First Conference Against U.S./NATO Military Bases

First Conference Against U.S./NATO Military Bases

Watch videos from all three days of the First Conference Against U.S./NATO Military Bases, which was held in Dublin, Ireland, November 16-18. BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka and BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley serve on the Executive Committee of the U.S.-based Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, of which BAP is a founding member. Ajamu chaired a panel on Day 2 and Margaret chaired the AFRICOM panel on Day 3.

Movement News: Final Declaration of the Continental Meeting of the World Peace Council for the Americas and Caribbean

Movement News: Final Declaration of the Continental Meeting of the World Peace Council for the Americas and Caribbean

FINAL DECLARATION

WPC CONTINENTAL MEETING FOR THE AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN
 
Moca, Dominican Republic – September 12-13, 2018
 

The Continental Meeting of Peace Organizations attached to the World Peace Council (WPC) in the region of the Americas and the Caribbean was held in Moca, Dominican Republic, on September 12 and 13 of 2018, under the presidency of Socorro Gomez, WPC President, and Regional Coordinator Silvio Platero with the participation of representatives of peace organizations from 10 countries of  the continent.
 
This important biennial meeting was attended by peace leaders and fighters from the Dominican Union of Journalists for Peace (UDPP, the Spanish acronym), host organization of the meeting; the Canadian Peace Congress (CPC); the Movement for Peace, Solidarity and Sovereignty of Argentina (MOPASSOL); the Peace Council of Brazil (Cebrapaz); the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples (Movpaz); the Peace Council of the United States (USPC); the Mexican Movement for Peace and Development (MOMPADE) and  the Peace Council of Guyana. It was also recognized the presence of delegates from Chile and  Puerto Rico.
 
The meeting approved the Report presented by the Regional Coordinator summarizing the work in promotion of peace in the continent since the last meeting, held in Toronto, Canada, in July 2016. It was appreciated that multiple and diverse actions and initiatives of denounce and social mobilization were carried out by the organizations in these two years of hard fight against the strategies of imperialism and its NATO allies that stubbornly try to impose their geopolitical and economic order in the world and particularly in this continent.
 
Each one of the peace organizations attending the meeting presented its Report on the work displayed during this period and informed in detail its actions in favor of peace in its own country and the continent as a whole.
 
The relevance of the WPC Meeting held in Sao Luis, state of Maranhao, Brazil, in November 2016 for the coordination of the struggle for peace at world and continental levels was also highlighted. Said meeting had an ample representation of organizations from several world regions that reiterated their condemnation of imperialism and its NATO allies and the imperialist aggressions in several parts of the planet.
 
That continental meeting approved with satisfaction the celebration of the Fourth Trilateral Conference of the peace organizations of North America attached to the WPC, which drew a fruitful balance of the actions undertaken since the past meeting, held in Toronto, Canada, in July, 2016.
 
In this context, the Canadian Congress for Peace, the Peace Council of the United States, and the Mexican Movement for Peace and Development again elaborated and approved the guidelines of their actions and mobilizing initiatives against the war and imperialism in a region of high geo-strategic importance for the destinies of humankind.
 
The participants in the continental meeting confirmed the complex international situation faced by the world because of the permanence and development of elements opposed to peace and global political stability. In the first place is the growing imperialist aggressiveness, today strengthened by an ultra-conservative Administration in Washington that persists in imposing its world dominion by means of strengthened intervention policies and meddling in other nations’ affairs. This new economic and commercial protectionism threatens with the outburst of a commercial war with China, and with aggravated chauvinism aims at increasing the hegemonic thought among U.S. citizens.
 
It was agreed that the existent model for economic development has either failed or proven ineffective and what it is needed is a scientific, realistic people centered development strategy based on sustainable economic development, equity, social and economic justice.  
     
They likewise expressed their rejection to the growing and unceasing increase of the military budget of the United States and NATO, which are in search of military superiority, threaten to extend to the cyberspace, and insist on the proliferation and modernization of the nuclear arsenal.
 
In this context, the reorganization and opening of new foreign military bases and installations in several world regions is an essential element of the imperialist global strategy of dominion and violation of the sovereignty of the countries where they are located.
 
From that perspective, the permanent threat and imposition of sanctions against Russia and Iran is part of those aggressive policies that continue driving the world to the edge of a new world war.
 
The meeting showed sympathy and total endorsement to the creation of a Global Campaign against Foreign Military Bases and the WPC declaration of the World Day against Foreign Military Bases every February 23.
 
The first International Conference against US/NATO Military Bases sponsored by the WPC to be held in Dublin, next November will be a very significant moment for the global peace movement to wage a global struggle against the core foundation of the US/NATO imperialist domination and an important opportunity to mobilize the Global Campaign against these bases.
 
The participants likewise reiterated the demand to shut down NATO.
 
They also reiterated their strongest rejection to the imperialist policies in the Middle East aimed at the creation of a new geopolitical area in that territory in accordance with their interests to favor Israel and not propitiate the creation of a Palestine state with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as to achieve the disarticulation of Syria and the Islamic revolution in Iran.
 
The leaders and peace fighters present at the meeting also stated their great concern regarding the extension and strengthening of the imperialist and oligarchic siege in Latin America and the Caribbean against the progressive political processes that for more than one decade have brought immeasurable social progress to their peoples and produced the notorious advancement of a favorable process of regional integration in solidarity without the participation of the United States.
 
The use of open or disguised methods of political, economic and media war, as well as the coarse political manipulation of justice are ever more present in the imperial intentions to disarticulate and revert those processes, including military threat and even the attempt of assassination of national leaders. The strengthening of the South Command capacity with its network of military bases, as well as the reactivation of the Fourth Fleet is part and parcel of this strategy.
 
The utmost solidarity was conveyed in this regard with the peoples of Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Venezuela that are currently facing the aggressive policies of imperialism and the national oligarchies temporarily heading the governments of several of those countries.
 
Particularly strong was the delegates’ demand for the release from prison of the leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, and their endorsement of support for his right to freely participate in the national elections next October.
 
They likewise demanded the cessation of aggressions against the Bolivarian nation and expressed their strongest rejection of the attempt to assassinate of the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
 
They also expressed their firm solidarity with the people and government of Nicaragua, and defended their right to peace and free determination without any foreign meddling.
 
The coming to power of a new conservative government in Colombia creates expectations as to the future of the peace agreements signed by the previous government and the FARC-EP at the time, in accordance with the declarations of the new ruler during the election campaign that took him to the presidency of the Republic. In this regard, the meeting issued a call to the new Colombian authorities to respect the achieved agreements, included Ethnic Agreement, and to stop brutal assassinations of community´s social leaders and former guerrilla members, as well as, strongly demanded the freedom of Jesus Santrich and to continue ahead with the negotiating process with the ELN in order to conclude with the establishment a definitive and lasting peace in that nation.
 
