Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Detroit Marxism Class Discusses Right of Oppressed Nations to Self-Determination, Saturday, Dec. 4, 5:00pm

Detroit Marxism Class Discusses Right of Oppressed Nations to
Self-Determination Saturday, December 4 at 5:00pm

The continuing Workers World Marxism classes on the Right of Oppressed Nations to Self-Determination will take place this Saturday, December 5, 2010, 5:00 pm at 5920 Second,Detroit, MI 48202.

The class will be lead by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire and contributing editor to Workers World newspaper.

Below is a link to the source material for this week's class. The
reading material for this Saturday's class will be "Black Labor: From Chattel Slavery to Wage Slavery," by Sam Marcy, co-founder and former chairman of Workers World Party. This material is taken directly from the groundbreaking study, "High Tech, Low Pay," written by Marcy.

Here is the link:

The class leads to a celbration of the 40th anniversary of Workers
World Party in Detroit on December 18 starting at 4:00pm. Anyone who is interested in coming to this event should call 313-680-5508.

Also visit the new Detroit workers world website at:
http://www.workersworld.net/detroit/ ,
It includes a link to the national Workers World website where you can get more information.

Saturday, December 5, 5 p.m.
5920 Second Avenue, Detroit
Just north of Wayne State University and I-94, one block west of Cass,
at Antoinette
WWP Discussion Leader: Abayomi Azikiwe

Memorial Meeting Celebrates Lolita Lebron's Life

Memorial meeting celebrates Lolita Lebrón’s life

By New York
Published Nov 28, 2010 10:12 PM

People packed the lecture auditorium at Hunter College in New York on Nov. 20 to take part in a celebration of the life of Puerto Rican independence heroine Lolita Lebrón, who died earlier this year at the age of 90. Many Puerto Rican and other Latino and Latina activists who live in New York or nearby were present. Lebrón had spent part of her youth in the city. There were also representatives of U.S.-based organizations that support independence for Puerto Rico on the basis of self-determination.

There have always been pro-independence activities and organizations of Puerto Ricans in New York, which was reflected in the strong turnout for the meeting.

Lebrón’s defining action was her leadership role in an armed attack by a group of four Puerto Rican independence fighters from the Nationalist Party on the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954. The aim of the attack was to bring the issue of Puerto Rico’s colonial status before the world. Arrested and sentenced to prison, she then spent more than 25 years behind bars before being released in 1979. She continued her participation in the struggle until the end (see workers.org for a more complete history of her accomplishments).

The speakers included women political leaders who were close to Lolita Lebrón and whose lives were shaped by their relationship with or admiration for the independence leader. The overwhelming message from talks, poems, songs and images was that Lolita Lebrón will live on as long as there is one Puerto Rican — and perhaps one Cuban or one Venezuelan — who fights on for liberty and sovereignty against the imperialist colossus centered in Washington.

Representatives from the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and from the Venezuelan Consulate in New York also addressed the audience and expressed not only their appreciation for the life of Lolita Lebrón, but also their peoples’ solidarity with the liberation struggle in Puerto Rico, which they felt as their own struggle.

Among the speakers were Lebrón’s niece, Linda Alonso Lebrón, a member of the Secretariat of the Commission for Women’s Affairs in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, and Dylcia Pagán, a former Puerto Rican political prisoner or “prisoner of war,” the preferred term for those freedom fighters who have been captured while defending their country.

A strong delegation from Workers World Party attended, many of whom had come from an afternoon demonstration in solidarity with another political prisoner, attorney Lynne Stewart. Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s life partner and also a former political prisoner, also attended the meeting for Lebrón.
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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General Motors 'Comeback Story' Leaves Workers Behind

General Motors ‘comeback story’ leaves workers behind

By Martha Grevatt
Published Nov 28, 2010 10:15 PM

“Americans love a comeback story.” General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson was referring to his company’s Nov. 18 Initial Public Offering of preferred and common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. (Detroit News, Nov. 19) Akerson’s “Americans” — wealthy investors — showed their love by purchasing 451 million GM shares by the end of the day.

The day began with Akerson ringing the bell to signal the start of trading. The confident CEO revved the engine of a sporty new Chevrolet Camaro. The opening price was $33 per share. The price closed at $34.19 and rose another seven cents the next day.

At the time of the 2009 bailout, GM stock sold at a 75-year low of 75 cents a share. What would cause a nearly fifty-fold increase in value in such a short time? Did GM suddenly acquire new assets that would increase the worth of its holdings? On the contrary, 11 plants and a number of warehouses, along with some 1,500 dealerships, have been closed as part of the post-bankruptcy restructuring.

Stock prices have little to do with the real value of a company’s assets. They are a reflection of how much an investor is willing to gamble that a company will make profits. In the first three quarters of this year GM has made $4.2 billion in net profit. Profits are made by exploiting labor.

When the bosses are able to cut wages or to make more products with fewer workers, what they keep for themselves in the form of profit goes up. During the bankruptcy process the United Auto Workers union made huge concessions. Now GM’s North American unit has made $4.9 billion in profit in the first three quarters of this year. Per-vehicle profits are estimated to be around $2,000. The UAW-represented workforce, who once numbered 500,000, now hovers around 50,000. It takes about 30 hours of labor to build a vehicle. Even if we take the grossly inflated cost of labor that GM claims — $75 per hour — the bosses still get almost as much in profit per vehicle ($2,000) as the workers earn in wages and other compensation ($2,250).

Gov’t colludes to shed jobs, slash wages

With 2007 and 2009 concessions, shedding tens of thousands of higher-paid workers and hiring 7,000 new workers at half the pay of “traditional” employees, labor costs have fallen dramatically. Workers are seeing more of the value they produce go to profits than to their own wages and benefits.

That high rate of exploitation was the major selling point in a two-week “road show” in which GM Vice Chairperson Steve Girsky and North American President Mark Reuss gave 85 presentations to potential investors. The company’s prospectus stated, “We have substantially completed the restructuring of our North American operations, which has reduced our cost base and improved our capacity utilization and product line profitability” through “salaried and hourly headcount reductions” and “labor agreement restructuring.”

To “save” GM the federal government loaned the company almost $50 billion. The U.S. Department of Treasury demanded major contract changes from UAW members. Voting “no,” workers were told, would mean no loan and thus Chapter Seven liquidation. UAW workers voted to allow GM to close a significant number of facilities, but weren’t told which ones would close until after the vote.

Much of the work has shifted to low-wage countries. The prospectus even bragged, “Approximately 43 percent of our vehicles are manufactured in regions we believe to be low-cost locations, such as China, Mexico, Eastern Europe, India and Russia.”

Wages of future U.S. employees are frozen at $14 per hour until 2015. Now the UAW leadership has allowed GM to recall some laid-off workers at the lower wage in a Michigan assembly plant. It’s reasonable to assume that the Treasury put pressure on the union to go along with the 50 percent pay cut.

It was to effectuate a rapid and drastic streamlining of operations — President Barack Obama used the phrase “lean and mean” — that the capitalist state temporarily took control of GM. Now that the task is “substantially completed,” the government is in the process of returning the company to private hands. In two days the federal government’s share of GM was reduced from 61 percent to 33 percent. Through the stock sale and payments on the loan GM has repaid $23 billion to the government.

The state orchestrated a “comeback” on the backs of the workers, and this is the reason for the bosses’ bravado. In the days leading up to the IPO, Akerson boasted that in an improved economy, increased sales volume would allow GM’s net profits to rise to $13 billion a year. By the second day of trading that estimate had jumped to $19 billion. (Detroit News, Nov. 20)

Union must break with capitalists

Akerson is assuming that, despite negotiating vague language on “equity of sacrifice,” the UAW will not get back what it gave up. When the CEO rang the bell, UAW International President Bob King was standing right behind him. “We’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” King told the Detroit News. “This IPO shows that was the right decision.”

In fact what the IPO shows is that GM has increased the rate of exploitation, and done so with UAW leadership’s cooperation. On the shop floor, the expansion of the two-tier wage scale has led to the erosion of worker solidarity. Until King breaks up the decades-old partnership with the bosses, the prevalent mood among the rank-and-file will be one of frustration and demoralization. To make that break, however, what is needed is rejection of increased wage exploitation and profits. The entire capitalist system must be challenged.

Despite the orientation of the union leadership, some autoworkers are trying to figure out how to reverse the givebacks that GM — and Ford and Chrysler — have taken from them. At a Nov. 14 meeting in Toledo, Ohio, a group of anti-concession activists began planning a demonstration outside the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next year. There, and at the national Bargaining Convention in the spring, they will focus on the fight to overturn the two-tier wage scale and bring back equal pay for equal work.
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Email: ww@workers.org
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U.S. Sends Warships, Jets to Korea

Pushing to brink of war

U.S. sends warships, jets to Korea

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Nov 29, 2010 9:03 PM

Scores of U.S. warships and fighter jets, carrying more than 6,000
crew members and reinforced by ships, planes and 70,000 soldiers of
the armed forces of south Korea, began carrying out joint military
“exercises” in the sea west of Korea on Nov. 28. They have brought the divided peninsula to the brink of war.

In July some 20 U.S. warships and 200 planes had carried out similar
maneuvers with the armed forces of the south. So this is the second
time in less than six months that Washington and the right-wing south
Korean regime of Lee Myung-Bak have carried out a grave provocation
against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (socialist north

Nor can China, which lies just 200 miles to the northwest, fail to be
alarmed at such aggressive military moves by the U.S. Two days before the joint maneuvers began, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “We hold a consistent and clear-cut stance on the issue. We oppose any party to take any military acts in our exclusive economic zone without permission.” (Xinhua, Nov. 26) Nevertheless, the U.S. and south Korea went right ahead with the maneuvers.

Hostilities began with shells fired at DPRK

This time the south Korean forces went a step further than in July.
Days before the joint exercises with the U.S. were scheduled to begin,
they fired live shells into the waters right off the DPRK from the
island of Yeonpyeong, which lies far west of the south Korean mainland and very close to the coast of the DPRK. Both the island and the waters are disputed territory. The U.S. had arbitrarily drawn a line
on a map years ago claiming the island for south Korea, but the DPRK
has never accepted that.

Thus, the military that ordered these shells be fired at 1:00 p.m. on
Nov. 23 knew full well that this was a brazen provocation against the
DPRK — one that could easily lead to a response in kind, especially
since the DPRK had already characterized the “exercises” as a
simulated invasion of the north.

If south Korea and its huge sponsor, the U.S., had wanted to avoid
confrontation with the DPRK, would they have fired shells into a
disputed area?

