly in light of increased Somali pirate activity off its coast and its fight against Somalia-based al Shabaab militia. In August last year the Kenyan navy officially took delivery of its KNS Nyayo and KNS Umoja patrol ships, which returned from a two and a half year refurbishment by Fincantieri in Italy.

The Nyayo class vessels are fast attack craft built in Britain by Vosper Thornycroft and delivered in 1988. They are 56.7 metres long, with a displacement of approximately 450 tonnes each and can reach a maximum speed of almost 40 knots and accommodate a crew of approximately 45.

In June last year the Kenyan Navy received the patrol boat La Rieuse (renamed KNS Harambee III), which was donated by France for anti-piracy and other security duties.

Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment notes that the Kenyan Navy is the best equipped force on the East African coast and benefits from regular training exercises and assistance from the United Kingdom, United States, French and South African navies.

Its primary objective is protecting Kenya’s 500 km long coastline, particularly against the rising threat of piracy from its northern neighbour Somalia. According to Kenya’s Daily Nation, the country loses Sh37 billion (US$414 million) every year as piracy affects trade, fisheries and tourism. The Kenyan Shippers Council has estimated that piracy pushes up prices of imported goods by 10%.

As Kenya needs to provide a secure passage for ships passing through its waters, it acquired two Shupavu class large patrol boats (the Shujaa and Shupavu) from Spain in 1997 to replace and supplement its older designs. They are armed with 76 and 30 mm guns and are sent to deal with armed threats, such as pirates. However, the 480 tonne vessels have had range, serviceability and sea handling issues that limit deep water operations.

The United States has made funding available for a series of coastal surveillance improvements, including new patrol boats and coastal radar. In 2006 the US government donated Archangel class and Defender class boats to Kenya in to help combat piracy and drugs and arms trafficking.

The KNS Jasiri has a displacement of 1 400 tonne, is 85 metres long, 13 metres wide and has a maximum speed of 28 knots (50 km/h). It can carry between 60 and 81 personnel. It functions as a survey vessel as well as offshore patrol vessel.

The CIA In Africa and Somalia: A Strategic Analysis

The CIA in Africa and Somalia: A Strategic Analysis

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 21:23
Somaliland Sun

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.

John Foster Dulles

Contextual Background

In the last decade, the United States Central Intelligence Agency has greatly expanded its core political and military operations in a number of African countries.

Today, the CIA has permanent missions in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, Rwanda and Mali. The CIA's missions are all focused on multiple objectives from combating Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists to capacity building for African military and security forces. Similarly, the Pentagon's sudden decision to create African Command or AFRICOM is another clear indication that the CIA has made a strategic, long-term organizational imperative to focus its attention on Africa.

Clearly, the CIA growing involvement is not simply just about "regime continuation" and "targeted hits" against America's enemies, but rather is actively involved in expanding its influence over Africa's political infrastructure and economic policies. For example, it is no coincidence that a number of African regimes such as Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, and Hassan Sheikh of Somalia are now actively managed by the CIA. The dictatorial regimes or "assets" are totally dependent on the agenda of the CIA in terms of their continued existence as well as the re-structuring of their economies in the face of domestic and geo-political uncertainties.

Yet, an important question that needs to be asked is: Who is the CIA really worried about and why the deep involvement? Without a doubt the growing presence of China and its military-industrial complex in Africa coupled with the global resurgence of an aggressive Russia under Vladimir Putin, India's interest in creating a "Greater Indian Ocean Economic Zone" have all been cited as underlying causes. Both Russia and China are building up their economic and political influence in Africa to offer an alternative to American hegemony. While there may not be a new Cold War between the West and China, it is also no secret that the Chinese will eventually create an exclusive "African Sphere of Influence" that will greatly limit Western interests. Already Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan have voluntary come under the Chinese umbrella. Interestingly, both the Mugabe and Al-Bashir regimes have avoided direct Western military intervention thanks to Chinese protection.

On the other hand, Western intelligence experts have dismissed Chinese and Russian threats as being prime motivators for the CIA's growing involvement. These experts like Thomas Friedman and Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times have argued the real reasons for the CIA's penetration of these weak and ill-governed African countries seems to be neutralizing Al-Qaeda inspired threats, securing potential hydrocarbon and other natural resources for Western firms, eliminating transnational criminal networks, and foster Western-oriented, market-based democracy. The CIA agenda in Islamic majority African countries like Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Libya and Tunisia does seem to be "diluting" the appeal of political Islam and securing natural resources. As well, the CIA has been successful in making sure that China and Russia have not blocked Western intervention which effectively toppled the regimes of Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.


In my view, the worrying trend of the CIA's growing presence in Africa, especially the case of Southern Somalia relates to new model of nation-building. Nation-building and economic development policies in Africa used to be lead exclusively by the US State Department, International Institutions based in Washington such as the World Bank and IMF and the United Nations in New York. Instead, as Somalia shows it is quite clear that the CIA and the Pentagon no longer trust these international institutions or diplomatic players to ensure that African countries will remain pro-West, profitable and not join the Russian, Chinese, and even Indian spheres of influence. Therefore, the CIA has dismissed the United Nations as ineffective and has built a parallel state building model where it controls the structure, personalities, and policies of emerging or weak African governments.

In fact, in the case of Somalia at the moment the CIA has completely taken over all of the country's operations from political establishment to security policy. The CIA has even silenced the unstable Kenyan and unstable Ethiopian regimes from getting involved its current re-structuring of Somalia. The Kenyans are now utterly hapless in Kismayo since the CIA who first sent them has apparently now opposed the creation of any "buffer zone".

However, the CIA is also constrained in Africa due to endemic corruption and weak institutions. In Somalia, it now faces the same peril that confounded the KGB in assisting the dictatorship of Siyad Barre. The KGB could not convince the clannish dictator Barre to reform or even re-structure the Somali national institution other than safeguarding a clannish dictatorship. While the CIA is better equipped and financed than the KGB to control the Hassan Sheikh faction, the CIA does not enjoy much flexibility to ensure its nation building policies will be implemented. The KGB failed to control Dictator Siyad Barre, who had the propensity to run to the CIA for help and vice versa in times of crisis. Hassan Sheikh does not have anyone to run to from the CIA!


As it stands, the CIA maintains comprehensive control over all surrogate regimes in Africa. Since the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union there is no possible rival power active in Africa that would risk offering alternative protection from CIA control to African countries. Chinese economic involvement is a growing influence but it does not have the flexibility or desire to confront American power everywhere. China is having a hard time protecting Omar Al-Bashir and Robert Mugabe, it would not allow itself to be over-stretched fighting American hegemony from South Africa to the Sahara Desert.

Moreover, the current state of affairs in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda serve as case studies of the CIA's new focus on re-structuring African regimes in the long-term. The effective use of Hassan Sheikh's government in Somalia in 2012 will be an interesting case study on whether the CIA is really an effective nation-builder.

That being said, the current re-orientation of the CIA in Africa greatly harkens back to the famous words of John Foster Dulles, former US Secretary of State in the 1950s. Foster Dulles, one of the key architects of the CIA's strategic policy in the Cold War stated that: "The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.". In his case, dictators and countries that were a problem for the CIA in one year such as Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, and Egypt were actively neutralized the following year.

