Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sudan News Update: United Nations Security Council Votes to Enter Sudan; Darfur Rebels Split Again; Oil Production Up

U.N. troops will go to war-ravaged Darfur

26,000 troops and police will try to stop attacks on displaced people

The effort is expected to cost $2 billion the first year

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to authorize up to 26,000 troops and police in an effort to stop attacks on millions of displaced civilians in Sudan's Darfur region.

Expected to cost more than $2 billion in the first year, the combined United Nations-African Union operation aims to quell violence in Darfur, where more than 2.1 million people have been driven into camps and an estimated 200,000 have died over the last four years.

The resolution allows the use of force in self-defense, to ensure freedom of movement for humanitarian workers and to protect civilians under attack.

But the measure, which has been watered down several times, no longer allows the new force to seize and dispose of illegal arms. Now they can only monitor such weapons.

Gone also is a threat of future sanctions, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned on Tuesday that "if any party blocks progress and the killings continue, I and others will redouble our efforts to impose further sanctions."

"The plan for Darfur from now on is to achieve a cease-fire, including an end to aerial bombings of civilians; drive forward peace talks ... and, as peace is established, offer to begin to invest in recovery and reconstruction," he said on a visit to the United Nations.

Specifically, the text authorizes up to 19,555 military personnel and 6,432 civilian police.

The resolution calls on member states to finalize their contributions to the new force, called UNAMID or the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, within 30 days. UNAMID would incorporate the under-equipped and under-financed 7,000 African Union troops now in Darfur.

Rape, looting, murder and government bombardment drove millions from their homes in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their arid region.

The rebels have now split into a dozen groups, many fighting each other.

Darfur rebel group JEM splits again ahead of talks

KHARTOUM, July 30 (Reuters) - Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement has split again, a spokesman said on Monday, ahead of a United Nations and African Union meeting to unite the insurgents before peace talks with the Sudanese government.

Nourein Adam Abdel Gaffa, spokesman for JEM's armed wing, said the group was removing Khalil Ibrahim from his leadership position and wanted members of JEM's army to represent the group at the rebel meeting in Tanzania beginning on Aug. 3.

"We are announcing the removal of Khalil Ibrahim as the leader of the movement," he said.

Abdel Gaffa said Ibrahim had breached the laws governing JEM but did not offer details.

However, Abdel Gaffa is allied with JEM chief of staff Abdallah Abanda Abakr who Ibrahim removed from his position earlier this month, a move Abakr and other commanders rejected.

JEM spokesman Ahmed Adam told Reuters from London that Ibrahim had not been removed and would represent JEM in the Arusha talks in August.

"This is not true. Still Khalil is the chairman of JEM," he said, adding that JEM was trying to resolve any outstanding problems, including confusion over Abakr's role.

The split announced by JEM's armed wing is a blow to the Aug. 3-5 Arusha meeting ahead of peace talks planned by U.N. Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson and his AU counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim.

One of the biggest obstacles to restarting Darfur peace talks to end the fighting is rebel divisions.

Since a peace deal last year signed by only one of three rebel negotiating factions, the non-signatory factions split into more than a dozen groups.

JEM, which along with the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), was involved in the 2006 Nigeria talks that produced the peace agreement, is often considered a smaller rebel group.

Sudan expert Eric Reeves said, although JEM had few troops on the ground, they could act as a spoiler to any peace agreement if not represented at the talks.

Abdel Gaffa said on Monday his group was "not committed to any ceasefire agreement".

U.S. envoy Andrew Natsios told reporters in New York that Salim and Eliasson hoped to begin Darfur peace talks in September, although the envoys themselves have been careful not to set a start date.

"By the end of August Jan Eliasson said, and Salim Salim, that they will issue invitations to a formal conference that they expect will begin in September," Natsios said.

He added that broader society in Darfur needed to be included in the talks process to ensure whatever is agreed receives support on the ground.

Last year's unpopular peace deal is rejected by the 2.5 million Darfuris who fled their homes to camps in Darfur and in neighbouring Chad. The African Union, which mediated the deal, was criticised for not publicising it quickly enough.

Official: Nearly half of displaced people in Darfur return home

KHARTOUM, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese General Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid Hasabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman announced on Saturday that 45 percent of displaced people in the western Sudanese region of Darfur had returned to their villages.

He told a press conference that the number of returnees in North Darfur State reached 81,762 households, in West Darfur State,78,846 and in South Darfur State, 76,841.

Describing the humanitarian situation in Darfur as stable, the Sudanese official noted that his government undertook the rebuilding of 200 villages in Darfur.

Hasabo indicated that a number of factors contributed to the voluntary repatriation of displaced people, including tribal reconciliation and the efforts exerted by national and international organizations and facilities by the government.

Armed conflicts erupted in Darfur in February 2003, leading to the displacement of some 1 million people.

A peace agreement signed by the Sudanese government and a main rebel faction in May 2006 stipulates that the displaced people should be helped to return to their homelands.

Sudan oil exports flourish, reaching 425,000 bpd

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan is exporting around 425,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and 30,000 tonnes a month of petroleum products, a senior oil ministry official said yesterday.

The official also said deepened US sanctions earlier this year had not hurt Sudanese exports, except in administrative banking procedures.

"We produce a minimum of about 300,000 bpd of Nile Blend and the local refinery uses about 75,000 of that for internal consumption," the official, who declined to be named, said.

"Of Dar Blend we produce about 200,000 bpd, all of it for exports," he added.

Sweet Nile Blend is easier to sell and refine than the acidic Dar Blend.

Rights activists have pressured Indian, Malaysian and Chinese companies, the major investors in Sudanese oil.

The activists say revenues from Sudan's oil industry fund military operations in Sudan's western Darfur region where international experts estimate 200,000 were killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes in four years of revolt.

The oil ministry official said around 40,000 bpd of Al Fula crude is also produced from Block 6 operated 95 per cent by China's CNPC. That goes entirely to the local refinery for domestic consumption.

The official added some 30,000 tonnes a month of petroleum products were exported.

"If production increases we have the capacity to export more," he said.

Two marine export terminals on Sudan's east coast can store up to 4m barrels of Nile Blend and 3 millon of Dar Blend.

Sudan has four oil refineries, with a total capacity of 142,000 bpd.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Somali News Update: Blast Wounds Three Soldiers; Mayor's Home Attacked; Market Explosions, etc.

Somalia: Mogadishu blast wounds three soldiers

Mon. July 30, 2007 04:24 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) Three police officers and one civilian were wounded in bomb blast, which occurred in the main Bakara market, south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu – as the reconciliation congress continues in the city for the second week.

An eyewitness told Somalinet that a local militant threw a hand grenade bomb at the police forces who were in the act of security operations around 10:50am local time.

Soon after the explosion, the security forces sealed off the area and began investigations over who was behind the attack.

It is part of the insurgent attacks against the government in the capital. One of the wounded police officers was reported to be in critical condition, according to local medical sources.

On Sunday, five explosions happened in Mogadishu killing two people and wounding five others.

Meanwhile, fighting has today broken out in Laanta Buure military training camp 35km south of the capital between government soldiers. One soldier was reported to have wounded in the fighting so far. Reports say the latest skirmish was caused by row between the rival soldiers.

Somalia: Insurgent kills 2 soldiers in Mogadishu

Sun. July 29, 2007 04:02 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) A suspected local militant Saturday killed two government soldiers in Suuq Bacaad market in Yaqshid district, north of the Somalia capital Mogadishu. Resident in the area told Somalinet that he ambushed the soldiers who were walking inside the market around 12:20pm local time.

“A man armed with a pistol killed the soldiers in ambush attack,” said one eyewitness fearing of reprisal.

Soon after the shooting, the security forces cordoned the area and began investigations in the market arresting several people in connection with the attack.

The police are questioning the detainees. “Anyone who is found innocent will be freed but the guilty ones will be arrested,” local official said.

The government soldiers and its Ethiopian forces have been target for ambush attacks and bombings by the Islamist insurgents since the ouster of Islamic Courts Union from Somalia late December 2007. The ICU has been ruling much of south and central Somalia for six months.

Somalia: Explosion Mogadishu mayor's house

Sun. July 29, 2007 03:55 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) A bomb exploded near the residence of Mogadishu’s mayor Mohamed Omar Habeb ‘Mohamed Dhere’ in north of the capital. No casualty was reported and it was not clear whether the mayor was inside the house or not.