With regard to Cuba, the participants in the meeting reaffirmed the global dedmand for the cessation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against the Cuban people for more than 50 years, and once more demanded the return of the illegally occupied territory of Guantánamo to Cuba.
 
The regional meeting expressed solidarity with the people of Argentina in its legitimate right of sovereignty over the Falkland (Malvinas), South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands, and condemned the increased British military presence in that zone.
 
The representatives of the peace organizations at the meeting congratulated the Mexican people and showed their satisfaction with the victory obtained by the progressive political force MORENA headed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, elected President of the Aztec nation, which creates genuine hopes of social changes in favor of the large masses of that country.
 
It was also reiterated the denounce against the permanence of a colonial situation in the Caribbean sub-region and particularly in Puerto Rico, which continues to be submitted to a relation of subjection by the United States. At the same time they expressed their widest solidarity with the struggle of the Puerto Rican people to obtain their independence and sovereignty.
 
The dismantling of all foreign bases and military installations in the region was likewise demanded.
 
In its effort to preserve peace and security in the continent, the meeting called for the continuation of the celebration and deepening of the ongoing bilateral and multilateral negotiations about territorial and migratory differences existing in the region.
 
In the present situation of conservative restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean that imposes great risks for peace and political stability in the area, the participants reiterated the full validity of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace approved by all the Heads of State and Government of the region at the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in January, 2014. The principles of respect for the identity, independence and sovereignty of all nations, agreed upon at that meeting, continue to exist as essential political bastion for the defense and preservation of peace in our continent.
 
The meeting noted the upcoming celebration in Cuba of two international events of great importance for peace in the region in the present political context of confrontation with the new strategy of imperialist domination: the Second International Seminar “Realities and Challenges of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace”, to be held in Havana on September 19th- 21st, 2018, and the 6th International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, to take place in Guantánamo on May 4-6, 2019.
 
The participants in this peace meeting in the American continent received with satisfaction the intention expressed by the Mexican Movement for Peace and Solidarity to consider the possibility to host the next Continental Meeting in 2020 in Mexico what it will be conveniently confirmed to WPC, to the WPC Continental Coordinator and to WPC Organization.
 
At the end of the meeting, the representatives of the peace organizations of the continent expressed their acknowledgment and thankfulness to the Dominican Union of Journalists for Peace for its effective role as host of the meeting and the excellent facilities and courtesies that, together with the authorities and the people of Moca, were granted to the participants.
 

Moca, Dominican Republic, September 13, 2018

 

Movement News: Final Declaration of Trilateral Peace Conference

Movement News: Final Declaration of Trilateral Peace Conference

Fourth Canada – United States – Mexico
Trilateral Peace Conference


September 13, 2018 – Moca, Dominican Republic

Final Declaration

The Canadian Peace Congress (CPCon), the U.S. Peace Council (USPC) and the Mexican Movement for Peace and Development (MOMPADE) held their fourth Trilateral Meeting on September 13, 2018 in Moca, Dominican Republic in conjunction with the Hemispheric Peace Conference of the World Peace Council and its affiliates on this continent. Upon the conclusion of their meeting, the delegations of the three organizations issued the following statement:

Our Trilateral Meeting takes place at a time of a serious deterioration of the international
situation, marked by the increasingly aggressive actions of U.S. imperialism, with the active
support of Canada and its other NATO allies, to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states,
to use economic blackmail and threats of aggression, to conspire with regional actors and local
oligarchies to carry out ‘regime change’ operations against governments unwilling to submit to
imperialist demands, and in some cases to resort to direct military intervention. This aggressive
behavior comes together with, and is closely related to, the deepening systemic crisis of
capitalism and the ever-worsening effects of climate change and the general degradation of the global environment.

The participants express grave concern that the accelerated drive to militarization, aggression and war threatens the very future of humanity, and call for urgent measures to stop and reverse the arms race, to sharply reduce bloated military budgets and to redirect these funds to peaceful and socially useful purposes to raise wages and living standards, improve social programs and protect our environment. Urgent efforts are required to prevent the modernization of nuclear arsenals, to ban the militarization of outer space, and to move in the direction of general and comprehensive disarmament, including the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Our organizations condemn the further expansion of NATO, including the recent addition of Colombia as a “global partner” and its intention to recruit other states in our hemisphere to the NATO camp, which is totally controlled by U.S. imperialism and serves its economic and
political interests. The cause of peace can only be advanced through the dissolution of this
aggressive military alliance, not through its expansion.

The Trilateral Meeting agrees that the firm foundations of peace must be based on the principles of non-intervention and full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, self-determination and independence of all states, as stipulated in the UN Charter and covenants of international law enacted since the end the World War II.

The participants note that the web of U.S. foreign military bases around the world – including an archipelago of almost 80 foreign bases throughout the Americas – is a direct threat to world peace and undermines the sovereignty of individual states, and we call for the closure of these bases. Our three organizations commit to helping build the Global Campaign Against US/NATO
Military Bases, and pledge to help mobilize the largest possible contingents of peace forces from our countries to participate in the International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases to be held in Dublin, Ireland on November 16-18, 2018.

Our organizations pledge to strengthen our solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, both of which are under sharp attack by U.S. imperialism, and with Socialist Cuba which continues to endure and advance despite a
revitalized blockade by the United States. These are not isolated issues or events, but rather part of a coordinated campaign to undermine progressive governments and movements throughout Latin America, particularly those striving to resist imperialist hegemony, and to defend their national sovereignty and independent path of development. This subversive campaign increasingly relies on judicial and parliamentary maneuvers to remove elected leaders and oust progressive governments from power.

In this regard, our Meeting welcomes the progressive changes in Mexico arising from the recent election results, but warns that the new government could well become the next target of such anti-democratic attacks by imperialism and domestic reactionary forces.

The participants note that the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between our three countries has reached a critical stage as the Trump Administration,
acting in the interests of U.S. finance capital, seeks to extract concessions from both its northern and southern neighbors. Our organizations consider that the economic relations between our neighboring countries – and related treaties and agreements – must be mutually beneficial for the peoples and economies of our three countries, must serve to improve the wages, working conditions and overall living standards of our peoples, and must protect and enhance our shared natural environment.