Today. will the CIA have the same problem in Somalia that it had since 1960? In my view, the CIA has shown that it has a lot of work to do to safeguard its assets and risk management in the 21st century. Today, Somalia is the beginning of dealing with its long-term problems in Africa.

Iran Warships Leave Sudan After Four-Day Visit

Iran warships leave Sudan after four-day stay

10:19am EDT

PORT SUDAN (Reuters) - Two Iranian warships left Sudan on Wednesday after a visit that drew attention to the countries' military ties less than a week after Khartoum accused Israel of bombing a Sudanese arms factory.

Israel accuses the Muslim East African country of channeling weapons to the Gaza Strip, controlled by Iran's ally Hamas, via Egypt's Sinai desert - a charge Khartoum denies.

Last week, a fire at the Yarmouk munitions plant in the south of Khartoum killed four people, and Sudan said an Israeli air strike was behind the blast. Israel has not commented on the fire.

Two Iranian warships docked in Port Sudan several days after the blast, triggering speculation the events were related. Sudan denied this, saying the warships were on a "routine" visit.

The two ships - a helicopter carrier and a destroyer - departed on Wednesday after a four-day stay.

"Today was the last day and we came to bid them farewell," said Sudanese navy officer Omer Al-Farouq, standing on the dock near one of the ships, which was mounted with machineguns and guarded by Iranian troops.

Sudan's armed forces spokesman said the ships visited as part of the two countries' efforts to strengthen "diplomatic, political and security" ties.

Khartoum has blamed Israel for blasts in its territory in the past, but Israel has either refused to comment or said it neither admitted or denied involvement.

A car exploded in Port Sudan in May, killing one person. Sudan said the blast resembled an explosion last year it blamed on an Israeli air strike.

(Reporting by El-Tayeb Siddig and Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz, Editing by William Maclean)

2,700 Ugandan Troops Have Been Killed in Somalia

Ugandan death toll in Somalia is 2,700, Kenya's deputy foreign minister says at Somalia forum

Published October 31, 2012
Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya – The number of African Union troops killed while battling Somali militants has always been a tightly held secret, but a top Kenyan official says more than 2,700 troops have died there.

Richard Onyonka , Kenya's deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Wednesday at a forum on Somalia that Uganda has lost more than 2,700 troops since 2007. Onyonko said about three dozen Kenyan forces have died there over the last year.

Neither the African Union nor Uganda has ever confirmed its casualty figures, and several officials who work on Somalia said Onyonko's figure sounded high. Two officials told The Associated Press last month that about 500 Ugandan and Burundian troops have died in Somalia since 2007. A Ugandan spokesman did not answer calls for comment.

Read more:

Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy

Reprinted From Press TV
US Desk

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy - and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let's say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation.

Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation. When causation is direct, the word cause is unproblematic.

Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism.

In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal. And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation.

Global warming systemically caused the huge and ferocious Hurricane Sandy. And consequently, it systemically caused all the loss of life, material damage, and economic loss of Hurricane Sandy.

Global warming heated the water of the Gulf and Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in greatly increased energy and water vapor in the air above the water. When that happens, extremely energetic and wet storms occur more frequently and ferociously. These systemic effects of global warming came together to produce the ferocity and magnitude of Hurricane Sandy.

The precise details of Hurricane Sandy cannot be predicted in advance, any more than when, or whether, a smoker develops lung cancer, or sex without contraception yields an unwanted pregnancy, or a drunk driver has an accident. But systemic causation is nonetheless causal.

Semantics matters. Because the word cause is commonly taken to mean direct cause, climate scientists, trying to be precise, have too often shied away from attributing causation of a particular hurricane, drought, or fire to global warming.

Lacking a concept and language for systemic causation, climate scientists have made the dreadful communicative mistake of retreating to weasel words. Consider this quote from "Perception of climate change," by James Hansen, Makiko Sato, and Reto Ruedy, Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: … we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.

The crucial words here are high degree of confidence, anomalies, consequence, likelihood, absence, and exceedingly small.

Scientific weasel words! The power of the bald truth, namely causation, is lost.

This no small matter because the fate of the earth is at stake. The science is excellent. The scientists' ability to communicate is lacking. Without the words, the idea cannot even be expressed. And without an understanding of systemic causation, we cannot understand what is hitting us.

Global warming is real, and it is here. It is causing - yes, causing - death, destruction, and vast economic loss. And the causal effects are getting greater with time.

We cannot merely adapt to it. The costs are incalculable. What we are facing is huge. Each day, the amount of extra energy accumulating via the heating of the earth is the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Each day!

Because the earth itself is so huge, this energy is distributed over the earth in a way that is not immediately perceptible by our bodies - only a fraction of a degree each day. But the accumulation of total heat energy over the earth is increasing at an astronomical rate, even though the temperature numbers look small locally - 0.8 degrees Celsius so far.

If we hit 2.0 degrees Celsius, as we may before long, the earth - and the living things on it - will not recover. Because of ice melt, the level of the oceans will rise 45 feet, while huge storms, fires, and droughts get worse each year.

The international consensus is that by 2.0 degrees Celsius, all civilization would be threatened if not destroyed.

What would it take to reach a 2.0 degrees Celsius increase over the whole earth? Much less than you might think. Consider the amount of oil already drilled and stored by Exxon Mobil alone.

If that oil were burned, the temperature of the earth would pass 2.0 degree Celsius, and those horrific disasters would come to pass.

The value of Exxon Mobil - its stock price - resides in its major asset, its stored oil. Because the weather disasters arising from burning that oil would be so great that we would have to stop burning.

That's just Exxon Mobil's oil. The oil stored by all the oil companies everywhere would, if burned, destroy civilization many times over.

Another way to comprehend this, as Bill McKibben has observed, is that most of the oil stored all over the earth is worthless. The value of oil company stock, if Wall St. were rational, would drop precipitously.

Moreover, there is no point in drilling for more oil. Most of what we have already stored cannot be burned. More drilling is pointless.

Are Bill McKibben's and James Hansen's numbers right? We had better have the science community double-check the numbers, and fast.

Where do we start? With language. Add systemic causation to your vocabulary. Communicate the concept. Explain to others why global warming systemically caused the enormous energy and size of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the major droughts and fires.

Email your media whenever you see reporting on extreme weather that doesn't ask scientists if it was systemically caused by global warming.

Next, enact fee and dividend, originally proposed by Peter Barnes as Sky Trust and introduced as Senate legislation as the KLEAR Act by Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins.

More recently, legislation called fee and dividend has been proposed by James Hansen and introduced in the House by representatives John B, Larson and Bob Inglis.

Next. Do all we can to move to alternative energy worldwide as soon as possible.

Sudan Greets Iran Ships

Updated October 30, 2012, 5:21 p.m. ET.

Sudan, After Blast, Greets Iran Ships .

Wall Street Journal

KAMPALA, Uganda—Iranian naval commanders met Tuesday with their counterparts in Sudan to discuss joint training exercises, in the wake of explosions at a weapons factory that Sudan blamed on Israeli jets.

New before-and-after satellite images that have emerged following the blast, meanwhile, indicate an attack there could have targeted a large shipment of arms, the images' provider said.

The Iranian commanders were part of a delegation from two Iranian warships that docked at Port Sudan on Monday. The visit and the training exercise were planned, Sudanese officials said, and the ships departed from Iran in September. But the meetings take on a new significance after Sudan alleged that Israeli aircraft bombed a weapons factory in its capital, Khartoum, on Oct. 24.

