Thursday, March 31, 2011

Africa, the CIA and the War Against Libya

Africa, the CIA and the War Against Libya

From Berlin to London: the imperialist agenda continues unabated

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Since the beginning of the western aerial and missile campaigns against Libya under the leadership of the United States on March 19, over 1,000 bombing missions have been carried out against this North African state. Although the Obama administration and the other European governments that have targeted Libya for destruction and regime-change say that they are bombing the country to protect civilians, anyone who has any knowledge of the history of the U.S. and other western imperialist states know that this never has been a motivating factor in any previous intervention on the continent of Africa.

On March 28 U.S. President Barack Obama spoke on network television from the National Defense College on why it was necessary for the government to enter another war, this time on the African continent. Obama said that the military operation against Libya was “limited” and was part of an “international effort” to protect civilians.

Nonetheless, the entire approach to the internal rebellion in Libya on the part of the U.S. and other western governments has never been concerned about the protection of civilians and only designed to launch a major war in Africa aimed at seizing the oil and natural gas resources of Libya and the establishment of another base for imperialist military intrigue and domination throughout the entire region. The U.S. is already involved in wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia and Colombia, in addition to supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Obama said during his address to U.S. military officers and cadets on March 28 that “For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom.” However, many within the African continent have not accepted this premise advanced by Obama as evidenced by the overwhelming objection to the establishment of military bases for the U.S. Africa Command (AFRCIOM) on the continent.

Even though the U.S. does have a military base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, the strategic objectives of Washington requires additional beachheads throughout the continent in order to secure the control and supply of oil, natural resources and the dominance of shipping lanes and trade routes. Africa now supplies more oil to the U.S. than does the entire Arabian Peninsula, therefore, the Pentagon will make efforts to enhance its military presence on the continent to ensure the continued profitability of the petroleum and mining industries and their financial backers on Wall Street.

Even a cursory looks at the actual history of the United States only going back to the conclusion of World War II reveals that the ruling class interests that have controlled successive governments over the last seven decades have contributed more to global insecurity than any other industrialized state in the world.

The U.S. Since World War II

Since the conclusion of World War II the United States has fully emerged as the most aggressive imperialist power internationally. This is evidenced even more so today with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European Comecon countries two decades ago. However, rivalries with other emerging and developing countries and geo-political regions still compel U.S. foreign policy toward economic and political domination.

On the African continent, the People’s Republic of China has developed strong economic relations with numerous states throughout the continent. African governments of various political persuasions have looked to China as an alternative for trade and development.

This seeking of an alternative to the former colonial countries of Europe and the U.S. has forced the capitalist class inside these western states to accelerate their militaristic posture towards Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Latin America. The current U.S.-led campaign against Libya follows a succession of wars against peoples of the developing world in the modern period.

In 1950 the U.S. launched an invasion of the Korean Peninsula to prevent the unification of the country under the leadership of the Worker’s Party which had consolidated power in the North after 1948. The Korean War lasted until 1953 and resulted in the deaths of four million people from that Asian nation.

Later in Vietnam, the U.S. maintained a war of occupation between 1961 and 1975. The war involved the dispatching of millions of U.S. troops, of which some 58,000 were killed and many others wounded and damaged for life. The economic and political impact of the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s permanently shifted the character of the social structures within the U.S. It was during this period that the major restructuring of industry and commerce would create dire conditions for residents of large urban areas as well as small town and farm communities.

In Africa, successive U.S. administrations since 1945 have supported the imperialist states of Europe when they sought to prevent the genuine national liberation of their colonies. Although in some countries, various presidents paid lip service to self-determination and independence for colonies, the nature of U.S. policy was to maintain these former colonies within the sphere imperialist domination and influence.

During the early period of Congo independence from Belgium in 1960, the United States intervened in support of the European colonial power and to enhance its own interests inside this mineral rich African country. The intervention of the United Nations led to the coup against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, his kidnapping with the assistance of the C.I.A. and his eventual torture and execution under the supervision of the imperialist powers.

This same pattern held during the liberation struggles in the former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, where the fascist Salazar and Caetano governments in one of Europe’s poorest states were financed and armed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), under whose titular supervision Libya is being bombed today. In South Africa and Namibia, the U.S.-based multi-national corporations benefited from the apartheid system of settler-colonialism for many years.

Also in 1966, the U.S. engineered a reactionary police and military coup against the Ghana government under the leadership of the Convention People’s Party headed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah, who led the national liberation movements during the post World War II period in Africa, drew the ire of the U.S. when he sought to create a socialist state and expose the role of Washington as the dominant focus in the struggle against neo-colonialism, which he described as the last stage of imperialism.

In Angola during the post-independence period between 1975-1989, the U.S. would support a counter-revolutionary military organization, UNITA, which sought to reverse the course of the revolution in that Southern African country and to halt the inevitable liberation in Namibia and South Africa, which took place in 1990 and 1994 respectively. As it relates to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the U.S. was openly on the side of the white settlers who instituted a system of modern slavery where Africans were exploited and oppressed as a result of governmental policy.

All throughout Latin America and Africa, the U.S. has sought to prevent any semblance of real political and economic independence. A former C.I.A. officer described U.S. policy on the continent as a continuation of colonialism and imperialism.

According to Philip Agee, a former C.I.A. officer who resigned and wrote extensively to expose the role of the U.S. in undermining various countries throughout the world, “as in the rest of the world, U.S. policy viewed Africa as a continent where radical and communist influence should be eradicated—a goal that required military support to colonial powers or efforts that would deny real independence to African countries by imposing and sustaining client regimes. Israeli government agencies and private companies, in addition to Americans and Europeans, also established operations, including technical assistance and military training in African countries.” (Dirty Work, The CIA in Africa, 1979, p. 2)

Agee points out in contrast that “For the Africans, however, the problem was to overcome the legacy of colonialism: poverty, illiteracy, disease, and the ethnic, religious, and tribal divisions that crossed the arbitrarily drawn colonial borders. And despite their many differences, African leaders were united, in words and often in action, in opposition to continuing colonialism, neo-colonialism, and white-minority rule.”

The Legacy of the Berlin Conference

In 1884-1885 various European countries met in Germany to hammer out the future of imperial conquest in Africa. For over four centuries, Africa had been ravaged by the Atlantic Slave Trade where millions of its people were taken bondage on the continent and transported to Western Europe and the Western Hemisphere as human chattel.

It was the impact of the enslavement of African people that set the stage for the eventual colonization of the continent. The United States became a substantial economic power as a result of the system of slavery that dominated the country between its formation as a state in the late 18th Century until the eve of the Civil War in 1860. Contradictions within the economic system of slavery would arise strongly during the 1850s, when the burgeoning industries in the Northern states began to pressure the Southern planters to concede more authority within the U.S. Congress along with trading and financial markets.

Even after the Civil War and the failure of Black Reconstruction, the African people were placed under a system that was equally exploitative and oppressive as chattel slavery. Thousands of Africans were lynched under the prevailing political culture of the South and other parts of the country during the late 19th and first half of the 20th Century.

After the Civil War, the South would be doomed to playing a second class role within the economic growth of the United States. It would not be until the latter decades of the 20th Century that industrial and service production shifted back to the southern United States.

In the 1880s, European states were scrambling for the control of various regions of the African continent. The convening of the Berlin Conference signaled the emergence of Germany as an imperial power under the first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. The outcome of the gathering was the General Act of the Berlin Conference that formalized the carving up of the continent for the benefit of Europe.