The provocation comes from the U.S. and the Lee Myung-bak regime, not the DPRK.

An hour and a half later, at 2:34 p.m., after making immediate verbal
protests, the DPRK retaliated by shelling the south’s military base on
Yeonpyeong. According to officials in Seoul, two soldiers were killed.
They later claimed that two civilians had died as well.

Immediately, the propaganda blast from both the U.S. and south Korea
went to earsplitting levels, blaming the DPRK for “irrational” and
“brutal” behavior. The Pentagon announced it would have to send the
USS George Washington — a nuclear-powered carrier with nearly 6,000 sailors and an air wing of 75 fighter jets that had taken part in the July “exercises” — plus five other warships to back up the forces of
the Lee regime in joint naval maneuvers.

While the south Korean military ultimately takes its orders from the
Pentagon, the U.S. claimed it had not been involved with the south
Korean “exercises” at the time of the exchange of artillery. But the
facts show otherwise. CNN.com on Nov. 23 reported that “Some U.S.
forces had been helping the South Koreans in a military training
exercise, but were not in the shelled area.” Right. They were part of
the provocation but stayed out of range. Like U.S. “advisers” in
Vietnam in the early years of that war.

However, even with a media blitz focused on inventing reasons for
north Korean “aggression,” sometimes an article slips through that
blows a hole in the fairy tales.

Thomas D. Farrell, a former U.S. Army Reserve intelligence officer who
served in Korea and says he is “no apologist for North Korea,”
explains how these events were seen by the DPRK: “This attack occurred on an island in the West (Yellow) Sea. Although there is a clearly defined Military Line of Demarcation on land, there is no clearly
defined line running into the ocean. The so-called Northern Limit Line
has never been accepted by North Korea, and has been the subject of
many skirmishes over the years. A look at a map shows that Yeonpyeong Island is rather close to North Korea. The ROK [south Korean] Navy was dropping shells in nearby waters as part of its annual Hoguk military exercises which, like all military exercises, are condemned by the North Koreans as a provocation and rehearsal for invasion. ...

“The point is that when one views this event from the mindset of the
other side, it is perfectly understandable. The grand theories
attempting to explain it are gaseous. The real story is that the North
Koreans saw the ROK Navy’s actions as a provocation and responded as they might well be expected to.” (Honolulu Star Advertiser, Nov. 29)

China also feels threatened

The imperialist media are saying that the DPRK’s “belligerence” is
trying the patience of China. China has been an ally of the DPRK since
1950, when U.S. forces under the command of Gen. Douglas McArthur
invaded north Korea, bombed all its cities, and threatened the new
revolutionary government of China with nuclear war.

But while China is seeking a peaceful solution to the present crisis,
there can be no doubt that it sees U.S. belligerence toward the DPRK
as a threat to its own peaceful development.

Li Jie, a researcher with the Chinese navy’s military academy, wrote
about the U.S.-south Korean “exercises” scheduled for last July:

“A joint drill with the ROK [south Korea] in the key waters off its
Asian military bases will help the U.S. realize multiple strategic
goals in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Li.

“First, the drill will help the U.S. maintain high-pressure against
what it calls a restive DPRK regime. It is also believed to be an
explicit indication of the U.S. stance that the world’s sole
superpower would stand firmly behind the ROK and Japan in case of a
military conflict between Pyongyang and Washington’s two traditional
Asian allies.

“In addition, a well-deliberated military exercise in the Yellow Sea
will also help the U.S. collect geographic and military information
about some Asian countries [especially China — d.g.] bordering the
vast waters.

“General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s
Liberation Army, has expressed ‘firm opposition’ to the scheduled
U.S.-ROK military maneuver.” (China Daily, July 12)

But the July maneuvers took place anyway, and are now being repeated at an even higher level of provocation. China has called for an emergency meeting with the U.S., south Korea, the DPRK, Russia and Japan to defuse the situation. As of Nov. 29, this call has been
ignored by the Obama and Lee administrations.

There is nothing “irrational” in either the response of the DPRK or
the worries of the Chinese. U.S. imperialism waged a horrendous war
against the Korean Revolution from 1950 to 1953, one that resulted in
millions of deaths. It has occupied south Korea ever since, with a
force that still numbers almost 30,000. It has refused to even discuss
a peace treaty to formally end that war.

Should it be surprising, then, that the DPRK knows it has to be ready
at any time to repel another invasion? If even a retired U.S. Army
intelligence officer knows that the shelling by the south would force
the north to respond, didn’t those who ordered the shelling know it
too? Wasn’t it deliberately intended to provide the excuse for greater
threats against the DPRK, with the intention of provoking “regime

U.S. pundits are now openly talking about the “reunification” of Korea
based on the south swallowing up the north — in other words, an
invasion and counterrevolution that would allow capitalism and
imperialism a free hand to exploit the workers and farmers there.

This is something that the DPRK leaders and masses will never allow.

Is it surprising that the Chinese leaders are also alarmed when U.S.
imperialism, while making money off investments and trade there,
nevertheless tries to encircle China militarily?

The chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen,
reveals the mindset of the Pentagon: “I don’t think this will be the
last exercise,” he said. “This is a part of the world that we’ve
exercised in for decades and we will continue.” (CNN, Nov. 28)

Instead of putting out anti-DPRK propaganda in the guise of
psychoanalyzing its leaders, why don’t the media ask why the U.S.
leaders do what they do? Why have they maintained a hostile policy
against the DPRK for more than 60 years, ever since its anti-colonial
and anti-capitalist revolution? Why won’t they sign a peace treaty
with the DPRK so that the Korean people can work for real disarmament and reunification?

But that would be to acknowledge that the U.S. is ruled by a class of
billionaires that has fattened itself on war and exploitation all over
the world and has a long history of creating excuses for the bloody
expansion of its imperial reach. The media have been part of this
inglorious history, ever since the Hearst papers invented an excuse
for invading Cuba in 1898.

Let’s not fall for another “Bay of Tonkin” or “weapons of mass
destruction” lie. The enemy of the working class is right here, in the
boardrooms and banks of U.S. capitalism, that are taking away
everything the workers have won over generations of struggle and hard work.

No aggression against socialist Korea! End the war “games,” lift the
sanctions, sign a peace treaty with the DPRK, and bring U.S. troops
and ships home!
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and
distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without
royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: ww@workers.org
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In U.S. Sting Operations, Questions of Entrapment

November 29, 2010

In U.S. Sting Operations, Questions of Entrapment

New York Times

WASHINGTON — The arrest on Friday of a Somali-born teenager who is accused of trying to detonate a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., has again thrown a spotlight on the government’s use of sting operations to capture terrorism suspects.

Some defense lawyers and civil rights advocates said the government’s tactics, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, have raised questions about the possible entrapment of people who pose no real danger but are enticed into pretend plots at the government’s urging.

But law enforcement officials said on Monday that agents and
prosecutors had carefully planned the tactics used in the undercover
operation that led to the arrest of the Somali-born teenager, Mohamed
Osman Mohamud, 19, a naturalized United States citizen. They said that Mr. Mohamud was given several opportunities to vent his anger in ways that would not be deadly, but that he refused each time.

“I am confident that there is no entrapment here, and no entrapment
claim will be found to be successful,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder
Jr. said Monday. “There were, as I said, a number of opportunities
that the subject in this matter, the defendant in this matter, was
given to retreat, to take a different path. He chose at every step to

Mr. Holder called the sting operation, in which Mr. Mohamud was under the scrutiny of federal agents for nearly six months, “part of a
forward-leaning way in which the Justice Department, the F.B.I., our
law enforcement partners at the state and local level are trying to
find people who are bound and determined to harm Americans and
American interests around the world.”

A study this year by the Center on Law and Security at New York
University, which tracks terrorism cases, found that of 156
prosecutions in what it identified as the most significant 50 cases
since 2001, informers were relied on in 97 of them, or 62 percent. The
entrapment defense has often been raised, but as of September, it had
never been successful in producing an acquittal in a post-Sept. 11
terrorism trial, the study found.

The Portland case resembles several others in which American
residents, inspired by militant Web sites, have tried to carry out
attacks in the name of the militant Islamic movement only to be
captured in a sting operation, with undercover F.B.I. agents or
informers playing the role of terrorists and, as in this case,
supplying a fake bomb.

In September 2009, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year old Jordanian citizen, was arrested and charged with placing a fake bomb at a Dallas skyscraper. In October, Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested and charged with plotting to bomb the Washington Metro after meeting with undercover agents and discussing his plans and surveillance activities, the authorities said.

Some Muslim leaders in Oregon questioned how the sting operation there was carried out.

Imtiaz Khan, the president of the Islamic Center of Portland and
Masjed As-Saber, a mosque where Mr. Mohamud worshiped, said several people at the mosque had questioned why law enforcement helped orchestrate such an elaborate plan for a terrorist act.

“They’re saying, ‘Why allow it to get to this public stunt? To put the
community on edge?’ ” Mr. Khan said.

Mr. Khan said he and other Muslim leaders met regularly with the
F.B.I. and other federal officials. In May, he was among a group of
Muslim leaders in the Portland area who issued a statement condemning an attempted bombing in Times Square and thanking law enforcement for its “outstanding work” in the case.

Jesse Day, a spokesman for the mosque and Islamic center, said the
circumstances of Mr. Mohamud’s arrest had stirred “some distrust, a
little bit, in the tactics” of law enforcement.

The government’s 36-page affidavit filed in the Oregon case lays out a
crucial conversation between Mr. Mohamud and an F.B.I. informer at
their first meeting, on July 30, 2010. According to the affidavit, the
informer suggested five ways that Mr. Mohamud could help the cause of Islam, some of which were peaceful, like proselytizing, and some of
which were violent and illegal.

Mr. Mohamud, the affidavit said, immediately picked a violent crime:
becoming “operational,” by which he said he meant putting together a
car bomb. The informer then offered to put Mr. Mohamud in touch with
an explosives expert, setting off the chain of events that led to his
eventual arrest.

Defense lawyers may have an opportunity to challenge the government’s account of that conversation. According to the affidavit, while most of the conversations between the informer and Mr. Mohamud were recorded, that one was not “due to technical problems.”

Still, in subsequent recorded conversations, the affidavit said, Mr.
Mohamud picked the target, said he had wanted to commit such an attack for several years, and repeatedly demurred when told he could walk away if he did not have it “in his heart” to go through with it.