The explosions rocked the Yarmouk Military Complex, killing at least two people. Sudan initially blamed the fire on an internal explosion. Soon after, however, it said Israel was suspected of hitting the plant with four fighter jets using high-tech jamming devices. Israel hasn't commented on the incident.

Israel views Sudan, a longtime ally of Iran, as a conduit for arms through Egypt to the militant group Hamas in Gaza Strip, according to several international and regional analysts. Iran, meanwhile, remains a major supplier of weapons to Sudan, according to Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based publication.

Rabie Abdelaty, the spokesman for Sudan's information ministry, denied Tuesday that Sudan has any connection to the militants in Egypt or Gaza, accusing Israel of spreading "false propaganda" against Sudan.

In the past three years, Sudan has accused Israel of carrying out several airstrikes inside its territory, the most recent one being in May, in which an alleged arms dealer was killed as he drove through Port Sudan.

New satellite images showed 40 shipping containers stacked at the Yarmouk compound in the days before the attack, according to the U.S.-based Satellite Sentinel Project, a partnership between the Enough Project, a human-rights organization, and DigitalGlobe, DGI +2.00%a provider of imagery products and services.

Afterward, images showed six large craters where the containers had been, the group said, adding that the site bore marks of a hit by air-delivered munitions. The group said it couldn't confirm that the containers had been on-site the night of the attack but that the satellite imagery is consistent with the presence of a "highly volatile cargo in the epicenter of the explosions."

Israeli intelligence believes that Yarmouk, one of two publicly known state-owned weapons factories in Khartoum, is the main source of missiles used by Hamas, according to security officials in Kenya and Uganda.

Gen. Sameh Seif Elyazal, a former Egyptian army general, said his understanding was that a strike was carried out against short-range missiles being assembled in the factory "under Iranian supervision," bound for Hamas as well as Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. The general told the Associated Press that his analysis was based on "private conversations with Israeli officials" conveyed to him through others. He didn't elaborate, the AP said.

On Monday, Sudan's Foreign Ministry denied that the bombed plant was being operated by Iran. The Sudanese government has said the Yarmouk plant produces "ordinary weapons."

The Iranian warships' visit will give Sudanese armed forces an opportunity to learn advanced naval warfare and air-defense technology in the wake of Israel's alleged attack, Sudanese spokesman Mr. Abdelaty said Tuesday. He declined to discuss details of the meetings between the Sudanese and Iranian naval officials.

"Sudan will confront the aggression started by Israel," Mr. Abdelaty said. Sudan has also called on the United Nations to condemn Israel over the attacks, he said.

The Iranian warships' arrival is within the framework of "friendly relations and goodwill of naval forces" and would support "strong political, security and diplomatic relations between the two states," Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad told Suna, Sudan's state news agency.

The ships arrived to "convey a message of peace and friendship" and "to provide safety at sea in light of increasing maritime terrorism," Iran's state-controlled news agency, IRNA, reported Monday. Iran has also deployed a navy fleet off the East African coast of Djibouti to fight piracy.

Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons with the intention of striking Israel's nuclear facilities. Iran, which remains on the receiving end of a U.S.-led international condemnation, denies the accusations.

Meanwhile, Iran's regular army began a two-day ground and air military exercise aimed at upgrading its combat readiness and increasing its deterrence against possible attacks, the AP reported.

Iranian state TV said the drills involve forces in a wide region in western Iran near the Iraqi border. It showed troops parachuting from helicopters near the towns of Sarpol-e Zahab and Qasr-e Shirin, about 700 kilometers west of Tehran.

Write to Nicholas Bariyo at

Sudan Government Denies Foreign Links to Bombed Arms Factory

Sudan says arms factory attacked by Israel not linked to foreign parties

Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:59AM GMT

Sudan's Foreign Ministry has slammed Tel Aviv for the recent attack on its weapons factory and rejected the Israeli-engineered rumors about a link between the arms manufacturing and a “foreign party.”

"Khartoum denies any link for Sudan's military manufacturing with any foreign party," Sudanese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Al-Obaid Ahmed Mirrawih said in a statement on Monday.

On October 24, Sudanese Minister of Information Ahmed Belal Osman said that four Israeli military planes had attacked the Yarmouk Complex in Khartoum earlier in the day, killing at least two people.

Mirrawih once again condemned Israel over the attack, saying that the Zionist regime is desperately trying to spread misleading information to justify its attack, including claims about links between the Yarmouk weapon factory and Iran, Syria, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

"Iran does not need weapons produced in Sudan, either for itself or for its allies," the Sudanese official added.

Sudan has called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Israeli regime for violating the African country’s sovereignty.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also rejected rumors about a link between Iran and the Yarmouk Complex.

Mehmanparast said Tel Aviv usually fabricates such excuses to cover up the crimes it commits.

Sudan's Arms Factory on Fire Again, Army Says

Sudan’s arms factory on fire again, army says

Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:23PM GMT

Fire has broken out again at the Sudanese arms factory that was recently targeted by an Israeli airstrike, Sudan’s army says.

"There is no new attack but the fire broke out again. It began in some places not tended by firemen before," Sudan’s official SUNA news agency quoted the Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad as saying.

Residents of the area also reported smoke over the Yarmouk military facility in the south of the capital Khartoum.

On October 24, Sudan's Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman said that four Israeli warplanes attacked the factory, killing at least two people.

Hundreds of Sudanese staged a demonstration in Khartoum on the same day to protest against the airstrike, chanting chanted slogans against the Israeli regime and the United States, such as "Death to Israel" and "Remove Israel from the map."

On October 26, Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said “The reckless behavior is a manifestation of Israel’s concerns and nervousness about the political and social upheavals in the region and about the progress in Sudan.”

He further pointed out that “Such aggressive acts by the Zionist entity could never force Khartoum to change its policies,” and reaffirmed the Sudanese nation’s determination to make “tough choice” in the face of challenges.

Sudan has also asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for violating the country’s sovereignty and bombing the factory, but the 15-member council has so far failed to take any actions.

The Tel Aviv regime has refused to comment on the incident. Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak has said that there is “nothing I can say about this subject.”

Syrian Air Force General Assassinated in Damascus

Syrian Air Force general assassinated in capital

Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:45PM GMT

A Syrian Air Forces general has been assassinated in the capital, Damascus, as clashes between government forces and insurgents continue.

General Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi was shot dead on Monday evening in the northern Damascus neighborhood of Rukn al-Din, Syria's state television reported without providing further details.

Local media has blamed terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government for the killing, adding that it was part of an insurgent campaign to target top figures and scientists.

Meanwhile, at least 25 insurgents were killed after members of two armed groups clashed in Aleppo suburb of Izaz on Tuesday over the distribution of goods they had stolen from locals.

There are also reports of clashes between government forces and foreign-backed insurgents in Hama, Dayr al-Zawr and Damascus suburbs. According to Syria's official news agency SANA, many insurgents were killed in Salah-Eddin and al-Khazan districts of Harasta in Damascus countryside.

Syrian troops also defused a number of explosive devices in Harasta.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the violence.

Supporters of Ex-Ivorian President Gbagbo Hold Demonstration at Hague

Supporters of ex-Ivorian President Gbagbo hold demo at Hague

Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:0AM GMT

Supporters of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo have gathered in front of a court building in the Netherlands, where Gbagbo’s procedural pre-trial hearing is taking place.