The United States had established a colony in West Africa in 1821, when the outpost of Liberia was formed under the leadership of President James Monroe of Virginia. The settlement of Liberia was established by Southerners as a means of re-locating former African slaves.

This process of re-location grew out of the American Colonization Society that was set up in 1816 and enjoyed support from those Africans who felt that it was impossible for them to live in the U.S. as free people. The establishment of Liberia in the early years of the 19th Century coincided with the so-called Monroe Doctrine which demanded that Europeans refrain from interference in Latin America in exchange for the U.S. not becoming involved in conflicts taking place in Europe.

The London Conference on Libya that was held in late March 2011, represented the continuation of the process that began in Berlin in 1884. According to news accounts of the gathering, the so-called rebel forces fighting against the Libyan government were not invited to participate in the gathering that was largely confined to the U.S. and the Western European imperialist states and their allies in the Middle East.

This conference in London was designed to chart the efforts aimed at regime-change and occupation in Libya. The conveners of the London meeting could not be concerned about protecting civilians or creating a peaceful atmosphere since they categorically rejected all efforts by the Latin American and African states to implement negotiations and a plan to reduce tension in Libya.

Although the African Union’s Peace and Security Council had met on March 10-11 and issued a communiqué opposing foreign intervention in Libya and calling for a ceasefire and immediate negotiations, the imperialists and their allies had a totally different agenda and that is war and conquest. The Obama administration demands that the Libyan government be overthrown, yet coddles the oppressive regimes in Yemen and Bahrain that are slaughtering the people within the democratic movement on a daily basis.

Consequently, the Obama administration’s claim that it is concerned about protecting civilians rings hollow in light of developments in Yemen and Bahrain as well as other states within the region that are supported by Washington. The bombing of Libya can in no way bring peace and security to that North African country. The purpose of these military actions is to seize control of this country and its natural resources. Conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan should be evidence enough of the perils of U.S. military intervention in developing states.

The Role of the C.I.A. in Libya Today

A New York Times article reported on March 30 that the United States had Central Intelligence Agency operatives in Libya assisting the counter-revolutionary rebels and indentifying targets to be bombed by fighter aircraft and tomahawk missiles stationed off the coast of the country in the Mediterranean. Judging from the history of U.S. and European involvement in Africa, it would be surprising if Washington was not behind the efforts to engineer regime-change in the continent’s most prosperous state which has the largest known oil reserves in Africa.

The New York Times article states that “small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military….” This same report notes that “In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya.”

This same article reveals that “The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, officials said…. Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels.”

Therefore, the current president of the United States and prime minister of Britain are utilizing their intelligence services and special forces to coordinate the destabilization, bombing and attempted overthrow of a sovereign African state. These actions are following the same pattern of the imperialist interventions against national liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa that the U.S. and other western states perceive as threats or “targets of opportunity” for their military forces.

Obama can only make an argument that U.S. ruling class interests are threatened in Libya if he begins with the assumption that the existence of governments and political movements that operate outside the control of Washington warrant the military attention of the Pentagon. In fact the current U.S. interference in the internal affairs of Libya did not begin on Feb. 17, but extends back decades with the presence of a army base in the country which was closed after the revolution of 1969 that was led by the Revolutionary Command Council under Gaddafi.

The National Salvation Front and other groups have been trained, financed and given political support by the U.S. for decades. Today it is the counter-revolutionary rebels who are being given military cover by the stealth bombers and tomahawk missiles that are bombarding the North African state on a daily basis.

Obama represents U.S. ruling class interests in Africa and throughout the world. Since the beginning of the current administration, the war in Afghanistan has escalated and spread rapidly into Pakistan. In Somalia, the U.S. is carrying out a proxy war where it is financing the presence of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) that is staffed by the pro-U.S. regimes of Uganda and Burundi.

The imposition of economic sanctions, the seizure of Libyan assets abroad, the naval blockade of the country under the guise of an arms embargo and the massive bombing and disinformation program against the North African state, is only designed to reinforce imperialist control of the land, waterways and resources of Africa and the Middle East. African people, governments and all those of goodwill around the world must oppose the war against Libya and demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of imperialist forces from the region.

South African-Libya Arms Deal?: Editorial From the Mail & Guardian

Arms trade threat to SA's values

Apr 01 2011 00:00

In April last year a South African government delegation met Muammar Gaddafi, accompanied by a fixer "well positioned in both countries on the presidential level" with a simple purpose: to sell massive quantities of the most lethal weaponry this country is capable of producing.

The Libyans were especially keen on the G6-52, the latest update to the G5 howitzers that saw action against Cuban forces in Angola during the 1980s. Among the most powerful wheel-mounted artillery pieces available, the G6 can hurl a 155mm shell 70km. Seventy-two of these guns would have netted Denel more than R6-billion.

And then there are the missiles. Denel Dynamics makes several models and it isn't clear which the Libyans wanted. It could have been the surface-to-air Umkhonto, which would have been capable of giving coalition pilots a difficult time had delivery been effected before the uprising and imposition of a no-fly zone. But any number of nasty bits of gear could have been ordered: the air-to-air Darter; the helicopter mounted mini-exocet known as the Mokopa; the Umbani precision-guided bomb, the long-range Raptor missile, and the ­vehicle-protecting Mongoose. Either way, the Libyans were prepared to spend about R650-million.

The deal, may not have gone through, although there is nothing to indicate this was a result of squeamishness on the part of the South African government. The timing of the uprising, however, may well have been a factor.

Those involved in the planned sale defend it by pointing out that no United Nations sanctions were in place at the time of the visit and that the European Union lifted its embargo in 2004. That is entirely beside the point. South Africa's defence exports are governed by the stringent National Conventional Arms Control Act, which bluntly forbids exports to governments that are engaged in internal repression, as the Libyans clearly were last year.

The Act not only captures our human rights principles, it insulates South Africa from the diplomatic risk that attaches to locally made weaponry being available for use in countries that are primed by repression for conflict.

Tragically, our arms-control rules are more honoured in the breach than the execution, as the government toadies to dictators with open wallets.

This transaction should not even have been considered. President Jacob Zuma, Denel and the department of defence have done nothing to explain to us why they even contemplated it. It is time they did.

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
Web Address:

South African Cabinet Won't Support Calls for Libyan Government to Step Down

SA Cabinet won't support calls for Gaddafi to step down

Mar 31 2011 13:09

South Africa will not call for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down, the Cabinet decided at a meeting this week.

"We've always said that we cannot dictate what should happen in a sovereign state," said Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, at a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.

"It's the people of Libya who should decide who should govern them and how they should be governed. Hence the decision that we will always say no to regime-change doctrine," he said.

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said, "As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime-change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya or any other sovereign state.

"The South African government calls for restraint to avoid any further civilian casualties and categorically rejects any efforts of using the current crisis in Libya to effect regime change while recognising the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and reform."

Protests in Libya got under way in mid-February, and there have been calls for Gaddafi – in power for 42 years – to step down.

The South African delegation at the United Nations Security Council voted in favour of a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, and were aware that the enforcement of the resolution would entail air strikes.

Manyi said on Thursday: "We commend the African Union peace and security committee for [the] establishment of a high level committee on Libya because currently it is the only viable solution [to] peaceful resolution of the crisis in a manner that responds to the legitimate needs of the Libyan people."

The high level committee's roadmap includes; the immediate cessation of hostilities; humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people and migrant workers; inclusive political dialogue; inclusive transition; and political reforms.