Our organizations also express alarm at the rapid growth of racist, anti-immigration tendencies and state policies in our countries, especially marked by the plans of the Trump Administration to step up the deportation of undocumented workers and the completion of a wall along the entire U.S./Mexican frontier. In our view such positions and policies pander to and help to promote the further rise of xenophobia, national chauvinism, racism and fascism in our societies, backward and dangerous trends which are antithetical and hostile to the cause of peace. We should be building bridges to unite us, not walls to divide us.

While working on all of these related issues over the coming period, our Meeting proposes that our organizations consider three specific campaign initiatives flowing out of this trilateral session:
1. Against Arms Production, the Arms Trade and the Militarization of our Societies – this
to include opposition to the military-industrial complexes in our three countries, the export
of weapons and military-related goods internationally (including the illicit cross-border
traffic of weapons), and the hypocritical “War on Drugs” and militarization of police
forces domestically, all of which serve to breed a poisonous ‘cult of militarism’ in our
societies. No to Wars at Home or Abroad!
2. Against the Reactionary Wave of Intolerance, Xenophobia and Anti-Immigrant Ideas
and State Policies which criminalizes migrant workers, national minorities and racialized communities, and promotes the spread of racism and fascism in our societies. Instead, we
must build unity and solidarity among all those who stand for the protection and
enhancement of the economic, social and political rights of the people, including the
fundamental and inherent rights of the indigenous peoples of our countries.
3. Against Imperialist Interventionism and ‘Regime Change’ and in solidarity with all
those peoples and States which are victimized by, or targeted for such imperialist
interference and aggression within our hemisphere and around the world.
Finally, the Trilateral Meeting agrees to establish a permanent “continuation” committee,
composed of one representative from each of our three organizations, to develop concrete
proposals with regard to the three campaign initiatives (outlined above), and to maintain ongoing lines of communication and dialogue among our organizations on all matters of mutual concern and interest.

Photo credit: AFP/M. Kulbis

Movement News: Ferguson Activist Says "We Need More Than Change, We Need Revolution”

Movement News: Ferguson Activist Says "We Need More Than Change, We Need Revolution”

By Lamont Lilly, member of BAP's Coordinating Committee

Originally published in Truthout

“When the cameras left, everybody forgot,” says Missouri-based Black radical organizer Tory Russell, talking about how quickly national attention turned away from Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown by a police officer four years ago. But, he adds, activists in St. Louis and Ferguson “sure as hell haven’t forgotten” and have continued to push for justice and accountability since the murder.

In this exclusive interview, Russell, co-founder of the St. Louis-based grassroots organization Hands Up United and co-creator of its community service initiative Books and Breakfast, offers an update on the ongoing efforts of Michael Brown’s family and other racial justice activists in the Ferguson/St. Louis area. As one of the activists who helped organize the initial protests at the Ferguson Police Department on the night of August 9, 2014, Russell was one of the key strategists of the 2014 Ferguson uprising, following the death of Michael Brown. In 2016, he served as a Black Lives Matter representative at the International Pan-African Conference in Zambia, Africa. He is also one of the noted activists in the 2017 documentary, Whose Streets?

Lamont Lilly: Tory, thank you for your time and sharing some thoughts with me. August 9, 2018, marked four years since the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. You’ve been working with the Brown family — and more specifically, with his father — for the last four years. How is the Brown family doing? What has that work looked like for you?

Working with Mike Brown Sr. has been extremely humbling. He’s a father who lost his son and had to watch people speculate every day for the last four years about how his son died, and without any justice, by the way. The Brown family has watched, in other cases, officers be fired and prosecuted—[there are] other families who have received millions [of dollars], resources and continued support.

Folks may not realize this, but the Brown family hasn’t received much of anything in those terms. I mean, while we speak, we’re finishing up our fourth anniversary week together and not one major nonprofit or national organization put any effort or resources toward this.

That’s a lot to hold, especially with very little support. Your son becomes the face of a movement because he was murdered by the police. Then you’re thrown into the national spotlight to answer questions and talk about it and mourn in front of the whole world. But when the cameras left, everybody forgot. Four years later, and even more people have forgotten. For the people who live here, we sure as hell haven’t forgotten. We never will.

Tory Russell speaks with Ferguson Voices.

Courtesy of Mark Katzman and FergusonVoices.com

A few months ago, I read that Mike Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, was considering a campaign run for a Ferguson City Council seat this year. Is there an update on that?

I haven’t been involved in that process … so I honestly wouldn’t know what to tell you about that. I can say this: It would really be something if Mike Brown’s mother was on the city council. It would definitely make for some interesting council meetings. Sister Lezley has certainly earned her “seat at the table,” that’s for sure.

Speaking of seats and public office, three former protesters of the 2014 Ferguson uprising have now transitioned into local politics. Bruce Franks Jr. is now a Missouri state representative. Rasheen Aldridge was elected Democratic committeeman at 22 years old. John Collins-Muhammad now serves on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. So, how have local organizers there leveraged these positions in their pursuit of justice and providing for the community’s needs?

There are some who ran here and won here, and many who did not win. And I’m not quite sure what it would take to shift the “balance of power” through the current political system, particularly with only a few people in a few key seats.

If we’re looking for Black liberation through a ballot box or through city hall, then we’re kidding ourselves.

On the state level, there’s not much there, considering that in the state of Missouri, the Republicans have a supermajority here. If we’re being honest with ourselves, all you can really do on that level is help to better broker a bad deal, and maybe advocate for a few extra crumbs, but nothing structural ever changes.

But I was always taught you heat the pot from the bottom up, though. On the local level, here in the city, we can do some major things. When John [Collins-Muhammad] ran for state representative, he lost. But we used that to run for alderman because our main goal was controlling the resources that directly affect the people in our community. Right now, we’re fixing up recreational centers, getting into the schools and creating community-based service programs for the elders, mothers and youth—everything from the development of community food pantries to community gardens and revised African-centered curriculums in our local schools. We’re also planning around how to get poor and working-class families into decent homes. The leverage is in “the people.” The positions are just the vehicle.

Do let me be clear about something, though: If we’re looking for Black liberation through a ballot box or through city hall, then we’re kidding ourselves. All that can do is create the conditions for us to get free. But it’s the community, the people, the organizers who have to take that entry point and push it forward—whether it’s reparations or the redistribution of stolen land. But that’s another conversation.

You kind of just touched on this, Tory, but in addition to state violence and police terror, what are some of the other local issues that folks are organizing around?

Here in the St. Louis/Ferguson area, it’s the same as anywhere else for Black people, worldwide. Food, housing, health care, economic development and environmental injustice are certainly key issues that we have continued to grapple with here.

I think what people fail to realize is that on a mass level, we don’t control any of the mechanisms to get or ensure those things. We’re depending on the same people and government that enslaved and colonized us, to in turn, now give us the things that we need to be whole and healthy, and most importantly, a free people.

