Sunday, May 28, 2017

Intense Clashes in Libya's Capital Leave Scores Dead
DW

The violence is the latest to rock the divided country since the imperialist-engineered removal and assassination of long-time Pan-Africanist leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Since then, radical Islamists have clashed with western-backed authorities.

The death toll from intense clashes between government forces and militias in the Libyan capital has risen to 78, with as many as 1,000 injured, the government's health ministry reported Saturday.

The fighting broke out in Tripoli Friday between forces loyal to the UN-backed unity government and a rival militia loyal to an Islamist government that preceded the current one.

Khalifa Ghweil seized power in mid-2014 but was toppled in March 2016 by the unity government led by Fayez Serraj. Libya was thrown into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising brought down long-time Revolutionary Pan-Africanist Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The latest clash started when the militia loyal to Ghweil, the self-appointed prime minister, attacked facilities manned by forces aligned with Serraj's Government  of National Accord (GNA), according to Libyan media reports.

Fighting broke out in a residential neighborhood, around a complex of luxury villas that, until March, had served as the headquarters for militias loyal to Ghweil. There were reports of explosions and artillery fire in the Abu Slim, Al-Hadhba and Salaheddin districts in the south of the city.

Tripoli had been relatively calm since, but dozens of armed groups still operate there.

The United Nation's Libya envoy Martin Kobler appealed for a halt to the latest fighting.

"Voices of reason should prevail for the benefit of the country," he said. "Political aims must not be pursued through violence. Civilians must be protected."

Tanks and artillery

Witnesses said tanks were deployed during the fighting.

British ambassador Peter Millett tweeted that he could hear explosions and artillery in south Tripoli.

He condemned "action by these militias who threaten security" ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Saturday in Libya.

Meanwhile, GNA forces seized a prison holding senior officials from the Gadhafi regime. Guards at the al-Hadhba prison were forced to withdraw after the attack.

The GNA's interior and justice ministries issued a joint statement saying that all the prisoners had been handed over to them and were "in good health."

Those imprisoned include more than 30 senior officials from the toppled regime, including Gadhafi's last prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, and his former intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi. Both men were sentenced to death in 2015.

The GNA blamed Ghweil and Salah Badi, both leaders of the Fajr Libya coalition of militias which took power in Tripoli in 2014, for the latest violence and vowed to "retaliate mercilessly."

They "have exceeded all limits... Nothing stops them, not faith, not law, not custom and not morals," it said.

"This is their gift to the people for the month of Ramadan," the statement said.
Dozens Die as Libyan Rebels Battle Rage
John Pearson
Foreign Correspondent
May 27, 2017 11:44 PM

Battles between rival militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli have left at least 28 dead and 130 wounded, the city’s health ministry said on Saturday.

The fighting on Friday was the most serious in a string of eruptions of violence between the galaxy of militias controlling the city as they battle for supremacy and power in the chaos that is Libya.

Residents were left cowering under tank and rocket fire after fighters supporting former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil launched attacks at dawn in an operation they named "Pride of Libya".

Their first target was a villa complex at the central Rixos hotel that is held by militias who support the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which displaced Mr Ghweil’s government in March last year.

Battles raged around the complex, with buildings set ablaze. Thick black smoke enveloped sectors of the complex as fighting then fanned out to the Salahaddin district, and around the highway to the city’s international airport, closed and destroyed in militia fighting three years ago.

Later in the day pro-GNA militias rallied, sending reinforcements to the front line with the GNA’s Presidential Council, led by prime minister Fayez Al Serraj, urging residents to support those battling what it called "rogue outlaws". In the chaotic fighting, missiles and bullets ranged across the city, one projectile hitting the headquarters of Melitta Oil and Gas company.

By dusk the attack appeared to have failed, with pro-GNA units holding their positions.

One of the sites they were fighting over was Hadba prison, where several Qaddafi-era officials are jailed, some awaiting trial on war crimes charges. They include the late dictator’s son Saadi, former intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senussi and former prime minister Baghdadi Al Mahmudi. A pro-GNA militia which captured the prison complex, which was partly in flames, said they had found empty cells, with reports on social media in Tripoli claiming the inmates had been moved by the militia who fled the jail, to another, undisclosed, location.

The UN Security Council condemned the fighting and appealed for calm, calling on "all parties in Libya to exercise restraint......... to express their support for national reconciliation".

But the prospect for reconciliation seems remote. As well as the fighting in Tripoli, there are the repercussions of a massacre by militias in southern Libya on May 18 against the Libya National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, which is loyal to a third government, the Tobruk-based House of Representatives.

A total of 141 people, many of them unarmed LNA cadets, were killed in the surprise attack on Brak Al Shat airbase by a pro-GNA militia, which the Security Council said "reportedly resulted in the summary executions of combatants and civilians".

The GNA insisted it had no part in the attack and has promised to investigate, but the executions, one of the worst atrocities in a civil war stretching back to 2014, has poisoned the atmosphere between the warring sides.

Field Marshal Haftar’s forces, backed by air strikes, quickly recaptured Brak Al Shati and earlier this week took control of a second southern airbase, Tamenhint, giving them strategic control of the south.

More fighting is continuing in Benghazi, where Field Marshall Haftar’s forces are battling for two enclaves held by a militia, the Shura Council, all of it dashing hopes of peace after recent diplomatic breakthroughs.

On May 3 Mr Al Serraj met in Abu Dhabi with Field Marshal Haftar, only the second such meeting since he took office, with UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs voicing optimism of "an important step on the road to reaching a tangible progress in the political process".

That step, with the UAE coordinating diplomacy with Egypt, the UN and several other states, saw both men talk of forming a joint commission, with representatives from both the GNA and Tobruk parliament, to negotiate a power-sharing government. Diplomats say the door to further talks remains open, but the Tripoli battles have rendered peace a distant prospect.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae
After UK, Egypt Attacks, Libya Seen as Terror Haven 
Martyred Revolutionary Libyan leader and former African Union
Chair Col. Muammar Gaddafi with his wife presided over nation.
By Rami Musa and Hamza Hendawi 
AP
May 27 at 3:06 PM

BENGHAZI, Libya — The Libya connection in the May 22 Manchester concert suicide bombing and Friday’s attack on Christians in Egypt has shone a light on the threat posed by militant Islamic groups that have taken advantage of lawlessness in the troubled North African nation to put down roots, recruit fighters and export jihadists to cause death and carnage elsewhere.

Libya has been embroiled in violence since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi. Vast and oil-rich, Libya currently has rival administrations, an army led by a renegade Gadhafi-era former general who served as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset as well as powerful Islamist militias that compete for territory, resources and political leverage.

At the peak of its power in Libya, the Islamic State group controlled a 160-kilometer (100-mile) stretch of Libyan coastline and boasted between 2,000 and 5,000 fighters, many of them from Egypt and Tunisia.

It is that Libya that the alleged Manchester bomber, 22-year-old British citizen Salman Abedi, found when he and his family moved back from Britain after Gadhafi’s ouster in 2011.

Monday’s bombing left 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, and was claimed by IS. Abedi’s brother Hashim has been taken into custody in Tripoli and, according to Libyan authorities, has confessed that he and Salman were IS members.

In Egypt, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi sent his fighter-jets to bomb militant positions in eastern Libya just hours after IS fighters shot dead 29 Christians on their way to a remote desert monastery. The military said the attackers were trained in Libya.

Egypt also has long complained that weapons smuggled across the porous desert border with Libya have reached militants operating on its soil. It also has claimed that militants who bombed three Christian churches since December received military training in IS bases in Libya.

THE GENESIS OF LIBYA’S MILITANCY:

Hundreds of Libyan youths answered the call to Jihad in the 1980s, traveling to Afghanistan to fight against the Russians. When they returned home after the war, Many of them wanted Islamic Sharia laws implemented in their country. They formed underground cells to escape the regime’s watchful eyes and unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Gadhafi.