Meanwhile, on Côte d'Ivoire, Monyela said that the UN Security Council had encouraged the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to persist in finding a political solution to the stand-off between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara.

"The South African government is very serious about peace and security on the continent," said Manyi.

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
Web Address:

Ready to Rumble: Coming Together to Fight Attacks on Working People

Ready to rumble

Coming together to fight attacks on working people

By News Hits staff
Published: March 30, 2011

Occasionally, the doom and gloomers here at News Hits witness something that actually gives us hope.

Friday evening at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit was one of those times. What we saw was a room full of people ready to fight.

Actually, most in the crowd have been engaged in the good fight for a long time now. What's changing are the conditions around them, with the attacks on working people and the poor gaining steam — from the efforts to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees in Wisconsin to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to tax pensions and slash school funding at the same time he wants to cut taxes on businesses.

Complacency is a hard thing to shake. As long as the threat is to others instead of ourselves, a lot of people are willing to turn a blind eye to problems and go along with the program. But when it is your job that has been lost, or your home that is being foreclosed on, then the motivation to fight back becomes intense.

A lack of intensity wasn't an issue at the landmark church last week, where several dozen people attended a fundraising event for Vanessa Fluker, a local attorney who has long been focused on the fight to keep people from losing their homes to foreclosure.

Now, it might strike many as odd that any attorney is in need of funds. But Fluker's clients aren't typically the well-heeled. As she told a congressional committee not long ago, the majority of the people coming to her for help are the working poor, minorities and the elderly.

Fluker, in fact, twice testified before a congressional committee last year to help the lawmakers on Capitol Hill better understand the ongoing foreclosure crisis, and why their attempts to stem it aren't working.

Especially in this region. In 2010, metro Detroit had third highest foreclosure rate in the United States. A total of more than 43,000 homes in the region were taken from their owners by lenders, an increase of 19 percent over 2009.

Which makes people like Vanessa Fluker indispensable.

But now she is struggling to deal with a $12,200 penalty imposed on her by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo (insert appropriate booing and hissing here).

A foreclosure case that Fluker took on was bouncing back and forth between district and circuit court as she fought to keep her client from becoming homeless. The client, who at first represented herself in court, faced eviction but continued to put her monthly mortgage payment into an escrow account as she disputed the terms of her loan. Colombo had already heard the case once, but it came before him again when Fluker found a new avenue to pursue. The Center for Community Justice and Advocacy, a nonprofit community organization based in Detroit, had filed a Fair Housing Act complaint against her client's lender, RBS Services. That complaint cited Fluker's client as an example of the bank's alleged discrimination.

The evidence cited in the complaint provided a new defense that, Fluker argued, should allow her client to remain in the home until the issue was resolved.

Unable to convince a District Court judge, she again ended up in front of Colombo in Circuit Court. It would be one thing if the judge had just ruled in favor of the bank. But he did more than that — he fined Fluker $12,200 for presenting him with a "vexatious appeal."

He considered the action frivolous, and dropped the hammer. Fluker, with Jerome Goldberg as her attorney, is appealing the sanction. For that to happen, though, she has to post a bond that's one-and-a-half times the amount of the fine, so she needs to come up with more than $18,000.

Which she doesn't have.

Friday's event kicked off the effort to help her raise the money. As church pastor the Rev. Ed Rowe noted, one of the hallmarks of the progressive community is its ability to come together in a time of need and show those "who fight for us that we have their back" when trouble comes there way

Some heavy hitters stepped up.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, formerly chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the crowd how effective and impressive Fluker was when she traveled to D.C. to testify about the foreclosure crisis.

"She amazed our judiciary staff with her understanding, knowledge and fierce commitment to what she does," he said.

But then he enlarged the picture, describing the sanctions against Fluker as a catalytic event, saying Friday's gathering was "emblematic" of what needs to be taking place, not just in Detroit but also around the country.

"We have to organize and fight back," he said. "This is the final straw that has broken the camel's back," he said.

At first we thought that amounted to little more than the kind of hyperbole we're used to hearing from politicians. But who knows? Look what happened when one woman by the name of Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus.

A single person confronting injustice can be a powerful symbol.

But symbolism alone accomplishes nothing. Others have to be inspired to act.

"There's not going to be any hero riding in," said Conyers. "We are going to have to do it ourselves. There's no other way out."

Which means organizing. To that end, Conyers promised to hold fundraisers in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Once the money needed to help Fluker is raised, the surplus will be used to begin to organize a new movement.

Conyers was followed by Goldberg, who gave a fist-pumping speech as he railed against both the sanctions imposed on Fluker — citing the "chilling effect" it will have on attorneys fighting foreclosures who might fear providing a vigorous defense of their clients — and the insanity of a system where federally backed loan guarantees end up being an incentive for banks to drive people from their homes.

Why should banks modify a mortgage when taxpayer dollars will provide full reimbursement after a house is taken and then sold for pennies on the dollar?

"It is important to understand that we are foreclosing on ourselves," he said.

Fluker and Goldberg are both driving forces behind the group Moratorium Now!, which has long been trying to put a temporary halt to foreclosures. The group will soon be going before the Wayne County Board of Commissioners in an attempt to help get them on board, and possibly start a trend here that they hope would spread across the country.

Their hope is that in this place, where the suffering is so intense and has been going on for so long, the tide will begin to turn.

Are you ready to engage in that struggle?

If so, you can begin by helping Vanessa Fluker.

A check to the Vanessa G. Fluker Appeal Fund can be sent to 2920 E. Jefferson Ave., Ste. 101, Detroit, MI 48207. Info about Moratorium Now! can be obtained by calling 313-680-5008 or going to the group's website:

House Votes to Kill Federal Government Foreclosure Aid

House Votes to Kill Main Obama Foreclosure

By Corbett B. Daly, Reuters
30 March 11

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to kill President Barack Obama's signature program to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

A bill to terminate the program was approved on a 252-170 vote. But the bill is unlikely to clear the Senate.

It was the last in series of four measures brought forward by newly empowered House Republicans to end government assistance for homeowners hurt by the housing crisis.

Republicans argued the foreclosure prevention plan, known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, is ineffective and not worthy of taxpayer support amid soaring budget deficits. The vote broke largely along party lines.

The program, which offers incentives for lenders to modify loans, was launched to great fanfare in the spring of 2009. The Obama administration had hoped it would permanently lower mortgage payments for 3 million to 4 million homeowners.

But fewer than 600,000 borrowers have received permanent loan modifications, and the program has been widely criticized as ineffective from critics on both the left and the right.

"The HAMP program is a failure," said Representative Patrick McHenry, the North Carolina Republican who sponsored the bill. "If we can't eliminate this failed program, what program can we eliminate?"

Analysts see the votes as an effort by Republicans, who last seized control of the House in an election in November with an anti-bailout, anti-spending message, to score points with their political base.

The White House has already threatened to veto the measure. However, it is unlikely to come to that since Democrats, who retained control of the Senate, largely opposed the measure. Both the House and Senate would have to approve the bill for it to reach the president's desk.

About $30 billion has been set aside for the program from the government's $700 billion financial rescue fund, but only about $1 billion of that has been spent so far.

Democrats argued the program should be fixed, not killed.

"The absence of any program leaves people worse off," said Representative Barney Frank, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Even as the Obama administration argues for keeping HAMP in place, it is pressing forward on a separate track that could result in much larger aid for struggling homeowners.