Hundreds of Gbagbo’s supporters camped in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Tuesday to protest against his detention.

The ICC prosecutors say Gbagbo committed crimes against humanity during the four-month civil war in Ivory Coast in 2010, which killed about 3,000 people and displaced around a million.

“Our president has been illegally detained, he has been taken in custody, and that is not fair, because he is the official winner of the election in Ivory Coast, so we don’t understand why he is still here and nobody seems to care about it,” said one of the supporters.

Dutch police officers were present at the demonstration to protect the court building.

However, Gbagbo did not attend the hearing and his lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, continued his line of defense.

“He cannot be taken responsible eternally for the things that are going wrong in Ivory Coast,” Altit said.

In September 2002, a civil war broke out in Ivory Coast after Ivorian northerners rebelled against Gbagbo’s government, which had barred their mentor Alassane Ouattara from running in the 2000 presidential election.

Ivory Coast, which is the world’s top cocoa producer, was also engulfed in chaos after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat in the November 2010 presidential election and hung onto power until being driven out by supporters of President Alassane Ouattara in April 2011.

South African President Zuma Rebukes Deputy Motlanthe

Zuma publicly rebukes Motlanthe

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday publicly rebuked his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe for talking down the country, as rumours of a leadership challenge mounted.Just hours after deputy president Motlanthe asserted that the ruling ANC is approaching a “tipping point” and admitted that South Africa was in a “rut,” Zuma bluntly told journalists that view was “not correct.”

“South Africa is not in a tipping point, I think that is totally misunderstanding where South Africa is.”

“I think that South Africa is on the move, moving forward. I think that it is not correct to look at the country from that point of view. It’s quite an unfortunate statement. We are not tipping.” The comments showed a stark divergence between South Africa’s top two politicians, amid a rash of industrial unrest and political tumult.

Addressing criticism that the ANC is out of touch and that Zuma’s government has mishandled deadly mining violence, Motlanthe told the Financial Times that change was needed for the party and the country.

“There is no doubt about it that we need renewal or we’re going south.” He added that a December ANC conference “will represent a tipping point depending on what happens.”

“The point is the ANC has to find a way of connecting with that generation. If we don’t, they will not see the ANC as their natural political home,” Motlanthe said.

“If the ANC is capable of renewing itself, then, of course, it would equal the challenges in terms of demands of leading all of South Africa out of this rut.”

Motlanthe stopped well short of announcing a campaign to replace Zuma, but his comments are unusually frank for a senior member of the ANC — which for decades has prided itself on party discipline.

Many will see his comments as an opening shot of a leadership battle that will come to a climax at an ANC electoral conference in December. At a similar meeting five years ago Zuma effectively ended the presidency of Thabo Mbeki by launching a leadership challenge. Motlanthe is backed by the ANC’s Youth League and by key provincial branches but it is not clear whether he has enough backing to mount a successful challenge.

— AFP.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Protesters Storm US-backed Libyan Parliament Building, Puppet Government Stalled Again

Protesters storm Libyan parliament building, delaying vote on new Cabinet

Published October 30, 2012
Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya's new prime minister on Tuesday put forward a Cabinet for parliamentary approval, but protesters stormed the building during the session, forcing a postponement of the vote on the new government.

Around 100 protesters, a mix of bearded civilians and self-proclaimed rebels, broke into the hall during a session in which Ali Zidan, the new prime minister, was telling the National General Congress that he tried to strike a geographic balance among different regions and cities.

The protesters faced little resistance as they entered, and a local TV station showed video of the break-in before it went off air. The protesters had various complaints about the nominated ministers, including that some had connections to the ousted longtime revolutionary leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Interim US puppet President Mohammed al-Megarif talked to the protesters, and they left the hall. Then they returned, forcing the parliament to postpone the vote on the new Cabinet until Wednesday.

"Let Libyans know the atmosphere in which we operate," al-Megarif said. "The least we can say about what happened is that it is pressure on the Congress members." He said criticism of the Cabinet was welcomed but appealed for a peaceful expression of opinion.

"The Congress represents legitimacy in this country," he said.

A year after the overthrow and death of Gadhafi at the aegis of US imperialism, Libyans are seeking a broader distribution of political power among the country's three main regions.

The new Cabinet faces the herculean task of reigning in a mushrooming number of armed groups, filled mostly with former rebel fighters who were backed by NATO in their defeat of the Gadhafi's forces during last year's eight-month counter-revolutionary war. The rebel government must also build state institutions such as the judiciary, police, military and others from scratch, and rebuild cities and towns demolished during the conflict.

Zidan, a former human rights lawyer chosen Oct. 14, is the second prime minister to be named by the 200-member parliament. Legislators dismissed his predecessor, Mustafa Abushaqur, after they said he had put forward unknown people for key Cabinet posts and proposed a government lacking diversity.

Zidan said he held talks with the country's political parties including the two biggest blocs in parliament, the Alliance of National Forces, led by liberal wartime Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, and the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Justice and Construction Party. Such talks are seen important to ensure that his 27-member Cabinet lineup passes the vote of confidence.

The proposed Cabinet gives the interior and defense portfolios to ministers from Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, and reserves at least two posts for ministers from the third largest city, Misrata. Two proposed ministers are women. The protesters named the proposed foreign minister and religious endowment ministers as linked to Gadhafi's government.

The new Cabinet will also have to deal with the displacement of tens of thousands of residents of the western town of Bani Walid. The town, a stronghold of Gadhafi's loyalists, was attacked with shelling and chemical weapons.

After rounding up a number of loyalists, pro-US militias withdrew from the town. Abdullah Boushnaf, named head of Bani Walid's city council, complained the government had no plan to fill the vacuum and said the situation was "disastrous."

"We don't understand what is happening. The government made promises and said that there are plans to bring back the displaced, but nothing has happened until now. Looters are taking over everything from public to private properties," he said.

The chaos mounted with recent remarks from outgoing Defense Minister Osama al-Gweili, who claimed on Monday that the forces that took over Bani Walid were not under the government control, calling them just "militias."

Al-Gweili is from the western mountain town of Zintan, which has close ties with Bani Walid and whose fighters opposed military action against the town.

Al-Gweili's remarks underscore the absence of a clear mechanism of decision making by Libya's mis-rulers.

Al-Megarif said earlier this month that the forces leading the offensive on Bani Walid had state backing, and his military chief of staff, Youssef al-Mangoush, said that he sent reinforcements. The contradictions show how tribal loyalties play major roles in decision making.

US-backed Militias Destroyed Bani Walid

October 30, 2012 9:37 pm

Libya army has ‘no control’ in Bani Walid

By Borzou Daragahi in Cairo
Financial Times

Libya’s outgoing defence minister admitted that the country’s official army had little role in the ongoing military stranglehold on the city of Bani Walid, a perceived bastion of support for the deposed regime of Col Muammer Gaddafi.

Osama al-Juweli described a continuing siege on the city despite the declared end of combat operations.

He alleged in comments on Tuesday that unspecified gunmen had established checkpoints on streets and city entrances and barred tens of thousands of displaced people from returning to Bani Walid. The city was subject to a weeks-long siege and destructive full-scale military assault vaguely described as an attempt to ferret out Gaddafi loyalists.

“The [army] chief of staff has no control over the town and therefore armed men are able to prevent families from coming back,” he told journalists in the capital, according to Agence France-Presse.