The deputy mayor Abdifitah Shaweye denied that the explosion was targeted on the mayor’s house.

“Where the bomb exploded was far from the house of the mayor and this is a kind of insurgents’ propaganda,” said Shaweye.

The mayor of Mogadishu had survived from an attempt on his life after roadside explosions in the capital before.

Elsewhere, one person was killed and four others were wounded when an unknown gunman threw a grenade bomb at near a teashop where a group of residents were relaxing in Shangani district east of the Somalia capital Mogadishu last night.

Witnesses told Somalinet that the bomb was aimed at the government soldiers but missed the target. None of the soldiers was hurt.

Somalia: Fresh Bakara explosions kill civilians

Sun. July 29, 2007 04:04 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) At least two people were killed and four others were wounded in four explosions which rocked the main Bakar market, south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu.

The explosions caused by grenade bombs which targeted on the government soldiers involving in clearing operations to remove kiosks from the roads inside the market.

The blasts occurred in different locations in the market as the soldiers opened fire in response to the bomb attacks.

There is no immediate casualty on the soldiers. Before the incident, the forces were using bulldozers to destroy the cabins alongside the roads.

The shops in the areas of the explosions were closed for short while. Investigations are now under way to pursue the attackers.

Unknown insurgents carried out the latest bomb explosions in Bakar market, which has been relatively calm since the government ended the siege last week.

Eritrea: Gov’t sending missiles to Somalia – UN

Mon. July 30, 2007 05:40 pm.
By Bonny Apunyu

(SomaliNet) According to a UN monitoring group on consistent violations of an arms embargo, huge quantities of arms are reaching Islamic insurgents in Somalia such as surface-to-air missiles from Eritrea.

UN’s recent report to its Security Council, published by the United Nations, says Somalia is awash with more arms than at any time since the early 1990s when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the northeast African country was thrown into anarchy.

According to a report, most weapons have been brought into Somalia via clandestine routes and many have reached the Shabab, the fighting wing of the militant Islamic Courts Union.

"Huge quantities of arms have been provided to the Shabab by and through Eritrea," the report said, adding the Islamists had "an unknown number of surface-to-air missiles, suicide belts and explosive with timers and detonators."

Eritrea has denied sending the weapons, particularly the surface-to-air missiles. But the report showed pictures from a video of the fighters carrying SA-18 missiles, which were used against a Belarus aircraft that had made an emergency landing in Mogadishu, the capital.

The monitoring group in April also showed a Security Council sanctions committee, headed by South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, a video of the actual firing of the missile, which it said was part of a consignment of six SA-18s that had been delivered by Eritrea.

Eritrea is the archrival of Ethiopia, and diplomats say the two have been waging a proxy war in Somalia since last year when Asmara backed a hard-line Islamist movement against the country's fragile government. Ethiopia sent in troops to support the government and dislodge the Islamists from Mogadishu.

The monitoring group said a chartered Boeing 707 cargo plane, owned by Aerogem Aviation Ltd, based in Ghana, had made at least 13 trips from Asmara to Mogadishu, sometimes filing false flight plans. But the flights were confirmed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the report said.

A letter in the report by Eritrea's UN ambassador, Araya Desta, said the accusations were "fabricated" and part of a "subtle disinformation campaign" to cover up Ethiopian "adventurism."

Ethiopia is also not exempt from the arms embargo, even though the United Nations and the African Union support the government. Only Uganda is exempt because its military operates under an AU flag.

Ethiopia, in its letter, said its weapons were legal because it "has been involved in Somalia at the invitation of the legitimate and international recognised Transitional Federal Government."

The United States, which believes the Islamists have close ties to al-Qaeda, conducted two air strikes in January. The monitoring group said it received information that on June 2, the US Navy fired several times at suspected al-Qaeda operatives near the coastal village of Bargal.

Asked about arms embargo violations, Zalmay Khalizad, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said in a letter that attacks against al-Qaeda were in self-defense in response to ongoing threats to the US.

He said that the US action against "known terrorist targets" did not constitute delivery of weapons to Somalia.

Despite defeats by the Ethiopians, Shabab, which attacks Ethiopian and government troops regularly, has hidden weapons caches for future use and has scattered their fighters, the report said.

Other weapons have found their way through arms dealers operating in a large arms market in Mogadishu, which sells to warlords scattered in central and southern Somalia and "is doing a brisk and lucrative business in arms sales."


Sacramento and the Struggle for Citizen's Control of Law Enforcement

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

The struggle for Citizen control and accountability of law enforcement in California is a 24/7 one. The latest attempt by members of the California Legislature and others to bring more accountability and transparency to law enforcement, SB1019, has been held up in committee after the June 26th hearing.

On May 5th we saw the need for this accountability plainly demonstrated by the outrageous actions of the LAPD’s unnecessary and excessive use of force against the lawfully gathered citizens who they attacked after the May Day Rally there. Well today I come to you with another incident to report.

My oldest daughter, Halima, a beautiful young actress, was falsely arrested and physically assaulted by LAPD officers who failed to identify themselves or marandize her properly on the evening of July 4th. They had no reason to arrest her, and they used excessive force on her, also without reason.

I have attached her initial statement, which explains the situation much better than I can here. She was traumatized by the situation, but with our help and the power of the Most High she is recovering. She is still bruised, sore, and dismayed that this happened. The manner in which it happened clearly shows the need for better over-site and training of the LAPD. It also shows that not much has changed with the LAPD.

In addition the subsequent actions of the LAPD after she was booked, show that there is an extreme disregard to procedure and records when it comes to Black and Hispanic people.

We are planning to file official complaints against all officers involved, and the LAPD. I’m contacting you because we will need help with notifying the press in LA, and contacting organizations and activists like yourselves to help with pressuring LAPD and the City to hold the officers accountable for their actions. So please read the attached document, and if you feel as angry and disgusted as we do, contact me. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. We must put an end to police officers feeling they are above the citizenry and can do whatever they feel because they aren’t being held accountable.

Aluta! Continua!!

Rev Ashiya Odeye
Justice Reform Coalition
900 G ST., Suite 302
Sacramento, CA 95814
916 452-1293
916 267-4199 c


It was late. I was coming home from work, looking for parking, and my mind was on getting home, walking the dog, and going to bed. I made the left-hand turn from -- to --scoping the area for parking along the way. I don’t normally like parking on this street because it’s a really shady area (dark, loads of break-ins, etc.)

About half-way down the block I noticed shadowy figures in the middle of the street with flashlights looking down at the ground. My best guess, considering all the used fireworks on the ground was that these people were just lighting more fireworks.

I moved to drive around them, one of them flashed a light in my eyes so I couldn’t see who it was and yelled for me to stop. But I was NOT going to stop for some random guy yelling at me in the street! Guys try to stop you all the time and talk to you but you have to just ignore them for the sake of safety.

I stopped my car and he lowered his flashlight and approached me. He told me to back up the car. I looked around and noticed loads of people milling about on the sidewalk and the surrounding areas.

I tried twice to ask him what was going on but his only retorts were for me to follow his orders and then simply because he said so. At the time I found that remark to be a bit funny and chuckled because only my mother has ever successfully said that to me.

Well I didn’t want to reverse all the way back up the block especially when I was already on the corner. He told me to get out of the car and I remember looking up at him and his face…he looked so sinister to me! His face seemed swollen with hate and anger and his eyes were squinted and just piercing. So I told him no thank you.

I was NOT getting out of the only protection I had against him I didn’t care WHO he was or what badge of power someone had given him! While we were talking, another cop came in through the passenger side window and turned off the car and put it in park. I was scared and I just wanted to get out of there. I offered to finish pulling around the corner.

I was very terrified of this man and confused and had no idea what was going on. The officer who was talking to me reached into the car through the window, grabbed my wrist and yanked it out the window trying to pull me out and I guess give me an Indian burn.

I took my arm back and checked on it and the bracelet I was wearing and he repeated the action of reaching into my car through the window, grabbing my wrist, yanking it out the window to pull me out and give me an Indian burn.

His partner unclipped my seat belt, unlocked the door and from there things got really rough, crazy and confusing. I’m not as clear about the details but I’ll do my best. I was ripped from the safety of my car by three or four cops, forced over to a police car that was parked just behind my car. They wrenched my hands behind my back, and pushed them way far up my back, passed where they normally go on their own.

They kept telling me too relax but the "resistance” they felt was my body’s natural resistance to my arms being so twisted. But they just kept right on shoving! My cell phone dropped on the ground and my stylus fell out, by bracelet had broken and fallen off my wrist and my shoes were hanging on by only their ankle straps.