Big US banks are meeting with federal officials and state attorneys general at the Justice Department on Wednesday as they negotiate what could turn into a multi-billion dollar settlement over alleged abuses by the companies that collect mortgage payments.

The banks and authorities are expected to discuss a settlement proposal that the state officials sent out earlier this month, which called on banks to treat borrowers better and to reduce loan balances for some struggling homeowners.

A group of 50 state attorneys general and about a dozen federal agencies are probing bank mortgage practices that came to light last year, including the use of "robo-signers" to sign hundreds of unread foreclosure documents a day.

On March 3, state attorneys general leading the probe sent banks the outline of a proposed settlement endorsed by some federal agencies, including the Justice Department, the Housing and Urban Development Department and Treasury staff setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The banks that received the proposal and that will have representatives at Wednesday's meeting are Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Ally Financial, according to sources briefed on the meeting.

(Additional reporting by Dave Clarke; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

PANW Editor, Abayomi Azikiwe, Interviewed Again on PressTV: 'Imperialist States Usurp Libya Black Gold'

'Imperialist states usurp Libya black gold'

Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire

Thu Mar 31, 2011

Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire

As imperialists and colonial powers set their tentacles on another oil rich nation, one can only speculate the outcome of the violence, death and destruction.

Press TV has interviewed the editor of the Pan African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, in regards to imperialism, the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, which helped to carve up a map for the African continent. The following is a partial transcript of the interview.

Press TV: We are going to look at violence now Mr. Azikiwe. Violence is violence especially when international law is broken. I want to give an example: tear gas that breaks down the immune system used on peaceful protesters, or putting a seize on a hospital while preventing doctors to attend the wounded. I'm talking about Bahrain. Why is Bahrain's case different from Libya?

Azikiwe: Bahrain is the home of the US 5th Fleet, and the Pentagon has strategic interests in that nation. They do not want any type of change in administration there. Whereas in Iraq and whereas in other parts of the world there was oil, governments, and militaries which were not totally under the control of the United States. Therefore, their countries were targeted for regime change. Their countries were targeted for total destruction. If we look at the situation right now developing in Libya, it harkens back to the Berlin conference of 1884 and 1885 where the European imperialist countries actually sat down and carved up a map (geographical outlay) for the African continent, which reigned for nearly a century.

Even today, we are still suffering as a result from the decisions that were made in Berlin in 1884 and 1885. Therefore, I think it's clearly a question of the strategic, monetary and economic interests of the United States as to why they are targeting Libya not only for regime change, but also for seizure of their oil fields, natural gas resources, and to have a beachhead for Africom right in the northern part of Africa on the Mediterranean.

Press TV: The US military supported regimes, when taking the case of Bahrain for example, are stuck with enough .50 caliber rounds to kill Bahrainis five-times over not to mention Yemen. We can also mention Libya. For that matter, we can mention all of the Persian Gulf states. The people that are protesting against these regimes have American made weapons being used on them whether it's tear gas or live fire used on them, and the sentiment on the ground isn't so much for the US when they know this is US made weaponry. So how is that going to damage the US image, and the West's image with the Arabs on the street?

Azikiwe: I think it's going to be very damaging to the image of the United States, and US foreign policy in general to most of the peoples in North Africa and the Middle East. I don't think the Arab masses are that naive. That is why we have to question the political character of the rebels in Libya. Some are portraying themselves as being part of the opposition. They are calling for, have welcomed, the bombing of their country by these former colonial powers and these imperialist countries that are led by the United States. There have been civilians killed in these bombing operations. It has to be taken into consideration that Libya has the largest known reserves of oil on the African continent. They have the highest standard of living of any other country on the African continent.

The government there was the head of the African Union in 2009 when Gaddafi came to the United States to represent the African Union and Libya at the United Nations. So I don't believe for one minute that the people in Africa and the Middle East are welcoming the bombing of their country by all these imperialists, and their allies at least from two different Gulf states. I think it's going to have a damaging impact not only on the ability of the United States to have normal relations with people throughout the region, but it will also have a damaging impact on the Obama Administration Presidency both domestically and internationally.

Eric Williams Memorial Collection Celebrates Centenary of His Birth

The Eric Williams Memorial Collection
P.O. Box 561631, Miami, Fl 33256-1631, USATel: 305-271-7246Cell: 305-905-9999Fax: 305-271-4160


“He made us proud to be who we were, and optimistic, as never before, about what we were going to be, or could be."

Arnold Rampersad, Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD (March 19, 2011) – March 22, 2011 will usher in the 13th anniversary of the inauguration of The Eric Williams Memorial Collection (EWMC) at The University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, by former US Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell. Powell heralded the country’s first Prime Minister, who died in office on March 29, 1981: “No one was a greater fighter for justice and equality. No one was a greater leader.” More recently, Dr. Williams was honoured as scholar, politician and international statesman when former South African President Thabo Mbeki wrote the Foreword to the University of South Africa Press’ first publication of Williams’ seminal work, Capitalism and Slavery.

The EWMC consists of Williams’ Research Library, Archives and Museum and is the English-speaking Caribbean’s first effort at establishing an entity akin to a U.S. Presidential Library. In 1999, it was named to UNESCO’s prestigious Memory of the World Register. At the time, the documentary heritage of only 47 other countries had been so designated. To date, four biographies of Williams either have been published or are in progress – one dedicated to the EWMC. In the prior seventeen years before the appearance of the first, nothing of note was written.

“Those who labored in the organizational, financial and other vineyards to create the Collection have provided a unique intellectual gift, not just to Trinidad and Tobago…” states Professor Ivelaw Griffith, former Dean of Florida International University’s Honors College.

In addition to the physical repository at UWI the EWMC, among other activities, promotes, facilitates and organizes: international conferences (four to date) and conference panels; Encyclopedia entries; symposia; lectureships (Florida International University’s Eric Williams Memorial Lecture is now in its thirteenth consecutive year); book publications and launches; a regional Essay Competition in 17 Caribbean countries, 178 schools; and the first annual CAPE Prize in History. The EWMC has introduced an Oral History Project, comprising hundreds of interviews and calypsoes about Eric Williams; has been the subject of academic papers, lectures and books, and has received multiple awards and recognition for its efforts. It has also collaborated with the Mayor of London and continues to do so annually with the University of Sheffield in the U.K. Community-based initiatives are two school pilot projects – The Baby Think it Over anti-teen pregnancy
programme, and The Killing Fields: Man’s Inhumanity to Man – a Genocide/Holocaust programme. In the future, the Collection will team up with Williams’ alma mater at Oxford University – establishing a scholarship in his name in perpetuity.

As 2011 is the Centenary of the birth of Eric Williams, the EWMC is actively involved in numerous celebratory projects: an Oxford/Harvard Universities co-sponsored conference; a Symposium at the University of London; a University of Havana, Cuba conference; the Cuban publication of two of Williams’ books in Spanish (including details of his many contacts with Cuban scholars and several visits to the country in the 1940’s and again in 1975); two Trinidad and Tobago Schools Stamp Design and Performing Arts competitions (co-sponsored by the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation and UNESCO); the Launch of Eric Williams Centenary Stamps, with proceeds donated to the hearing impaired of Trinidad and Tobago; the publication of Williams’ dissertation, from which emanated Capitalism and Slavery; the re-issue of the book in Brazil and Spain for the first time in some 40 years; the production of a 16-month historical calendar; and the online publication of Williams’ bibliography, consisting of over 1000 titles.

All of these efforts have been amply promoted in the local, regional and international media – from London’s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and the British Virgin Islands Island Sun to the Organization of American States’ Americas magazine – in both English and Spanish.