We wanted the spirit of Ferguson to move throughout activist communities nationwide, so people could be prepared for when a Mike Brown incident happened in their own city.

It all boils down to the historical and systematic racism that we were subjected to, and are still subjected to. The same holds true for police terror, because when white supremacists continue to run the country, it will continue to show up in all facets of your life, especially for Black people. All of these issues can be deadly, but some are just more direct.

You’ve been instrumental in the formation of several grassroots initiatives in the St. Louis area, from Hands Up United, to “Ferguson October,” to the Books and Breakfast Program. How did these initiatives come together?

All of those initiatives were created out of the political necessity of the people, just like the Ferguson rebellion was. The Ferguson uprising was what was needed at that time. I think the difference here was that we didn’t listen to the appointed leaders and we just went outside and got it cracking.

Mike Brown was murdered in August. We realized that the narrative of resistance needed to be shared nationally. Two months later, we organized Ferguson October. We wanted the spirit of Ferguson to move throughout activist communities nationwide, so people could be prepared for when a Mike Brown incident happened in their own city.

Like anything that you organize—that is, if its main purpose is to counter what the US government accepts as “justice” and “humane” for Black folk—organizers should be doing the things that prepare themselves and our service programs for the long haul. We must.

The first way that we wanted to do that was through revamping the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast Program by creating Books and Breakfast. It was an ode to the Black Panther’s breakfast program, but we remixed it by giving out free revolutionary books to the community. At its height, the Books and Breakfast Program, which came directly out of St. Louis, was in 40-plus cities around the country. It’s still going on today, but not on the same large scale.

I honestly thought that we were prepared for these things back in the fall and winter of 2014, but we weren’t. I for one, certainly wasn’t prepared. My greatest example of this was the formation of Hands Up United. We created that out of the rebellion as a means to train and activate Black and Brown youth to become grassroots radical organizers in their own communities. It was great in theory, but not in practice. You see, radical readings are great, and so are mass protests and demonstrations; they’re very needed, actually. But organizing for liberation has to become a lifestyle, a practice. It’s nice to hear people quote Assata Shakur, and yes, Fred Hampton, we love that! But we have to live like Fred Hampton and Assata Shakur. Everyday! You know what I mean? We’re not just activists and radical intellectuals. We have to be revolutionaries. And that requires daily practice, and principles by which we live.

You know, even within the movement, some folks want to be “change agents,” but not revolutionaries. But we had change and Mr. “Yes We Can” for eight years. Yet, look at what’s happening in the Black community. Look at what’s happening to our families, our children, our culture.

Chicago is just four hours north of here. Per capita, the same murder rate is happening right here in St. Louis, even worse. We obviously need more than just a little change, because you can’t buy anything with “change” nowadays. We need some revolution!

I owe this community to show up because I am this community, and this community is me.

The lesson I learned most from all of these initiatives is the importance of surrounding yourself with liberation-minded folks and people who are prepared to truly struggle for the long haul and meet our people where they are. That’s not always going to be easy. Most of the time, that’s never going to be easy!

Several leading activists from the 2014 Ferguson uprising have since come under some serious repression from the state. Joshua Williams is still incarcerated. Darren Seals, Edward Crawford and DeAndre Joshua are all dead now. Tory, knowing the FBI and COINTELPRO, I’m quite sure you’ve been targeted. How in the hell have you survived there? How do you live with this kind of threat, yet still do the work?

I often think the same thing … How in the hell am I still alive? Maybe they’re taking a different approach to me than just a bullet. I don’t know … but I do know that, ultimately, I’m still here. And there’s still work to be done.

In all honestly, I think what they’re trying to do here in St. Louis is starve me out. These people and their systems will keep you from being employed or being able to get a job. If you’re too radical and too loud, they’ll exile you, they’ll ostracize you. They’ll tie you up in court and keep you in “barely surviving mode”…. If they can’t stop you, they’ll slow you down. And they’ll use the press to spread lies and rumors about you—to invalidate you.… If they invalidate the organizers, they can invalidate the entire movement. Here in Ferguson, we had to learn this the hard way. But these kinds of tactics are nothing new. This was happening 50 years ago to the Black Panther Party.

You know, they’ll also hit you with fame, which can be very enticing. If fame doesn’t work, they’ll toss some money at you. If the money doesn’t work, they’ll just ruin your personal life.

For Darren Seals and Joshua Williams, as soon as they were emerging as leaders who could organize everyday Black people, [the state] got rid of them. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about them … or the many faces who made the sacrifices for what they believed in.

Their loved ones are still paying the price for that decision. You know what, we’re still standing, though. And we’re going to keep on standing!

For varying reasons—one being the repression you just clearly illustrated—several of the leading youth organizers of the 2014 uprising are actually no longer living in the Ferguson/St. Louis area. Some left for employment and educational opportunities. Some left for the safety of their own lives. But you decided to stay and keeping organizing, right there in Ferguson. Why?

You know, I don’t think anything can physically run me away from this place. I owe this community to show up because I am this community, and this community is me. Even if I wasn’t here, I would still be helping to organize or bring light to what’s going on here. I was still connected to Ferguson and St. Louis even when I was abroad in Africa and Australia. I also think that for some people, Ferguson was simply a resume-builder, rather than “that place” where the resistance started.

As Black people, there are no safe spaces for us—only places of limited intellectual and physical refuge.

It’s a physical and mental grind here just navigating within the system itself. Each little police department is its own unique land mine. But we’re still out here, man. I’m just saying, if you’re going to organize in the Ferguson/St. Louis area, you have to be more than just an “event planner.” We don’t do pundits here … Jesse Jackson got ran out of Ferguson.

I also think the difference comes down to simple fear. Sure, some left for fair reasons. Others left because they simply weren’t built for Ferguson. Ferguson is one of the hardest places to organize in the world, to me. Yes, the world. Because if you’re not ready for the repression and surveillance, Ferguson ain’t the place for you. I haven’t even mentioned the dozens of municipalities and various ordinances.

This also ain’t the academy. In Ferguson, you have to come through the hood if you really want to move the people, but the hood might not use “activist” or academic language. I don’t think some people were comfortable with that. But that’s what Ferguson was in the beginning. That’s where Mike Brown was murdered—in Canfield, the hood of Ferguson. So that’s where the organizing had to start.

I also think that some folks just haven’t figured out yet, that as Black people, there are no safe spaces for us—only places of limited intellectual and physical refuge.