The question of how far the police may go in inducing the subject of
an investigation to commit a crime turns on whether the facts show
that the defendant was already predisposed to carry out a crime should
the occasion arise.

Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia University professor of criminal law and former federal prosecutor, said it was largely up to juries to decide
whether to accept a defense of entrapment, which in practice is often
hard to win. “These are jury questions that by and large go against
the defendant, although every case is different,” Mr. Richman said.

The Justice Department also has rules on how far investigators may go
in facilitating a subject’s criminal activity. The F.B.I.’s domestic
operations guide, which was overhauled in 2008, notes that courts have found it to be “legally objectionable” when government agents lead a political or religious group “into criminal activity that otherwise
probably would not have occurred.”

The guide also has a long section of rules on what undercover agents
and confidential informers can and cannot do, but it is almost
entirely redacted from a publicly released version of the document.

F.B.I. officials have said the bureau requires legal reviews and
higher-level approval of activities involving undercover agents and
confidential informers to avoid putting convictions at risk with
entrapment accusations. But they have made clear that once someone
voices an intent to commit a violent act, undercover agents and
informers are allowed to respond by offering to help the subject of
the investigation obtain weapons.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a would-be terrorist who has expressed
his desire to launch an attack, or a would-be drug dealer who has
indicated an interest in moving a kilo of crack cocaine,” said Kenneth
L. Wainstein, a former assistant attorney general for the Justice
Department’s national security division. “So long as that person has
expressed an interest in committing a crime, it’s appropriate for the
government to respond by providing the purported means of carrying out that crime so as to make a criminal case against him.”

William Yardley contributed reporting from Portland, Ore., and Scott
Shane from Washington.

November 29, 2010

Entrapment Is Argued in Defense of Suspect

New York Times

PORTLAND, Ore. — Lawyers for Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the teenager accused of trying to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas
tree-lighting ceremony here, suggested on Monday that the government might be “manufacturing crime” and accused the authorities of timing the plot for maximum publicity and effect.

Mr. Mohamud made his first court appearance since his arrest on
Friday, and his lawyers were federal public defenders appointed to the
case on Monday.

At the hearing in Federal District Court, Mr. Mohamud, a Somali-born
19-year-old who is a naturalized American citizen, pleaded not guilty
after being indicted earlier in the day on a single charge of
attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. A jury trial was set
for February.

Mr. Mohamud, shackled at the ankles, spoke only once. When asked
whether he had agreed to have Stephen R. Sady, a public defender,
serve as his lawyer, he responded, “Yes, Your Honor.”

He smiled briefly with his lawyers as he entered the courtroom, but he
did not appear to exchange words or glances with a small group of
supporters, which included at least one leader at a mosque he has

Mr. Sady made clear in the brief hearing that the defense would
forcefully question the way Mr. Mohamud was arrested. He said that the arrest was “timed for maximum impact and maximum publicity” and that F.B.I. agents had been “basically grooming the individual” to commit a crime.

Ethan Knight, one of the federal prosecutors in the case, dismissed
the idea that the government had sought publicity through the timing
of the plot, saying Mr. Mohamud was the one who chose the time and

In Washington, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said of the case,
“I am confident that there is no entrapment here, and no entrapment
claim will be found to be successful.”

Federal agents say they followed up on intercepted e-mails and other
information showing that Mr. Mohamud was seeking to contact Islamic
extremists. Undercover investigators then spent months helping him
plan to detonate a bomb. Planted by undercover agents, the bomb was

Mr. Sady questioned why a government affidavit for Mr. Mohamud’s
arrest says that technical problems prevented agents from recording an early meeting they had with him.

“In cases involving potential entrapment, it’s the first meeting that
matters,” Mr. Sady said.

Mr. Sady asked the presiding judge, John V. Acosta, for all recording
devices, storage devices and storage locations to be “preserved
pristinely as they are today.”

Prosecutors suggested that they would not oppose the request but asked Mr. Sady to clarify it in writing. Judge Acosta indicated he would
rule on the matter soon.

WikiLeaks and United States Espionage Law

WikiLeaks cables: US espionage law

Although insiders who have leaked sensitive information before have been prosecuted, cases have rarely resulted in conviction

The US Espionage Act is a little-used law dating from 1911 – the same year as the UK's Official Secrets Act, with which it has much in common.

The current law can be used to prosecute those who leak and publish classified information that creates a national security risk. But experts say the purpose of the act is primarily to tackle espionage, and that it has never been invoked successfully against a media organisation.

Although insiders who have leaked sensitive information have been prosecuted under the law – including two former officials of the American-Israel public affairs committee accused of leaking information in 2007 – cases have rarely resulted in convictions.

Media organisations are unlikely to be prosecuted under the act, under the constitutional protections for free speech upheld by the supreme court in a number of cases that have limited the application of the Espionage Act.

Experts say that in addition to protections for free speech, there are difficulties with proving leaked documents are classified, under a US government executive order which sets limits on documents that can be properly termed as classified documents.

However, if charges are made against Julian Assange under the law in the US, then he would face extradition under the controversial UK-US extradition treaty, which provides special measures for extraditions between the two countries.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

Somalians Convicted of Piracy Based on Slave-era Law

Somalians Convicted of Piracy Based on Slave-era Law

Federal trial stems from U.S. aims in the Horn of Africa

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Five Somalians nationals were convicted of piracy in a United States federal court in Norfolk, Virginia on Nov. 24. The sentencing of the Somalians will take place in March 2011 and they could be given life in prison based on a combination of slave-era laws and criminal statutes that have not been litigated in this manner since 1861.

The captured Somalians claimed that they were fishing off the coast of the country and were forced to fire on the “Nicholas”, a U.S. boat that was part of an international flotilla of warships stationed in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Government prosecutors tried the case on the allegation that the defendants fired on a U.S. military boat thinking it was a commercial ship that could be held for ransom.

U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride stated after the convictions that “Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years. Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts.” (examiner.com, Nov. 27)

The trial lasted for nine days and resulted in the convictions of Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Mohammed Umar, Ali Abdi Wali Dire, and Abdi Mohammed Guerwardher for “piracy, attack to plunder a vessel, act of violence against persons on a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence, and multiple firearm counts, including the use of a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).” (examiner.com, Nov. 27)

These convictions come amid a chorus of demands from imperialist military forces to intensify their aggressive dominance of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean near the Horn of Africa. Since 2008 both the European Union and the United States have led a coalition of naval forces that have pledged to control the flow of goods, oil and arms through the Gulf of Aden and to work towards the prevention of the Islamic resistance forces from seizing total power inside Somalia.

Philippe Coindreau, the EU commander of the anti-piracy naval force known as NAVFOR, told members of the international media in a videoconference that “Our action enables us to contain piracy but certainly not resolve it. It is desirable that the countries of the region agree to judge the pirates and that an international solution be found as quickly as possible.” (AFP, Nov. 25)

The EU commander pointed out that the level of attacks against commercial and other vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean remained steady but that the area of operations for the NAVFOR forces had broadened. In addition to the U.S. trial in Norfolk, ten Somalians arrested in the Indian Ocean went on trial in Hamburg, Germany in November.

Despite the cooperation of the neighboring east African nation of Kenya to assist the imperialist states in the anti-piracy campaign in the region, a recent trial in that country resulted in the acquittal of 26 people also charged with hijacking vessels for ransom. More than 700 people are now in custody in 12 different countries for piracy.

There are proposals put forward by the United Nations to establish an anti-piracy court ostensibly under Somalian control that would put on trial people arrested and charged with this crime on the high seas. Kenya has been suggested as a possible location for the new court.

Trials Designed to Provide Political Basis for Further U.S. Intervention

Somalia has been targeted by the United States in its so-called “war on terrorism.” At present the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, the capital, is being propped-up by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) that is underwritten largely by U.S. military appropriations. The AMISOM forces are predominately staffed by several thousand soldiers supplied by the U.S.-backed governments of Uganda and Burundi.

U.S. interest in Somalia goes back decades, when during the 1970s, the Carter administration sought to weaken the revolution in neighboring Ethiopia by bribing the military government of Mohamed Siad Barre into an alliance with the Pentagon. A subsequent U.S.-instigated invasion into Ethiopia by Somalian forces in 1978 met with decisive defeat by the Ethiopian military assisted by Cuban internationalist forces that were inside the region to help in the consolidation of a socialist revolution in Ethiopia at the time.

The trial of the five Somalian men in Norfolk should be viewed within the past and present political context involving U.S. foreign policy aims and objectives. Another failed attempt at intervention in Somalia took place from 1992-94, when U.S. marines invaded the country under the guise of a humanitarian mission to feed the hungry and displaced.

Within a few months of the intervention, the Somali masses had rose up against both the U.S. and United Nations forces inside the country compelling a withdrawal in 1994. In recent months there have been hints from the Pentagon of a desire to engage in another direct military assault on Somalia.

These efforts on the part of the U.S. ruling class stems from its desire to control the strategic trade routes in the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula regions. This is also linked to claims on oil concessions by U.S. multi-national firms in and around Somalia.

In neighboring Djibouti, the U.S. and France both have military bases that are often used in war games conducted by the Pentagon and the EU military forces stationed in the region. The imperialists do not want any government to come to power in the region that is independent of U.S. influence.

This policy is manifested inside the U.S. when Somalian expatriates are arrested and charged with crimes related to the “war on terrorism.” In Portland during late November, a 19-year-old Somalian youth, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, was entrapped and charged by the FBI in a sting operation involving a non-existent plot to set off a bomb at a holiday celebration. The entire plot was concocted and engineered by the FBI that uses such incidents to justify large-scale domestic spending on homeland security as well as defense spending to wage a permanent war in the so-called Third World.

In April of 2009, the U.S. Navy shot dead three Somalian youth and wounded another then brought a captured 16-year-old Abdiwali Muse to New York to stand trial for piracy.

These criminal cases, coupled with the targeting of the Somali community inside the U.S., has created an atmosphere of hostility among this population group in various areas of the country.

New Study Documents Successes in Zimbabwe Land Redistribution Process

New Study Documents Successes in Zimbabwe Land Redistribution Process

African farmers make significant strides in agricultural production

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

A new pioneering study on the Zimbabwe land redistribution process of the last decade has revealed that millions of Africans have made significant gains in agricultural production and income generation in this former British settler colony that gained its independence in 1980.

Contrary to repeated claims by the displaced white landowners, the British and United States imperialists and their allies, an objective review and analysis of the removal of 4,000 settlers and the re-location of Africans on to these commercial farms illustrates the tremendous strides that have been made since 2000.