Thus, with all of its other endeavours, the EWMC is a model for the Caribbean, a means of demonstrating to its younger generation the vital connection to the past – what that means for both the present and for the future. When the University College of the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands’ H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, along with the latter’s UK consultants, sought pointers in the creation of their own museums, it was to The Eric Williams Memorial Collection they came – visiting several times.

Guests of the EWMC Museum continue to be inspired by their experience, as were the Vice President of India; the Prime Minister and former Prime Minister of St. Vincent/Grenadines and Jamaica respectively; former Mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani, Commonwealth Secretary General, Prime Minister of Tonga, and three Nobel Laureates. Thousands of Trinidad and Tobago students - along with schools/universities from Barbados; Guadeloupe (including the Chamber of Commerce); Martinique; St. Lucia; Suriname; US Virgin Islands; Mauritius; UK; US - have toured the facility since its inception. While a mere 20 schools visited in 2001, this figure had quadrupled within two years. And the young continue to demonstrate their profound comprehension as they speak, following, to what the EWMC means to the population at large and, as important, what it will mean to future sons and daughters of Trinidad and Tobago, in particular, and of the Caribbean, indeed the world, in general.

--“A deep sense of awe and respect, pride, descends upon me in this place. A remarkable collection.”
Romaine Vularoel

--“Without a past, how can we look towards the future. This establishment is amazing!”

Nicola Whitley, Trinidad and Tobago student

--“An inspiring experience. Propels one to soar to highest high.”

Sophia Almorales, Trinidad and Tobago student

“Thank you very much for treasuring what is really ours.”

Kimberley Correia, Trinidad and Tobago student

--"The EWMC is about teaching, research, and community service. What we research, is what we teach, is how we can give back.”

Professor Jane Brown, University of North Carolina, U.S.

Syrian President Vows to Defeat Foreign Plot

Assad vows to defeat foreign 'plot'

Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:2AM

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his government is ready to continue on the path of reforms and vows to defeat a foreign “plot” against his country.

Syria has been planning reforms for a long time, especially to improve the people's standard of living, he said addressing the parliament on Wednesday.

He said enemies have taken advantage of the people's legitimate demands in order to create division and undermine Syria's stability, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets across the country to show support for Assad.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people chanting “freedom” had taken to the streets of Latakia and Deraa on Wednesday, and that troops had fired warning shots in an attempt to get them to disperse.

Syrian police disband terrorist cell

Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:25PM

Syrian security forces have disbanded a terrorist cell in the capital Damascus as mass rallies were held throughout the country in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The seven terrorists were caught in the Damascus neighborhood of Mezzeh-86 on Tuesday night, after police authorities received a tip off on their whereabouts, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

The terror elements, among them three non-Syrian Arabs, have been taken into police custody and a full-scale investigation is underway.

The arrests were made on the same day as millions of Syrians took to the streets across the country to stress the importance of preserving the national unity and stability and voice support for President Assad following some scattered protest rallies and armed disturbances against the government.

Syrian authorities say they have arrested foreign elements believed to be behind the recent unrest in the country.

Assad has been the president of Syria for the past 11 years. He took office in 2000 following the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who led the country for three decades.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.

While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.

In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.

American officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — including the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots and the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.

In addition, the American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities. American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives were not directing the actions of rebel forces.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.

The United States and its allies have been scrambling to gather detailed information on the location and abilities of Libyan infantry and armored forces that normally takes months of painstaking analysis.

“We didn’t have great data,” Gen. Carter F. Ham, who handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on Wednesday, said in an e-mail last week. “Libya hasn’t been a country we focused on a lot over past few years.”

Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels, American officials said Wednesday. But weapons have not yet been shipped into Libya, as Obama administration officials debate the effects of giving them to the rebel groups. The presidential finding was first reported by Reuters.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, declined to comment “on intelligence matters,” but he said that no decision had yet been made to provide arms to the rebels.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that he opposed arming the rebels. “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.

Because the publicly stated goal of the Libyan campaign is not explicitly to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the clandestine war now going on is significantly different from the Afghan campaign to drive the Taliban from power in 2001. Back then, American C.I.A. and Special Forces troops worked alongside Afghan militias, armed them and called in airstrikes that paved the rebel advances on strategically important cities like Kabul and Kandahar.

In recent weeks, the American military has been monitoring Libyan troops with U-2 spy planes and a high-altitude Global Hawk drone, as well as a special aircraft, JSTARS, that tracks the movements of large groups of troops. Military officials said that the Air Force also has Predator drones, similar to those now operating in Afghanistan, in reserve.

Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint eavesdropping planes intercept communications from Libyan commanders and troops and relay that information to the Global Hawk, which zooms in on the location of armored forces and determines rough coordinates. The Global Hawk sends the coordinates to analysts at a ground station, who pass the information to command centers for targeting. The command center beams the coordinates to an E-3 Sentry Awacs command-and-control plane, which in turn directs warplanes to their targets.

Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who recently retired as the Air Force’s top intelligence official, said that Libya’s flat desert terrain and clear weather have allowed warplanes with advanced sensors to hunt Libyan armored columns with relative ease, day or night, without the need for extensive direction from American troops on the ground.

But if government troops advance into or near cities in along the country’s eastern coast, which so far have been off-limits to coalition aircraft for fear of causing civilian casualties, General Deptula said that ground operatives would be particularly helpful in providing target coordinates or pointing them out to pilots with hand-held laser designators.

The C.I.A. and British intelligence services were intensely focused on Libya eight years ago, before and during the successful effort to get Colonel Qaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to do so in the fall of 2003, and allowed C.I.A. and other American nuclear experts into the country to assess Libya’s equipment and bomb designs and to arrange for their transfer out of the country.

Once the weapons program was eliminated, a former American official said, intelligence agencies shifted their focus away from Libya. But as Colonel Qaddafi began his recent crackdown on the rebel groups, the American spy agencies have worked to rekindle ties to Libyan informants and to learn more about the country’s military leaders.

A former British government official who is briefed on current operations confirmed media reports that dozens of British Special Forces soldiers, from the elite Special Air Service and Special Boat Service units, are on the ground across Libya. The British soldiers have been particularly focused on finding the locations of Colonel Qaddafi’s Russian-made surface-to-air missiles.

A spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss the operations of British Special Forces.

Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting from London, and David E. Sanger from Washington.

Obama Talk on Libya 'Disappointing,' Says PANW Editor

Obama talk on Libya
war 'disappointing'

Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:53PM

President Barak Obama's speech on America's military intervention in Libya has been extremely 'disappointing' to the people not only in the US but also throughout the world, says a political observer.

“Here we are in another period of war... I think the cost is going to be tremendous not only for the people here in the US, but also for the people throughout the North African region and the Middle East,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, in a Press TV interview on Tuesday.

In a nationally televised address to the American people Tuesday evening, Obama defended the US military intervention in the crisis-hit North African country, claiming that it has saved "countless lives."

Obama also said that the US participation in the coalition against Muammar Gaddafi's regime has been backed by the United Nations Security Council.

Azikiwe, however, noted that the US often utilizes the United Nations to carry out military operations against the affairs and interests of other nations under the pretext of humanitarian assistance.

“We saw it in Korea in 1950, where the war lasted for three years and resulted in the death of millions of Koreans... We also saw it in Congo in 1960 and 1961 that resulted in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. It [also] was done 20 years ago, when they had this so-called first [Persian] Gulf War and they attempted to do it in 2003 but it could not get another UN Security Council resolution to authorize the war against Iraq,” Azikiwe said.