After Gadhafi’s assassination by pro-imperialist agents, veteran jihadists, al-Qaida sympathizers and Islamists of all shades formed militias that filled the post-Gadhafi power vacuum. Libya’s present woes are rooted in the failure of the very first transitional government to dismantle those militias and integrate them into a national army. Instead, they carved up Libya into fiefdoms.

WHERE ARE THE MILITANTS NOW?

DARNA:

The eastern Libyan city, where militant positions were targeted by Egyptian warplanes on Friday, has historically been a bastion of radical Islamic groups as well as highly respected Islamic scholars. Extremists made the city their stronghold in the 1980s and 1990s, protected by the rugged terrain of the surrounding Green Mountain range. It was the main source of Libyan jihadists for the insurgency in Iraq. Entire brigades of Darna natives are known to be fighting in Syria’s civil war.

During the 2011 uprising, residents formed the “Abusaleem Martyrs” brigade to fight Gadhafi loyalists. It proved to be one of the most effective rebel outfits. Its ranks soon later swelled and its fighters seized the city, setting up the Darna Mujahideen Shura Council to replace the local government.

The Islamic State group’s Libyan affiliate had a robust presence in Darna, but the IS faction eventually fell out with the council and was driven out. The IS fighters relocated to the coastal city of Sirte and Darna remains to this day under the control of the Mujahideen Shura Council.

BENGHAZI:

Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, was the first to fall under the influence of extremist Islamic militias. Many of those militias were formed to fight the Gadhafi regime in 2011 and were led by radicals, widely viewed as experienced and motivated.

Perhaps the most notorious of the Benghazi militias is Ansar Al-Sharia, blamed for the killings of hundreds of former Libyan soldiers and for the death of the U.S. ambassador in 2012.

For more than two years, the so-called Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter has battled an alliance of Benghazi’s militias. His forces have managed to secure most of the city, except for pockets of a seaside neighborhood, heavily fortified and surrounded by fields of land mines.

SIRTE:

Sirte was where Gadhafi and his loyalists made a last stand in the 2011 civil war. The city, Gadhafi’s hometown, was almost completely destroyed in the fighting. Furious over the city’s loyalty to Gadhafi, anti-government rebels punished the city’s residents with extrajudicial killings and revenge attacks.

In 2013, Sirte fell under the control of Ansar Al- Sharia, which made alliances with local tribes and an uneasy truce with other militias and the small number of remaining army troops. The group took over a sprawling former Gadhafi compound and boasted its own TV and radio station. IS also slowly infiltrated the city as fighters from countries like Mali, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria moved in and later declared Sirte an IS emirate.

Last year, militiamen from Misrata and other localities in western Libya, acting with the support of a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, waged a protracted and bloody campaign to drive IS militants from Sirte. When fighting stalled, the government sought support from the United States, which responded with airstrikes that sped up the collapse of IS in the city.

IS was finally defeated in Sirte and the fighters who survived the carnage fled to the vast deserts to the south.

SEBRATHA:

Sebratha has earned a reputation as a small but tenacious stronghold of Islamic radicals, something that made it easier for IS militants to find a foothold there and spawned a lucrative business in human trafficking to Europe. The city is the main IS gateway due to its location near the Tunisian border. The jumble of various militias have helped IS keep a low profile in the city, but a 2016 U.S. airstrike that killed about 40 of the group’s operatives highlighted their presence in Sebratha.
___
Hendawi reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.
Surviving Victim of Friday Train Stabbing a Poet and PSU Student
May 27, 2017 at 5:43 PM
Oregon Live

Micah Fletcher performs during the second annual Verselandia, a poetry competition for Portland Public Schools students held in 2013 at the Wonder Ballroom. Fletcher, now 21, was one of three victims in Friday's MAX train stabbing. He is expected to survive. (Andie Petkus Photography)
1.2k

BY FEDOR ZARKHIN fzarkhin@oregonian.com
The Oregonian/OregonLive
The living victim of the MAX train stabbing Friday, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, is a former Madison high school student who won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem condemning prejudices faced by muslims.

Fletcher was one of three men who approached suspect Jeremy Christian, who was allegedly yelling racial slurs at two young women, one of them wearing a hijab. Christian stabbed all three men, killing two of them and injuring Fletcher.

Fletcher's decision to stand up for the women was perfectly in character, said Mandela Cordeta, 26, an old friend. Fletcher's been passionate about social justice for years, he said. This was particularly evident in his poetry, Cordeta said.

Fletcher, now a Portland State University music student, won a Verselandia poetry slam in 2013. The subject of one of the two poems was the continuing prejudice Muslims face after the 9/11 attacks.

"When two towering trees of wrought iron and glass and cement are brought down to their knees,

We let it leave an ugly footprint on america that hasn't disappeared in 12 years.

Twelve.

As in one third the amount of civilians killed by drones in the middle east per one terrorist caught in the crossfire," Fletcher read from a black book.

At the time, he said his growing passion for writing had transformed into a desire to speak out for others.

"I was sick of not being heard," he had said, "and I was sick of other people not being heard."

Fletcher is a student at Portland State University, university spokesman Chris Broderick said. The university is reaching out to Fletcher's family to offer their support.

In a statement, the university said:

"The PSU community is shocked and horrified by Friday's fatal attack on the MAX train and joins our community at large in offering condolences for the two men killed in the attack and in doing all we can to help with Mr. Fletcher's recovery."

Portland poet Maia Abbruzzese said Fletcher was a mentor to her and another 11 poets in 2015. She's come across him numerous times since then at poetry slams. His poems are philosophical and often have a social justice angle, she said.

Because of the themes in his poetry and what she saw of his personality, Abbruzzese said she wasn't surprised he was involved in the incident on the MAX train.

"Just because of who he is as a person," Abbruzzese said. "He deeply cares about other people."

Portland police said Fletcher was hospitalized after the attack but was expected to survive. Witnesses said he and the other two victims, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best, intervened when the suspect starting yelling slurs at two women on the train.

When they intervened, the man pulled out a knife and stabbed them, witnesses said.

Police arrested Christian, 35, and booked him into Multnomah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder and attempted murder.

Fletcher's phone was not accepting calls late Saturday afternoon.

-- Fedor Zarkhin

fzarkhin@oregonian.com

503-294-7674; @fedorzarkhin

A Facebook account that appeared to belong to a TriMet bus driver responded to a stabbing that left two MAX riders dead and one injured Friday, saying "Liberals and Democrats" are "turning it into a Muslim hatred thing."

The post came early Saturday, the day after a man on a MAX train targeted two teenage girls, one black and one a Muslim wearing a hijab, with verbal abuse, including anti-Muslim sentiments. He then turned on three men who intervened, police said, stabbing all three. Two of the men intervening died, while a third was hospitalized.

The lengthy response to a news story about the stabbing said the response focused too much on the targets of the verbal abuse.

"I pray for the families left mourning for these that were killed because a few showed care is what needs to be focused on," the post said.

The post then turned its attention to other matters, writing, "Illegals are breaking our laws and dangerous!"

There's no evidence anyone involved in the incident had entered the country illegally.

"Shame on any others making this a political statement," the post said, "or spreading and continuing your hatred toward our history, our Nation, and our God!"

The page included a photo of a woman wearing a TriMet uniform in front of a TriMet bus. A Terisha Shimer was hired by the agency in September 2012. Her base salary in 2016 was $59,000, and she earned $40,000 in overtime pay.

A call to Shimer went unanswered, as did a message to the Facebook page.

A TriMet spokeswoman confirmed Shimer was an employee of the agency.

"We value and respect the employee's right to free speech," spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt said in an email. "However, the individual's thoughts and feelings are not shared by TriMet and do not reflect our organization's values."

TriMet's general manager, Neil McFarlane, responded to the stabbing Saturday in a message to riders.

"The only way to combat this fear and devastation is to come together in unity Transit remains a unifier, connecting people and creating a stronger community," McFarlane said. "We all must be resolute against this hate and stand united."

Saturday, May 27, 2017

These Are The Victims Of The Portland Train Stabbing Attack
Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23 were killed when they tried to stop a man hurling abuse at two women of Muslim appearance, police said. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was injured but expected to survive.