This study, entititled “Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities”, was conducted by Ian Scoones, a British professorial fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) in the UK. The researcher examined the land reform process in the Masvingo province of Zimbabwe located in the central south and east of the southern African nation.

Scoones notes that his research was based on the actual conditions taking place on the ground in Zimbabwe. He tracks the entire process of what has been called by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the Third Chimurenga (liberation struggle), which was precipitated by the failure of the British and the U.S. to provide resources to buy out white-settler farmers who controlled most of the arable land inside the country even after two decades of national independence.

In 2000, after legislation was passed by ZANU-PF under the leadership of liberation movement leader President Robert Mugabe, 8 millions hectares of land were stripped from the white commercial farmers who held both Zimbabwean and British citizenships. Tens of thousands of revolutionary war veterans led people on to the farms effectively seizing control in the region’s most advanced land redistribution process during the post-independence era.

Leading up to and after the land seizures in Zimbabwe, the western imperialist states embarked upon a massive effort aimed at regime-change in the country. The so-called Movement for Democratic Change was founded with the overt assistance of the white settler-farmers and their supporters in Britain and the United States.

Sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe by the imperialist states and a sophisticated and well-funded destabilization program was launched against the country. The overwhelming majority of news reports about the country in the West were designed to undermine the land redistribution process and to blame the ZANU-PF leadership for the economic hardships that resulted from the sanctions and withdrawal of credit.

Nonetheless, this recently-released study by Prof. Scoones proves that the allegations made by the imperialists and their allies inside Zimbabwe were totally fabricated. Not only did millions of Zimbabweans gain access to land that had been stolen from them since the latter years of the 19th century, but they have made gains in food production and income distribution.

Scoones’ findings are drawn from in-depth field research at 16 land reform sites across Masvingo province that involved 400 households. The study spanned from the higher potential areas near Gutu to the more dry southern lands in the lowveld.

According to Scoones, “What we found was not what we expected. It contradicted the overwhelmingly negative images of land reform presented in the media, and indeed in much academic and policy commentary. Problems, failures and abuses were identified for sure, but the overarching story was much more positive: the realities on the ground did not match the myths so often perpetuated in wider debate.” (The Zimbabwean, October 21)

One key element of the land redistribution process was the breaking-up of many, but not all, of the large-scale commercial farms controlled by the white-settlers. Scoones notes that “Overall there has been a significant shift to many more, smaller-scale farms focusing on mixed farming, often with low levels of capitalization.”

The researcher goes on to state that “In Masvingo province, the new resettlements cover 28 percent of the land area, with 1.2 million hectares being small-scale (A1) settlements, while a further 371,500 hectares are devoted to larger (A2) farms. This has resulted in a very different farming sector, but one that is not without considerable entrepreneurial dynamism and productive potential.” (The Zimbabwean, October 21)

This report admits that the collapse of the white commercial farming sector that was largely for export did result in the decline in production within the agricultural industries that dominated under the colonial and post-independence period. For example between 2001, the year after the land seizures, and 2009, wheat, tobacco, coffee, tea and beef production suffered.

However, as Scoones points out, “other crops and markets have weathered the storm and some have boomed. Aggregate production of small grains has exploded, increasing by 163 percent compared to the 1990s averages. Edible dry bean production has expanded even more, up 282 percent, Cotton production has increased slightly, up 13 percent on average.”

Scoones continues saying “The agricultural sector has certainly been transformed, and there are major problems in certain areas, but it certainly has not collapsed.” This research report not only focuses on aggregate production statistics and therefore seeks to explore developments on a local level which provides a more accurate picture of what is happening in the everyday lives of Zimbabweans.

The author says that “aggregate figures—with all the caveats about accuracy—only tell one part of the story. To get a sense of what is happening in the fields and on the farms, we need a more local focus.”

Western States Continue Sanctions

Despite the gains made in the farming sector in Zimbabwe and the formation of a coalition government in 2008 between the ZANU-PF party and the two MDC opposition factions, the British, U.S. and EU states have continued the economic sanctions against the country as well as their propaganda aimed regime-change. Even under the Obama administration, the U.S. has extended the sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year as well as making policy statements that are aimed at destabilizing the southern African state.

In a recent interview published in the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald, one leading African American religious leader announced that he would launch a campaign inside the U.S. aimed at mobilizing the clergy to pressure the Obama administration to lift sanctions against the ZANU-PF officials within the government. The founder of Imani Temple/ The African American Catholic Congregation, Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, told the Herald’s U.S. correspondent Obi Egbuna that he had written a letter to President Mugabe pledging to increase his involvement “in dealing with the real issues at hand not the rhetoric that serves as a distraction therefore hindering progress.” (Zimbabwe Herald, November 19)

Stallings pointed out in the interview that “If they could enslave and colonize us in the name of Jesus Christ, then trying to force a regime change in Zimbabwe under the guise of freeing people from an evil dictator is a small drop in the bucket. If Nelson Mandela only just recently had his name removed from the U.S. Government’s list of terrorists, then President Mugabe, the engineer of Africa’s boldest land and mining reclamation programs, can forget it.”

It has been recently announced by ZANU-PF that the party is preparing for national elections in 2011 after a new constitution is ratified. Consequently, the coalition government with the MDC factions will be dissolved preparing the way for the re-emergence of full political control by ZANU-PF which fought for the national liberation of the country during the 1960s and 1970s and has maintained power since independence in 1980.

Iran, Image of U.S. Militarization of the World

Iran, image of US militarisation of world

By Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

A bully or a mafia godfather would never run out of excu-ses to punish an insubordinate soul in "his territory."

Accordingly, US imperialism has been very creative in invoking all kinds of excuses to punish Iran for its aspirations to national self-determination.

To justify the criminal economic sanctions against the Iranian people, the US has for years insisted that Iran is supporting terrorism, threatening US national interests, and pursuing a programme of nuclear weapons manufacturing.

As these harebrained allegations are increasingly losing credibility, the United States is now invoking a new ploy to justify its decision to further tighten the sanctions on Iran: "military dictatorship" and "human rights abuses," as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has occasionally grumbled about in recent months.

There are a number of obvious problems with this latest US excuse for escalating sanctions against Iran.

To begin with, it is a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Iran.

Second, considering the fact that the US has armed its "allies" in the Middle East (and beyond) to the teeth, its condemnation of the rise of Iran’s military power is clearly hypocritical.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, cited in Wikipedia, while Iran’s military spending in 2009 was US$9,174 billion (or 2,7 percent of its GDP), that of Saudi Arabia was US$39,257 billion (8,2 percent of its GDP).

That of Israel was US$14,34 billion (7 percent of its GDP), and that of the United Arab Emirates was US$13,5 billion (or 5,9 percent of its GDP).

Third, in light of the fact that the US is the most militarized country in the world, it’s belly-aching about "militarisation of Iran" (whose military spending is less than one percent of the US) is patently ironic; it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Again, while Iran’s military spending in 2009 was US$9,174 billion, that of the US was US$663,255 billion.

However, the official US$663,255 billion includes neither the Homeland Security budget, nor the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, nor a number of supplemental expenditures added to military spending during the fiscal year.

Once these omitted (or hidden) expenditures are added to the official Pentagon budget, total US military-security expenditures would easily amount to US$1 000 billion, or one trillion dollars. Even in relative terms, Iran’s military spending is infinitesimally small compared to that of the United States. For example, while Iran’s per capita military spending is $1 319 174 000 000 : 70 000 000), that of the US is $3333 (1 000 000 000 000 : 300 000 000).

And whereas Iran’s military spending as a share of its GDP is 2,7 percent (9,174 billion : 340 billion), that of the United States is nearly 7 percent (1 trillion : 14 trillion).

Fourth, in light of the fact that the US is altogether silent in the face of heinous human rights violations under the rule of the regimes it calls "allies," its alleged concern for "human rights abuses" in Iran is hypocritical and utilitarian.

It uses the lofty ideal of defending human rights to disguise its nefarious intentions to impose economic sanctions or to embark on military aggression against that country.

Hypocritical defence of human rights is often used to justify wars of aggression as humanitarian operations, or "just wars," as they were called in times past.

Just as this ruse was used in 1999 to wreak carnage on Yugoslavia, so it is now used to pave grounds for committing similarly heinous crimes against Iran.

Regrettably, many left/liberal/antiwar individuals and organisations often fall for this hoax, thereby endorsing (or remaining silent in the face of) US wars of aggression on ethical grounds, that is, on grounds of fighting dictatorship or terrorism in the hope of achieving liberation and democracy.

Of course, to make the ruse credible, champions of war and militarism usually start with demonisation and distortion, and then proceed to aggression and invasion.

It must also be pointed out that the purported US support for human rights tends to be narrowly focused on purely cultural issues such as lifestyle and identity politics, that is, the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation.

As such, it is largely devoid of basic economic needs for survival.

Even a cursory comparison with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedom, adopted on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, reveals some fundamental shortcomings of the US human rights protocol.

Human rights according to UDHRF include basic economic or survival needs such as: "the right to work . . . to protection against unemployment . . . to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection . . .

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control…

"Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection…Everyone has the right to education."

Human rights a la USA does not include any of these basic human — all the nauseating propaganda of championing human rights notwithstanding.

Indeed, many of the basic economic rights, which came to be known as the New Deal reforms, and which were achieved through long and heroic struggles of the working people and other grassroots, are now systematically undermined in order to pay for the gambling losses of the Wall Street financial giants.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to the extent that there has been an undeniable rise in the power of armed forces in Iran, as well as a corresponding curtailment of civil liberties there, such unfortunate developments have evolved as a direct consequence of the constant threats posed by the US imperialism and its allies to that country.

Iran’s strengthening of its armed forces has become a virtual necessity in self-defence against threats of war, destabilisation, sabotage, sanctions, and other kinds of covert and overt operations engineered by the imperialist-Zionist forces.

By dividing the world into "allies" and "enemies," the powerful war profiteering interests in the Unites States, the military-industrial-security colossus, compel both "allies" and "enemies" to militarise.

On one hand, "enemies" such as Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea are forced to strengthen their defence capabilities against imperialistic aggressions,.

On the other, "allies" such as the regimes ruling Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Colombia are driven to militarisation against their own people, since regimes loved by US imperialism are hated by the overwhelming majority of their own citizens.

Critics tend to bemoan the rise in the power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran without bothering to explain how the IRGC came to existence, or why it has expanded to where it is today. Who is to be blamed for the ascendance of its influence in the Iranian politics and economics?