Azikiwe went on to add that the US involvement in Libya will have repercussions not only for the American political leaders but also for the people living in the country.

“It will continue the economic crisis that people in the US have been suffering from for the last two and half years which has spread internationally to all the industrialized and developing countries throughout the world."

According to a Tuesday report by the US Department of Defense, the US military expenditures for the ongoing airstrikes in Libya have topped 550 million dollars.

'US Hides Iron Fist Under Velvet Glove,' Says Union of Islamic Students Association

'US hides iron fist under velvet glove'

Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:9PM

The Union of Islamic Students Association has condemned US President Barack Obama's motivated response to the recent turmoil in the Middle East and North African regions in an open letter.

The letter focuses on the history of human rights abuses in the US, as well as the direct and indirect support the American establishment have provided for despotic dictators in the two regions.

The following is the entire text of the letter, obtained by Press TV:

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

President Obama,

We are the Union of Islamic Students Associations in Europe and we are writing on behalf of the Iranian youth born after the Islamic Revolution. We are certain that we speak not only for the majority of youth in Iran, but also for most of the freedom loving young people around the world. We live among the common people and we are well aware of their views and conditions and we are not like the aristocratic minority that lives in secluded mansions far away from the realities of our country. In addition, we should add that the forthright expression of views is a notable characteristic of the Iranian youth.

Mr. President, have you asked yourself why world nations and their youth are disgusted with the current system of aggressive world domination and why their numbers are increasing daily?

There is not enough space in this letter to enumerate the many crimes committed by the United States in the past from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that caused the death of countless civilians and the crippling damage to successive generations of human beings, to the massacre of the people of Vietnam, to the over-throwing of scores of democratic governments throughout the world through military coups and the blind support of dictators whose hands are soaked with the blood of their own people. Nor is there enough space in this letter to recount the more recent crimes carried out under the cover of "The War on Terror" with trillions of dollars flowing into the pockets of weapons companies and the spilling of the blood of countless innocent women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan. This abhorrent game of death serves the interests of powerful corporations and investment holdings and has led to the massacre of over a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

Is not the extent of this tragedy similar to the often propagated Holocaust? Would it not have been better to provide convincing answers to thousands of independent experts, researchers, and journalists regarding the events surrounding the September 11 attacks, before launching these bloody wars? The crime file of the United States government is so heavy that it causes deep regret to every sincere liberated human being throughout the globe. Despite these crimes, you still have the “audacity” to declare yourselves the champions of human rights and freedom and to interfere in the domestic affairs of peace loving nations such as Iran who has not attacked any foreign soil in the last 200 years!

Mr. Obama,

Today the people of the world are no longer deceived by your attempts at deception and the iron fist hidden by the velvet glove has been exposed. We have witnessed your order to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan, we have seen your orders to keep the Guantanamo prison open and we regularly witness your coldhearted vetoes of UN resolutions against the Zionist regime, which give it the green light to perpetrate the massacre of innocent women and children, young and old in Gaza. Remember that God's hand is more powerful and above all others, and that divine destiny will destroy the oppressors.

The US government's actions in support of Netanyahu, Mubarak, and Mahmoud Abbas during the cruel and merciless Gaza blockade and war, whose aim was to destroy an innocent and defenseless nation, and the US government's support for dictators around the world, are all great injustices which will shorten the life of any oppressive regime. The great leader Imam Khomeini bravely announced with deep insight the fate of oppressors such as the Great Satan.

How astonishing it is to see the devil stand by the people, after the victory of the people over their US imposed dictators in Egypt and elsewhere. The world has witnessed the massacres in Bahrain and they have seen the Bahraini dictator - your close friend and ally - killing his own people right in front of the eyes of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet stationed there. Similarly, everyone can clearly see that the most despotic and back-ward kings and dictators in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the King of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain and others in the Persian Gulf region are all under your protection and support. These governments are not simply your “allies” but in fact they are kept in power by your overt and covert support. These despotic and backward regimes would have been overthrown long ago by their own people had your backing - overt and covert - not existed.

The shah of Iran was one such brutal dictator supported by the US government, whom the brave Iranian nation overthrew in 1951, replacing him with a democratic government. However, the US government orchestrated a military coup in 1953 over-throwing the national government and re-imposing this blood thirsty dictator onto the Iranian nation. Our people can never forget this nor will they ever forget their decade's long sacrifice and struggle against the Shah's inhumane dictatorship which was supported by the US government. The result of this struggle was that they finally overthrew him for the second time in 1979. Sadly, your so called experts are still stuck under the illusion that they can impose the same westoxicated dictators and criminals upon our people once again.

However, your government's response to our people's liberation was a very bitter one. We are witness to continued interference by you and your predecessors in the domestic affairs of Iran. It is 33 years now that Iran has been illegally and immorally sanctioned by your government and billions of dollars of assets belonging to the people of Iran have been improperly ceased. This does not include the billions of dollars stolen by the ex-dictator's family stored safely in your banks and financial institutions. Furthermore, your government is harboring and supporting terrorists and criminals who have committed atrocities against the Iranian people and their extradition and prosecution has been repeatedly blocked by you and your allies. What excuse do you have for supporting terrorist groups, such as the MKO and Jundullah? These groups that you and your government support, have killed tens of thousands of innocent people in Iran in their bloody terrorist campaigns over the past three decades.

The awakening of the youth in the Islamic world today is rooted in the awakening of the Iranian youth that took place in 1979. The Iranian youth successfully proved that it is possible to permanently overthrow a dictator that is fully supported by the US. The Iranian youth successfully proved that it is possible to stand firm against all the unjust and merciless sanctions, terrorist campaigns, conspiracies, and imposed wars for over thirty years.

Mr. Obama,

We agree with you, this era is in fact the era of hope and renewal for the world. However, the new era will be one in which there is no system of global hegemony and American oppression.

We agree with you, the forces of hope that enlightened Tahrir Square in Egypt are in fact a continuation of the same forces that gathered in Azadi square in Tehran. For over thirty years tens of millions of Iranians have been gathering at Tehran's Azadi Square and other liberated squares throughout the country to celebrate the liberation of Iran from the bloody claws of American oppression and the American imposed dictatorship.

We agree with you, we are not restrained by the chains of oppression. US oppression no longer binds us like it did before 1979. We have cut your hands from interfering in our country and are today proudly standing on our own feet.

We agree with you, our talents and hopes will shape the future of the Islamic Republic of Iran and will enlighten the world. If you had eyes to see, you would see this light illuminating the world.

Unlike the past, the world is no longer your playground where you make up rules and force them upon oppressed nations in order to determine their destiny.

The nations of the world have vowed and are determined to shape their own destinies by overthrowing and driving out the western imposed puppets and dictators. Your government was condemned a long time ago in the court of world public opinion and what you see today is the results of the deep disgust and hatred for your government's oppressive policies and actions.

You can choose to follow the path of your predecessors or you can choose to accept responsibility for the inhumane actions of the US government and mend what has been broken for so long, through immediate compensation and honest and practical action. If there is no fundamental change in your stance, you too will be tried by the court of conscience of the oppressed peoples of the world.

As your namesake Imam Husain [as], the successor of Prophet Muhammad [sawas] says, “far be it from us to be dishonored”. Have no doubt that the future is in the hands of nations that have learned this lesson. Today the cries of “We are with you O Husain” can be heard throughout the world. Just as Gandhi took Imam Husain as his role model and delivered his nation from the bloody claws of British colonialists.