May 27, 2017, at 9:31 p.m.
By Julia Reinstein & Salvador Hernandez
BuzzFeed Reporters

Two men were stabbed to death and another man was injured, on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, Friday night, after they tried to intervene as a man shouted hate speech at two young women who appeared to be Muslim.

On Saturday, police identified Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, as the victims who were killed in the attack.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was identified as the third passenger who was stabbed but survived. He is currently being treated at a hospital for serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

A 35-year-old white supremacist, Jeremy Christian, has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation, and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

Namkai-Meche graduated from Portland's Reed College in 2016 with a degree in economics. He was interning for the Cadmus Group, a consulting company, at the time of his death.

His sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, told BuzzFeed News that Namkai-Meche "lived a joyous and full life" and that "his enthusiasm was infectious."

"We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common," said Alaya-Maitreya. "He was resolute in his conduct and respect of all people. In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward."

"He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious, and beautiful soul he was," said Alaya-Maitreya. "We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love.

"Safe journey, Taliesin. We love you."

Namkai-Meche's mother, Asha Deliverance, first announced that he was one of the victims in a Facebook post Saturday.

"Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland," she wrote. "He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever."

Ellie Lawrence, Namkai-Meche's girlfriend, told BuzzFeed News that her boyfriend was the "kindest, purest, most amazing person" she'd ever met.

"I will follow you on your journey through the sun and the moon and the stars. I will love you eternally," she wrote on Facebook, sharing a photo of the two of them.

The family will hold a vigil for Namkai-Meche Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in Portland, near the station where he died.

Best was a city employee, army veteran, and father of four, according to The Oregonian.

He served 23 years in the military as a platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance, retiring in 2012.

In 2014, he made an unsuccessful attempt to run for Clackamas County commissioner.

“I can’t stand by and do nothing,” Best said of his decision to run for local politics, according to The Oregonian's profile on his candidacy.

At the time of his death, he was working as supervisor in Portland's Bureau of Development Services.

Best was lifelong Oregon resident and was heading home to his three teenage sons and 12-year-old daughter in Happy Valley when he was killed.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher was also stabbed in the attack but is expected to survive. As of Saturday evening, he was being treated for serious injuries.

Friends of the 21-year-old told BuzzFeed News that although they were shocked to learn their friend was injured in the attack, they were not surprised he stepped in to stand up for someone else.

"I was shocked it was him, but I wasn't surprised it was him," Elie Hoover, 24, said. "I can't see him not standing up."

Hoover said Fletcher is "deeply empathetic" and is often defending others against transgressions, small and large.

"Whether its someone cutting in line, or doesn't tip, or if its something big like someone being overtly racist," she said.

Mandela Cordeta, 26, said he's known Fletcher for about 10 years after meeting at an arts camp. Since then, she said, Fletcher has been deeply involved in poetry and music, and currently plays the drums.

Recently, friends said Fletcher had also become very active in marches and protests around Portland, becoming active against what he views as social injustices.

"If there's a march or protest happening, he's the one calling me to see where I'm at," Cordeta said. "He's always showing up."

"He's just against injustice, that's his personality," Cordeta added.

At least two GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to assist all three victims' families with costs related to their deaths and injuries. The Bilal Mosque, in Beaverton, Oregon, has also set up a fund for the victims' families.

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.
‘Final Act of Bravery’: Men Who Were Fatally Stabbed Trying to Stop Anti-Muslim Rants Identified 
By Amy B Wang
Washington Post
May 27 at 5:12 PM

2 men killed after trying to stop anti-Muslim rant

Two men were stabbed to death and one injured Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore., after they tried to intervene when another passenger began “ranting and raving” and shouting anti-Muslim hate speech at two young women, police said.

Portland police on Saturday identified the two slain victims as 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche.

A third victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

According to witnesses, a white male passenger riding an eastbound MAX train early Friday afternoon began yelling what “would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions,” police said. Some of the slurs were directed at two female passengers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, according to police.

“This suspect was on the train and he was yelling and ranting and raving a lot of different things, including what we characterized at hate speech or biased language,” Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said at a news conference Friday evening.

At least two men tried to calm the ranting passenger down, but “they were attacked viciously by the suspect” when they did, Simpson said.

“It appears preliminarily that the victims — at least a couple of them — were trying to intervene in his behavior, deescalate him and protect some other people on the train when [the suspect] viciously attacked them,” Simpson said.

About 4:30 p.m. Friday, police responded to calls of a disturbance at the Hollywood Transit Station in east Portland. There, they found three stabbing victims, all adult men. Despite attempted lifesaving measures, Best, a resident of Happy Valley, Ore., was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Namkai Meche, of southeast Portland, died at a local hospital; Fletcher, of southeast Portland, is expected to survive, police said Saturday.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner is conducting autopsies on Best and Namkai Meche and expected to release results late Saturday afternoon, according to police.

Based on witnesses’ statements, officers on Friday were able to locate and arrest the suspect, who had fled the train on foot.

Police identified the suspect early Saturday morning as 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of north Portland. Christian is being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon as a felon.

The stabbing attack shocked the city.

“It’s horrific. There’s no other word to describe what happened today,” Simpson said Friday. “It is simply horrible.”

The attack shut down the Hollywood Transit Station and Portland MAX trains in both directions for several hours Friday evening.

Simpson noted then that several passengers, including the two young women thought to be the target of the man’s anti-Muslim slurs, had left the train after the stabbings. He urged any witnesses to come forward to give statements to police. Simpson added that it did not appear that the suspect or the victims had any relationship with one another.

“We don’t know if (the suspect) has mental-health issues or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or all of the above,” Simpson said. “With this incident, we’re obviously in early stages of the investigation.”

The attacks occurred just as Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, was set to commence at sunset Friday. Simpson said that Portland police had already reached out to Muslim organizations, mosques and imams in the community to talk about extra patrols during Ramadan — and that those extra patrols would continue.

“Our thoughts are with the Muslim community,” Simpson said Friday. “As something like this happens, this only instills fear in that community.”

On Saturday, people mourned the stabbing victims and praised them as heroes for their actions. Namkai Meche’s sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, emailed a statement to The Washington Post on behalf of their family, saying her brother lived “a joyous and full life” with an enthusiasm that was infectious.

“We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common. He was resolute in his conduct (and) respect of all people,” she wrote. “In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was. We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love.”

By Saturday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign called “Tri Met Heroes” set up for the victims’ families had raised more than $30,000. A GoFundMe spokesman confirmed to The Post that the company would ensure funds are sent to the victim’s families.

The attack prompted a slew of outraged responses Friday from Oregon residents and lawmakers, as well as nationally.

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called the incident “especially sad and disturbing” in a statement on behalf of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was traveling Friday night, and the City Council, according to KGW News.

“People lost their lives or were injured because they stood up to hate,” Eudaly said in the statement. “We need to offer our heartfelt support to the women and others who were targeted. The courage of the people who stood up for them is a reminder that we as a city need to stand together to denounce the hate.”

Multnomah County officials announced that its mental-health call center would be available 24 hours a day for those affected by the MAX train stabbing.

“We are very sad. Ramadan started just a couple hours ago,” Imtiaz Khan, president of the Islamic Center of Portland, told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Friday night. “We are very sorry for the two men who tried to do the right thing. … Of course people from the Muslim community are concerned. And, unfortunately, the easy targets are women because of the headscarf.”

The Portland Mercury, a local newspaper, reported that Christian was a “known right wing extremist and white supremacist” who had attempted to assault protesters at local demonstrations in the past. Video from April 29, shot by Mercury reporter Doug Brown, showed Christian arriving at a “March for Free Speech” draped in an American flag and carrying a baseball bat. While there, Christian yelled to the crowd that he was a “nihilist,” shouted the n-word at people and gave Nazi salutes, Brown reported.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Facebook page they said belonged to Christian showed he held racist, white supremacist and extremist beliefs. On that profile, the Facebook user said he supported creating a “White homeland” in the Pacific Northwest and declared on April 9 that he had “just Challenged Ben Ferencz (Last Living Nuremberg Persecutor) to a Debate in the Hague with Putin as our judge. I will defend the Nazis and he will defend the AshkeNAZIs.”