Former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was never been held accountable for Mike Brown’s death because, ultimately, his actions were legally upheld in a US court of law. How does that make you feel about “the law” in this country, particularly as a Black man? I’m asking because even when these atrocities are captured on live video — such as the case with Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice or Philando Castile — all we as Black folk are ever left with is this constant state of visual trauma, but no justice. But this is “the law” though, right? Well, whose laws are these? Who are these laws and “law enforcers” really serving?

It’s 2018, man. If you don’t know by now that this is the white man’s country, then you’re beyond sleep. The “laws” in this country have a duality to them—written one way and applied another way, depending on who’s in front of the judge. When it’s us, oh, they follow the rule of law down to the letter — hell, down to the comma. But for white people in this country, rape ain’t rape, theft ain’t theft and murder ain’t murder; it’s only a consequence of their mere existence—survival of the fittest, you know what I mean?

A few Black faces in high places does not create justice. Symbolism is not liberation.

In reference to the Mike Brown case, and I do believe for all of the names that you just mentioned, the fact that these cases all took place under a Black US president and a Black attorney general should have told us something. A few Black faces in high places does not create justice. Symbolism is not liberation. Personally, I think it’s time to show the world that either the United Nations is the international center for global accountability, or just a global think tank being used by our colonizers for global domination. Either way, we still have lots of work to do.

We as a people, really need to even stop advocating in these courtrooms and just go to the United Nations, in a real way, without compromising. That means concessions won’t do.

Maybe one day, we can create our own court systems—a justice system made for the people and by the people. Truth is, our oppressors are not going to give us any justice. And they’re certainly not going to give us any Black Liberation, land or political autonomy. We’re going to have to either take or create those things for ourselves. Until that’s done, we’ll have to keep organizing, from Ferguson and beyond.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.oo

Lamont Lilly is an independent journalist, Black radical activist and community organizer based in Durham, North Carolina. In 2016, he was the Workers World Party US vice-presidential candidate. Follow him on Twitter @LamontLilly.

 

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.
 

Photo credit: Danny Wicentowski and the Riverfront Times

Movement News: Was Patrice Lumumba's Assassination the Most Important of the Last Century?

Movement News: Was Patrice Lumumba's Assassination the Most Important of the Last Century?

By Maurice Carney, of BAP member organization Friends of the Congo

The assassination was a disaster not only for the Democratic Republic of Congo, but for the entire African continent. More than half a century later, its shockwaves still reverberate.

The assassination of Congo's first democratically elected prime minister, Patrice Emery Lumumba on January 17, 1961 has been famously termed “the most important assassination of the 20th century”, and that is arguably true - especially for the African continent.

Should one assess the devastation and havoc wreaked on the Congo since Lumumba’s overthrow and subsequent assassination, it is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

After enduring over three decades of a US-installed and maintained dictatorship under Joseph Desire Mobutu, the Congolese people became the victims of the deadliest conflict since World War II with an estimated six million lives lost due to conflict and conflict-related causes from 1996 to 2007.

The US overthrow of Patrice Lumumba is in line with a number of other noteworthy undermining of democratically elected leaders in the 20th century, such as Iran’s Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953; Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz in 1954; and Chile’s  Salvador Allende in 1973.

The United States through its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cahoots with the United Nations, Belgium and local Congolese elites, did not merely overthrow a democratically elected government in the Congo; it laid the foundation for the assassination of Lumumba, his youth minister, Maurice Mpolo, and the first vice president of the Senate Joseph Okito. These actions violently uprooted and systematically dismantled any hopes for a democratic culture in the Congo.

American covert action in the Congo led by the CIA, was ranked as the largest in the agency's history at the time. Congo was the first post-independence African country in which the US intervened.

Henry Jackson in his seminal work From Congo to Soweto: US Foreign Policy Toward Africa Since 1960, noted that the United States heeded Chairman Mao’s assertion about the Congo – “If we can take the Congo: We can hold the whole of Africa.”

Congo was also the centerpiece for Kwame Nkrumah's—the man who led Ghana to independence—Pan-African project of the United States of Africa. Due to its strategic location in the heart of Africa and its spectacular wealth, it was to serve as the industrial engine to power the development of the African continent.

Frantz Fanon captured the strategic importance of Congo when he noted that Africa has the shape of a pistol and Congo is its trigger. Ludo De Witte, author of The Assassination of Lumumba rightly notes that the dismantling of the Lumumba government has had “disastrous consequences throughout Africa as a whole.” 

Africa’s and Congo’s loss has been a gain for Belgium, the United States and other Western nations.

 

The West’s outstanding debt

Both Belgium and the United States are morally indebted to the Congo. 

In a just world, the Congolese people would get reparations for the damage done to them by both countries. However, instead of reparations, Belgium apologised in 2002 for its role in the assassination of Lumumba and a few months ago, built a statue to commemorate Lumumba in Brussels.

As for the United States, the US Congress produced the Church Committee Reports which investigated the abuses of US intelligences services among which was the CIA’s role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba.

Nations act based on their interests, not moral imperatives. For both the US and Belgium, keeping Congo weak, dependent and impoverished best serves their strategic interests, which includes access to precious and strategic minerals in order to fuel their military, aerospace, technology, electronics and automobile industries. 

It would be folly for the Congolese people to expect anything constructive and beneficial from the US or Belgium.

Both countries’ current pronouncements on democracy and economic development contradict their history of plunder and the stifling of democracy in the Congo. Joseph Kabila, the current strongman and authoritarian figure presiding over a tyrannical regime in the Congo could not have ascended to head of state and remain in power for the past seventeen years without the backing of the US and other Western nations.

One could quip as Malcolm X did in 1963 that the current hysteria in the United States about alleged Russian interference in US elections is a case of the chickens coming home to roost, but the comparisons are hardly equivalent.

The US intervention in the Congo that overthrew Congo's first democratically elected prime minister reverberates to this day. Stephen Weissman’s summary of US declassified documents on the CIA’s covert action in the Congo observed that its legacy of clients and techniques contributed to a long-running spiral of decline, which was characterized by corruption, political turmoil and dependence on western military intervention.

The media often report that there has not been a peaceful transition of power in the Congo. However, they often neglect to point out that it was since the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister in 1960, that there has not been a peaceful transfer of power.

Although the Belgians attempted to erase all memory of Lumumba by chopping up his corpse and dissolving the butchered pieces in acid, they have failed to extinguish his vision for a free and liberated Congo and Africa.

Lumumba’s ideas and teachings continue to have an indelible imprint on Congolese youth. The youth have perpetuated Lumumba’s legacy through art, music and activism. An entire generation of university students and young scholars are studying and learning about Lumumba as they benefit from the Lumumba Scholarship Initiative.  An increasing number of Congolese youth are striving to fulfill Lumumba’s words when he said in his last letter to his wife Pauline that the future of the Congo is beautiful and that the people will defend its independence and its liberty.