The statement constituted a startling admission of the government’s weakness in the face of well-armed, politically connected and mostly Islamist militias.

It also flatly contradicted public statements by other top officials, including Chief of Staff Gen Yousef Mangoush who last week insisted that the official army was in charge of Bani Walid, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Premier-designate Ali Zidane proposed a 32-member Cabinet on Tuesday, excluding Mr Juweli. Its approval was delayed after protesters stormed the national assembly on Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of a vote on a coalition government.

Mr Juweli, who has been relatively silent over the Bani Walid operation, hails from the mountaintop town of Zintan, which has strong historical ties to Bani Walid, heartland of Libya’s largest tribe, the Wurfalla.

The offensive against Bani Walid was led by the Libya Shield, a newly created branch of the armed forces made up former militias that fought against Gaddafi in last year’s Nato-backed war. Many worry that Libya Shield and a similar new branch of the Ministry of Interior are coalescing as ideologically motivated shadow armies that could threaten oil-rich Libya’s future stability and path toward democracy.

Mr Juweli said that he – and regular army troops that accompanied him – had been barred from entering the town on Sunday by Libya Shield gunmen.

Aid workers estimate that the fighting has displaced 40,000 of Bani Walid’s 100,000 or so residents, many of whom were unable to return home because of the militia presence. “The town is completely empty except for a small number of people who are living in tragic conditions; there is no activity,” Mr Juweli was quoted as saying. “The impact of shelling is visible everywhere.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday described a “difficult” humanitarian situation for those still inside Bani Walid and the thousands who have escaped days of shelling and tank fire to nearby cities and the capital, Tripoli.

According to Libya’s official news agency, at least 22 people had been killed in the fighting, sparked by the death of a fighter from Misurata at the alleged hands of Bani Walid captors. Human Rights Watch reported last week that at least seven of those killed were innocent bystanders.

A Day After Sandy, New Yorkers Find a Changed City

A day after Sandy, New Yorkers find a changed city

COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stripped of its bustle and mostly cut off from the world, New York was left wondering Tuesday when its particular way of life — carried by subway, lit by skyline and powered by 24-hour deli — would return.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the power company said it could be the weekend before the lights come on for hundreds of thousands of people plunged into darkness by what was once Hurricane Sandy.

Bloomberg said it could also be four or five days before the subway, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history, is running again. All 10 of the tunnels that carry New Yorkers under the East River were flooded.

In one bit of good news, officials announced that John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark International Airport in New Jersey will reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday with limited service. New York's LaGuardia Airport remains closed.

Read more:

East Coast Reels From Massive, Deadly Storm

East Coast reels from massive, deadly storm

10:48pm EDT
By Martinne Geller and Emily Flitter and Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Millions of people faced epic flooding and lengthy power outages on Tuesday after the massive storm Sandy wreaked havoc in much of the eastern United States with high winds and heavy rains.

The storm killed at least 45 people, including at least 18 in New York City, and insurance companies started to tally billions of dollars in losses.

The storm hit with just a week to go to the November 6 presidential election, disrupting campaigning and early voting and raising questions about whether polling stations in some hard-hit communities would be ready to open by next Tuesday.

Sandy, which crashed ashore with hurricane-force winds on Monday near the New Jersey gambling resort of Atlantic City, was the biggest storm to hit the country in generations.

It swamped parts of New York's subway system and lower Manhattan's Wall Street district, closing financial markets for a second day.

Businesses and homes along New Jersey's shore were wrecked and communities were submerged under floodwater across a large area. More than 8 million homes and businesses in several states were without electricity as trees toppled by Sandy's fierce winds took down power lines.

Across the region, crews began the monumental task of restoring power for anxious customers and getting transportation up and running could take time after the storm caused nearly 16,000 flight cancellations.

Cellphone service outages were widespread in many states and even some emergency call centers were affected.

The storm reached as far inland as Ohio and parts of West Virginia were buried under 3 feet (1 meter) of snow, a boon for ski resorts that was one of the storm's few bright spots.

Some cities like Washington, Philadelphia and Boston were spared the worst effects of the storm and were ready to return to normal by Wednesday. But New York City, large parts of New Jersey and some other areas will need at least several days to get back on their feet.

"The devastation is unthinkable," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said after seeing pictures of his state's shore.

Seeking to show he was on top of the aftermath of the storm in the nation's most densely populated region, the White House said President Barack Obama planned to tour damaged areas of New Jersey on Wednesday accompanied by Christie.

The New Jersey governor, who has been a strong supporter of Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, praised Obama and the federal response to the storm.

"New Jersey, New York in particular have been pounded by this storm. Connecticut has taken a big hit," Obama said during a visit to Red Cross headquarters in Washington.

Obama issued federal emergency decrees for New York and New Jersey, declaring that "major disasters" existed in both states.


Power outages darkened large parts of Manhattan and a fire destroyed more than 80 homes in New York City's borough of Queens, where flooding hampered firefighting efforts.

"To describe it as looking like pictures we've seen of the end of World War Two is not overstating it. The area was completely leveled. Chimneys and foundations were all that was left of many of these homes," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg after touring the area.

Neighborhoods along the East and Hudson rivers bordering Manhattan were underwater and expected to be without power for days, as were low-lying streets in Battery Park near Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood.

"I'm lucky to have gas; I can make hot water. But there is no heating and I'm all cold inside," said Thea Lucas, 87, who lives alone in Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Further north, though, many retail stores, restaurants and bars reopened in neighborhoods that did not lose power.

In Brooklyn's Prospect Park, runners, dog-walkers and children were out and about among fallen trees.

Organizers of Sunday's New York City Marathon were left scrambling. The world's largest 26.2-mile footrace typically has over 47,000 entrants from around the world, deploys thousands of volunteers, and winds through all five boroughs.

One disaster modeling company said Sandy may have caused up to $15 billion in insured losses. That would make it the third-costliest hurricane on record, behind hurricanes Katrina, which laid waste to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Andrew, which devastated parts of Florida in 1992.

While damage was still being assessed, federal authorities made $13 million in "quick release" emergency relief funds available to New York and Rhode Island.


Obama and Romney put campaigning on hold for a second day, but Romney planned to hit the trail again in Florida on Wednesday and Obama seemed likely to resume campaigning on Thursday for a final five-day sprint to Election Day.

Obama faces political danger if the government fails to respond well, as was the case with predecessor George W. Bush's botched handling of Katrina. Obama has a chance to show not only that his administration has learned the lessons of Katrina, but that he can take charge and lead during a crisis.

All along the East Coast, residents and business owners found scenes of destruction.

"There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean," said evacuee Peter Sandomeno, one of the owners of the Broadway Court Motel in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. "That's the worst storm I've ever seen, and I've been there for 11 years."

Sandy, which was especially imposing because of its wide-ranging winds, brought a record storm surge of almost 14 feet to downtown Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 feet during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.

Water poured into the subway tunnels under New York City. Bloomberg said the subway system, which normally carries over 5 million people each weekday, would likely be closed for four or five days.

"Hitting at high tide, the strongest surge and the strongest winds all hit at the worst possible time," said Jeffrey Tongue, a meteorologist for the weather service in Brookhaven, New York.

Hurricane-force winds as high as 90 miles per hour (145 km per hour) were recorded, he said.