I remember asking them to put on my shoes and being ignored. My mind was just as jumbled as my body and in trying to straighten things out I guess I got a bit fixated on two things; getting my shoes back on and getting my WHOLE bracelet back.

Well, while the left handcuff was overly tight and cutting off my circulation the right one was really loose and it didn’t take hardly more than a shake and a pull to get out of it.

I got one shoe on but before I could get the other one on three or four more cops yanked me from the car, pinned me too the ground with their knees in my back and tied up my ankles with a nylon strap which was then shut in the door.

No one said anything to me for a long while after that. I struggled in the back seat very angry and even more scared. I saw him out there talking to the others and glancing back at me.

I think they were calling a female cop over to the scene in order to search me and getting their stories straight. I began yelling at him to give me my bracelet back. Over and over again I said this but no one acknowledged I was even there.

Finally someone acknowledged me and said he was going to get it and asked me to please calm down. I was getting more and more upset (anger, fear mostly) as time went on. I was very frustrated and had lost all respect for these men, and the original policeman in particular.

Someone came back with some pieces of the bracelet but he didn’t have the stone. He went back out and found it. He wouldn’t let me hold it but said he would put it in a bag for me. I watched him do it.

I stayed in the car watching the cops just outside talk about me. I remember that at some point during this time a cop came and yanked on the strap a couple times looking angrily at me before putting the strap back in the door and closing it.

I also remember trying to get my shoe on and the nylon tie came off my left foot. I figured I’d better not let the cops know about that one or they might try to kill me or break a bone or something. A big fire truck came and some firemen got out but they didn’t stay long and soon continued on.

Then a girl police officer came and they took me out of the car. I was hoping they wouldn’t hurt me for the loose nylon strap. They didn’t and the girl told me to spread my legs. She patted me down and as she did she asked me some questions about concealed weapons, drugs and stuff. They took my flashlight and sharpie.

Another cop came to the door. This one was an older white man who said he wanted to ask me some questions to. He asked for me driver license which was given to him. He asked for my name and I pointed out that it was on the DL. He asked me if I lived around here and I said yes, I was just looking for parking.

He asked for my address and I asked him why he wanted to know and he explained that he was the senior officer or something and was going to be the one filing this report. He told me to stop asking questions that he was going to be the one asking all the questions and that it would be better for me to just answer them. I felt threatened by that statement.

I said that I thought I was allowed to ask questions and he nodded and said I could ask questions after he was done and tell my story and he would put it in the report. I didn’t believe him but I answered his questions anyway since I had no way of defending myself.

All he asked anyway was stats like height and weight. Then he told me to sit in the car and he put all his writing pad and stuff away.

He told me to get back in the car all the way and I asked him if he was going to listen to my story. He said yes but as I was talking I could tell that he was not that interested because he mostly kept his eyes on the surrounding commotion and would glance back at me and chuckle from time to time.

Finally he cut me off and asked if I’d “slipped my cuffs.” I told him it was to put my shoe on and was about to say more when he cut me off again to tell me that I was not allowed to do that and basically scolded me.

He said I was probably going to be arrested but when I asked for what he kept talking saying they were going to take me down to the station and could ask more questions there.

I guess that was all he was concerned about because then I was put back in the car without the strap. I got the impression from everything that had happened so far and from little snippets of conversation that there had been a shooting and that they were calling in another female cop to take me to the station.

One showed up, I saw her talking to some of the other officers. She came over, opened the door asked me my name and I asked hers, Cisco, and she said she was going to take me to the station to book me and so I could get arrested.

She told me I was to be arrested for not doing what the other guy told me to do. I told her that I was simply asking why and she explained that sometimes officers tell you to do stuff for your own safety. I told her how I’d offered to go around the corner and she said that it was possible that there was still some danger over there and that they may have needed to clear the area.

I told her about how there were all these people milling about the area and how the cops themselves were completely unconcerned with what was or wasn’t around the corner until just now and still hadn’t cleared the area for public safety and why didn’t they block the street? Cisco offered that maybe they didn’t have enough time.

He asked if I understood what was going to happen to me. I said yes got out of the car, and her male partner grabbed my arm roughly and pulled me away. I told him I wanted to wait for her and he said she was right behind us and kept pulling.

I said I would be more comfortable if she were there and stopped to which his response was to ask me if I was crazy and if I was taking medications or drugs. I asked him if he was. He didn’t reply.

He asked if I’d ever been arrested before. This guy was a real sarcastic smart-ass so I asked if he had ever been arrested. He said “yeah,” chuckled and said that you don’t get to be a policeman if you’ve been arrested.

That was news to me! Finally she came over and we walked to the car and I was put in.

I remember my handcuff was still really tight and my hand was starting to be affected. They took me and put me in a cell. I tried to calm myself down with some meditation. I kept expecting them to read me my rights since I was getting arrested but I guessed that would happen later.

Cisco took a few of my things off me, my belt and my other bracelet. Gamble talked to me about the charges I would be arrested for and asked me if I understood them. I understood what they said I did but I told him I’d done nothing wrong.

I’d told everyone I’d done nothing wrong but no one seemed to care. I didn’t want to be arrested and I tried to talk to someone who could help me. Cisco said that the decision had already been made to arrest me by the original policeman. She said that they had to take me somewhere else to book me.

So we got back in the car and when we got to the station, she had me sit on a bench outside the station in the parking structure, she asked me some questions, including what sexual orientation I am. Took me inside the station put me on another bench and waited.

She by then my left hand was in a great deal of pain. I was trying to rub it to get some circulation back into it as it seemed to be turning colors. Cisco finally took the cuffs off me.

I tried to meditate to calm myself down but by then I was too frightened and couldn’t calm down. Plus there was another cop there with some guy in handcuffs who asked what the “Dali Llama” was doing and that upset me. I saw a nurse and a doctor, they took me into another hallway and fingerprinted me, they had me walk through a metal detector, and then they put me in a cell.

As the cell door closed I hear Cisco say “Good Luck.” From then on out I had no track of time. I made several phone calls. I had to glean information off of the other prisoners that were there to even figure out where exactly I was! I must have been there for several hours before they moved us upstairs.

I fell asleep in one of the bunks not knowing if anyone was out there for me. When I woke up the first time I was in great pain. My wrists were swollen to where on my left hand you couldn’t even see the bone. I found that I couldn’t squeeze my fists tight.

I could hardly bend my elbows without feeling intense soreness and the same was true for my back and shoulders. I couldn’t even easily open or hold a door open without wincing from the pressure of those heavy doors.

I used my hips where I could. Sleeping was my only solace and even that was hard because it hurt to lie in any position or to switch position because of the pain in all the joints of my arms and the intense soreness of my back.

I slept as much as possible and tried really hard not to cry when I was awake. I didn’t know what to do or what options I had or what. I got a hold of my boyfriend and he said he was on his way to get me out. I felt a little better after that.

Mostly I was just scared and tried not to talk much since I didn’t know who these ladies were and what they were capable of.

Some of them seemed crazy, some were on some serious drugs, and others seemed very tough! I thought if I just stayed quiet and harmless they would leave me alone. All I wanted was to get out of there.

Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services: Is the Net's Popular Encyclopedia Marred by Disinformation?

Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services:

Is the Net's popular encyclopedia marred by disinformation?

Courtesy of Antifa Info-Bulletin

While researching my next article about the Lockerbie bombing, I witnessed an incident that made me wonder whether intelligence agents had infiltrated Wikipedia.

Anyone who knows the universal success of Wikipedia will immediately grasp the importance of the issue. The fact that most Internet search engines, such as Google, give Wikipedia articles top ranking only raises the stakes to a higher level.

The Incident

In the aftermath of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, the finger of suspicion quickly pointed to a Syria-based Palestinian organization -- the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command (PFLP-GC) -- hired by Iran. The terrorist group was created by a former Syrian army captain, Ahmed Jibril, who broke away from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1968.

I had learned from a recently released U.S. National Archives file that Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, had infiltrated the PFLP and helped the Entebbe hijackers (Israeli commandos rescued the hostages in Uganda in 1976), so I wanted to learn more about the link between the PFLP and the PFLP-GC. I also wanted to learn more about allegations made by David Colvin, the first secretary of the British Embassy in Paris, concerning the rather bizarre collaboration between the PFLP and the Shin Bet.