On April 19, the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the user praised bomber Timothy McVeigh in another status update.

“May all the Gods Bless Timothy McVeigh a TRUE PATRIOT!!!” he wrote. McVeigh was sentenced to death for the 1995 bombing, which killed 168 and was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil before Sept. 11, 2001.

On April 28, the same Facebook user shared a meme that showed a picture of Confederate statues being removed.

“If we’re removing statues because of the Civil War, We should be removing mosques because of 9/11,” the meme stated.

That same day, the user posted a lengthy Facebook status “too (sic) all my Portland Peeps” encouraging them to attend a free speech rally in Portland:

By Saturday morning, the page was flooded with furious comments from people who had linked him with the Portland train stabbing suspect. An SPLC spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Saturday that the group had confirmed this was Christian’s Facebook page by corroborating his mugshot likeness with pictures the Facebook user had shared, as well as with other reporting.

Portland police confirmed to The Post that they believed the Facebook page belonged to Christian.

Christian’s mother, Mary Christian, told the Huffington Post that she couldn’t imagine why her son would be involved in such an incident, “unless he was on drugs or something.”

“He’s been in prison. He’s always been spouting anti-establishment stuff,” Mary Christian told the news site Saturday. “But he’s a nice person. I just can’t imagine.”

Todd C. Frankel contributed to this report. This post has been updated.

Amy B Wang is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.  Follow @amybwang
Spruce Up Africa’s Image
May 27, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
Perspective, Stephen Mpofu
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Every year on May 25 Africans celebrate, or merely observe,  Africa Freedom Day, now known as Africa Day.

They mark the day when the Organisation of the African Unity, otherwise known as the African Union,  was launched in Ethiopia’s capital Adddis Ababa where it remains headquartered, to spearhead the liberation of the continent from colonial rule which was in almost all cases repressive against blacks by their European conquerors.

Today, 54 years on, our continent remains the “dark continent,” a name that was pejoratively given it by European explorers and their fellow natives who had had no access to the land pulsating with minerals and oil and inhabited by potential slave labourers that people in the West with weak limbs desperately needed to do their donkey work for them.

But surprise, surprise! When the foreigners splashed into the sensational African sunshine a golden haze seemed to have hung over the vast continent, causing the foreigners to dig deep in their hills, exploiting the continent’s riches and carting these off to build palaces back home in their native countries, while shackling together in chains black slaves and congesting them on ships, some of them rickety,  and hauling them off to work in mines and on plantations in the Americas.

[Of course,  many of our people did not make the journey,  dying while en route and their bodies being cast into the sea, like worthless animals.]

But the glorious image bestowed on the continent during the exploits faded off when those strangers without knees, as they were called by blacks for wearing long trousers that concealed the knees, were given short shrift at the independence of African states.

In anger, after their hegemonic desires were dashed by the revolutionary movement, the former colonial powers and their cousins elsewhere in the West began to regard, as they do to this day, albeit in their collective hearts, Africa as an insular island that is good for nothing.

This vindictive regard for Africa is probably being perpetuated now through the coverage of African countries by news media in the West.

In fact it seems that whatever positive thing that takes place in Africa is given negative projection in news media in the West in more cases than not.

Stated otherwise, it would appear that Africa, the insular island in the white man’s world, is only a source of bad news with probably a positive filler appearing here and there in newspaper columns or on television screens because it becomes extremely unavoidable in the eyes of others in the global village that the world has become in post modernity on account of advances in media research and development.

And yet, a country in the West that secretly created a virus in a desire to exterminate the black race from the face of this earth but hit a dead end when the experiment went berserk and produced a virus that has and continues to exterminate millions of both white and black people exists on with no remorse whatsoever for what clearly amounts to a crime against all humanity. That whites in other countries remain mum over the creation of HIV can only suggest that a grand coalition of whites exists against their common enemy, the black animal on two legs.

No wonder then that we witness a holier-than-thou pontification and ganging up by the same grand coalition against some African leaders, accusing them of committing war crimes that are, in comparison, less heinous than the creation of the Aids virus.

It is as though that country is more important in this world than the lives being lost daily so that no one points an angry finger at it as if afraid of demonic reprisals if one did so.

In fact, that country enjoys stardom status instead of that which befits a mass killer, for creating the virus that causes Aids which daily decimates more people on the African continent in particular.

Because Africa seems now to be only an afterthought in the minds of its former colonising powers, posting many correspondents on the continent appears to be a luxury that those countries can do without. Instead African stringers are hired to cover events but some, if not most of these correspondents are not highly qualified and so accept the jobs for the sake of the juicy bucks that go with it.

In fact, a European or white mindset appears to have been superimposed on these poor fellows so that they write stories about Africa that are devoid of a patriotic, African perspective to meet the ethnocentric tastes of their foreign readerships.

Stated otherwise, the correspondents believe they must view African happenings, whether these be positive through the negative mindset of a Western journalist in order for these scribes to be regarded as being professional journalists.

Consider, for instance a story by a Zimbabwean correspondent about an event in which our president is involved. It will not be unusual to read in the body of the story something like: “the 93-year-old Mr Mugabe said” blah, blah, blah.

What is implicit in such a story filed by a black Zimbabwean as though he was a white foreign correspondent is that because of his advanced age President Mugabe is not supposed to say or do anything good for this country.

But nothing could be farther from the truth of foreign prejudice implanted in the minds of African journalists writing for overseas publications.

What this kind of foreign filth soiling the minds of African journalists writing for overseas publications suggests is that these correspondents must of necessity go through the baptism of revolutionary fire in order to represent their continent well.

Representing a country well means exactly that — presenting something in its true perspective, be it positive or negative, the latter being intended for measures to be taken to put wrong things right for the benefit of society as a whole.

Perhaps Western countries need to follow the example of China whose active presence and participation in developmental affairs makes butterflies flutter in the bellies of that country’s rivals in the West.

Chinese news correspondents are well placed in Africa in the same way as Chinese support was, for instance quite visible during the armed struggle by our people against the Smith regime.

As a result they project in their files events as they truly are and this gives their readers a true picture of our country.

Zimbabweans and any other people for that matter cannot help but appreciate such all-weather friends.

What a wonderful global village our world would be like were different nations supportive of each other in times of difficulties as well as in good days!
Zambia Expels Pro-Imperialist South African Opposition Head Mmusi Maimane
Government of Zambian President Edgar Lungu Denies Entry
to racist South African opposition party leader.
26 May 2017
BBC World Service

Mmusi Maimane wants South Africa to lodge a formal diplomatic protest with Zambia

South Africa's main opposition leader has been expelled from Zambia to prevent him from attending the treason hearing of his detained counterpart.

The decision was taken to ensure Mmusi Maimane did not put "undue pressure" on the judiciary, a Zambian diplomat said.

Mr Maimane said his expulsion showed Zambia was becoming a dictatorship.

He had planned to show solidarity with the southern African state's main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, during his court appearance on Friday.

Mr Hichilema was arrested in a raid by armed policemen on his home in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, in April.

He was charged with treason after his convoy allegedly refused to make way for President Edgar Lungu's convoy, while both were travelling to a ceremony in western Zambia.

The magistrate's court ruled that Mr Hichilema's lawyers could seek "a judicial review" of the charges after his lawyers argued for the case to be thrown out.

Mr Maimane condemned the "trumped up" charges against Mr Hichilema, his Democratic Alliance (DA) party said in a statement.

He was "aggressively confronted" by police when his plane landed, and he was "forcefully" prevented from entering Zambia, his Democratic Alliance (DA) party said in a statement.

The Zambian government's behaviour was "shameful" and South Africa should lodge a diplomatic protest with it, the party added.

"All I simply wanted was to stand side-by-side with someone who has been fighting for the rule of law, HH [Hakainde Hichilema, a fellow African," Mr Maimane said, just hours after he was unceremoniously booted out of Zambia.

While some have questioned why he would involve himself in the issues of a sovereign state, many have applauded him for trying to highlight the Zambian opposition leader's plight.