Today the world has awakened, and oppressed nations of the world are demanding global justice and their hearts are more than before eager for the deliverer of the world from oppression and the restoration of justice, the promised Mahdi.

We conclude with a couplet from the great Persian poet Hafez Shirazi:

If sad times come to shed the blood of true lovers
We shall unite and bring down its foundation.

The Union of Islamic Students Associations, Europe

03 March, 2011

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed Over PressTV: 'US After Imperialistic Goals in Libya'

'US after imperialistic goals in Libya'

Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, MI.

Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:33PM

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire

World powers have held talks in London on the future of Libya, which they say is to coordinate a strategy on Libya's political future and its leaders.

Many observers, however, have cast doubt over the true intentions of the international community in the name of humanitarian assistance, saying Libya's political future should be left to the Libyans themselves.

The following is the transcript of Press TV's interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, about the issue:

Press TV: Looking at the goals of London conference: to coordinate the future of Libya, to examine how Libya would respond to Gaddafi's ouster and select its future leaders. Shouldn't this be left up to the Libyans?

Azikiwe: Of course, and this is just a clear example of the continuing militaristic and imperialistic policies of the US government, even of the current administration of [US President] Barack Obama. His speech last night was extremely disappointing to the people not only in the United States but people throughout the world.

Here we are in another period of war. We already have the US troops and troops of other Western industrialized nations that are involved in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The war has escalated there under the Obama administration. Not only has it escalated in Afghanistan, but it has spread to Pakistan and then of course the situation in Iraq has still not settled, because we have over 50,000 US troops still occupying Iraq. We have over 100,000 private contractors and mercenaries still occupying Iraq and the condition of Iraqi people today is far worse than eight years ago, when the United States intervened and of course now there is going to be another period of war in North Africa and Libya. So, I think the cost is going to be tremendous not only for the people here in the US, but also for the people throughout the North African region and the Middle East.

Press TV: Doesn't the UN resolution in a sense give power to the UN to intervene militarily in other countries' affairs under the pretext of humanitarian assistance?

Azikiwe: This is not the first time that the United States has utilized the United Nations to carry out military operations against developing countries. We saw it in Korea in 1950, where the war lasted for three years and resulted in the death of millions of Koreans. It was done actually under the banner of the United Nations. We also saw it in Congo in 1960 and 1961 that resulted in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. It was done 20 years ago, when they had this so-called first [Persian] Gulf War and they attempted to do it in 2003 but it could not get another UN Security Council resolution to authorize the war against Iraq.

I strongly believe that this is just another move to engage in regime change and a full-scale occupation of Libya and other areas in North Africa. I also believe it has great implications to the democratic movements that have developed in Egypt and Tunisia as well, because what they are doing is setting up a situation where they can actually contain and redirect the course of the democratic movements in Egypt and Tunisia by having large-scale US, French, British, Canadian, Italian, Danish and Belgium military forces either in Libya or over the skies of Libya or off the coast of Libya and the Mediterranean and this of course is going to have great implications for the US-African and US-Middle Eastern relations for many years to come.

Press TV: You are in the US, the cost of war is rapidly increasing. What is the impact this is going to have not only in terms of political circles involving the Democrats, the Republicans in the Congress and US president but also on American people?

Azikiwe: It is going to continue the economic crisis that people in the US have been suffering from for the last two and half years which has spread internationally to all the industrialized and developing countries throughout the world. Right now in the US as we speak, the majority of states, some forty five out of fifty states are facing virtual bankruptcy. The US has the largest military budget of any country in the world, in fact it has greater military budget than all the countries throughout the world combined. This is simply going to add to the economic crisis inside the US where we have thirty to thirty five million people who are either unemployed or underemployed, where we have increasing poverty inside the US, where hundreds of schools in various cities throughout the country are closing.

Libyan Military Forces Continue to Score Victories Against US-backed Counter-revolutionary Rebels

Gaddafi troops force rebels to retreat

Pro-Gaddafi forces retake Bin Jawad, as opposition fighters retreat in the face of renewed counter-offensive

Last Modified: 29 Mar 2011 23:38

Troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, have shelled pro-democracy forces heading west on the main coastal highway, pushing them out of Bin Jawad, a small town around 150km east of Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown.

Al Jazeera's Hoda-Abdel Hamid, on the road leading east from Ras Lanuf, reported that explosions had also occured in that town on Tuesday, which opposition fighters had earlier retreated to from Bin Jawad.

"So certainly what we can say at this stage is that Bin Jawad is not any more in the hands of the rebels, actually the Gaddafi forces now are managing to pound Ras Lanuf and are getting closer and closer to them, pushing the opposition fighters eastwards more and more," she said.

"I think this is an exact repeat of what happened about three weeks ago."

Pro-Gaddafi forces were mostly using mortars and artillery, as opposed to the tanks and airstrikes of early advances, she said

"The Gaddafi guys hit us with Grads [rockets] and they came round our flanks," Ashraf Mohammed, a 28-year-old fighter wearing a bandolier of bullets, told a reporter from the Reuters news agency at the front.

Also on Tuesday, several explosions were heard in the capital, Tripoli, but it was unclear as to where exactly they occured.

The Pentagon said that international forces had launched 22 Tomahawk cruise missiles and flew 115 strike sorties over Libya in the last 24 hours.

The reversal for Libya's nascent opposition came after their forces had made a speedy, two-day advance from Ajdabiya.

Ajdabiya is a crossroads town that Gaddafi's troops had held for two weeks before an international military intervention allowed pro-democracy fighters to take it back.

On Monday, the pro-democracy forces moved as far west as Nawfaliya, another small town around 20 kilometres past Bin Jawad, before making a hasty evening retreat in the face of artillery fire from Gaddafi's troops.

A spokesman in the eastern opposition stronghold of Benghazi had announced earlier that day that Sirte itself had fallen, a rumour that turned out to be untrue.

The rebel retreat from Bin Jawad came as representatives from more than 40 countries gathered in London for a conference discussing a post-Gaddafi political future for Libya.

Humanitarian situation

As diplomats met to discuss a Libya without Gaddafi, the man who has ruled the country for more than 41 years still seemed capable of holding onto power.

Most of the rebel forces in Bin Jawad were forced to flee on Tuesday under a barrage from Gaddafi's forces that included mortars and possibly rockets, Al Jazeera's James Bays reported from the town.

Opposition fighters in the western town of Misurata also said they came under renewed attack from pro-Gaddafi forces, with eight civilians killed, according to a spokesman.

An opposition spokesman in the city described the humanitarian situation there as "catastrophic", saying that water and electricity had been cut off and residents were running short of essential supplies, including medicines.

The main body of opposition fighters is still composed mostly of young and untrained men who are not used to carrying weapons or fighting in a war and do not take simple precautions to protect themselves, like digging defences in the ground, our correspondent said.

"The plan seems to be for most of these youngsters to drive along the road and see how far they could get," he said.

"Another weakness of this mainly volunteer army ... [is that] they really haven't protected their flanks. Basic military rules if you were dealing with a regular army are not being followed."

Obama justifies intervention

Hours before the rebel retreat from Bin Jawad, Barack Obama, the US president, defended his country's involvement in the military campaign in Libya in a televised address to the nation.

Speaking to military officers and reporters at the National Defence University in Washington on Monday night, Obama said he refused to wait for images of the slaughter of civilians before taking action.