As I could not locate the article in which I had learned about the allegations, I consulted the article on the Entebbe Operation on Wikipedia, where I knew the story had been noted. To my surprise, I found that all references to the alleged collaboration between the PFLP and the Shin Bet had been suppressed. Moreover, it is no longer possible to edit the page.

A Long, Undistinguished History

Conducting false flag operations and planting disinformation in the mainstream media have long belonged to the craft of the spies. In the months preceding the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies used both techniques abundantly.

A copy of the CIA's secret history of the coup surfaced in 2000. Written in 1954 by the Princeton professor who oversaw the operation, the story reveals that agents from the CIA and SIS (the American and British intelligence services) "directed a campaign of bombings by Iranians posing as members of the Communist Party, and planted articles and editorial cartoons in newspapers."

The section of the report concerning the media speaks volumes: "The CIA was apparently able to use contacts at the Associated Press to put on the newswire a statement from Tehran about royal decrees that the CIA itself had written. But mostly, the agency relied on less direct means to exploit the media.

"The Iran desk of the State Department was able to place a CIA study in Newsweek, using the normal channel of desk officer to journalist. The article was one of several planted press reports that, when reprinted in Tehran, fed the war of nerves against Iran's prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh," the document said.

Half a century later, the technique of disinformation is as important as ever to intelligence agencies. In the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon set up the Defense Department's Office of Strategic Influence with a mission "to provide news items and false information directly to foreign journalists and others to bolster U.S. policy and the war on terrorism."

The new office attracted so much criticism that the Bush administration eventually shut it down in February 2002. Even defense officials publicly denounced the dangers of such a program, which could have left the department without a shred of credibility.

"We shouldn't be in that business. Leave the propaganda leaks to the CIA, the spooks [secret agents]," a defense official said.

Is Wikipedia Harboring a Secret Agent?

According to clues accumulated by ordinary citizens around the world, it could be that the CIA and other intelligence agencies are riding the information wave and planting disinformation on Wikipedia. If so, tens of thousands of innocent and unwitting citizens around the world are translating and propagating their lies, providing these agencies with a universal news network.

The Salinger Investigation of the Pan Am 103 Bombing

Pierre Salinger was White House press secretary to Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Salinger also served as U.S. Senator from California and a campaign manager for Robert Kennedy.

But Salinger is also famous for his investigative journalism. Hired by ABC News as its Paris bureau chief in 1978, he became the network's chief European correspondent in 1983.

During his distinguished career, Salinger broke important stories, such as the secret negotiations by the U.S. government with Iran to free American hostages in 1979-80 and the last meeting between U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein in 1990, during which she led the Iraqi president to believe that the U.S. would not react to an invasion of Kuwait.

Salinger, who was based in London, spent a considerable amount of time and energy investigating the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. He and his collaborator, John Cooley, hired a young graduate, Linda Mack, to help in the investigation.

"I know that these two Libyans had nothing to do with it. I know who did it and I know exactly why it was done," Salinger said during his testimony at the Zeist trial, where one of the Libyans was convicted of murdering the 270 victims.

"That's all? You're not letting me tell the truth. Wait a minute; I know exactly who did it. I know how it was done," Salinger replied to the trial judge, Lord Sutherland, who simply asked him to leave the witness box.

"If you wish to make a point you may do so elsewhere, but I'm afraid you may not do so in this court," Lord Sutherland interrupted.

Searching for the True Identity of 'Slim Virgin'

Slim Virgin had been voted the most abusive administrator of Wikipedia. She upset so many editors that some of them decided to team up to research her real life identity.

Attempts to track her through Internet technology failed. This is suspicious in itself as the location of normal Internet users can easily be tracked. According to a team member, Slim Virgin "knows her way around the Internet and covered her tracks with care."

Daniel Brandt of the Wikipedia Review and founder of Wikipedia-Watch.org patiently assembled tiny clues about Slim Virgin and posted them on these Web sites. Eventually, two readers identified her. Slim Virgin was no other than Linda Mack, the young graduate Salinger hired.

John K. Cooley, the collaborator of Salinger in the Lockerbie investigation, posted the following letter to Brandt on Wikipedia Review, which has been set up to discuss specific editors and editing patterns and general efforts by editors to influence or direct content in ways that might not be in keeping with Wikipedia policy:
She claimed to have lost a friend/lover on pan103 and so was anxious to clear up the mystery. ABC News paid for her travel and expenses as well as a salary'

Once the two Libyan suspects were indicted, she seemed to try to point the investigation in the direction of Qaddafi [Libyan President Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi], although there was plenty of evidence, both before and after the trials of Megrahi and Fhimah in the Netherlands, that others were involved, probably with Iran the commissioning power. [In 2001, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison; Lamin Khalifah Fhimah was acquitted.]

Salinger came to believe that [first name redacted but known to be Linda] was working for [name of intelligence agency redacted but known to be Britain's MI5] and had been from the beginning; assigned genuinely to investigate Pan Am 103, but also to infiltrate and monitor us.

Soon after Cooley wrote to Brandt, Linda Mack contacted him and asked him not to help Brandt in his efforts to expose her. All doubts about Slim Virgin's true identity had vanished. Today, Linda Mack is rumored to reside in Alberta, Canada, under the name of Sarah McEwan.

Ludwig Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. He teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on The GaiaPost.

2007/07/26 오전 7:19
2007 Ohmynews

Chief Albert J. Luthuli: A Complete Man and a Common Man

Foreword : A complete man and a common man

The terrible news of the untimely and puzzling death of our President, Inkosi AJ Luthuli, on 21 July 1967, burst upon us while we were in exile in the United Kingdom. With his passing away it seemed that a great and bright star that would always be there to guide us along the difficult road to freedom had suddenly been extinguished.

When he and others of our leaders were arrested in 1956 and charged with the capital offence of High Treason, we took up the call - We Stand by our Leaders! We stood by our leaders determined to ensure that whatever happened, we would not allow the apartheid regime to take their lives.

When our leaders were arrested at Rivonia and again faced the possibility of a death sentence, again we said - We Stand by our Leaders! And again we stood by our leaders determined to ensure that whatever happened, we would not allow the apartheid regime to send them to the gallows.

We did not know then that they had taken the decision that should they be sentenced to death they would not lodge an appeal. Rather, they would depend on the strength and determination of the masses of our people, supported by the whole of progressive humanity, to defeat the intentions of the oppressor regime.

As they were transported to Robben Island to serve their life sentences, we said, if we have lost them, we have lost them only for a little while, and never forever. We said this because we knew that through struggle, we would liberate them and restore them to their positions at the head of the mass army of national liberation that would never be defeated.

But like a bolt from the blue came the dreadful news that the very head of our movement, the first among equals, President Albert Luthuli, had been struck by a train at a lonely railway crossing not far from his home, and was no more. The masses of our people were not there, and could not have been present, to serve as his protective shield.

He died, but somehow we, and especially his comrade, who had served as his Deputy President, Oliver Tambo, would not accept that his position should be filled until we had won our freedom. In his own way and by his actions, OR Tambo echoed the words of an Irish patriot, who on his way to the gallows, having taken up arms against the English oppressors of his people, said that no man should write his epitaph until Ireland had won her freedom.

It was only in 1985, 18 years after the death of AJ Luthuli, that Oliver Tambo agreed that we, the members of the ANC, should, at the Kabwe Conference, elect him President of the ANC. But still, together with Oliver Tambo, we sang of Albert Luthuli, convinced then, as we still are, that though he no longer lives, he continues still to lead us.

Somewhere I read that the writer, Raymond Chandler, said: "Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid... He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honour, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."

These words speak to us about Inkosi AJ Luthuli - a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man, a man of honour, without thought of it, the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. A leader of the ANC, the masses of our people considered him their national leader. The peoples of the world considered him a good enough man for any world and welcomed him into their bosom as a Nobel Laureate.

When, in 1952, apartheid tyranny sought to force him to choose between his Chieftaincy and his membership of the ANC, he said, simply, "a chief is primarily a servant of his people". Then, when the tyrants stripped him of his Chieftaincy, he spoke of the uncertain future ahead of him, whose only certainty was that he would continue to be a servant of the people.

"What the future has in store for me I do not know. It might be ridicule, imprisonment, concentration camp, flogging, banishment and even death. I only pray to the Almighty to strengthen my resolve so that none of these grim possibilities may deter me from striving, for the sake of the good name of our beloved country, the Union of South Africa, to make it a true democracy and a true union in form and spirit of all the communities in the land."