Mr Maimane says that he was compelled to intervene because of South Africa's own fight against oppression.

He has been calling for support on social media using the thread #iCantBeSilent.

Authorities in South Africa are keen to avoid a diplomatic row with Zambia, but say they will look into the matter.

Zambia's top diplomat in South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba, said Mr Maimane's presence in court would have undermined "the sanctity, integrity and independence of the judiciary".

"It was imperative that the due process of the law was respected without undue pressure or interference," he told journalists.

Treason is a non-bailable offence in Zambia, with a minimum jail term of 15 years and a maximum sentence of death.

Last year, Mr Lungu narrowly beat Mr Hichilema in disputed presidential elections.
Egypt’s Sisi Discusses Developments in Africa With Guinea’s Condé
Ahram Online
Thursday 25 May 2017

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Thursday in Cairo with Guinea President Alpha Condé and the current chairman of the African Union, where they discussed recent developments in Africa, the Egyptian presidency announced.

President Condé, who is on an official visit to Cairo, discussed with El-Sisi Egyptian-Guinean bilateral relations.

The Egyptian president expressed Egypt’s interest in developing bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Guinea in all areas, especially in the economic, commercial and agricultural fields.

El-Sisi also discussed with Conde the Libyan civil conflicts and Egypt's efforts to help in reaching a political settlement in the war-torn country.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269529.aspx


Egypt, Guinea to sign military and security deals during Guinean president's Cairo visit: ِEnvoy

Ahram Online
Wednesday 24 May 2017

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will meet his Guinean counterpart Alpha Conde in Cairo on Thursday for talks that will include the signing of a number of security and military deals between the two countries, the Guinean ambassador said.

Conde will be in Cairo for a two-day trip, his first visit to Egypt since he took office in 2010.

The two leaders will discuss "means to bolster ties between the two countries on all levels, as well as regional and international developments," Soriba Camara, Guinean envoy in Cairo, told Al-Ahram Daily.

During the visit, the two leaders are scheduled to sign a number of military and security deals as well as education and culture agreements, according to Camara.

Conde is also set to meet with a group of Egyptian businessmen to discuss ways to open trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

In January, Conde was elected new chair of the 55-nation African Union, which is tasked with promoting unity and fostering cooperation between African countries.

Camara said the Guinean president aims to promote a new strategy that engages youth in development and promotes private sector investments in Africa.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269438.aspx
Sisi Says Egypt Has Carried Out Airstrike on Terror Camps; Sources Confirm Location is Libya
Ahram Online
Friday 26 May 2017

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a televised speech following the terrorist attack on Christians in Minya on Friday morning, that an airstrike against a terrorist training camp was being carried out as he spoke.

He added that "Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbour or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt," adding that Friday's attack, which saw 28 Copts killed by armed gunmen, will not pass easily.

El-Sisi said that a strike was being launched targeting a camp that had been a source of terrorists who had carried out attacks in Egypt, without specifying the location.

The Egyptian armed forces released a short video which was shown on state television after El-Sisi's speech. The voiceover said that upon the directions of the president, the airforce had carried out a strike against terrorist gatherings in Libya "after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday."

The strike is still ongoing, the army video said.

Senior sources had earlier told MENA agency that the strike mentioned by the president targeted terrorist militant group camps in Darna, eastern Libya.

"We are preserving our security and saving our people," he said, adding that such attacks are a price that is being paid for “real freedom”, and for preventingEgypt from falling into the hands of extremism and terrorism.

El-Sisi directly addressed theAmerican president Donald Trump, saying: “Your Excellency, I trust your ability to wage war on terrorism as your first priority, with the cooperation of the whole international community, that should unite against terrorism.”

He added that “all countries that support terrorism, should be punished, without any courtesy or conciliation."

"If Egypt falls, the whole world will be in chaos,” he said. “We are waging a war on behalf of the world."

He also referred to the Egyptian strategyto fight terrorism that was outlined during the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh earlier this month, calling on other countries to adopt it.

The president said that the target of such terrorist groups is to topple the Egyptian state and break apart Egyptian society, by creating religious strife between Muslims and Christians.

He said that recent attacks aim to make people believe that Christians are not secure in Egypt, and that the government is not protecting them, referring to efforts to "destroy our economy and our peace."

El-Sisi also said that he warned security bodies a few months ago that terrorist militants who had left Aleppo in Syria would come to Egypt.

The president stressed the huge efforts that have been taken to fight terrorism. He said that Egypt had destroyed 300 vehicles trying to cross the border from Libya while bringing “evil” over the past two months.

The president, who expressed his condolences to the Egyptian people for "the martyrs who fell among Egypt's sons," concludedby saying that Egypt’s national security is the responsibility of security bodies, himself and all Egyptians, and that “we should move to fight these terrorist ideas.”

Twenty-eight Christians were killed and 23 injuredin the armed attack on buses carrying them to a St Samuel’s monastery in Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate on Friday morning.

No group has yet claimed the Minya attack, which is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt’s Christians.

On 9 April, two suicide bombers targeted St George's Church in Tanta and St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing and injuring dozens in the deadliest attack against civilians in the country's recent history. A total of 29 people died in the Tanta explosion and 18 in Alexandria.

Cairo imposed a nationwide three-month state of emergency after the April bombings, with the option to extend for another three months dependent on a parliament vote.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269594.aspx
International Condemnations Follow Attack on Copts in Egypt's Minya
Ahram Online
Friday 26 May 2017

Arab and western countries condemned on Friday an attack on Coptic Christians in Minya governorate in Egypt on Friday which killed 28 people and injured 25, according to the latest toll.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit condemned "in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack, expressing the league's "full solidarity" with Egypt against terrorism.

"The Arab League stresses the necessity of joint cooperation against terrorism," Aboul-Gheit was quoted as saying in a statement from the pan-Arab organisation.

Iraq's foreign ministry denounced the “heinous terrorist” attack in a statement, adding that Baghdad “stands by the Egyptian people and government against all extremist and terrorist groups.”

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail received a call from his Jordanian counterpart, Hany Mulki, who expressed his condolences to Egypt for the terrorist attack of Minya Friday, MENA reported.

The Jordanian premier stressed his government's support for all of Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts, stressing the importance of collaboration to end “this sinful phenomena.”

Tunisia's foreign ministy expressed condolences and wishes for the swift recovery of the victims, Al-Ahram's correspondent in Tunis reported, and expressed Tunisia's full solidarity with the Egyptian people, and support for the measures the Egyptian government takes in confronting terrorism.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also strongly condemned the attack; its secretary-general, Yusuf bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said in a statement that "this terrorist act will only increase Egyptian unity and consolidation in fighting terrorism which violates the principles of Islam and all religions, and aims at terrorising innocent civilians," MENA reported.

Hezbollah has condemned the attack that targeted a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt saying it "is a new crime added to the criminal record of a murderers' gang," AP reported.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned the attack, stressing the importance of international cooperation against terrorism.

Palestine and Lebanon also released statements strongly condemned the attack, expressing their condolences and solidarity with Cairo.

A spokesman for Palestinian group Hamas called the shooting "an ugly crime," of which "the enemies of Egypt" are the only beneficiaries, AP reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office issued a statement sending "condolences from the Israeli people to the Egyptian people and to President El-Sisi."

German Foreign Ministry Spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Germany "condemns in the strongest possible terms these kinds of attacks on believers" and grieves with the victims and their relatives.

Schaefer also said Germany would cooperate with Egypt "to ensure that things like this don't happen again in future."

Russia denounced the attack, stressing its rejection and condemnation of all acts of terrorism.

“This heinous incident once again demonstrates the inhuman nature of international terrorists who have now resorted to any means to achieve their despicable goals of instilling fear and insecurity in the hearts of Egyptians," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Russia Today.

The statement stressed Russia's solidarity with the leadership and people of Egypt in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also condemned “this cowardly and brutal act that has deeply saddened Egypt," state news agency MENA reported.