Those even faintly familiar with the history of the IRGC would recall that it came into existence as a resistance force against counter-revolutionary forces in Iran, which have always been supported by US imperialism and its allies.

Although it was formed in the spring of 1979 as a small paramilitary revolutionary force in the fight against the Shah’s rule, it remained for the US-instigated invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein to expand it to a fully-fledged military power in defence of Iran’s territorial integrity.

The ensuing brutal eight-year Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in which the US and its allies whole-heartedly supported Saddam Hussein, and the Guards’ legendary sacrifices and heroic defence of Iran independence drastically enhanced their size, their prestige and their power.

Although Iraq’s war with Iran ended in 1988, other forms of US wars against Iran have continued to this day.

These have included destabilising "soft-power" operations in the name of democracy, covert operations through all kinds of NGOs and fifth-column groupings, promotion of and support for terrorist operations such as those carried out by Jundullah and Mojadeen Khalgh (MKO, or MEK), constant military threats, psychological warfare, and economic sanctions.

Not surprisingly, the role and the influence of IRGC and other security forces in Iran have increased accordingly.

Also unsurprisingly, as the political power of Iran’s armed forces has thus increased, so has their economic power.

I say "unsurprisingly" because it is altogether in the nature of things that large standing armies gradually extend their military-security power to the realm of economics.

The fully-fledged and the best example of this phenomenon is the rise of the monstrous military-industrial complex in the United States — which, contrary to the defensive nature of Iran’s military force, represents an offensive imperialistic force.

It is of course a truism that maintaining large standing armies will sooner or later lead to authoritarianism.

It is equally obvious that by the same token that militarisation of the world can be blamed largely on imperialistic US foreign policies, so can the rise of many authoritarian regimes around the world be attributed to those oppressive policies.

When a country (whose only sin is its aspiration to national self-determination) is labelled by US imperialism as "our enemy" and is, therefore, encircled and threatened by the US military monster, that country’s political, economic and democratic growth is bound to be distorted or derailed from a path of a healthy, natural or spontaneous evolution.

Finding themselves in the bull’s eye of the menacing US war juggernaut, security forces of such beleaguered countries are bound to react nervously/harshly in the face of protest demonstrations of domestic opposition, even when such demonstrations are for legitimate reasons.

The shameful history of covert US operations abroad, including the violent overthrow of many democratically elected leaders through military coup d’états, shows that expressions of indigenous opposition or grievances in such "enemy" countries are often subverted by well-financed and well-armed US agents.

They are either penetrated from outside or recruited from within, thereby warping the development of a "healthy" political/democratic process in those countries.

What is utterly demagogical is that, having thus perverted the politico-democratic process in such countries, US propaganda machine then turns around and blames the religion or culture or leaders of those countries as inherently incompatible with democratic values.

Regrettably, not only do most of the American people but also many people elsewhere, including in the countries targeted for destabilisation, fall for this ruse — in effect, blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator.

Viewed in this light, the rise in the influence of the military-security forces in the Iranian politics and economics is a direct result of the menacing imperial policies of the United States and its allies toward that country.

Thus, President Obama’s or Secretary Clinton’s or other US policy makers’ bellyaching about the rise of the power of the armed forces in Iran represents a case of gross obfuscation.

That is, a case of barking up the wrong tree: instead of blaming IRGC they should blame their own imperialistic foreign policies, which nurtures militarisation and curtailment of civil liberties not only in Iran but also in many other parts of the world.

Indeed, militarisation of the world and the resulting proliferation of many (relatively smaller) military-industrial complexes around the globe are unmistakable byproducts of the monstrous US military-industrial complex.

The inherent dynamics of this monster as an existentially driven war juggernaut compels other countries around the world (both "allies" and "enemies") to embark on paths to militarism and authoritarianism.

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, author of The Political Economy of US Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa — Mathaba.net

Zimbabwe News Update: ZANU-PF Conference to Review Inclusive Government; WikiLeaks Exposes U.S. Scorn for Western-backed MDC

Conference to review inclusive Govt, constitution-making process

Herald Reporter

The state of the inclusive Government and the ongoing constitution-making process are some of the major issues that will be debated at Zanu-PF’s 11th National People’s Conference in Mutare next month.

The conference will also deliberate on the state of the party and issues agreed on at the Fifth National People’s Congress in Ha-rare last year.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo said the conference would re-invigorate the party.

"We will be looking at the constitution-making process and inter-party dialogue in light of the inclusive politics.

"We will also do a review of what we agreed at our last congress looking on the implementation side," he said.

Cde Gumbo said the conference would look at the party’s financial situation with a view to boost its coffers. More than 5 000 delegates from the party’s 10 provinces will attend and no foreign delegates had been invited.

"This is a People’s Conference and we only invite foreign delegates to a congress.

"The party will be stronger than ever after this conference," Cde Gumbo said.

Preparations for the Manicaland 2010 Expo, which will run concurrently with the conference, are reportedly progressing as scheduled.

Zanu-PF national fundraising committee chairperson Cde Noah Mangondo expressed hope that the Expo would be a resounding success.

"We are still registering companies that want to exhibit during this Expo.

"We have done this at some of our conferences like the one in Goromonzi and in Chinhoyi," he said.

Cde Mangondo could not disclose the number of companies that have so far registered.

He said the Expo would be the best opportunity for companies to showcase their products since the party’s annual event is attracting so many people.

The conference will be held under the theme "Total control of our resources through indigenisation".

US scorns ‘inept’ MDC leadership

Herald Reporters

THE United States failed to effect regime change in Zimbabwe be-cause it was working with a weak MDC party with an inept leadership, leaked classified documents have revealed.

Among 250 000 leaked documents published by Wikileaks on Sunday night is a communication by former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell in which he said there was no "ideal" opposition to Zanu-PF and President Mugabe.

In a scathing assessment of the two MDC formations, Dell said regime change would have been easier to instigate had the parties had more "talent".

The communication — titled "The End is Nigh" — to the US State Department and other diplomatic missions was on July 13, 2007 and gave Dell’s assessment of how the 2008 elections were likely to go.

Dell said MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was, however, useful for American purposes in Zimbabwe.

He lamented: "Zimbabwe’s opposition is far from ideal and I leave convinced that had we had different partners, we could have achie-ved more already.

"But you have to play the hand you’re dealt."

Dell said the MDC leadership had little executive experience and would "require massive hand-holding and assistance should they ever come to power".

Last week, The Herald broke the story that Mr Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister in the inclusive Government, had asked the British to second someone to hold his hand and offer him "technical advice".

Dell described Mr Tsvangirai as a "flawed figure" who was "not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgment in selecting those around him".

"He is the indispensable element for opposition success, but possibly an albatross around their necks once in power.

"In short, he is a kind of Lech Walesa character: Zimbabwe needs him, but should not rely on his executive abilities to lead the country’s recovery."

Walesa, also a former trade unionist, was largely built up by the West to take charge of Polish politics in opposition to communism during the Cold War.

Dell was dismissive of MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara.

"Arthur Mutambara is young and ambitious, attracted to radical, anti-Western rhetoric and smart as a whip.

"But, in many respects he’s a lightweight who has spent too much time reading US campaign messaging manuals and too little thinking about the real issues."

He also took a dig at MDC secretary-general Prof Welshman Ncube.

Dell said he was a "deeply divisive and destructive player in the opposition ranks and the sooner he is pushed off the stage, the better".

The American diplomat wrote of his belief that the sanctions-induced economic malaise would lead more to President Mugabe’s ouster from office than any other single factor — including the MDCs.

He said there was no prospect of the MDCs working together.

Commenting on the party’s October 2005 split, he said this was "a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound".

He said MDC-T had "thin talent" and needed "the great saving grace" from Diaspora professionals, entrepreneurs and businesspersons.

Dell expressed frustration that the MDCs could not co-ordinate activities with NGOs like the National Constitutional Assembly and Women of Zimbabwe Arise.

He said NGOs — many of which are also Western-funded — and the MDCs were "natural allies" with "more reason to work together than fight against each other".

In light of this, he hinted at other prospects for President Muga-be’s removal from office, including a "popular uprising", "Mugabe’s sudden, unexpected death" and a military coup.

He mentioned the possibility of former South African president Thabo Mbeki facilitating a coalition government led by Zanu-PF.

Observers yesterday said the revelations showed the MDCs were mere pawns in the American scheme to direct Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Others noted the arrogance with which America gave itself the mandate to determine who should lead.

Controversy stalked Dell since his posting to Harare in 2004 until his unceremonious departure in 2007, when he left for Afghanistan where America is bogged down in a military quagmire of its own making.

Before coming to Zimbabwe, Dell had been posted to other places where the US has meddled in internal affairs with disastrous consequences — Kosovo and Angola.

Dell was in October 2005 detained by security forces after trespassing into a restricted area of the National Botanical Gardens, after which he tried to provoke a diplomatic incident.

He also travelled to areas outside the capital without Foreign Affairs clearance as is the norm the world over, and had a brush with the police in Mashonaland Central.

In November 2005, the Government summoned Dell for a dressing down in which he was told to behave or pack his bags.

A similar riot act was read to him and other Western diplomats in March 2007.

Dell left in July 2007 when his term expired. He left without bidding farewell to President Mugabe, as per diplomatic etiquette.

South Sudanese Flee Border Area

S Sudanese 'flee border area'

According to report at least 1,500 south Sudanese have fled areas along the north-south borders fearing aerial attacks.

Last Modified: 29 Nov 2010 19:48 GMT

Voter registration for a referendum to decide if the south wants to secede has been extended

At least 1,500 south Sudanese civilians have fled areas along the north–south border fearing aerial attack on Bahr al-Ghazal by the Sudan Armed Forces, the UN and southern officials said.

Giovanni Bosco, the head of the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs in southern Sudan, said on Monday that there was no formal camp set up to receive the new arrivals, but the UN was helping the local community feed them.

"People are leaving their villages because of the military tensions in the area," he said.

Officials in the area say they have received "hundreds" of additional arrivals in just the last few days, and some reports put the number of overall displaced much higher.

"The report we received says 2,500 have been displaced in the area," said southern army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer.

Northern government officials were unavailable for comment on the reports. The SPLA says northern forces are still flying fighter planes along the border to scare southern villagers.

"Khartoum's newly-acquired Chinese planes are flying in the area.

"They are trying to cause terror and disrupt the referendum," Aguer told Reuters.

Voter registration for a referendum in south Sudan to decide whether the oil producing region secedes from the north has recently been extended to end on December 8.