Death came to him in a way we did not expect. Because of that we were not on guard to act as his protective shield. But he, and not those who wished him dead, surely rests in perfect peace because those who lived, whom he led, ensured the realisation of his dream - of the transformation of his country into "a true democracy and a true union in form and spirit of all the communities in the land".

Some in many lands, confronted by the pernicious results of the fanatical adulation of individuals, have cried out - what need have we of heroes and heroines! And some have said, cursed is the country that needs heroes and heroines!

And yet we, who are a heroic people, have been blessed in our heroes and heroines. We have been blessed that we had as our leader, AJ Luthuli, who, to lead us, had to walk down our mean streets, a man who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid. Not by his words but by his deeds, he taught us that we too should not ourselves be mean, and neither tarnished nor afraid.

He lived and was ready to live and die by what he said. "It is inevitable that in working for Freedom some individuals and some families must take the lead and suffer: the Road to Freedom is via the Cross... Success will only come our way if we face this threat (of further repression) with indomitable courage and tenacity of purpose... I am personally very much averse to cliques in any organisation. If there are cliques or pressure-groups in Congress I am not associated with any...

"There comes a time...when a leader must give as practical a demonstration of his convictions and willingness to live up to the demands of the cause, as he expects of his people...I could not have done less than I did (when I joined the anti-pass campaign), and still live with my conscience. I would rightly lose the confidence of my people, and earn the disrespect of right-thinking people in my country and in the world, and the disdain of posterity...

"I also, as a Christian and patriot, could not look on while systematic attempts were made, almost in every department of life, to debase the God-factor in Man or to set a limit beyond which the human being in his black form might not strive to serve his Creator to the best of his ability. To remain neutral in a situation where the laws of the land virtually criticised God for having created men of colour was the sort of thing I could not, as a Christian, tolerate."

Because the millions of our people understood and supported what Albert Luthuli and the ANC said and did, refusing to be "neutral in a situation where the laws of the land virtually criticised God for having created men of colour", today we are free. But the work that he gave us is not yet done.

He had said: "All Africa, both lands which have won their political victories, but have still to overcome the legacy of economic backwardness, and lands like my own whose political battles have still to be waged to their conclusion - all Africa has this single aim; our goal is a united Africa in which the standards of life and liberty are constantly expanding; in which the ancient legacy of illiteracy and disease is swept aside, in which the dignity of man is rescued from beneath the heels of colonialism which have trampled it."

This new struggle, fully to restore the dignity of the African masses, demands the same spirit of self-sacrifice, commitment to serve the people, courage and tenacity of purpose, loyalty to principle, and respect for one's conscience, which inspired AJ Luthuli, and which he demanded of all those who called themselves patriots, as he led our movement and people during a challenging period in our struggle.

As we engage this new struggle, there is no longer any cause to repeat after Albert Luthuli - "What the future has in store for me I do not know. It might be ridicule, imprisonment, concentration camp, flogging, banishment and even death."

Rather, what we should constantly remind ourselves that if we should allow ourselves the freedom to abuse our liberty and thus become mean and tarnished, we would indeed "rightly lose the confidence of (our) people, and earn the disrespect of right-thinking people in (our) country and in the world, and the disdain of posterity."

And this we should never do, while, with clear consciences, we describe ourselves as successors of Inkosi Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli, President of the African National Congress, eminent leader of the people of South Africa, outstanding pan-Africanist, Nobel Peace Laureate, Isithwalandwe.

The British statesperson, Benjamin Disraeli once said: "The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example."

This special edition of Umrabulo is dedicated to such a legacy. It must serve as our teacher, as AJ Luthuli was our teacher.

Thabo Mbeki
President: African National Congress

Sunday, July 29, 2007

General Wesley Clark Suggests Pat Tillman's Death Was Ordered From 'the Top'

General suggests Tillman death orderered from 'the top'

Jul. 27- On July 26, retired Gen. Wesley Clark told MSNBC Countdown pundit Keith Olbermann that he believed ex-NFL star-turned-Operation Enduring Freedom casualty Pat Tillman may have been murdered. Clark suggested further that Tillman's death may have been ordered from "the top" of the chain of command and that "the truth is not yet out."

Tillman's celebrity, as one who gave up a professional football contract to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, made his death major news. The military at first concocted a heroic story about how Tillman had been killed in a fierce firefight with the enemy, despite obvious evidence that he had been shot by his own men at close range. More than a month later, a military investigation reported publicly that the death was not linked to enemy fire.

Clark told Olbermann: "Mary Tillman and the Tillman family have been incredibly courageous in pursuing the truth in this. And the truth is not yet out. If there is even a hint that there was something like a homicide or a murder in this case, it should have been fully investigated and proved or disproved. And we don't really know how far up. Was it the Secretary of Defense's office? Was it the office? Where did the idea that you shouldn't give any indication of what happened to Tillman –just go ahead and go through with the burial, give him the Silver Star…. Where was that idea blessed? You could be sure that idea did not originate or stop at the two- or three-star level…. Someone approved that all the way to the top because Pat Tillman was a political symbol used by the administration when it suited their purposes."

Last week, the White House refused to give Congress documents about Tillman's death. White House counsel Fred F. Fielding said that certain documents relating to the soldier's shooting "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."

Clark's remarks came on the heels of new information obtained by the Associated Press which provided new details in Tillman's case.

According to the documents, army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether his death amounted to a crime.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors -- whose names were blacked out -- said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents show that a doctor who autopsied Tillman's body was suspicious of the three gunshot wounds to the forehead. The doctor said he took the unusual step of calling the Army's Human Resources Command and was rebuffed. He then asked an official at the Army's Criminal Investigation Division if the CID would consider opening a criminal case.

"He said he talked to his higher headquarters and they had said no," the doctor testified.

Sources: Associated Press, MSNBC, Washington Post. Compiled by AGR

DRC President Kabila Expected Monday in Angola

DR Congo President Expected Monday in Luanda

Luanda, 07/29 – The head of State of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila, is expected Monday in Luanda for a two-day official visit to Angola, at the invitation of his local counterpart, José Eduardo dos Santos.

According to a note from the Foreign Ministry, Congo president’s visit to Angola is intended to strengthen existing ties of friendship and fraternity between the two countries and peoples and relaunch areas of perspective cooperation.

Joseph Kabila rose as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the assassination of his father and predecessor, Laurent-Desiré Kabila, in January 2001.

In December 2006, as a result of the country’s first general elections he won, Joseph Kabila took office as head of State.

A central Africa nation accorss Angola’s northeastern border, the Democratic Pepublic of Congo (formerly Zaire Republic) is the continent’s largest in size, with fertile soils and rich in minerals like copper and cobalt, and a population of about 60 million inhabitants.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

MECAWI Hosts Cultural Event Tonight, July 28, 7:00pm

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: Rap Against War Cultural Event, Sat. July 28, 7-11pm
Contact: Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
5922 Second Avenue, at Antoinette, Detroit
Phone: (313) 680-5508
E-mail: info@mecawi.org
URL: http://www.mecawi.org

MECAWI to Host "Rap Against the War" Cultural Event on Saturday, July 28

The Detroit-based peace and social justice organization, widely-known for its work in mobilizing broad-based support to end war and occupation, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), is inviting the public to a "Rap Against the War" cultural event on July 28 from 7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. at 5922 Second Avenue, just north of the Wayne State University campus.

This program will feature artists such as "Big A" and Zhaoski (Hip Hop artist from South Lebanon to Detroit); The U.S. (Hip Hop artists/Detroit/Iraq mix); Josef Petrous (Hip Hop solo); Markeeta Moore (Solo songstress); and other poets, spoken-word and Hip-Hop artists.

"Rap Against the War" is designed to raise the awareness of the community by challenging the conditions and mobilizing a united front through local Hip Hop, solo artists, dance and poetry.

A donation of $5 is requested to encourage and advance the anti-war and social justice cause.

For more information contact MECAWI through its web site,
e-mail and phone number listed above.

Zimbabwe News: SADC Rejects Media Portrayal; More Sanctions By US, etc.

Sadc rejects media portrayal of Zim

Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe Herald

SADC ministers of tourism have rejected media portrayal of Zimbabwe as a country in anarchy, saying such reports were wide off the mark and misleading.

Speaking at a meeting of Sadc ministers responsible for tourism in the resort town of Victoria Falls, the ministers challenged the media to report truthfully and expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe.