Long Live Congo! Long Live Africa!

 

Original article: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/was-patrice-lumumba-s-assassination-the-most-important-of-the-last-century--19397

Movement News: NATO Is a Public Protection Racket

Movement News: NATO Is a Public Protection Racket

By Ann Garrison

Originally published on blackagendareport.com

I wish I could say I’d written that headline all by myself, but, giving credit where it’s due, I swiped it from Hungarian scholar George Szamuely’s remarks on the most recent YouTube vigil for political prisoner Julian Assange:

NATO is really kind of a public protection racket. I mean there’s no enemy that NATO’s supposedly defending anybody against. So what is it actually doing? It has to create its own crises to justify its existence. So it triggers crises and then claims to be the solution. As it moves eastward, the Russians get very upset. So then we’ve got the various Baltic states, Poland—they start getting very agitated and saying. 'Oh no no, we need more NATO, we need more NATO protection.'

“It has to create its own crises to justify its existence.”

"NATO then comes up and says, 'Well, yes, we have to move in. We’ve got this huge dangerous Russian threat looming. We need more resources for NATO.' So it becomes like a protection racket: “Well, nice place you’ve got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.

This is how NATO operates. So now NATO’s much much bigger than it ever was in the days of the Soviet Union, and what is its purpose? What is it supposedly doing? And under Trump, who supposedly campaigned against NATO, it’s now getting even more resources. And it’s clearly creating these zones of instability.”

Szamuely says that he relies heavily on the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks for his research into the origins of the New Cold War. He calls them a “gold mine of information” that tell the story of what really happened, quite unlike the tale of Russian aggression told by obedient Western officialdom, think tanks, academics and media.

The New Cold War began almost immediately after the end of the First Cold War, he says, after the reunification of Germany in 1990, then the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991. Russia signed off on both and, in exchange, the Western powers reneged on everything they’d promised in return. NATO advanced eastward to Russia’s borders after reassuring Gorbachev that it wouldn’t unilaterally exploit the country’s moment of vulnerability.

“Putin undertook the defense of Syria against the US and the jihadi terrorists that the US funds.”

At the end of 1991, the US installed Boris Yeltsin as the Russian president, then ravaged the country in a neoliberal free-for-all that enriched Western oligarchs and created Russian oligarchs. Nine years later, Putin enraged the West by putting the brakes on that, refusing to let the looting continue and refusing to let the new Russian oligarchs run the country.

In recent years, Russia reacted to the way that NATO had pushed it into a corner, surrounded by US military bases and missile installations, by installing troops and missiles on its own borders, and asserting that it’s a sovereign nation, not a subject of US empire and military hegemony.

Then, in September 2015, Putin undertook the defense of Syria against the US and the jihadi terrorists that the US funds. He drew the line in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, where the populations are predominantly Russian speakers, and defended Russia’s only warm water port, Sevastopol, on Crimea’s Black Sea coast. The US reacted as though Russia had placed missiles on its Mexican borders, and again, Wikileaks was an invaluable source on what really happened.

Wikileaks and Africa

George Szamuely said he’s joined the campaign to free Julian Assange because he owes him a debt of gratitude for so much of the primary source material he’s relying on in his research into the origins of the New Cold War. There’s also a wealth of primary source material about Africa and every other corner of the world as seen through the eye of the empire and its vassals and opponents. A 2008 Wikileak diplomatic cable from an unnamed US official in Kigali, Rwanda was the basis of my last piece for the BAR: Wikileaks: Rwandan Reconciliation Is a Lie. In Rwanda: Starvation in the Shadow of a Star, I cited one of the leaked Podesta emails regarding two Rwandan districts, Kayonza and Kirehe, which the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) boasts of helping in its publication “Anchor Farm Project: Rwanda.” They’re two of the country’s three famine stricken districts that Rwandans are fleeing to Uganda.

I’ll have more to say about that Clinton Development Initiative in Rwanda, especially in light of the 2014 Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation tax return which reveals that the foundation took in $177, 804,612.00, and made grants to charity totaling $5,160,385.00—3% of revenue. In 2005, the Clinton Foundation announced its partnership with the Hunter Foundation in the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative Commitment in Rwanda , whose value they estimated at $100 million -- $20 million a year for a five year period. How could this initiative in Rwanda be valued at $100 million, nearly 20 times the Clinton Foundation’s total grants to charity four years later? Worth $100 million to whom? I didn’t find the Clinton Foundation tax return on Wikileaks. That’s on the website of the National Center for Charitable Statistics, but Wikileaks releases contain abundant information on the African Great Lakes Region.

Wikileaks provides a wealth of primary source material about Africa and every other corner of the world as seen through the eye of the empire and its vassals and opponents.”

Speaking by Skype to editors in Tadjikistan, regarding the diplomatic cables on Central Asia, Assange said, “The most important thing to do is to read all of it. If you go searching for particular things, you will bring your prejudice to the material and you will only find what you already know. Now the other is to understand the situation in which these documents are made. That is that they are made by US diplomats, political officers, and economic officers at the US Embassies and they are reports on their own activities back to Washington.”

I haven’t yet found anything in the diplomatic cables that reversed my convictions or prejudice regarding Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although, as Assange urged, I remain open to that possibility. I have learned a lot that I didn’t know, found a lot more detail about what I did know, and often found that US complicity in the region’s catastrophic violence and exploitation is even worse than I thought.

We’ve seen no more than the tip of the iceberg of what Wikileaks has released, but there is far more there than the DNC and Podesta emails that sent the Democratic Party on a rampage.

What are the real goals of the Democratic Party rampage?

Last week, via Twitter, the Democratic Party served Wikileaks with a lawsuit alleging that the organization collaborated with Russian spies to obtain and publish the DNC and Podesta emails during the 2016 presidential campaigns that worked out so poorly for Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks’ only terrestrial address is a post office box at Australia’s University of Melbourne, which it rents to maintain its non-profit status. The Democratic Party will have to argue that the service was legal because they’d tried and failed to serve Wikileaks at the p.o. box and that Wikileaks is demonstrably active on Twitter. There’s no doubt about that, but does the Democratic Party really want to face Wikileaks in court any more than Mueller wants to face 13 Russian spies? The Russian spies will never be tried because they’ll never be extradited to the US, so the indictment has served as a propaganda tool. US media cite it as proof even though it’s just an indictment, a list of allegations, and as Ray McGovern said, “You can indict a ham sandwich.”