Le Drian stressed that France would stand side-by-side with Egypt in its war against terrorism.The American and British embassies in Cairo condemned the attack on Twitter,

The USA “condemns the depraved, horrific terrorist attack today against innocent civilians in Minya” read a statement released by the embassy.

“The United States continues to stand firmly with the Egyptian government and people to defeat terrorism,” the statement concluded.

The UK has also denounced the attacks.

“I despise & condemn the killing in Minya. May the terrorists fail in spreading hate. Strength & solidarity to all suffering & responding,” UK envoy to Cairo John Casson posted on Twitter.

The Austrian prime minister, Christian Kern, has sent a letter of condolence to El-Sisi, affirming the embassy's offer of any help regarding treating the injured, MENA reported.

The United Nations’ Security Council also released a statement condemning the attack "in the strongest terms.”

The council expressed its "deepest sympathy" and condolences to the families of the victims and emphasised that the perpetrators need to be brought to justice, AP reported.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed "that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," the statement said.

The council members stood for a minute of silence at the beginning of their session on Friday to mark the attack.Tunisia has also condmened the attack, in a statement issued by the Tunisian foreign affairs ministry, they expressed their condolences to the families of the victims, and hoped speed recovery to the injured, Ahram correspondent to Tunis said

The statement also expressed tunisia's full solidarity with Egyptian people, and affirmed their support to the procedures the Egyptian government take in confronting terrosrism.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269563.aspx
Coptic Orthodox Church Says It 'Suffers With the Whole Nation' Following Deadly Attack on Christians in Egypt's Minya
Ahram Online
Friday 26 May 2017

We appreciate the fast response by officials in dealing with the event, we hope that necessary procedures are undertaken to avoid such attacks, said the statement


Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said on Friday it was “in pain over violence and evil,” hours following an attack in Upper Egypt's Minya on a bus carrying Coptic Christians, which killed 26 people and injured others.

In an official statement, the church expressed its consolations to the families of the victims, adding that it was suffering "with the whole nation over the violence and evil that targets the heart of Egypt and our national unity, which is precious and which we strive to preserve and protect.”

“While we appreciate the fast response by officials in dealing with the event, we hope that necessary procedures are undertaken to avoid such attacks, which damage Egypt’s image and cause Egyptians a great deal of pain,” the statement added.

This is the first official response by the Coptic Orthodox Church after unknown assailants on three 4x4 vehicles attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on the way to Saint Samuel Monastery in the east of Minya governorate.

Egypt’s interior ministry released details on the attack, saying in an official statement that the assailants attacked by "randomly shooting" the bus.

The ministry added that an official count of the final deaths and injuries was underway.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt’s Christians, following thePalm Sunday Suicide Bombings last Apriland aSt Peter Church bombing in Cairo last December.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269562.aspx


Egyptian state Islamic authority cancels Ramadan celebration following attack on Copts in Minya

Ahram Online
Friday 26 May 2017

Dar Al-Iftaa, the Egyptian state body responsible for issuing Islamic edicts, has cancelled the celebrations scheduled on Friday to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

The grand mufti, Shawqi Allam, who heads Dar Al-Iftaa, has issued a statement condemning the attack.

Gunmen attacked vehicles carrying Coptic Christians on their way to Saint Samuel’s Monastery in Minya on Friday, killing 28 people and injuring 25, according to the latest toll.

Dar Al-Iftaa organises a yearly committee to observe the appearance of the crescent moon, announcing the start of the new lunar month of Ramadan.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/269576.aspx
Let’s Never Forget Why Muammar Gaddafi Was Killed
Peter Koenig
May 25, 2017

Gaddafi was certainly not killed for humanitarian reasons. He wanted to empower Africa. He had a plan to create a new African Union, based on a new African economic system. He wanted to introduce the Gold Dinar to back African currencies, so they could become free from the dollar. He wanted to protect Africa’s vast natural resources from Western looting. The imperialists eliminated him.

Introduction

The text below is a transcript of an interview by Alex Knyazev of Russia TV24 with Peter Koenig. Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

*****

Questions Russia TV24: What were the reasons Mr. Gaddafi was killed and NATO invaded Libya?

PK: Mr. Muammar Gaddafi was certainly not killed for humanitarian reasons.

Mr. Gaddafi wanted to empower Africa. He had a plan to create a new African Union, based on a new African economic system. He had a plan to introduce the ‘Gold Dinar’ as backing for African currencies, so they could become free from the dollar-dominated western monetary system, that kept and keeps usurping Africa; Africa’s vast natural resources, especially oil and minerals. As a first step, he offered this lucrative and very beneficial alternative to other Muslim African states, but leaving it open for any other African countries to join.

At the time of Gaddafi’s atrocious murdering by Hillary Clinton, then Obama’s Secretary of State, and the French President Sarkozy, driven by NATO forces, on 20 October 2011 – Libya’s gold reserves were estimated at close to 150 tons, and about the same amount of silver. The estimated value at that time was $7 billion.

It’s your guess who may have stolen this enormous treasure from the people of Libya. As of this date, it is nowhere to be found.

Gaddafi also wanted to detach his oil sales from the dollar, i.e. no longer trading hydrocarbons in US dollars, as was the US/OPEC imposed rule since the early 1970s. Other African and Middle Eastern oil and gas producers would have followed. In fact, Iran had already in 2007, a plan to introduce the Tehran Oil Bourse, where anyone could trade hydrocarbons in currencies other than the US dollar. That idea came to a sudden halt, when Bush (George W) started accusing Iran of planning to build a nuclear bomb which was, of course, a fabricated lie, confirmed by the 16 most prominent US security agencies- and later also by the UN body for nuclear safety – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna. Washington needed a pretext to stop the Tehran Oil Bourse which would have decimated the need for dollars, and thereby most probably would have meant the end of the dollar hegemony.

Saddam Hussein had the same idea. He promised as soon as the murderous and criminal embargo imposed by the UN – of course dictated by Washington – would end in 2000, he would sell his petrol in euros. He was killed.

Gaddafi’s new plan for Africa would have meant an entirely new banking system for Africa, away from the now western (mainly France and UK) central banks dominated African currencies. It would have meant the collapse of the US dollar - or at least an enormous blow to this fake dollar based western monetary system.

So, the Gold Dinar was not to happen. Anybody – to this day- who threatens the dollar hegemony will have to die. That means anybody other than China and Russia, because they have already a few years ago largely detached their economy from the dollar, by implementing hydrocarbons as well as other international contracts in gold or the respective local currencies. That alone has already helped reducing dollar holdings in international reserve coffers from almost 90% some 20 years ago to a rate fluctuating between 50% and 60% today.

Also the Washington/CIA induced “Arab Spring” was to turn the entire Middle East into one huge chaos zone - which today, of course, it is. And there are no plans to secure it and to return it to normalcy, to what it was before. To the contrary, chaos allows to divide-and-conquer – to balkanize, as is the plan for Syria and Iraq. One of the Washington-led western goals of this chaos of constant conflict is to eventually install a system of private central banks in the Middle Eastern/North African countries controlled by Washington – privately owned central banks, à la Federal Reserve (FED), where the neocons, the Rothschilds and freemasonry would call the shots. That is expected to help stabilize the US dollar hegemony, as the hydrocarbons produced in this region generate trillions of dollars in trading per year.

Gaddafi also wanted to introduce, or had already started introducing into Africa, a wireless telephone system that would do away with the US/European monopolies, with the Alcatels and AT&Ts of this world, which dominate and usurp the African market without scruples.

Gaddafi was not only the leader of Libya, he had ambitions to free Africa from the nefarious fangs of the west. Despite being called a dictator and despot by the west – they do that to anyone who doesn’t submit to Washington’s rules – he was very much liked by Libyans, by his people. He had a more than 80% approval rate by the Libyan people. Libya’s oil fortune had allowed him to create a social system in his country where everybody would benefit from their land’s riches – free health care, free education, including scholarships abroad, modern infrastructure, top-notch technology in medicine, and more.

Russia TV24: Why would the gold Dinar be unacceptable for the western leaders?