The chairperson of Sadc ministers responsible for tourism, Ms Lebohang Ntsinyi, accused the media of "holding hammers to destroy the region".

"The impression created when one reads newspapers or watches television is that there is no one coming to Zimbabwe, that the country is full of misery. Yet when I came I was surprised that the planes coming here were full. I was surprised to find a country full of activity and life," she said.

Ms Ntsinyi, who is Lesotho’s Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, said the media had to help Sadc "develop this beautiful country (Zimbabwe)".

"The media is a powerful tool that can be used to develop or destroy the region. We want to have a partnership with the media, we want them to walk the journey with us to promote the region because without them we cannot expose the beauty of the region," she said.

Sadc, she noted, was endowed with natural beauty and had all the facilities and infrastructure that made it an ideal tourist destination.

"Yet for all that we still have challenges that prevent us from achieving our goals. We have the mandate to improve the lives of our people and reduce poverty and tourism is one of the industries that have been identified as a vehicle for development. It therefore follows that we need a partnership with the media," said Ms Ntsinyi.

The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema, said the ministers had been shocked by the extent of misinformation on Zimbabwe.

"Before they came, the ministers had been told that there was no one visiting Zimbabwe and yet the planes they came in were all full. They had also been told that there is no food but found it in abundance.

"For us the idea of holding this meeting in Victoria Falls was two-fold — to sell Zimbabwe as a peaceful country and Victoria Falls as a tourist destination. The reaction from the ministers confirms that we have done our job well," said Cde Nhema.

The minister also said in general, the tourism industry was showing signs of recovery.

Mr Rosario Mualeia, the Mozambican Deputy Minister of Tourism, said his country had a strong bond with Zimbabwe.

"Mozambique has always expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe and will continue to do so," he said.

Malawi’s Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Mrs Callista Chapola-Chimombo, pledged to promote Zimbabwe in her travels.

"I never imagined what Victoria Falls looks like but now I have seen that it is a beautiful place. I will be an ambassador to promote Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls," she said.

Honourable Thandi Shongwe of Swaziland and Zambia’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Russell Mulele expressed similar sentiments.

More US sanctions for Mugabe

Mail & Guardian (SA)
published:Thu 26-Jul-2007
posted on this site: Fri 27-Jul-2007

Sue Pleming

Washington - The United States is looking at deepening sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his supporters but will continue to provide humanitarian aid, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Fraser said the US, which already has tough financial and travel sanctions in place against Mugabe and members of his government, wants to do more.

"We are looking at additional sanctions against individuals who are supporting this regime. We can deepen the sanctions that are already there, can add more individuals to those travel sanctions," she told Reuters in an interview. Fraser stressed the United States was also looking at ways to ease the plight of Zimbabweans, who face 4 500% inflation rates and food and fuel shortages.

Once viewed as Southern Africa's bread basket, Zimbabwe is suffering a political and economic crisis and last week the United States offered 47 400 tonnes of additional food assistance to the country, which the White House said would help 500 000 people.

Mugabe (83) is accused of plunging the Southern African state into its worst economic crisis through a series of controversial policies, including his seizure of thousands of white-owned farms. He has also cracked down hard on the opposition, and rights groups say he has beaten, tortured and in some cases killed anti-Mugabe activists.

"One day his [Mugabe's] government will come to an end and his people will still be there and they will need to restore that economy and that society," Fraser said.

The United States has signaled strong support for Zimbabwe's opposition movement, which has been subject to a massive crackdown by Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Fraser urged other Southern African countries, such as South Africa, which has taken the lead mediating with Mugabe, to push for concrete results. She also urged China, which is a strong investor in Zimbabwe, to put more pressure on Mugabe. "The Chinese may be trying to rescue this government.

We are looking to the Chinese to put pressure on the government of Sudan and we would hope they would not support the repressive regime in Zimbabwe," Fraser said. Mugabe said on Tuesday that Britain and its Western allies had "redoubled" their efforts to topple him and he accused them of sponsoring violence to destabilise his country.

‘Respond to people’s needs’

Municipal Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

LOCAL authorities should be responsive to people’s needs and should always champion projects and programmes that are people driven, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing the first biennial conference of the Zimbabwe Local Government Association in Harare yesterday, Cde Mugabe said once elected into office councillors and mayors should go back to the people to, firstly, thank them for electing them and then to hear their views on council-initiated programmes.

He said councillors and mayors should never detach themselves from the electorate but be the gears for people-oriented development.

"Consult before you take any action or embark on a programme that you think will help the people. Get the people’s inputs. As you implement the projects and programmes assess whether you are still in line with the thinking that you and the people originally had or you have lost direction. The people and you must continue to own the programmes," he said.

Cde Mugabe commended the merger of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) and Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) to form Zilga.

He said the formation of the united local government voice marked a turning point in local governance as it "effectively signals the demise of the anachronistic dual perception of local government in the country in terms of rural and urban".

He said the world over national governments were anchored on local government systems. He said councils were best placed to respond to development challenges.

"One could say these are indeed grassroots legislatures, making by-laws relevant to the management of local situations. It is essential therefore that the unity exhibited at Zilga level materially translates itself into robust local government systems capable of responding to the needs and aspirations of the citizenry on a sustainable basis," he said.

He said the unity of the two former associations should translate into better service delivery and make local government leaders listen to the people more.

Cde Mugabe urged local authorities to accept donations from local donors but to also beware of some locals who are used as Western fronts when making such donations.

He said because of the economic reforms that have seen the emergence of wealthy black businesspeople, Zimbabwe had managed to develop its own crop of donors who should be tapped.

Cde Mugabe urged the delegates — mostly mayors, councillors, and council chairpersons — to be aggressive in demanding service delivery from Government ministers.

"Itai hasha. Muvaitire hasha varume ivava. Where money for projects has not been found, we will print it. Some ministries need to be pushed not by me at the top alone because I do not see what theydo at the bottom. Push them at the bottom," he said.

The President said leaders must not only surface during election periods, and condemned those who misled the electorate.

He also questioned the calibre of some council leaders, saying it was time councils were led by innovative, honest and patriotic people with integrity.

"We certainly need councillors who do not brook any compromise in our mission to jealously safeguard our hard-won independence. Our sovereignty must of necessity be underpinned by a functional, forthright and sensitive local government system that is imbued with a passion to systematically empower the indigenous population," he said.

Cde Mugabe called on Zimbabweans, regardless of political or religious affiliation, not to betray the country.

"Zimbabwe is your motherland. You must respect Zimbabwe. You must not call for sanctions to damage your own people."

He also said Government would continue to buy farming implements until all farmers were equipped.

Cde Mugabe said Western countries should realise that they did not have the power to change the Government in Zimbabwe.

He also clarified the transfer of water and sewer management from local authorities to Zinwa saying the move was a Government decision taken after it became obvious that councils did not have the capacity to effectively deliver water and sewer services.

Government would instead give a yearly grant to councils to cover the vacuum created by the transfer of water and sewer management, the President said.

He said it was common knowledge that most councils derived their revenue from water, hence it was prudent to compensate them.

He also outlined the various water augmentation projects that Government was undertaking to service urban communities.

The conference closed yesterday with the ascendancy of Kadoma mayor Cde Fani Phiri as the new Zilga president, replacing Alderman Jerry Gotora who led the association for the past 12 months.

VP Mujuru raps ministry over dialysis machines

Zimbabwe Herald
Bulawayo Bureau

VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru yesterday lambasted the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare for letting kidney patients die, yet there are dialysis machines gathering dust at Mpilo Central Hospital which she donated more than four years ago.

Cde Mujuru, who is on a tour of parastatals in Bulawayo, was speaking during an interview in the city after visiting the Pig Industry Board station.

"My heart bleeds when I read that people are suffering because there are no dialysis machines at Mpilo Central Hospital, when I donated some to the institution,’’ she said.

"In fact, there are some people I know personally who have died as a result of the problem.’’

Cde Mujuru said there seemed to be no tangible reason for the delay in the installation of the renal equipment which she sourced from abroad in July 2004 under a broad-based initiative code-named "Dandito Project’’.

The Vice-President donated a total of 54 dialysis machines, shared equally among Mpilo, Bindura and Parirenyatwa hospitals.

"I would like to challenge the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to explain why the 18 machines I donated to Mpilo Hospital have not been installed when people are suffering’’ she fumed.

"This is the sort of ineptitude that we have always been complaining about. In fact, I should have been coming here with President Mugabe or Vice-President Msika to commission the dialysis machines that I sourced.’’