The community of Atlantique Beach on Fire Island, New York, took the storm's brunt and lost most of its oceanside dunes. Some homes were pushed off their foundations.

The U.S. Department of Energy said more than 8 million homes and businesses in several states were without electricity due to the storm. In many communities residents anxiously awaited the arrival of utility crews. Some gas stations in Queens, New York, ran out of fuel, and shoppers found supermarkets short of fresh meat, bread and potatoes.

The flooding hampered efforts to fight a massive fire that destroyed more than 80 homes in Breezy Point, a private beach community on the Rockaway barrier island in Queens.

Besides the deaths in New York City, others were reported in New York state, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Toronto police also recorded one death - a woman hit by flying debris. Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean last week.

U.S. government offices in Washington and schools up and down the East Coast but were due to reopen on Wednesday.

U.S. stock exchanges are expected to reopen on Wednesday, and the passenger rail service Amtrak will restart services on some of its busiest routes on a limited basis.

(Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston, Ilaina Jonas, Daniel Bases, Lucas Jackson, Edward Krudy and Scott DiSavino in New York, Ian Simpson in West Virginia and Diane Bartz and Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington. Writing by Ros Krasny; editing by Christopher Wilson)

Long Days for Millions in Sandy's Wake

October 30, 2012, 6:39 PM

Long days for millions in Sandy's wake

Updated 9:05 p.m. ET
Associated Press

The most devastating storm in decades to hit the country's most densely populated region upended man and nature as it rolled back the clock on 21st-century lives, cutting off modern communication and leaving millions without power Tuesday as thousands who fled their water-menaced homes wondered when — if — life would return to normal.

A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome superstorm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn't finished. It inched inland across Pennsylvania, ready to bank toward western New York to dump more of its water and likely cause more havoc Tuesday night. Behind it: a dazed, inundated New York City, a waterlogged Atlantic Coast and a moonscape of disarray and debris — from unmoored shore-town boardwalks to submerged mass-transit systems to delicate presidential politics.

"Nature," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, assessing the damage to his city, "is an awful lot more powerful than we are."

More than 8.2 million households were without power in 17 states as far west as Michigan. Nearly 2 million of those were in New York, where large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up under water — as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day from weather, the first time that has happened since a blizzard in 1888. The city's subway system, the lifeblood of more than 5 million residents, was damaged like never before and closed indefinitely, and Consolidated Edison said electricity in and around New York could take a week to restore.

"Everybody knew it was coming. Unfortunately, it was everything they said it was," said Sal Novello, a construction executive who rode out the storm with his wife, Lori, in the Long Island town of Lindenhurst, and ended up with 7 feet of water in the basement.

The scope of the storm's damage wasn't known yet. Though early predictions of river flooding in Sandy's inland path were petering out, colder temperatures made snow the main product of Sandy's slow march from the sea. Parts of the West Virginia mountains were blanketed with 2 feet of snow by Tuesday afternoon, and drifts 4 feet deep were reported at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

With Election Day a week away, the storm also threatened to affect the presidential campaign. Federal disaster response, always a dicey political issue, has become even thornier since government mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And poll access and voter turnout, both of which hinge upon how people are impacted by the storm, could help shift the outcome in an extremely close race.

As organized civilization came roaring back Tuesday in the form of emergency response, recharged cellphones and the reassurance of daylight, harrowing stories and pastiches emerged from Maryland north to Rhode Island in the hours after Sandy's howling winds and tidal surges shoved water over seaside barriers, into low-lying streets and up from coastal storm drains.

Images from around the storm-affected areas depicted scenes reminiscent of big-budget disaster movies. In Atlantic City, N.J., a gaping hole remained where once a stretch of boardwalk sat by the sea. In Queens, N.Y., rubble from a fire that destroyed as many as 100 houses in an evacuated beachfront neighborhood jutted into the air at ugly angles against a gray sky. In heavily flooded Hoboken, N.J., across the Hudson River from Manhattan, dozens of yellow cabs sat parked in rows, submerged in murky water to their windshields. At the ground zero construction site in lower Manhattan, sea water rushed into a gaping hole under harsh floodlights.

One of the most dramatic tales came from lower Manhattan, where a failed backup generator forced New York University's Tisch Hospital to relocate more than 200 patients, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care. Dozens of ambulances lined up in the rainy night and the tiny patients were gingerly moved out, some attached to battery-powered respirators as gusts of wind blew their blankets.

In Moonachie, N.J., 10 miles north of Manhattan, water rose to 5 feet within 45 minutes and trapped residents who thought the worst of the storm had passed. Mobile-home park resident Juan Allen said water overflowed a 2-foot wall along a nearby creek, filling the area with 2 to 3 feet of water within 15 minutes. "I saw trees not just knocked down but ripped right out of the ground," he said. "I watched a tree crush a guy's house like a wet sponge."

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports that Moonachie's only firehouse was destroyed. Teams from surrounding towns joined the New Jersey National Guard in the effort to save hundreds of people.

"We can only get so close to the homes, so if we have to get out of the vehicle and assist getting them up, we will," Staff Sgt. Katie Cataldo told Quijano.

In a measure of its massive size, waves on southern Lake Michigan rose to a record-tying 20.3 feet. High winds spinning off Sandy's edges clobbered the Cleveland area early Tuesday, uprooting trees, closing schools and flooding major roads along Lake Erie.

Most along the East Coast, though, grappled with an experience like Bertha Weismann of Bridgeport, Conn.- frightening, inconvenient and financially problematic but, overall, endurable. Her garage was flooded and she lost power, but she was grateful. "I feel like we are blessed," she said. "It could have been worse."

Campaign politics takes backseat to Sandy relief effort
The presidential candidates' campaign maneuverings Tuesday revealed the delicacy of the need to look presidential in a crisis without appearing to capitalize on a disaster. President Barack Obama canceled a third straight day of campaigning, scratching events scheduled for Wednesday in swing-state Ohio, in Sandy's path. Republican Mitt Romney resumed his campaign with plans for an Ohio rally billed as a "storm relief event."

And the weather posed challenges a week out for how to get everyone out to vote. On the hard-hit New Jersey coastline, a county elections chief said some polling places on barrier islands will be unusable and have to be moved.

"This is the biggest challenge we've ever had," said George R. Gilmore, chairman of the Ocean County Board of Elections.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were still only hints of the economic impact of the storm. Airports remained closed across the East Coast and far beyond as tens of thousands of travelers found they couldn't get where they were going.

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicted the storm will end up causing about $20 billion in damages and $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business. Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated losses up to $15 billion — big numbers probably offset by reconstruction and repairs that will contribute to longer-term growth.

"The biggest problem is not the first few days but the coming months," said Alan Rubin, an expert in nature disaster recovery.

Sandy began in the Atlantic and knocked around the Caribbean — killing nearly 70 people — and strengthened into a hurricane as it chugged across the southeastern coast of the United States. By Tuesday night it had ebbed in strength but was joining up with another, more wintry storm — an expected confluence of weather systems that earned it nicknames like "superstorm" and, on Halloween eve, "Frankenstorm."

It became, pretty much everyone agreed Tuesday, the weather event of a lifetime — and one shared vigorously on social media by people in Sandy's path who took eye-popping photographs as the storm blew through, then shared them with the world by the blue light of their smartphones.