The vote is part of a 2005 peace deal between the dominant parties of the north and south, ending decades of civil war that claimed two million lives.

Relations between north and south Sudan have threatened to boil over in the build-up to the southern vote.

Sudan's economy depends on oil, located mostly in the south, and Khartoum does not want to lose an important source of revenue.

Source: Reuters

Iran: West Behind Iranian Scientist's Death

Iran: West behind scientist's death

Officials accuse Israel and US for attacks in which one nuclear scientist was killed and another injured

Last Modified: 29 Nov 2010 15:21 GMT

Two car bomb blasts killed one Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran , al Alam TV reported [Reuters]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has accused Israel and Western governments of being behind the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist.

Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran on Monday, killing one and wounding the other, Iranian officials say.

Ahmadinejad said that “undoubtedly the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved'' in the killing. But he said the assassination won't stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear programs.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief, said the man killed was involved in a major project at the country's chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics.

Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran's defence ministry and one of the country's few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation. State TV blamed Israel and the US for the attacks.

At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in what Iran has alleged was part of a covert attempt by the West to damage its nuclear programme. One of those two was killed in an attack similar to those on Monday.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the Iranian vice-president, also blamed Israel, saying it had "picked up the weapon of terror".

"We will remove this mask and devilish cover from their face and reveal their identity," he said during a joint news conference with Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, who is in Tehran on a state visit.

Some Iranian media have reported that the second scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, had been killed in the attack as well, however Tehran's police chief said on Monday that he survived.

The dead scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was injured.

The second separate attack that wounded Abbasi, also injured his wife, who was in the car with him.

'Cable release orchestrated'

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad, said the US government had orchestrated the release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks to pursue its "political goals".

According to the cables released on Sunday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf leaders repeatedly urged the US to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program.

"We don't give any value to these documents," Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Tehran, Iran's capital. It's without legal value. Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations," Ahmadinejad said.

"These documents are prepared and released by the US government in a planned manner and in pursuance of an aim. It is part of intelligence warfare and will not have their desired political impact," he said.

Despite countries calling for a political resolution to the controversy over Iran's uranium enrichment project, the cables show that in addition to Riyadh, both Manama and Abu Dhabi suggested a radical solution may be necessary.

Saudi Arabia also offered to promote energy ties with China if the Chinese government backed sanctions against Iran, according to one of the diplomatic cables, the New York Times reported.

Ahmadinejad announced on Monday that Iran has accepted a date for new round of talks with world powers about its nuclear programme.

The talks will be held in Geneva on December 5, Russia's RIA news agency quoted the Iranian ambassador to Moscow as saying.

Source: Agencies

United Nations Says Ivory Coast Poll Was Democratic

U.N. says Ivory Coast poll was democratic

30 Nov 2010 07:40

Baku – APA. The head of the U.N. mission to Ivory Coast said on Monday the country’s presidential election the day before had been conducted in a democratic atmosphere, despite isolated violence and disruptions, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.

The electoral commission is expected to announce partial results of the close election on Monday in an increasingly tense atmosphere with sporadic violence and both sides accusing the other of intimidation.

Residents in parts of the main city Abidjan reported gunfire overnight as international envoys encouraged incumbent

President Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Ouattara to accept the outcome of Sunday’s run-off vote.

The streets of Abidjan were calm on Monday, but there was less traffic. In Abobo, a Reuters witness saw a heavy presence of police and soldiers guarding the roundabout that was the scene of weekend clashes.

U.N. mission chief Y.J. Choi noted violent incidents during campaigning and on voting day but said voting had gone well.

"The second round of the election was ... generally conducted in a democratic climate," he told a news conference. "I have no doubt that the will of the Ivorian people, as expressed yesterday, will be respected."

While the election is meant to draw a line under nearly a decade of political crisis and economic stagnation, it has triggered unrest and tensions in the world’s biggest cocoa grower, still split in two after a 2002-2003 war.

"Contrary to the first round which pleased all the observers, the second round has come to demonstrate the long and difficult road we still have to negotiate to bring peace back," an editorial in the state-owned Fraternite Matin daily said.

"The reunification of the country remains an aspiration."

Five members of the security forces were killed in the west of the country shortly before vote counting got under way, two security officials and Gbagbo’s campaign director said. At least seven other people have been killed in the run-up to the vote.

The opposition and ruling parties have exchanged accusations of intimidation in each other’s areas during voting.

Gbagbo’s camp said it will lodge complaints with the country’s top court and Ouattara’s campaign complained of systematic intimidation.

The electoral commission is under pressure to announce results as soon as they come in from across the country, and has said it will start giving partial results later on Monday.

Amadou Soumahoro, vice president of the election commission, said reports of people being blocked from voting were localized.


Traders in London cited the tensions in Ivory Coast as a factor as cocoa futures rose, with March up $29 at $2,823 a tone in early trade on Monday.

That was despite a pre-poll surge in supply to the country’s two main ports of around 80,000 tones, exporters estimated, taking arrivals to 412,000 tones since the start of the season in October.

"Because of the election, no one wanted to be holding any stock and delivered all," said the head of a European firm.

The election is meant to heal ethnic and regional divisions between north and south that lay behind the war. But the neck and neck battle between Gbagbo, a southerner, and Ouattara, a northerner whose support lies mostly in the rebel-held north, has merely seemed to highlight those divisions.

As polls closed, groups of youths gathered at polling stations saying they wanted to prevent rivals stealing ballots.

"The security forces were everywhere in Abobo last night. As the night went on, the tension mounted," said Yves Doumbia, an official in the mayor’s office in a pro-Ouattara neighborhood.

Observers said turnout was 65-70 percent, down from the first round when over 80 percent of 5.7 million voters turned out. Observers also said they received reports of roadblocks, tension in the polling booths and a lack of materials.

"Given the history of this place there is every reason to be concerned but it also ought to be manageable," said an international observer who could not be named.

"You have a large international presence and everybody, the UN, AU (African Union) and donors, on the same page."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Africa Rejects Joint Stand With European Union on Climate Change

Nov 29, 2010

Africa rejects joint stand on climate

African Union commission president Jean Ping briefed the press following a meeting of African foreign ministers ahead of the Africa-EU summit in the Libyan capital of Tripoli

TRIPOLI - AFRICAN nations are refusing to sign a joint statement with the European Union on climate change on the grounds the proposal does not reflect the continent's priorities, diplomats said on Monday.

A joint declaration on climate change was to have been signed at the conclusion of a two-day Africa-EU summit opening in the Libyan capital on Monday. But African diplomats said the idea was rejected by African foreign ministers at a meeting on the eve of the summit.

'The declaration was rejected as it reflected European rather than African priorities,' one African source said.

Asked for comment, an EU diplomat said 'it's not over' and added that further efforts would be made during the summit to find common ground.

Another said 'Africa has its own position' while an additional source said African leaders needed more time to look at the EU platform.

The EU had hoped to deliver a joint statement as the Cancun conference on climate change opens in Mexico. -- AFP

Pages From History: Jimi Hendrix Plays Cobo Hall in Detroit, 1968-69

PANW Editor's Note: Below we reprint first-person accounts of two concerts given by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Detroit. The first concert was Nov. 30, 1968 at Cobo Hall. The second was May 2, 1969, also at Cobo Hall. This document is being posted in honor of the 42nd anniversary of the first concert at Cobo Hall. Hendrix is considered by many as the greatest guitar player of the 20th century.

Abayomi Azikiwe


by Caesar Glebbeek & Joel J. Brattin

The Jimi Hendrix Experience visited Detroit, the largest city in the state of Michigan (in the American midwest), for concert appearances three times between February 1968 and May 1969. In this article we look back at the October 1968 and May 1969 shows at “Cobo Hall.”

Dave Atchison: “During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s Detroit was the music capital of the US. Not only was Detroit the home of Motown, with such acts as the Temptations, the Supremes, and Stevie Wonder, but it was also the innovative center for rock – Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, the MC5 (Motor City 5), Mitch Ryder, etc. The Vietnam War was hot and some of the protest movement began in nearby Ann Arbor with John Sinclair and the White Panthers. Ann Arbor was a place during those summers for free concerts, organized, I believe, through John Sinclair, and usually featuring the MC5 and other local bands. Also, on 15 August 1967 the JHE played two shows at the “Fifth Dimension Club” in Ann Arbor [the venue became a restaurant called “The Whiffle Tree” in the ‘70s]. These days, Ann Arbor still holds an annual ‘Hash Bash’ day.

“I first heard of Jimi Hendrix a couple months after his first record Are You Experienced was released in the States. I was thirteen years old, bought the album and became an instant devotee. It’s somewhat hard to understand today what it was like back than. Stereo recordings were new and rare. Record players were HiFi. By 1967, stereo recordings were becoming the standard. It was in this transition period that Jimi Hendrix hit the US. Are You Experienced was a great leap forward and years ahead of its time. And there were few who saw that Jimi’s music was the future….

“I saw him perform twice at “Cobo Hall,” located on the north side of the Detroit River in downtown Detroit. It was the largest venue (capacity 13,000 seats) at the time in the Detroit Metro-area. And I met and spoke with Jimi for quite a while before his last show in Detroit. It was really quite easy to get to him. Such a nice guy….”


Noel Redding: “November 30 is the date Jimi nearly missed. Mitch and I caught the plane and Jimi never showed. We were met in Detroit by people from Warners and taken to the hotel. [Michael] Jeffery then phoned; “Jimi has freaked out” he says and is refusing to come. I don’t know what Michael said to Jimi but it must have been heavy, for Jimi decides to come at the last minute, though they have to hire a Lear jet to get him there on time. In spite of it all, the show is a good one. Probably played well out of sheer relief.”

Michael Jeffery’s employee Bob Levine told John McDermott the following story: “He had a gig that night in Detroit, at Cobo Hall. This was about 5pm; as far as I knew, he had left. Then in walked Gerry Stickells [into the office in New York City]. I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ He replied, ‘I’ve got a problem. Jimi’s in the car.’ ‘What car! Didn’t he leave at two o’clock?’ Stickells said, ‘I just couldn’t get him to go.’ I asked Stickells to bring him into the office. He agreed but said, ‘I’ll get him in the office but he really doesn’t want to go.’