Dialysis machines act as artificial kidneys and remove waste, known as urea, from the body.

Renal patients are supposed to be dialysed at least four times a week, but many are treated once a week because of the shortage of machines and high costs involved.

The Chronicle yesterday reported that scores of renal patients throughout the country were now fearing for their lives after the only dialysis machine which was functional at Mpilo Hospital broke down while machines at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare were also reported not to be working.

Renal patients from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo are the worst affected as they have not had any sessions for more than a week after the dialysis machines broke down last Friday.

However, officials yesterday evening said the machine at Mpilo had since been repaired.

The majority of the patients last had the life-saving dialysis sessions on Tuesday last week.

Last year, it was reported that the renal equipment sourced by Cde Mujuru had not been installed at Mpilo Hospital, as the renal unit at the institution had to be refurbished first.

It was also pointed out that a shortage of foreign currency had resulted in delays in the installation of the equipment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Debate Rages Within a Section of the American Peace Movement Over Impeachment, Conyers and Race

Debate Rages in the Liberal Wing of the Peace Movement Over the Role of the House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers of Detroit in Regard to Impeachment and the Continuing War in Iraq

Cindy Sheehan was arrested in John Conyers office last Monday sparking a substantial controversy. Others in the white anti-war movement attacked Conyers as though the failings of the Democrats were entirely his responsibility.

Sparking a justifiable rebuttal of the racism and insensitivity by African American activists. Some of the responses use the situation to defend the Democrats' wait til 2008 reliance on bougeois elections.

There are others who respond to how attacking Conyers in a way that does not consider the racist society we live in today and the history and may stand in the way of people of color activating against the war.

Any thoughts on this in relation to the Sept. 22-29 mobilization?


Thank you for sending this, Cheryl. I myself was appalled when I heard about Cindy Sheehan being arrested at Conyers' office, and it was not Conyers I was appalled at.

I think the beginning of your second sentence sums up the problem pretty well: "Others in the white anti-war movement...." the very fact that the anti-war movement can be characterized this way shows how deep is the problem of racism in every sector of bourgeois society, including the so-called progressive sector.

I don't see that there is any course of action other than to struggle to rectify this in everything we do, not only in words but especially in deeds, in how we approach the anti-war work, who we reach out to, etc., etc.

When Damu and Clifton write: "... few of the other 'leading lights' of the white left in the anti-war movement (with the notable exception of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich) have ever lifted a finger or raised their voice in support of African Americans cry for repair from the legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade" re Conyers and the reparations bill - well, I am certainly glad and proud that we have ALWAYS supported reparations including this "lowest common denominator" legislative bill.

I think we need to set in stone a date for Monica to come to Detroit in October for a book signing and meeting on the new book, 'Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle," and find a way to get this book into as many hands as we can. It is a tremendous contribution to the whole struggle....



Responses to the Attacks on John Conyers

* Racism from the white left, John Conyers and
By Jean Damu and Alona Clifton

* Response to Swanson and the sit-in at John Conyers'
office from Al Fishman

* Links to articles by Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and
Dave Lindorff

Racism from the white left, John Conyers and Reparations

By Jean Damu and Alona Clifton

The jaw-dropping attacks on Michigan Congressman John
Conyers this week by members of the white, leftist
sector of this nation's antiwar movement have proven how
deeply racism exists.

Conyers was picketed and attacked by leading activists
and spokespeople of the anti-war movement because he, as
chair of the House Judiciary Committee, determined that
there did not exist enough votes to move to the floor of
the House of Representatives a discussion of the
impeachment of president George Bush for creating the
war in Iraq.

"Conyers has betrayed the American people," bawled
Global Exchange and Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin.
"Conyers is no Martin Luther King," wailed former
analyst of the CIA, Ray McGovern. Lefty journalist David
Lindorf scribbled, "The shame of John Conyers." All
three articles appeared on the July 24 version of the
progressive website CommonDreams. In addition, Cindy
Sheehan, anti-war mom, had herself arrested sitting in
at Conyers office.

Give us a break!

What does impeaching George Bush have to do with ending
the war in Iraq? And what gives white, anti-war
activists the right to call into question the moral and
humanistic motivations of John Conyers because he
determined the political will did not exist within
Congress to impeach the president?

From our point of view (and speaking as progressive
African-Americans) Conyers is the outstanding member of
Congress, who has been most outspoken in support of the
anti-war movement and against the Bush Administration.

But here is something else. Year after year, actually
every year since 1989, John Conyers has introduced into
congress H.R. 40, the African American Reparations Study
Bill. It is a bill that is likely the lowest common
denominator of the Black reparations movement in the
U.S. To date Conyers has never had the votes to get it
out of committee, onto the floor of the House. But each
year he re-introduces the bill, constantly searching for
more endorsers. He has never given up on this issue that
is supported by the vast majority of African Americans.

To the best of our knowledge neither Medea Benjamin, Ray
McGovern, David Lindorf and certainly not Cindy Sheehan
or few of the other "leading lights" of the white left
in the anti-war movement (with the notable exception of
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich) have ever lifted a
finger or raised their voice in support of African
Americans cry for repair from the legacy of the Atlantic
Slave Trade.

But yet, how ironic that these normally progressive
whites feel perfectly comfortable labeling John Conyers
"a betrayer of the American people."

Here is another irony. If white Americans had voted
against George Bush by half the percentage points that
Black Americans voted against George Bush, Dubya would
have never gotten near the White House.

As for McGovern's claim that Conyers is no Martin Luther
King, we say, who is some white guy to tell us who is
and who is not our leader or leaders? That is what J.
Edgar Hoover tried to do to us with regards to the Black
Panther Party. Also, who is to say, if Martin Luther
King were alive today, what he would or would not say?

Some white sectors of the anti-war movement need to re-
focus themselves and try to build allies in the streets
and in the halls of government to end the war, rather
than engaging in mindless racism and alienating the most
progressive and anti-George Bush communities in America,
namely Black America.

[Jean Damu is active within the Reparations Movement and
Alona Clifton is a former member of the Peralta
Community College board and a long time political
activist in Oakland. Both are members of the Black
Alliance for Just Immigration Steering Committee.]


* Response to Swanson and the sit-in at John Conyers'
office from Al Fishman

[Moderator's note: this was sent out to the UFPJ
Legislative listserve on July 21]

As I celebrate my 60th year of peace and justice
activism, I find it necessary to do what - up to this
point - I have had neither the time nor the inclination
to do, that is, to respond to the misplaced anger that
has filled my email inbox this year. My present reaction
is triggered by two proposals. The first is the demand
that Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the House
Judiciary Committee, proceed with impeachment hearings
or face sit-ins at his Washington, DC and Detroit
offices on next Monday, July 23rd, at which protesters
will risk arrest. What arrogance! The second is that a
notable peace activist - a Gold Star Mother - Cindy
Sheehan plans to run an independent campaign against
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi unless the Speaker "puts
impeachment back on the table". What folly!

Shortly after a slim 43 vote Primary Election margin in
1964 helped us put John Conyers, Jr. into Congress, he
was one of only 6 Members of Congress to vote against
the Tonkin Gulf Resolution which propelled our nation
into the military invasion and occupation of Vietnam.
For more than forty years since then, Congressman John
Conyers has been one the most consistent champions of
peace and justice - the record being much too long to
detail here. At least, one must mention his organizing
the Congressional Black Caucus and his leadership and
support in virtually every struggle against war and
racism. For this, the people of Detroit - including this
writer -- have overwhelmingly reelected and supported

Any one of us has the right to disagree with the
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee about
impeachment. Congressman John Conyers also has the right
- indeed the responsibility -- to honor the advice of
Judiciary Committee counsel and independent
Constitutional experts about the lack of a legal basis
for impeaching George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney at this
time. And that right needs to be respected! I do not
personally know David Swanson or any of the other
individuals whose rantings have filled my email inbox,
but I do know that no reasonable person can doubt the
commitment or courage of Congressman John Conyers. So
attacking Congressman Conyers is both arrogant and
counter-productive. The 2006 election has given
Congressman Conyers and several of his progressive
colleagues the power to hold hearings, to investigate,
and to subpoena witnesses on a host of public policy
issues. These efforts may or may not result in the
exposure of criminal activity subject to impeachment,
but they certainly lay the foundation for building a
different kind of politics.