Wikileaks Vault 7 release reveals that the CIA has tools that can falsify the identity of a hacker, and the CIA has never denied that. Indeed, Wikileaks has never had to retract a story and never busted a source. So the Democratic Party’s legal complaint can’t be proven any more than Mueller’s indictment. However, if Wikileaks introduces the diplomatic cables in court, they could prove that, as George Szamuely says, NATO is a public protection racket.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at ann@anngarrison.com.

Movement News: Solidarity with the Popular Movements of Colombia

Movement News: Solidarity with the Popular Movements of Colombia

This is the August 6, 2018 statement by the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases

The Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases declares our solidarity with the popular movements of Colombia who are currently the targets of a systematic operation of extermination and intimidation. On August 7, 2018, the right-wing candidate Iván Duque will take possession of the office of the presidency of Colombia, backed by every business and political interest, and every paramilitary organization that wants to undermine the country’s peace.

We denounce this right-wing violence and the efforts, whether legal or illegal, to break the peace and nullify accords that have ended more than 52 years of war between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army). As a result of this war, more than 220,000 persons have lost their lives, more than 92,000 persons have been disappeared, and more than 7.7 million have been forcibly displaced. From the beginning, the most impacted communities have been the Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and rural peoples. Also, from the beginning, the root of this conflict has been the greed of global capitalism for lands and resources that are abundant in their territories. Neither the big landowners, large agribusinesses, narco-traffickers, extractivist and transnational companies, nor the death squads who serve them, nor the militaries, business people, nor politicians linked with them, want peace. They do not want to return the displaced to their homes and farms. They do not want land reforms, nor reserves that protect oppressed communities and their access to land. They do not want peace – they want total domination and the dispossession of whatever community presents an obstacle to their excessive profits.  

The June 17, 2018 election of Iván Duque as President of Colombia was a victory for the enemies of peace. He won the vote in an electoral season marked by irregularities and a climate of threats and violent assaults against the Left and the Center-Left and their candidates. The situation was already deplorable before his election. Between January 1, 2016 and May 14, 2018, the Marcha Patriótica, a social movement for a just peace, had counted 385 victims of political violence. They were all members of popular and Left movements, ex-insurgents and ex-political prisoners and their families, unionists, human rights defenders, students, and/or ecological activists. The majority of the murders were committed by paramilitaries and other illegal groups. Many of the paramilitaries operate with impunity in places where there are located Colombian Armed Forces troops. The Armed Forces have also directly attacked popular movements and protests, and are being investigated for 14 murders of social leaders.

Of the 385 victims between January 1, 2016 and May 14, 2018, 161 came from the Marcha Patriótica and 62% were killed in rural zones. Of these, 33 belonged to just one labor organization, FENSUAGRO (the National Unified Federation of Agricultural Workers Unions). More than a third of the victims, 33.2% were indigenous (48, or almost 18%) or Afro-Colombian (41, o a little more than 15%). Since the election of Duque in June, the situation has gotten even worse, with leaders and members of social movements and ex insurgents and their families being killed at a rate of more than one person per day.

War and repression in Colombia are direct results of the policies of the United States and transnational capitalism. In 1962, the Pentagon’s Yarborough Commission pushed Colombia to unleash military and paramilitary “terror” against rural Colombians in order to achieve territorial control for national and international capitalism. Since 2000, the US has invested $11 billion through Plan Colombia. At least 70% of that funding has gone toward the Colombian Armed Forces, and  most the rest toward “security” apparatus and programs that benefit overall strategies of war and repression.

In exchange, the US military has been granted a presence on seven Colombian military bases. Colombia has not only given the US access to its military bases, it has converted into an important partner in US/NATO imperialism. Colombia has sent troops to Afghanistan and Yemen, and has patrolled Central American and West African coasts with the US military. Colombia has also given international training to more than 30,000 military, police, penitentiary, and court personnel. In an act of geographical discordance, Colombia has joined NATO, giving it a permanent presence in Latin America.

Thus, we of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases not only denounce the political violence in Colombia. We denounce that the Colombian state has become an agent of Empire that threatens its own people, the region, and the planet. We recognize that what happens in Colombia has global repercussions. We stand with Colombia’s popular movements and say with them that: The Peace of Colombia is the Peace of the World!

Movement News: U.S. Secret Wars in Africa Rage On

Movement News: U.S. Secret Wars in Africa Rage On

By Nick Turse

01 Aug 2018

“There is no evidence yet of massive cuts, gradual reductions, or any downsizing whatsoever.”

Last October, four U.S. soldiers -- including two commandos -- were killed in an ambush in Niger. Since then, talk of U.S. special operations in Africa has centered on missions being curtailed and troop levels cut.

Press accounts have suggested that the number of special operators on the front lines has been reduced, with the head of U.S. Special Operations forces in Africa directing his troops to take fewer risks. At the same time, a “sweeping Pentagon review” of special ops missions on the continent may result in drastic cuts in the number of commandos operating there. U.S. Africa Command has apparently been asked to consider the impact on counterterrorism operations of cutting the number of Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other commandos by 25 percent over 18 months and 50 percent over three years.

Analysts have already stepped forward to question or criticize the proposed cuts. “Anybody that knows me knows that I would disagree with any downsizing in Africa,” Donald Bolduc, a former chief of U.S. commandos on the continent, told Voice of America.

“The number of commandos operating on the continent has barely budged since 2017.”

While the review was reportedly ordered this spring and troop reductions may be coming, there is no evidence yet of massive cuts, gradual reductions, or any downsizing whatsoever. In fact, the number of commandos operating on the continent has barely budged since 2017. Nearly 10 months after the debacle in Niger, the tally of special operators in Africa remains essentially unchanged.

According to figures provided to The Interceptby U.S. Special Operations Command, 16.5 percent of commandos overseas are deployed in Africa. This is about the same percentage of special operators sent to the continent in 2017 and represents a major increase over deployments during the first decade of the post-9/11 war on terror. In 2006, for example, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa -- fewer than in the Middle East, the Pacific, Europe, or Latin America. By 2010, the number had risen only slightly, to 3 percent.

Today, more U.S. commandos are deployed to Africa than to any other region of the world except the Middle East. Back in 2006, there were only 70 special operators deployed across Africa. Just four years ago, there were still just 700 elite troops on the continent. Given that an average of 8,300 commandos are deployed overseas in any given week, according to SOCOM spokesperson Ken McGraw, we can surmise that roughly 1,370 Green Berets, Navy SEALs, or other elite forces are currently operating in Africa.

“More U.S. commandos are deployed to Africa than to any other region of the world except the Middle East.”