On Twitter , Facebook and the photo-sharing service Instagram, people tried to connect, reassure relatives and make sense of what was happening — and, in many cases, work to authenticate reports of destruction and storm surges. They posted and passed around images and real-time updates at a dizzying rate, wishing each other well and gaping, virtually, at scenes of calamity moments after they unfolded. Among the top terms on Facebook through the night and well into Tuesday, according to the social network: "we are OK," "made it" and "fine."

Around midday Tuesday, Sandy was about 120 miles east of Pittsburgh, pushing westward with winds of 45 mph, and was expected to turn toward New York State on Tuesday night. Although weakening as it goes, the storm will continue to bring heavy rain and flooding, said Daniel Brown of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Atlantic City's fabled Boardwalk, the first in the nation, lost several blocks when Sandy came through, though the majority of it remained intact even as other Jersey Shore boardwalks were dismantled. What damage could be seen on the coastline Tuesday was, in some locations, staggering — "unthinkable," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said of what unfolded along the Jersey Shore, where houses were swept from their foundations and amusement park rides were washed into the ocean. "Beyond anything I thought I would ever see."

Resident Carol Mason returned to her bayfront home to carpets that squished as she stepped on them. She made her final mortgage payment just last week. Facing a mandatory evacuation order, she had tried to ride out the storm at first but then saw the waters rising outside her bathroom window and quickly reconsidered.

"I looked at the bay and saw the fury in it," she said. "I knew it was time to go."

Haiti Fears Cholera and Food Shortages Will Raise Storm Deaths

Haiti fears cholera and food shortages will raise storm's death toll

Guy Adams
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Independent, UK

The government of Haiti has warned that Hurricane Sandy represents a "disaster of major proportions," which could bring food shortages as well as an imminent spike in the number of life-threatening cholera cases.

At least 54 people were killed and 18,000 forced from their homes when the storm hit the Caribbean nation last week. But Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has told reporters that the after-effects of the storm could prove to be more deadly.

"This is a disaster of major proportions," he warned. "The whole south is under water... The economy took a huge hit. Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy. So food security will be an issue."

Twenty people remain missing from the initial disaster, and pictures have shown destroyed bridges, submerged houses and standing water across much of the country. But the greatest threat to life may come from cholera, which is spread via contaminated water.

Aid agencies have already reported 86 new cases of the disease in the capital, Port-au-Prince, with eight deaths. Since the start of an outbreak that began in October 2010, roughly 600,000 people have been affected by the disease and more than 7,400 have died. Many of the victims were among the more than 300,000 people still living in refugee camps established in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake, which killed about 280,000 people and is regarded by the United Nations as the worst natural disaster in history.

Beyond the immediate crisis, the government must work out how to cope with the widespread destruction of crops and food supplies by the hurricane, which also killed 11 people in Cuba and caused damage in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

"The storm took everything away," a spokesman for Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture told Reuters. "Everything the peasants had in reserve – corn, tubers – all of it was devastated."

In Abricots, on Haiti's south-western tip, Mayor Kechner Toussaint pleaded for international aid, saying many of his citizens were already without food. "We will have famine in the coming days," he said.

There are also growing fears of civil unrest. John Chaloner at the charity Plan International told The Independent that in recent months there had been "demonstrations sparked by rising food prices".

U.S. Supports Destruction of Bani Walid

U.S. Supports Destruction of Bani Walid

Militias reportedly used nerve gas and phosphorous bombs to enter city

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Amid claims of the usage of chemical weapons against the civilian population of the western hilltop city of Bani Walid, the United States State Department expressed support for the actions carried out by their surrogates in Libya. Bani Walid, described as a stronghold for loyalists of the former government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, has been under siege for a month by militias from Misrata , known for their brutality and racism against the people of this North African state.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told the international media that Washington is “watching the situation very closely.” She then said that the White House position on the actions of the General National Congress regime in Tripoli remains “absolutely clear.”

Nuland said “We support the efforts of the Libyan government to get control of militias and to provide security throughout the country, including Bani Walid, and to do so in a way that is respectful of the human rights of all citizens and allows humanitarian organizations to get in.”

However, there have been gross violations of international law and human rights in Bani Walid. After claiming victory over the people in this city of 70,000-100,000 people, many of the residents were denied the right to return to their homes after being told they could by the GNC regime in the capital.

Reports indicate that at least 25,000 residents were forced out of the city during the weeks-long blockade and bombardments by militiamen using high-powered missile launchers, some of which were laced with nerve gas and white phosphorous. In an effort to justify the blocking of residents from returning home, GNC army spokesman Ali Al-Shaikhi said that “We want to make sure there isn’t anything left over from the military operation. Services were destroyed.” (Gulf News, October 29)

Mohammad Al-Hrari of the Libyan Relief Agency noted that “After what happened in Bani Walid you can say almost all of the population fled. We will try to get them back to their homes with the help of the authorities.” (Gulf News, October 29)

GNC regime officials say that there is no water or electricity in the city. On October 28, army pick-up trucks mounted with heavy weapons continued the blockade of the northern entrance to the town.

International journalists have largely been denied entrance into the city. Nonetheless, reports have been sent out of Bani Walid by residents who have spoken with media sources.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), thousands of people “left their homes with very few belongings and need help.” Many of the people who evacuated the city have taken refuge in the nearby towns of Tarhuna and Orban.

The Tripoli Post says that “In Tarhuna, displaced people receive assistance directly from the warehouses of the Libyan Red Crescent. In Orban, a collection of hamlets, most displaced people have likewise found shelter with host families.” (October 29)

U.S.-backed Militias Seek to Destroy Bani Walid and Its People

After the militias entered the city on October 24, widespread atrocities took place. Rebels fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) into homes and buildings. Houses were bulldozed and hundreds of people were taken into detention.

Rebels shouted “Today Bani Walid is finished.” Reuters quoted one rebel as saying “The Gaddafi fighters are out of Bani Walid, they have gone. Some people here still wanted Gaddafi, we have to show them that he is finished.” (October 27)

Other reports from the city were broadcast through Russia Today (RT) satellite television. One local woman was quoted as saying that “Bani Walid was invaded by militias from Misrata. They destroyed everything, brought chaos, death and destruction with them. When families wanted to return to their homes these militias directed their guns towards them, shot at them, and they were forced to flee.” (, October 26)

Although the so-called Libyan army and militias claim that they are targeting pro-Gaddafi supporters, most of the people impacted by the onslaught are women, children and the elderly. Photographs published in various international media agencies including RT and the Center for Research on Globalization suggests that unconventional chemical weapons were used by militias to enter the city.

Afaf Yusef, who is a resident of Bani Walid said that she could “confirm that pro-government militias used internationally prohibited weapons. They used phosphorus bombs and nerve gas.” (, October 26)

Yusef continued saying “We have documented all this in videos—we recorded the missiles they used and the white phosphorus raining down from these missiles. The whole world needs to see who they are targeting. Are they really Gaddafi’s men? Are the children, women and old men killed, Gaddafi’s men?”

The residents of Bani Walid have appealed to the United Nations and other international bodies for assistance but to no avail. The UN Mission in Libya has refused to even comment on why they have not sent observers or any other type of aid to the city.

When the Russian government attempted to introduce a resolution in the Security Council calling for a peaceful settling of the conflict, the effort was blocked by the United States mission headed by Susan Rice. It is quite obvious that the White House is behind the siege and this explains why the State Department’s website had not mentioned the situation in Bani Walid since the beginning of 2012.