“I sat Hendrix down in my office but just as I said ‘Jimi’ the phone rang. When the secretary said, ‘Bob, it’s a promoter from Detroit,’ I knew immediately that it was Bob Bageris from Cobo Hall. Bageris said, ‘Listen, I checked reservations at the hotel and the two boys are there with a road manager but there’s no Hendrix.’ Jimi was sitting right in front of me but I assured Bageris that he had left for Detroit some time ago. I then spoke to Jimi. ‘Jimi, I’ll tell you why you have to do this. You don’t have to do this for money. You have to do this because you are Jimi Hendrix and you have over 10,000 people in that hall waiting to see you. You owe it to them. You’ve got to be there, and you know it. I don’t know what it is you’re doing with this cute little shtick; I’m enjoying it, but I’m nervous as hell. I’ve got to be like the Pope’s emissary to get you a charter to Detroit out of La Guardia in a couple of hours.’ Jimi said, ‘Well, I don’t want to put you through all that trouble. It’s not worth it.’ ‘It’s no trouble Jimi,’ I said. ‘I don’t want to be sitting here when they’re rioting in Detroit for a promoter who has given us a lot of dates in the past.’

“After a half hour of cajoling, Jimi finally obliged, so I got straight on the phone to Butler Aviation. ‘This is the Frank Sinatra office,’ I said. ‘Oh yes, sir,’ came the response. ‘We have a slight problem here. Mr. Sinatra has been delayed and must be in Detroit via Lear Jet in the next hour or so.’ ‘Hold on, sir, I don’t know.’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you’re going to say no, you tell it to Mr. Sinatra. Because I’m not.’ He came back on the line after a minute and gave us a number and a gate. I knew Stickells would have access to a bag of cash once he arrived in Detroit so I sent them off in the limousine. Then the promoter called again: ‘The first group has gone on and Hendrix isn’t here.’ I didn’t tell him what was going on but I promised him that Hendrix wouldn’t let him down.” [Hendrix: Setting The Record Straight, pp. 236-7.]

Detroit, Michigan, 1 Washington Boulevard, “Arena”/”Cobo Hall” – Concert (20:30). Support: Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys. Promoter: WKNR. 10,000 people attend.

Dave Atchison: “I was awe-struck at that concert. I remember the electricity in the crowd and the overwhelming power of Jimi’s Strat and Marshalls. It seemed that as he played, each lick sapped more and more strength from my body. By the end of that concert, I was drained. When I left, I laid down on some grass outside “Cobo Hall” looking straight up at the stars, trying to regain the strength to walk home.”


Unknown reviewer: “Congratulations, firstly, must go to Audio Arts in Detroit for the fine way in which they turned Hendrix’s thing into a superflous [sic] shamble of chaotic hostility. Special thanks to Phil Ober of Audio Arts who…denied me an interview with Hendrix (an interview arranged with Hendrix’s manager over a month before the concert) on the grounds that there wasn’t time –which there wasn’t– and told myself and a photographer with me ‘But you can stand right at the front to get some good shots!’

“We thanked him and went to the front, where two rent-a-pigs told us we had to leave. We called over Mr. Ober to clear us, whereupon he asked what the hell we were doing at the front and why we weren’t in our seats. (This is a part of the red tape of musical bureaucracy known as “lying.”)

“Our seats, which were special press review seats given to us free by WKNR, were difficult to sit in without banging one’s head on the Cobo ceiling – a slight exaggeration, but suffice it to say that we could barely see the stage let alone photograph anything on it.

“The actions taken by all concerned in charge were a hairsbreadth short of malicious. (Charlie [Aurenger] –the photographer– tried to get a little closer to the stage and was roughed up by two more rent-a-pigs and sent back to his seat.) To finish off a delightful evening, Hendrix’s show proved why they didn’t want very much publicity. I hate watching a tired band!” [The Fifth Estate, 12-25 December 1968].


The first of the two available tapes of the 30 November 1968 Jimi Hendrix Experience concert at “Cobo Hall” is 40:22 in length. The tape (marred by extreme distortion at the end, and some tape glitches early on) begins with an MC who seems to say “Mitch/Noel/Jimi Hendrix Experience”; the band gets an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Jimi suggests that it will “take about a minute and a half” to get ready, and Noel tries out a few bass runs. Jimi says “Testing, one, two, three. Oh I’m sorry, excuse me. We’re just gonna take about a minute and a half to, like, make some minor adjustments here and there, you know, like to get tuned up and things. Don’t let it be a, you know, drag; it’s part of the show.” The audience cheers, and Jimi tunes his guitar. “Since the last time that y’all seen us, somethin’ like that, like, oh, we haven’t really practiced since then, and like, we’re just gonna be jamming tonight. So you might as well just relax.”

Noel says something about how long they’ve been on the road (they’d been touring in the USA since the end of July), and, after a bit more tuning, says they’d “like to start off with a real old number, recorded a long long time ago”: “Fire.” We hear Mitch Mitchell bang his drums, and Jimi sounds a few guitar chords; the audience applauds, and Jimi jokes “Thanks for waiting. Thank you very much, and now for our next number, we’d like….”

Following a minor tape glitch, a 3:36 version of “Fire” opens the show. Jimi sings “itchin’ desire” in the first verse and “burnin’ desire” in the second, reversing the lyrics of the studio recording; he also says “stop acting so damn crazy” just before the second verse. At the conclusion of the third verse, Jimi sings “Let me stand next to your…,” letting his guitar fill in the blank. The solo begins at 1:05, followed by a somewhat extended bass and drum interlude during which one can hear a female fan cry out “Jimi!” (2:26); in the third verse Jimi sings “Let me stand next to your thing” (2:43).

Jimi says “We’re having slight difficulty, but anyway, we’d like to try to do ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ for you.” Someone on stage whistles, and the audience applauds. Noel says “Our good friend Eric [Barrett, equipment manager] is fixing amplifiers. He comes from Glasgow, you know. You’ve heard of Glasgow, Scotland, a very long ways away. He misses his mother. She’s a haggis.” Haggis is a type of Scottish soup consisting of the heart, lungs, liver, and sometimes intestines of a sheep or calf, boiled in the stomach of the animal; perhaps Noel was punning on “hag”?

Noel repeats the word “haggis” to Jimi, who replies “Oh, right. One, two, three, four,” and begins a succinct 3:23 version of “Spanish Castle Magic.” The audio quality of the tape is sufficiently good to reveal a deep sniff before the word “dragonfly” in the first verse. Jimi gives a 24-bar solo (1:25-2:21) in place of the twelve measures in the studio recording, but the outro solo, starting at 2:50, is not extended.

Jimi, possibly responding to an inaudible request from the audience, says the band would like to play “a song that we know, too. And it goes something like this here. Oh, yeah, it’s dedicated to the Black Panthers, and the American Indians. It’s called ‘I Don’t Live Today, Maybe Tomorrow.’” After a 0:40 drum introduction, the guitar enters; Jimi omits “maybe tomorrow, I just can’t say” from the first chorus. Jimi’s solo begins at 1:46, and includes some sustained feedback and whammy bar work shortly before the second chorus begins at 3:25. The song concludes at 5:53 with quiet, low-pitched guitar tones, after a nearly two-minute outro.

Jimi says he’d “like to do another song. It’s a thing done by one of the grooviest groups in the world. It’s a jam session type song; we’ll play an instrumental of the vocal that was really outasite. And, like, we’re not saying that we’re playing the song because we play it better than the other group; we’re not saying that at all. We’re saying that we dig the group, and like to do it as a memorial or some kind of –whatever you call it– a dedication or something, I don’t know. Anyway, the name of the group is the Cream, and the name of the song is ‘Sunshine Of Your Love.’”

Though Cream recorded the song in the key of D, Jimi plays it in B, starting with four statements of the familiar 2-bar tonic riff, and then switching to a more piercing, “singing” tone for four more before shifting to the subdominant, E. Jimi uses the ascending chromatic turnaround, played in unison with Noel’s bass, that characterizes his own version of the Cream hit. The second verse, which includes some of Jimi’s most creative soloing, begins with a total of six statements of the tonic phrase. At the third verse (1:46), the texture narrows immediately; by 2:15, Noel is playing grumbling, sustained chords on the bass, and Jimi is playing exclusively rhythm. There is some distortion on the tape at 4:10, followed by some sustained guitar notes and a whammy-bar dive; the fourth verse (4:40) is a shortened one, with just four statements of the 2-bar riff before the move to the dominant F# tonality. The fifth verse, like the third, is “free,” with the narrowed texture quickly moving to a drum solo (5:30-7:37). The sixth verse, like the second, gives six statements of the tonic riff, and the song ends in the seventh verse, with the Experience playing the riff increasingly slowly, coming to a conclusion on E at 9:03, three notes before completion of the seventh statement of the basic riff on B.

Jimi says “And then we’re gonna do this other song, that we did on–oh–oh, yeah, we’re gonna do another song, yeah. Anyway, dig… We’re gonna do a song that we recorded on our third LP. It’s called Electric Ladyland…” [Electric Ladyland, released the previous month in the USA, entered the charts on 19 October 1968 and reached #1 in the USA.] “Like to do a song called ‘Voodoo Child (slight return)’ though.”

Audience response is mixed, perhaps because a segment hoped for an earlier, more familiar song; Jimi adds “We’ve forgotten the words to the other songs,” and notes that though he was “really sincere” when he wrote earlier material, “we’re recording a new LP now, so we’ll play that.” The characteristic wah-wah-ed opening of “Voodoo Child (slight return)” is greeted with applause, but the song ends on this tape at 0:59, before the first vocal verse begins.

5:24 of “Red House” comes next, in a hideously distorted version: right and left channels drop out intermittently (both channels quit entirely, affording some relief, from 2:34-2:56); the speed is much too slow, and wobbles, inducing seasickness; and chipmunk voices frequently intrude. The opening of the song is missing, as are the first and second vocal verses. As a vastly superior recording of “Red House” appears on the second audience tape (discussed immediately below), we will give no more attention to this song here, beyond noting that the third and final vocal verse, concluding with “If my baby don’t love me no more, I know good and well her sister will,” is audible shortly before the tape cuts short (omitting only the last few notes).

The tape cuts directly into some horribly distorted, slowed-down noise, with chipmunk vocals in the left channel – the fidelity is dismal. After 2:17 of low-fidelity nightmare cacophony, one can hear a distorted, unaccompanied guitar playing the “Voodoo Child (slight return)” riff in the right channel (nothing, at this point, in the left), gradually slowing as if drawing to an end. At 3:36, dental soloing is evident, followed by a descent, applause, feedback, and at 4:08 an end, followed by Jimi’s badly-distorted “thank you very much.”