PK: Yes, the gold Dinar was totally unacceptable to western leaders. It might have devastated the US dollar hegemony, as well as Europe’s control over the African economy – which is nothing less than neo-colonization of Africa – in many ways worse than what happened for the past 400 or 800 years of murderous military colonization and oppression - which is, by the way, still ongoing, just more discretely.

Look at the Ivory Coast 2010 presidential elections. Their arguably ‘unelected’ President, Alassane Ouattara, was in a tie with the people’s candidate, Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo said he won the election and asked for a recount, which was denied. Ouattara, a former IMF staff, was pushed in, basically by ‘recommendation’ of the IMF. He is the darling of the neoliberal international financial institutions – and is leading a neocon government – an economy at the service of western corporations. That’s what they wanted. That’s what they got. Modern colonization is well, alive and thriving. I call this a financial coup, instigated by foreign financial institutions.

Gbagbo was accused of rape, murder and other atrocities and immediately transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – what justice? – at The Hague, where he was waiting five years for a trial which started on 28 January 2016 and is ongoing. On 15 May 2017, it was extended at the Prosecutor’s request to collect further evidence.

This by all likelihood is just a farce to dupe the public into believing that he is getting a fair trial. Already in hearings in 2014, Gbagbo was found guilty of all charges, including murder, rape and other crimes against humanity. Like Slobodan Milošević, he is an inconvenient prisoner, or worse, would he be as a free man. So, he will most likely be locked away – and one day commit ‘suicide’ or die from a ‘heart attack’.  The classic. That’s how the west does away with potential witnesses of their atrocious crimes. End of story. Nobody barks, because the ‘free world’ has been made to believe by the western presstitute media that these people are inhuman tyrants. That’s precisely what the western media’s headlines proclaimed about Muammar Gaddafi: ‘Death of a Tyrant’.

On the other hand, in 2015, Ouattara was “reelected by a landslide”. That’s what western media say. Colonization under African ‘leadership’. He is protected by the French army.

Back to Libya: Take the specific case of France and West and Central Africa. The French Central Bank, the Banque de France, backs the West and Central African Monetary Union’s currency, the CFA franc. The West African Central Bank, for example, is covered, i.e. controlled, by about 70 per cent of the Banque de France. Banque de France has an almost total control over the economy of its former West African colonies. No wonder, Sarkozy, a murderer and war criminal – sorry, it must be said - backed Hillary’s – also a murderer and war criminal - push for NATO to destroy the country and kill thousands of Libyans, including Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Hillary’s infamous words: ‘We came, we saw, he died’. And that she said shamelessly, jokingly, laughing. Would the term human being still apply to such a monster?

Russia TV24: What countries are mostly interested in the Libyan recovery and why? What are the chances for the economy of Libya to be repaired?

PK: Well, if anybody should be interested in Libya’s recovery it would be first the Libyans who are still living in Libya, because they are now living in a Libya of chaos and high crime, of mafia-economics, of tyranny by gang leadership. They certainly have an interest to return to normalcy. North African neighboring countries should also be interested in restoring order and rebuilding Libya’s infrastructure and economy, stopping the spill-over of high crime and terrorism. They have lost an important trading partner.

Of course, the rest of Africa, who have suffered from continuous colonization by the west, after Gaddafi’s demise, should also be interested in re-establishing Libya. They know, it will never be the same Libya that was there to help their economy, to help them prying loose from the western boots and fangs of exploitation.

And Europe should be most interested in re-establishing order and a real economy in Libya - cleaning it from a murderous Mafia that promotes drugs and slave trade ending up in Europe. Libya today is one of the key hubs for the boat refugees from Africa to Europe. Instead of helping Libyans to come to peace within its borders and to rebuild their country, the European Commission launched in 2015 a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, targeting specifically Libya – destroying refugee boats, if they cannot stop them from leaving Tripoli, Benghazi and other Libyan Sea ports.

Of course, spineless Europe doesn’t dare say they would like to remake Libya into a functional state. Libya is Washington’s territory – and Washington wants chaos to continue in Libya. As such Libya is a formidable ground for training and recruitment of terrorists, drug and slave trading; a country where crime prospers and the CIA takes their cut, as these criminal activities are directed by the CIA and their affiliates. The rest of the world doesn’t see that. For them it’s all the fault of the dictator Gaddafi, who thank goodness was eliminated by the western powers, lords of money and greed.

Russia TV24: Decades ago Libya was very successful from an economic point of view. What main things could you remember?

PK: Libya was economically and socially a successful country, arguably the most successful in Africa. Prosperity from oil was largely shared by Gaddafi with his countrymen. Libya had a first-class social safety net, an excellent transportation infrastructure, free medical services, and modern hospitals, equipped with latest medical equipment, free education for everyone – and students could even receive scholarships to study abroad.

Under President Gaddafi, Libya built friendly relations based on solidarity with other African States and was always ready to help if a ‘brother nation’ was in trouble. Gaddafi was a bit like Hugo Chavez in South America. He had a large heart and charisma, maybe not so much for western leaders, but certainly for Libya’s own population. Yet, he is accused of tyranny by the West, and is said of having financially supported Sarkozy’s presidential campaign – Sarkozy, the very ‘leader’ who then helped Hillary lynch Gaddafi. If that doesn’t say a lot about Europe’s criminal leaders – what will?

Muammar Gaddafi was accused by Washington – an accusation immediately repeated by the spineless European puppets - of being responsible for the December 1988 PanAm Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. More than 240 people perished in the crash. Not a shred of evidence was discovered that Libya was behind the plot. But it was a good reason to start a program of sanctions against Gaddafi’s regime. It was most likely a false flag. What interest would anybody have to bring down that flight, other than clamping down on an oil-rich country?

Russia TV24: Now we see oil production has grown to at least 50% of the 2011 level. Can we expect it to continue growing and affecting the oil market?

PK: Yes, Libyan oil production has increased to about 50% of its 2011 level. Libya is known for her high premium light oil, commanding premium prices. It is a market niche which might well be affected by Libya’s stepped up production. But who really benefits from this production increase? Most likely not the Libyans, but the international corporations, mostly American and French oil giants. They call the shots on the production levels. They are part of the international cartel of oil price manipulators, as are the Wall Street banksters, predominantly Goldman Sachs.

Russia TV24: The sanctions against Libya are lifted and all barriers to foreign investments have disappeared as well. Does it mean the county will face recovery soon?

PK: Sanctions may be lifted, but that does not mean that foreign investments will now flow to Libya. The country is still in chaos and disarray and- in my opinion - will stay so in the foreseeable future. That’s in Washington’s interest. Investors are reluctant to put their money into a crime nest and a terrorist breeding ground which is working closely with Washington and its secret services – to provide terrorists to fight US-proxy wars around the Middle East, for example in Syria and Iraq – and now even in Afghanistan – and who knows where else.

Russia TV24: How do you assess the political situation in the country today?

PK: As much as I would like to end on a positive note, it is difficult. As long as the CIA, chief instigator of all wars in the Middle East, is using the purposefully created Libyan chaos to train and recruit Islamic State fighters, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups which vary only in name but have the same objective – namely regime change in Syria – prospects for a foreseeable bright future are dim.

Of course, a lot depends on the unpredictable Trump presidency. Will he seek peace in the Middle East? – That would be the surprise of the Century – or will he continue on the track dictated by the Deep State (not least to save his skin) – continue destruction of the Middle East, balkanization of Syria – all as a stepping stone to full spectrum dominance – as is written in the American Bible – the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century – which outlines the ‘American Pax Romana’? They were the bloodiest 200 – 300 years of the Roman Empire.

Here comes the positive note: It is unlikely that the American empire will last that long. It’s on its last legs. When it finally falters, Libya may recover, and so may the rest of the world.

This article previously appeared in Global Research.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Egypt Launches Air Raids on Libya After Christians Killed
By Ahmed Aboulenein | CAIRO
Reuters

Egyptian air force planes on Friday carried out strikes directed at camps in Libya which Cairo says have been training militants who killed dozens of Christians earlier in the day, Egyptian military sources said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he had ordered strikes against what he called terrorist camps, declaring in a televised address that states that sponsored terrorism would be punished. (Egypt attack location tmsnrt.rs/2qqLS4a)

The sources said six strikes took place near Derna in eastern Libya at around sundown, hours after masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in central Egypt, killing 29 and wounding 24.