Yusef bemoaned that “Our city is dying. The situation is very difficult. The city is almost completely destroyed. Residents are buried in the rubble. Many among the victims are children and the elderly. There are even more children than the elderly.”

Reports have also surfaced that many of the militiamen were not from Libya. RT quoted one man whose family remained in the city during the siege as saying that “They use foreign snipers, I think from Qatar and Turkey, with Qatar covering all the costs.” (, October 28)

This same source alleged that a ship carrying guns and other military equipment had docked in the port city of Misrata. “There is no government in Libya. Groups of militia control everything,” the source revealed, claiming that the majority of the rebels have dual citizenships and passports from other nations.

US Imperialist Intervention Leaves Trail of Death and Destruction

The current situation in Bani Walid and throughout Libya is the direct result of the intervention of the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NATO during 2011. For ten months during last year, rebels and their backers in the West laid waste to the country and the state.

26,000 sorties, 9,600 airstrikes, a naval blockade, the dislocation of two million people and the seizure of national assets have left the country in a deplorable condition. Nonetheless, this has not been enough to subdue the population therefore the world is witnessing the destruction of Bani Walid through blockades, the use of chemical warfare and large-scale displacements.

Although the attacks on U.S. interest in Benghazi on September 11 that resulted in the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic personnel has been a strong focus in the presidential debates, the underlying causes of the instability in Libya is never addressed. The war against Libya is a war for oil and geo-political control which is extending to other areas throughout the region.

At present the imperialists are preparing for a major intervention in the West African state of Mali. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Algeria on October 29 in an effort to coordinate the coming invasion of Mali.

A senior State Department official told the New York Times that “One of the things that the secretary wants to talk about is how we would see this working. There is a strong recognition that Algeria has to be a central part of the solution.” (New York Times, October 29)

Algeria had expressed in the past a reluctance to participate in the Western efforts aimed at intervening in Mali. However, Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said in an October 19 interview that “There is a Malian institutional crisis. The Algerians are ready to help.” (New York Times, October 29)

Nevertheless, these interventions will not stabilize the political situation in North and West Africa. It will ultimately be up to the African people themselves to resolve the internal problems within their countries which cannot be separated from the overall role and impact of imperialism on the entire continent.

Sudanese Demonstrate Against Israeli Bombing in Khartoum

Sudanese Demonstrate Against Israeli Bombing in Khartoum

Tel Aviv suggests it was responsible for attacks on weapons factory

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Sudanese citizens have staged protests in the capital Khartoum in the aftermath of the bombing of the Yarmouk weapons factory by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The strike, which took place on October 24, was not the first time that the IAF has bombed the central African state.

In May, Israel launched a missile attack on an automobile in Port Sudan. Similar attacks occurred in April 2011, which killed two people as well as in January 2009 in the eastern region of the oil-rich country.

In August 1998, the U.S. bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. This military action ordered by former President Bill Clinton claimed that the facility was used to produce chemical weapons.

No evidence was ever cited that the plant was used to manufacture unconventional weapons. The bombing by U.S. warplanes took place in the aftermath of attacks on Washington’s embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, characterized the recent air strikes as a “blatant violation” of the UN charter and called for the international body to condemn the State of Israel.

The demonstrations in Sudan on October 25 accused both Israel and the United States as being culpable in the attacks. Protesters chanted “Death to Israel” and “Remove Israel from the map.” (Press TV, October 25)

Demonstrations in the capital of Khartoum erupted after the Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman announced that four IAF warplanes bombed the factory that left at least two people dead. The Satellite Sentinel Project through a comparative analysis of Digital Globe imagery says the photos “show six large craters, each approximately 16 meters across and consistent with impact craters created by air-delivered munitions, centered in a location where, until recently, some 40 shipping containers had been stacked.” (Reuters, October 27)

In the aftermath of the bombing, a huge fire erupted at the factory which took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish. Initially, Israel neither confirmed nor denied the air strikes.

However, on October 25, Israeli intelligence officials admitted that the military has been carrying out missions inside Sudan for several years. Israel has accused the Sudanese government of supplying weapons to the Hamas organization in the Gaza strip in Palestine.

An Israeli official was quoted as saying that “It would be in Israel’s interest to hit a factory that was a major source of weapons for the Gaza Strip, no? Sudan has long been a playground for militants, and for Israel it would be important to send the message that they cannot use Sudan as a way station for their arms and training camps.” (McClatchy Newspapers, October 26)

Another Israeli defense official Amos Gilad seemed to justify the air strikes by accusing Sudan of being a “dangerous terrorist state. To know exactly what happened there, it will take some time to understand,” he told Israel’s army radio. (, October 25)

Gilad went on to claim that “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is regarded as a war criminal. Sudan has also served as the operational base for the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. The regime is supported by Iran and it serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.”

Sudan has been under threat by imperialism for many years. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for President al-Bashir and other leading officials of the government for actions taken in defense of its territorial sovereignty threatened by rebels operating in the western Darfur region. Several of the rebel organizations are supported by Israel and the U.S.

The country, which was Africa’s largest geographic nation-state until it was partitioned in 2011, is an emerging oil-producing country. The failure of the independence process with South Sudan resulted earlier this year in the eruption of fighting on the borders with the Republic of Sudan in the North.

A mediation process carried out by the African Union has achieved an agreement between the North and the South to re-open oil drilling and shipments between the two states. Nonetheless, many outstanding issues remain with conflicts still taking place involving disputes over demarcations in Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Despite the bombing on October 24, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) maintains that it will continue the party’s support of the Palestinian people. Nafie Ali Nafie, the presidential assistant and deputy chairman of the NCP said on October 28 that the country will not stop supporting its “brothers in Palestine.” (Sudan Tribune)

Racist Anti-Sudan and African Demonstrations Continue in Tel Aviv

Meanwhile inside the Israeli state, a campaign directed against African immigrants, many of whom are from South Sudan, has continued. Several months ago, after government provocations, racist mobs attacked African immigrants and their homes and businesses.

African migrants have been derisively labeled as “infiltrators” by the government of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. The Israeli government has ordered thousands of Africans detained and deported while commissioning the building of a large prison for the sole purpose of their incarceration pending expulsion.

On October 28 at least 150 Israeli residents of Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood marched to a government compound carrying a coffin with the names of various subdivisions written on it. During the march Israelis chanted racist slogans such as “Sudanese go back to Sudan” and “Netanyahu you ruined our homes, our neighborhood, our city and our country.” (

During the course of the march, an African worker outside a local restaurant was taunted and several of the participants attempted to shatter the windows of the business. The worker then went inside the restaurant for safety, when later police were summoned and arrested several of the demonstrators.

Israeli settlers blame African immigrants for destroying their neighborhoods and causing street crime. The demonstrators called for the African migrants to be re-located to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem’s Caesarea and Rehavia neighborhoods.

May Golan, who stays in Tel Aviv, said during the march that “We are being buried alive and no one cares. People call me a racist but if I have to protect my own life being a racist then I’m proud to be one.” (, October 28)

Shlomo Maslawi, a Tel Aviv Councilman said “There is no doubt this is a ticking bomb. Currently only a few infiltrators manage to enter due to the border closure and the government considers its job done, but we are still stuck with 60,000-70,000 infiltrators already present.”