The Pentagon won’t say how many commandos are still deployed in Niger, but the total number of troops operating there is roughly the same as in October 2017 when two Green Berets and two fellow soldiers were killed by Islamic State militants. There are 800 Defense Department personnel currently deployed to the West African nation, according to Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, a Pentagon spokesperson. “I can’t give a breakdown of SOF there, but it’s a fraction of the overall force,” she told The Intercept. There are now also 500 American military personnel – including Special Operations forces — in Somalia. At the beginning of last year, AFRICOM told Stars and Stripes, there were only 100.

“None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem, while speaking about current troop levels in Niger during a May Pentagon press briefing on the investigation into the deadly October ambush. Despite this official policy, despite the deaths in Niger, and despite the supposed curbs on special operations in Africa, U.S. commandos there keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat.

In December, for example, Green Berets fighting alongside local forces in Niger reportedly killed 11 ISIS militants in a firefight. And last month in Somalia, a member of the Special Operations forces, Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad, was killed and four other Americans were wounded in an attack by members of the Islamist militant group Shabaab. Conrad’s was the second death of a U.S. special operator in Somalia in 13 months. Last May, a Navy SEAL, Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, was killed, and two other American troops were wounded while carrying out a mission there with local forces.

“U.S. commandos in Africa keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat.”

Between 2015 and 2017, there were also at least 10 previously unreported attacks on American troops in West Africa, the New York Times revealed in March. Meanwhile, Politico recently reported that, for at least five years, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other commandos — operating under a little-understood budgetary authority known as Section 127e that funds classified programs — have been involved in reconnaissance and “direct action” combat raids with local forces in Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia, and Tunisia. Indeed, in a 2015 briefing obtained by The Intercept, Bolduc, then the special ops chief in Africa, noted that America’s commandos were not only conducting “surrogate” and “combined” “counter violent extremist operations,” but also “unilateral” missions.

While media reports have focused on the possibility of imminent reductions, the number of commandos deployed in Africa is nonetheless up 96 percent since 2014 and remains fundamentally unchanged since the deadly 2017 ambush in Niger. And as the June death of Conrad in Somalia indicates, commandos are still operating in hazardous areas. Indeed, at the May Pentagon briefing, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the chief of U.S. Africa Command, drew attention to special operators’ “high-risk missions” under “extreme conditions” in Africa. America’s commandos, he said, “are doing a fantastic job across the continent.”

Nick Turse is a contributing writer for The Intercept, reporting on national security and foreign policy. He is the author, most recently, of "Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan," as well as "Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa," and "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietna. Turse is a fellow at The Nation Institute and the managing editor of TomDispatch.com

This article previously appeared in The Intercept.  

 

Photo credit: U.S. Army

Movement News: Invoke the Leahy Amendment in Mexico!

Movement News: Invoke the Leahy Amendment in Mexico!

Los Comités de Defensa del Barrio

Human Rights Commission
PO Box 24009 Phoenix, AZ 85074

TONATIERRA


June 26, 2018

President Donald Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
It is with great humanitarian concern and in absolute denunciation of the complicity and collusion of the of the US government with the pogrom of violence and impunity in Mexico that we now call once again for the US State Department and Department of Defense to immediately withhold all military assistance to the government of the Republic of Mexico as a consequence of the systematic and ongoing violations human rights, collusion and impunity which is prohibited by the Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (Leahy Amendment) as follows:

(a) IN GENERAL. – No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.


Particulars: 

On November 20, 2014 the Human Rights Commission of the Comités de Defensa del Barrio delivered a petition to US Congressman Matt Salmon at his offices in Gilbert, Arizona requesting that Congressman Salmon provide the names and particulars of the 5 individuals trained by the US military involved in the Massacre of Tlatlaya, Mexico on June 30 where 22 youth were executed by the armed forces of the state of Mexico.  Congressman Salomon is Deputy Chief of the Western Hemisphere Sub Committee within the Foreign Relations Committee in the US Congress.  To date we have received no response.

On December 19, 2014 the Human Rights Commission of the Comités de Defensa del Barrio hand delivered a communiqué to the office of the US Attorney John S. Leonardo, District of Arizona in Phoenix, AZ calling for appropriate investigation to corroborate the now public information which details how the federal government of Mexico, from the offices of the President to the Attorney General have criminally conspired and colluded to target the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa under a regime of terror financed under the US Plan Merida and the so-called War on Drugs.

In our letter to US Attorney Leonardo, we specifically call for clarification of the issues of Human Rights violations being committed by of the State of Mexico with impunity and deliberate obstruction before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  We now restate this fundamental demand for respect of the Rule of Law and comprehensive transparent investigation of the events leading up to the attack on the Ayotzinapa students on September 26th, as well as subsequent actions by agents of the state and their networks of accomplices.

We have become informed that on November 18th, 2014 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights entered into agreement with the Government of Mexico and representatives of the 43 Disappeared Students of Ayotzinapa which will allow for an Interdisciplinary Group of technical experts to work collaboratively towards the locating of the disappeared students, punishment for the responsible parties, and assistance for their families. Our understanding is that the essential aim of the agreement is to resolve the underlying structural problems in Mexico regarding forced disappearances, which are not limited to students of Iguala.

For this reason we have submitted a formal Petition for Review before the Interdisciplinary Group that the issue of Complicity and Collusion by the US government's policies, training and funding of the operatives of the narco-state in Mexico be brought to light comprehensively, and the cause of justice be served.

We call upon the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to take immediate and appropriate steps to confront the COMPLICITY and COLLUSION of the US government in the ongoing Crimes against Humanity by the State of Mexico in violation of fundamental Human Rights established under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the United States is a signatory.

We call for the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to review, evaluate and denounce the blatant collusion among the US and Mexican government as here presented for being an egregious systemic violation of Human Rights that merits specific consideration at the next appropriate session of the CERD in periodic review of the policies and practices of the US and Mexican governments.

We demand an end to the impunity afforded to the state of Mexico by US State Department policies and an embargo of the armaments originating from US for the bloodbath that has resulted in over 26,000 disappeared and 100,000 deaths across Mexico under the guise of the US funded War on Drugs.

Attentively,
Tupac Enrique Acosta
Los Comités de Defensa del Barrio
Human Rights Commission, Secretariat
TONATIERRA

CC.  Claudia Franco Hijuelos, Consul General Phoenix
Arizona Congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema
Arizona Congressman Raulm Grijalva
Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff FlakeElizabeth A. Strange, Acting U. S. Attorney - District of Arizona

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerman
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

 

Link to original statement: http://cdb-tonatierra.blogspot.com/2018/06/ayotzinapa-2018-invoke-leahy-amendment.html