We are at a loss to explain the final ten minutes of this tape; the best theory is that perhaps the taper caught all of “Voodoo Child (slight return),” and then (for whatever motive) rewound his tape, recording bits of “Red House” over what he’d just captured previously.


The second tape of this same show, originally recorded on a 5-inch reel-to-reel, runs 41:05 in length and is significantly different from the first, both in terms of audio quality and musical material. Like the first tape, the second one begins with “Fire,” though this tape begins without any MC, introduction, or comments from the stage. The opening measures are clipped, too – but surely not more than the first four or five seconds of music are missing, as we have a full 0:16 before the first verse. On this tape, running at a more regular speed (Jimi is consistently tuned one half-step flat, as we would expect), the slightly incomplete song lasts 3:40, four seconds longer than the complete version from the other source; the female cry for “Jimi!” during the bass and drum interlude is not audible on this tape.

“Spanish Castle Magic” and “I Don’t Live Today” are nowhere to be heard on this tape; next up, without any introduction and with the first two-bar riff omitted, is “Sunshine Of Your Love.” At 9:27, this is some 24 seconds longer than on the other (complete) tape.

Without any introduction, and again without the opening seconds, Jimi’s original 12-bar blues “Red House” is heard, fortunately free of the tape-distortion disfiguring the version on the other tape. The opening chorus does not feature Jimi’s characteristic figure at the 10th and 11th frets of the three highest strings, but in the first bars of the second verse, Jimi alludes to his usual opening. The third chorus is the first vocal verse, which Jimi concludes by singing “I ain’t been home to see my baby in about, let’s see now, ninety-nine and one-half days.”

Next up is the second vocal verse; Jimi laughs before singing “I got a bad, bad feeling that my baby don’t live here no more.” “That’s all right; I still got my guitar” introduces chorus five, the first of six fine instrumental choruses. The fiery sixth chorus features high bent notes and some nimble double-pulloffs in the opening bars; the seventh changes the pace with quiet, jazzy rhythm work. The eighth begins with unaccompanied, slow lead playing, but the intensity picks up with Jimi’s introduction of the wah-wah pedal in the fourth measure, and the rest of the band joins in at the end of the chorus. Jimi opens the ninth chorus with a nearly complete measure of silence; the tenth chorus features some of his speediest picking. The eleventh chorus, undoubtedly the last, is incomplete: it is the third and final vocal verse, but it cuts off at the end of the second line, at “Lord, I might as well go back over yonder, baby, way over yonder, ‘cross the hill,” yielding a total time of 11:52.

The next song, also without introduction, is “Foxy Lady.” The first few seconds may perhaps be trimmed, but in any case Jimi’s feedback introduction is extraordinarily long: Jimi draws it out to 39 seconds. Jimi’s 28-bar solo (2:30-3:39) extends far beyond the length of the studio version. In the following chorus, Jimi substitutes “I’ve made up my mind” for “I’m gonna take you home”; he also omits the phrase “comin’ to get you” before the outro. The song concludes at 4:52.

After a brief gap of perhaps a second, “Hey Joe” begins. As usual with this tape, the first second or two of the song are missing, but we still have more than half of the second measure. Jimi plays a solo after the second verse, from 1:36-2:00; his outro solo includes the characteristic sound of dental enamel meeting the strings. The song concludes at 3:56, and Jimi, perhaps referring to his now very out-of-tune low E string, says something like, “Yeah, that’s what you get for playing with strings; that’s what you get.”

In response to an inaudible audience request, Jimi continues with: “Like to say, thank you for even thinking about that song; thank you very much. And now we’d like to do ‘Purple Haze.’” He then says, apologetically, “‘Manic Depression’–I wish we could do it, man. You know, like we only have about two minutes left, you know. The cat’s gonna turn off the [electricity in the] hall if we don’t get off the stage very soon, which is a very bad drag.”

Jimi tunes up, and continues: “This thing here, this song here is dedicated to all the plainclothesmen in the audience and other narcotics; it’s a thing called ‘Purple Haze.’” More tuning. “You probably notice that you hear distortion here and there. Well–it’s true; yes, you are really hearing it.” The audience laughs, and Jimi explains: “I’m only playing with about two speakers, and [pointing to Noel] like he’s playin’ with about three and a half. And like, there you go, playin’ on ashes, nothin’ but shadows. So you know… Like to say thanks very much, though, for coming. You know this is our last gig – tomorrow night’s our last gig we’ll do in the States for a long time.” [The JHE’s tour concluded the following night, on 1 December 1968, in Chicago; the band did not play another concert in the USA until 11 April 1969.] “It’s been really groovy for the last two months, you know.”

More tuning, followed by Jimi’s announcing the title again: “Purple Haze.” This 4:53 version begins with an extended statement of the two-bar E7#9-G-A progression –sixteen measures, in place of the usual four– perhaps in an attempt to wrinkle out some technical difficulty; the first verse begins only at 0:53. Jimi clearly sings “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy” (1:08), possibly pointing to Mitch. From 1:35-1:54, Jimi plays a solo very similar to the one on the original studio recording, but from 1:54-2:42 he offers another improvised one. In the outro and solo, “not necessarily stoned” is clearly audible (3:35); Jimi’s closing cadenza includes more dental playing, starting at 3:55 and ascending to the very highest pitches on the guitar (4:26) before both the song and the tape end.

FRIDAY, 2 MAY 1969

In 1969, Jimi & Co. returned to “Cobo Hall.” The band hadn’t performed for nearly a week (their last live show was on 27 April at the “Oakland Coliseum” in California, where Jack Casady joined them briefly on stage). The JHE flew from New York City into Detroit on 2 May.

Dave Atchison: “My friend and future step-brother Frank Osako and I had our tickets and we were ready and looking forward to our second Hendrix concert. What I didn’t know was that Frank had been calling downtown Detroit hotels that afternoon trying to find Jimi. Frank told me that he had found Jimi at the “Pontchartrain Hotel” (located at 2 Washington Boulevard, directly across Jefferson Avenue from “Cobo Hall”), had been put through to his suite with no questions asked, and had spoken with Jimi on the phone. And incredibly, Jimi had asked Frank to stop by his hotel room if he had some free time before the upcoming concert!

“Frank and I went to the hotel room and knocked on the door. The door opened, and there was Jimi. I was fifteen years old… I could describe it in a thousand or more words and still never could relay the feelings I had. Here I was one-on-one with the greatest electric guitarist of all time (still is!), a living legend, a man who was a rock and roll lightning rod… And here he was a few feet away, inviting us into his privacy with a smile on his face and interested in spending time with us before his concert!

“It seemed odd for some reason that the world’s greatest guitarist was asking us into his suite. Sitting on the couch in this large living room was a blonde-haired young woman (I later found out that she was the aunt of Sharon Bertolotti, a friend of mine at Cerveny Jr. High School in Detroit), watching a Detroit Tigers game on TV. It was so mundane – like walking through the front door of a neighborhood friend’s house, baseball game on TV.

“We stood there just inside the door and spoke to Jimi, asked him questions, we laughed together. He was soft-spoken, self-effacing, curious about us – a warm and generous person. Jimi was almost like a child and seemed more interested in us than we were in him. What did we think, what music did we like? We spoke like this for what must have been thirty minutes, then walked out the door. Not through yet, Jimi came out into the hall; we talked some more and he shook our hands. I remember gripping that incredible right hand, the hand that fingered the licks of music revolution. His fingers were long and thin, his grip was cool and soft.

“I was carrying my camera gear, a tripod, and a hard cover lens case for my 400mm Tele-Astranar. Jimi autographed my lens case with his address and asked that I send him some photos from the concert later that evening. I’ve still got the lens-case – it says:

Then we walked across the street to “Cobo Hall,” and that night, for us, he was truly electric….”

Detroit, Michigan, 1 Washington Boulevard, “Arena”/”Cobo Hall” – Concert (20:00). Support: Fat Mattress; Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys. 6,000 people attend.


Unknown reviewer: “In the past year Jimi Hendrix, more than any other first line star, has been promoting unknown acts which he personally liked. The first of these groups was the Soft Machine… The next was the Eire Apparent… The third group Jimi found, Cat Mother, look like they are about as close to assured stardom as any group in recent memory….

“Cop control was so tight at the Cat Mother-Jimi Hendrix concert that any attempt by anyone to get out of their seat was met by a barrage of flashlights and threats of immediate eviction. As at the last Hendrix concert [at “Cobo Hall”] when Charly Aurenger, our photography editor, was harassed by the rent-a-cops while trying to photograph Cat Mother, though this time he had a back stage pass. [When] two spectators jumped up from their seats to dance, they were literally chased out of the hall by the cops. They even tried to show their contempt for the music by parading back and forth in front of the stage with their fingers in their ears (or maybe they were just picking them).

“But anyway, Jimi answered their attempt to stifle the energy of his performance with one of the most beautiful displays of crowd-psychology I’ve ever seen any rock star use.

“Announcing he only had time for two more numbers, Jimi did a brief dedication for which he said “[it] used to be a patriotic song,” then played the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as a guitar solo with some heavy riffs, lots of feedback and a few strains of ‘Dixie’ thrown in. The Experience then broke immediately into ‘Purple Haze,’ at the conclusion of which both Jimi and Noel Redding thanked the audience for coming down. Much of the crowd stood and began to leave and the cops started to relax. The weirdos were all going to go home now.

“Then, as if it had been carefully rehearsed, the group broke into ‘Voodoo Chile’ [sic]…and caught the efficient security control completely off guard. Too many people were out of their seats to be forced back and when many of them started running down on the main floor, the cops just freaked and rushed to the front of the stage to protect something, though I don’t think they knew just what.

“Getting everybody up didn’t really prove anything but it sure scared the hell out of most of the rent-a-whatevers.” (Creem Vol. 2 #2, 15 June 1969).

Dave Atchison: “Frank Osako had a darkroom in his basement. A week or so after the concert we developed the rolls of black & white film and made contact sheets. Then we made prints of some of the best shots and lent the whole package (negatives included) to another amateur photographer friend of ours, Clifford Crosby. About a month later he told us that everything had been stolen.

“It was a year or so later when I saw that one of my May 1969 Jimi pictures had mysteriously ended up on the front cover of a bootleg double LP with the L.A. “Forum” show from 25 April 1970, called A Portrait Of Jimi Hendrix. Well, that’s my story.”
NB Special thanks to Dave Atchison for his valuable research assistance. Also thanks to Jack Bodnar, Jon Price, Noel Redding, and Christian Nötzli.