Now what did the 2006 election accomplish? It certainly
highlighted growing opposition to Bush's invasion and
occupation of Iraq and revulsion with the scandalous
abandonment of the major victims of Katrina. But, as so
many of us predicted during that election campaign, we
elected a Democratic Congress, with a Senate majority
that is razor thin. We could not and did not elect a
progressive Congress. As with many, I am personally
disappointed with the failure to defund the war in Iraq,
but I am also aware of objective political realities.
And I agree with those who call upon us in the peace
movement to find new ways to motivate and activate
people who want to end the war to pressure their elected
representatives - especially those Republicans who have
continued to support the war with their actions. We can
and must continue to press our demand to bring all
military and contractual personnel home as quickly as
safety will allow without getting apoplectic about the
compromises that objective political realities have

Finally, it's necessary to deal with the infantile
notion that it makes no difference which of the two
major parties controls the Congress and the Presidency.
It's necessary to point out that the war in Iraq and the
Bush Administration's threats against Iran are not the
only issues affecting the lives of Americans -
especially working folks and oppressed people of color.
The war is not only the means for expanding imperial
power throughout the world, it is also the cover for the
most dedicated effort to undo the New Deal, the Great
Society and all the elements of the social safety net
introduced by those programs. The federal courts and the
leadership of every federal regulating agency are now
dedicated to that task.

Sixty years ago I began my political activism in the
campaign of Henry Wallace for President as the candidate
of the Progressive Party. But the fact is that until
there is built a unified, grassroots campaign to
radically reform our electoral system, most, if not all
independent candidacies result in achieving political
results opposite to their stated principles, e.g.: Nader
in Florida in 2000. The 2006 election was a small but
significant step forward. Any action that contributes to
the return of one or both houses of Congress or the
White House to the Republican Party in 2008 - such as
undermining John Conyers or replacing Nancy Pelosi with
a Republican -- will sentence to death many more
thousands of young Americans and hundreds of thousands
of civilians in Iraq or other target nations. But those
of us who are serious about building a winning coalition
for peace, jobs and justice must also understand what a
continuation of the Rove-Bush-Cheney agenda will mean to
the living standards and the liberties of the
overwhelming majority of Americans - especially working
folks and oppressed people of color.

I hope that anger can be directed at the real enemies of
peace and justice, and not at friends with whom we might
have strategic or tactical differences, but with whom we
share general objectives. Sit in the offices of
Republican Senators who refused to allow a vote on even
a weak proposal to end the war. Win over their
constituents so that we can achieve change.

Al Fishman

* Member of Peace Action of Michigan Board of Directors
* Member of Detroit Area Peace With Justice Coordinating
Committee, an affiliate of UFPJ
* The organizations listed are for identification only
as I am solely responsible for the comments above.


* Links to articles by Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and
Dave Lindorff

** Congressman John Conyers Betrays the American People
by Medea Benjamin

** John Conyers Is No Martin Luther King
by Ray McGovern

** Office Arrests: The Shame of John Conyers
by Dave Lindorff

MECAWI Hosts 'Rap Against the War' Cultural Event Saturday, July 28, 7-11pm

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: Rap Against War Cultural Event, Sat. July 28, 7-11pm
Contact: Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
5922 Second Avenue, at Antoinette, Detroit
Phone: (313) 680-5508
E-mail: info@mecawi.org
URL: http://www.mecawi.org

MECAWI to Host "Rap Against the War" Cultural Event on Saturday, July 28

The Detroit-based peace and social justice organization, widely-known for its work in mobilizing broad-based support to end war and occupation, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), is inviting the public to a "Rap Against the War" cultural event on July 28 from 7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. at 5922 Second Avenue, just north of the Wayne State University campus.

This program will feature artists such as "Big A" and Zhaoski (Hip Hop artist from South Lebanon to Detroit); The U.S. (Hip Hop artists/Detroit/Iraq mix); Josef Petrous (Hip Hop solo); Markeeta Moore (Solo songstress); and other poets, spoken-word and Hip-Hop artists.

"Rap Against the War" is designed to raise the awareness of the community by challenging the conditions and mobilizing a united front through local Hip Hop, solo artists, dance and poetry.

A donation of $5 is requested to encourage and advance the anti-war and social justice cause.

For more information contact MECAWI through its web site,
e-mail and phone number listed above.

Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice

A Michigan Peace & Social Justice Organization

Money for our cities, not for war!

Bring the troops home now!

Photo Link to MLK Day March, Jan. 15, 2007

Photo Link to May Day March:


What MECAWI Believes

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice is a group of peace, civil rights, anti-war, anti-imperialist and other social justice activists from various walks of life and personal backgrounds. Our basis for unity is rooted in our shared vision of a world where peace and social justice are the guiding political forces. Membership in the organization is voluntary and open to all those who share our views of ending imperialist wars and economic exploitation of the poor and working people of the United States and around the globe.

As an organization our primary work is centered around the following objectives:

-to share information and knowledge on the underlying causes and consequences of war, racism, gender oppression and other social injustices;
--to serve as a mobilizing center to activate, organize and empower the people to effectively change the society in which they live and work;
-to foster hope and optimism about the day-to-day struggles of the people;
-to supports the right of all oppressed peoples to self-determination against imperialism and national sovereignty.

Historical Record

MECAWI was formed in September of 2002, months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The organization was formed in response to the escalation of the Bush administration's propaganda--making false claims about weapons of mass destruction and about a serious threat from the former government of Saddam Hussein.

This organization has met every week since its formation. Some of the early activities included organizing demonstrations in the Detroit area against the impending war. We held a statewide anti-war activists' meeting in December of 2002. We transported hundreds of people to the large anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and New York in October of 2002, January of 2003, March 2003, September 2003(all in the nation's capital) as well as the Republican National Convention demonstrations in August of 2004.

On February 15, 2003, one month prior to the invasion of Iraq, we mobilized over 5,000 people in downtown Detroit saying no to war. On July 3, 2004, MECAWI organized the "Youth March Against War" down Woodward Avenue featuring speakers from various middle schools, high schools and colleges around the state.

In November of 2005, MECAWI organized a "National Conference to Reclaim Our Cities" which linked the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to the deepening crises in the urban areas across the United States. Participants came from as far away as the Bay Area and the Gulf region, which had just been devastated in the aftermath of Katrina.

MECAWI initiated the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Demonstration and Rally in downtown Detroit in January of 2004. 2008 will represent the fifth annual MLK Day March which is now organized by a metropolitan-wide planning committee. The demonstration is one of the largest social justice, peace and anti-racist gatherings during the year in the Detroit area.

Along with Iraq and Afghanistan, MECAWI has continued to work against U.S. foreign policy in Haiti and Somalia. In Haiti, the Bush administration invaded the country in February of 2004 and kidnapped the democratically-elected government of Jean Bertrande-Aristide forcing him into exile in the Central African Republic.

MECAWI organized two mass meeting in the aftermath of the Haiti invasion and has continued to host educational forums on this Caribbean nation. In April of 2007 filmmaker Kevin Pina was hosted by MECAWI where he screened his new film documenting the human rights violations commmitted by the U.S., France and Canada under the banner of the United Nations.

In regard to U.S. aggression in the Horn of Africa, MECAWI has demonstrated against the Bush administration's engineered invasion in December of 2006 of Somalia. In regard to southern Africa, we have defended the government of Zimbabwe against the destabilization efforts of the United States and Britain.

During 2006, MECAWI mobilized a demonstration of 2,000 activists in solidarity with the people of Lebanon in downtown Detroit amid the Israeli invasion and bombing of that country. Also we made several trips to Benton Harbor to support Rev. Edward Pinkney who was being railroaded for his political actions against racism in that southwest Michigan city.

In addition, MECAWI assisted in the formation of the "Stop the War Slate" that ran candidates on the Green Party ticket for local and statewide offices. The slate received tens of thousands of votes based on its anti-war and social justice platform.

For May Day 2007, MECAWI assisted the Latino community in spearheading the huge immigrant rights demonstration in southwest Detroit which drew over 15,000 people. During 2007, MECAWI made a formal appeal to the governor of Michigan to declare an economic state of emergency accompanied by a moratorium on foreclosures, utility shut-off and evictions.

MECAWI will continue to work for the ending of war, racism and all forms of social injustice. For more information contact us at the sources below:

Phone: (313)680-5508
e-mail: info@mecawi.org
URL: http://www.mecawi.org

Meetings are always open to the public on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
5922 Second Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

Contact form:
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Send all correspondence including monetary donations to the address listed above.