The Egyptian military said the operation was ongoing and had been undertaken once it had been ascertained that the camps had produced the gunmen behind the attack on the Coptic Christians in Minya, central Egypt, on Friday morning.

"The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed," Sisi said. "We are currently targeting the camps where the terrorists are trained."

He said Egypt would not hesitate to carry out further strikes against camps that trained people to carry out operations against Egypt, whether those camps were inside or outside the country.

Egyptian military footage of pilots being briefed and war planes taking off was shown on state television.

East Libyan forces said they participated in the air strikes, which had targeted forces linked to al-Qaeda at a number of sites, and would be followed by a ground operation.

A resident in Derna heard four powerful explosions, and told Reuters that the strikes had targeted camps used by fighters belonging to the Majlis al-Shura militant group.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the Christians, which followed a series of church bombings claimed by Islamic State in a campaign of violence against the Copts.

Islamic State supporters reposted videos from earlier this year urging violence against the Copts in Egypt.

At a nearby village, thousands later attended a funeral service that turned into an angry protest against the authorities' failure to protect Christians.

"We will avenge them or die like them," mourners said, while marching with a giant wooden cross.

GUNFIRE AND BLOOD

Eyewitnesses said masked men opened fire after stopping the Christians, who were in a bus and other vehicles on a desert road. Local TV channels showed a bus apparently raked by gunfire and smeared with blood.

Clothes and shoes could be seen lying in and around the bus, while the bodies of some of the victims lay in the sand nearby, covered with black sheets.

Eyewitnesses said three vehicles were attacked. First to be hit were a vehicle taking children to the monastery as part of a church-organized trip, and another vehicle taking families there.

The gunmen boarded the vehicles and shot all the men and took all the women's gold jewellery. They then shot women and children in the legs.

When one of the gunmen's vehicles got a flat tire they stopped a truck carrying Christian workers, shot them, and took the truck.

One of the gunmen recorded the attack on the Copts with a video camera, eyewitnesses said.

The attack took place on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority.

Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.

Police armed with assault rifles formed a security perimeter around the attack site while officials from the public prosecutor's office gathered evidence. Heavily armed special forces arrived later wearing face masks and body armor.

The injured were taken to local hospitals and some were being transported to Cairo. The Health Ministry said that among those injured were two children aged two.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made a point of improving relations with Cairo, said America stood with Sisi and the Egyptian people.

"This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls," Trump said.

The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt's 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilize the country.

"I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism," Ahmed al-Tayeb said. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, condemned the perpetrators as traitors.

The head of the Coptic Christian church, Pope Tawadros, who spoke with Sisi after the attack, said it was "not directed at the Copts, but at Egypt and the heart of the Egyptians".

Pope Francis, who visited Cairo a month ago, described the attack as a "senseless act of hatred".

PERSECUTION

Coptic Christians, whose church dates back nearly 2,000 years, make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.

They say they have long suffered from persecution, but in recent months the frequency of deadly attacks against them has increased. About 70 have been killed since December in bombings claimed by Islamic State at churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta.

An Islamic State campaign of murders in North Sinai prompted hundreds of Christians to flee in February and March.

Copts fear they will face the same fate as brethren in Iraq and Syria, where Christian communities have been decimated by wars and Islamic State persecution.

Egypt's Copts are vocal supporters of Sisi, who has vowed to crush Islamist extremism and protect Christians. He declared a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of the church bombings in April.

But many Christians feel the state either does not take their plight seriously enough or cannot protect them against determined fanatics.

The government is fighting insurgents affiliated with Islamic State who have killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula, while also carrying out attacks elsewhere in the country.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein, Eric Knecht, Mostafa Hashe, Omar Fahmy and Mohamed Abdellah; Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Mark Trevelyan, John Stonestreet and Lisa Shumaker)
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Africa Must Now Fight for Economic Emancipation
May 26, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Yesterday, the Mother Continent celebrated the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU).

May 25 of every year is important for Africans as it marks a day when the OAU was formed in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with an agenda to fight for the liberation of their land from foreign occupation.

Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo are among the countries that were under colonialism at that time. A number of others had already been independent when the OAU was formed — Ghana in 1957, Nigeria, Senegal and Chad all in 1960, Tanzania in 1961 and Uganda a year later.

Leaders of the newly independent countries assumed the onerous responsibility of helping those that were still occupied to be free from colonialism. They mobilised arms and moral support from the continent, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America.

No African worth their salt will forget the immeasurable contribution that the OAU’s founding fathers — Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Modibo Keita (Mali), Gamal Abdul Nasser (Egypt), Sekou Touré (Guinea), Ben Bella (Algeria) and Emperor Haile Selassie (Ethiopia) made in not only shaping but also prosecuting the fight for African self-determination. They were men of tremendous courage and foresight who took on colonialists head-on at a time when a mere sight of a white man was enough to send many blacks on bended knees, worshipping the imperialists. They were a special people.

Now Africa is independent except for one country, Western Sahara, that remains a colony, not of a European country, but of a neighbouring African country, Morocco. A sad state of affairs indeed.

In a political sense, Africa is in charge of itself now. It was a long journey, one that left millions dead, communities broken and spirits broken. But everything that is sweet demands one’s sweat. We have to state, however, that Africa remains under occupation economically. African economies are still very weak and narrow as they are based on one or two pillars. They are not as diverse as they must be and remain foreign-owned. Also, they are still based on exports of primary products — unprocessed minerals, crops and so on. The raw materials go out cheap yet Africans spend a fortune importing finished goods.

This is an area that Africans must concentrate on. They need to further develop their economies to be able to extract their resources themselves and process them into finished goods before they export them to earn more.

We are glad that the contemporary leaders, chief among them President Mugabe, are mindful of the inadequacy of Africa’s political freedom. Without economic independence, we cannot say that Africa is independent in the true sense of the word.

Pursuant to that agenda, the AU is prosecuting Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of Africa over the next 50 years.

It builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.  It is interesting to note that the year 2063, the target for the attainment of the goals of Africa’s socio-economic blueprint, will also mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the OAU.

The theme for this year is “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth”.

Said the AU in a statement expounding the theme: “Over the last 10 years, it has become evident that a demographic dividend lens offers a strategic basis for focusing and prioritising investments in people in general and the youth in particular, in order to achieve sustainable development, inclusive economic growth, and to build ‘an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, which is driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.’”

Indeed the youth are the future of any community. They are the engine of growth of any society, they are its energy. A community without the youth cannot perpetuate itself, it soon dies off.

More than three out of every five Africans are aged 35 years and younger. For the continent to make the most out of this demographic group that constitutes citizens generally referred as the youths, there should be more investment in education, training, decent work, and engaging young people in shaping their future.

However, focus on youth must be accompanied by focus on women, the disabled, and the elderly for more inclusive growth to be achieved.

As we marked this very important day for Africa, we are unhappy that there are a few pockets of armed conflict — the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, parts of Nigeria and Uganda just to name but four. This fighting does nothing to develop Africa. It drags us back.

Most of the conflicts on the continent are internal, which means that it is Africans fighting among themselves for political power, access to resources and associated privileges. It is sad that after fighting and defeating colonialists, Africans have turned on each other. That must stop.

“Most of today’s conflicts are internal,” said the AU in its Africa Day message, “triggered by competition for power and resources, inequality, marginalisation, disrespect for human rights and sectarian divides. Often, they are inflamed by violent extremism or provide the fuel for it. But prevention goes far beyond focusing solely on conflict.

“The best means of prevention and the surest path to durable peace is inclusive and sustainable development. It is critical to continue building more effective and accountable institutions to address governance challenges, advance the rule of law

and promote civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.  We can speed progress by doing  more to provide opportunities and hope to young people.”

Yesterday was a big day for the continent as it marks the attainment of political independence for Africa but to achieve much more, Africans need to intensify the struggle for economic independence while maintaining peace and unity.