Obama said the Western-led air campaign had stopped Gaddafi's advances and halted a slaughter that could have shaken the stability of an entire region and "stained the conscience of the entire world".

"Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries," he said. "The United States of America is different."

But he said that broadening the international mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

"If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter," he said.

The US took the initial lead in the Western-led military action against Gaddafi before the recent NATO decision to take over the operations. Obama said the United States will transfer control to NATO on Wednesday.

Obama said once that transfer occurs, the risk and cost to US taxpayers will be reduced significantly.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said Obama's speech had two striking contradictions.

"The president said we must stand alongside those who work for freedom and at the same time he said we cannot be the policeman of the world only when it applies to our national interest," Culhane said.

"The president [seems to] be trying to explain why we have seen a lesser response to allies like Bahrain or Yemen."

Obama did not discuss plans for disengagement.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Scores Killed in Attacks in Tikrit, Iraq

Scores killed in Iraq attack

Many dead as armed men storm a provincial council building in northern city of Tikrit

Last Modified: 29 Mar 2011 11:57

At least 55 people have been killed and 95 injured after armed men stormed a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit immediately after a suicide bomber detonated explosives that cleared the way for the attack.

"A suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt outside the provincial council building in Tikrit, and immediately after that gunmen stormed into the building," a police official told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Another provincial official said the men, who wore security forces' uniforms, threw hand grenades and opened fire at a checkpoint of the Salahuddin provincial council building before they managed to storm it.

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from the capital Baghdad, said officials told her none of the hostages were spared.

"They were shot at point-blank range, execution style ... and in a rather horrific account, the council spokesman said the bodies of three councilmen, who were among the hostages, were set on fire after they were killed."

Our correspondent said all the assailants involved in the attack were killed.

There has been no claim of responsibility, but the spokesman of the council, Mohammed Al Assi, told Al Jazeera that the attack "clearly bears the hallmarks of al-Qaeda in Iraq because of its nature, and the use of suicide vests".


Our correspondent said this was the first such attack since the siege on a Baghdad church in November.

"A police official told me that the assailants were highly trained, and the incident resembled that of a Hollywood action film," she said.

According to military officials, some US soldiers "received minor wounds," when responding to the attack.

"Iraqi forces took control of the scene and conducted further operations to secure the area. [We] are not aware of any US troops being directly involved in these operations. Our assistance has been limited to providing aerial surveillance of the scene and keeping our soldiers on site to receive further requests for assistance if needed," the army said in a statement.

The attack has also claimed the life of a freelance journalist working for the Reuters news agency.

Sabah al-Bazee suffered shrapnel wounds in an explosion, according to his cousin Mahmoud Salah.

Salahuddin province, home to Saddam Hussein's family, continues to suffer frequent attacks by fighters opposed to the the government in Baghdad.

In mid-January, a suicide bomber blew himself up and killed at least 50 people in a crowd waiting outside a police recruitment centre in Tikrit.

That blast, which also wounded up to 150, was the first major strike in Iraq since the formation of a new government on December 21.

Iraq's security forces are now solely responsible for the country's security, with the US having declared a formal end to combat operations in the country at the end of August.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

NYT Article Requesting Additional Bank Bailouts for the Capitalist System

March 29, 2011

As Economy Sputters, a Timid Fed

New York Times

Whenever officials at the Federal Reserve confront a big decision, they have to weigh two competing risks. Are they doing too much to speed up economic growth and touching off inflation? Or are they doing too little and allowing unemployment to stay high?

It’s clear which way the Fed has erred recently. It has done too little. It stopped trying to bring down long-term interest rates early last year under the wishful assumption that a recovery had taken hold, only to be forced to reverse course by the end of year.

Given this recent history, you might think Fed officials would now be doing everything possible to ensure a solid recovery. But they’re not. Once again, many of them are worried that the Fed is doing too much. And once again, the odds are rising that it’s doing too little.

Higher oil prices, government layoffs, Japan’s devastation and Europe’s debt woes are all working against the recovery. Already, a prominent research firm founded by a former Fed governor, Macroeconomic Advisers, has downgraded its estimate of economic growth in the current quarter to a paltry 2.3 percent, from 4 percent. The Fed’s own forecasts, notes that former governor, Laurence Meyer, “have been incredibly optimistic.”

Why is this happening? Above all, blame our unbalanced approach to monetary policy.

One group of Fed officials and watchers worries constantly about the prospect of rising inflation, no matter what the economy is doing. Some of them are haunted by the inflation of the 1970s and worry it may return at any time. Others spend much of their time with bank executives or big investors, who generally have more to lose from high inflation than from high unemployment.

There is no equivalent group — at least not one as influential — that obsesses over unemployment. Instead, the other side of the debate tends to be dominated by moderates, like Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and Mr. Meyer, who sometimes worry about inflation and sometimes about unemployment.

The result is a bias that can distort the Fed’s decision-making. Just look at the last 18 months. Again and again, the inflation worriers, who are known as hawks, warned of an overheated economy. In one speech, a regional Fed president even raised the specter of Weimar Germany.

These warnings helped bring an end early last year to the Fed’s attempts to reduce long-term interest rates — even though the Fed’s own economic models said that it should be doing much more. We now know, of course, that the models were right and the hawks were wrong. Recoveries from financial crises are usually slow and uneven. Yet the hawks show no sign of grappling with their failed predictions.

It is true that the situation has become more complicated in the last couple of months. Some of the economic data has been encouraging, and inflation has picked up.

In particular, core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, has increased somewhat. (Overall inflation obviously matters more for household budgets, but core inflation matters more to the Fed, because it’s a better predictor of future inflation than inflation itself.) Over the last three months, the Fed’s preferred measure of core inflation has risen at annual rate of 1.4 percent, up from less than 1 percent last year.

Still, 1.4 percent remains low — considerably lower than the past decade’s average of 1.9 percent, the 1990s average of 2.2 percent or the 1980s average of 4.6 percent. Unemployment, on the other hand, remains high. By any standard, joblessness is a bigger problem than inflation.

There is also reason to think that inflation will fall in coming months. Rising oil prices alone aren’t enough to create an inflationary spiral. Workers also need to have enough leverage to demand substantial raises — which then forces companies to increase prices and, in turn, gives workers further reason to demand raises. In today’s economy, this chain of events is pretty hard to fathom.

Adam Posen, an American economist who’s now an official at the Bank of England, told The Guardian this week that he was so confident inflation in Britain would decline that he would resign if it did not. His analysis also applies to the United States. “Wages,” Mr. Posen said, “will be the dog that doesn’t bark.”

It’s still too soon to know what the Fed should do next. Its current plan is to let the program known as QE2 — for quantitative easing, round two — expire in June. The program started late last year, once the economy’s troubles were impossible to ignore, as an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates by buying Treasury bonds.

If the economic data improves and inflation does not drop, ending QE2 will be the right call. But if the economy continues to weaken, there will be a strong case for doing more. One option would be to buy both Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed bonds, as the Fed did during QE1, as a way to attack the double dip in the housing market.

The problem is that some Fed officials already seem to have made up their minds, regardless of the data. In their public remarks, officials continue to wring their hands about QE2 rather than prepare people for the possibility of QE3. Some hawks have gone so far as to suggest halting QE2 early.

Meanwhile, the recovery looks uncertain, and the job market remains weak. Even if job growth were to accelerate sharply in coming months, the economy would be years away from so-called full employment. But never mind that, the hawks say — rampant inflation is just around the corner.