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This link is from an article by William Robinson, who was a prominent Nicaragua anti-intervention activist in the 80ies. The article is a several page analysis.
Whatever you think of Robinson’s overall analysis, the part that is significant for immigrant rights folks is this:
“One new structural dimension of 21st century global capitalism is the dramatic expansion of the global superfluous population – that portion marginalized and locked out of productive participation in the capitalist economy and constituting some 1/3rd of humanity. The need to assure the social control of this mass of humanity living in a planet of slums gives a powerful impetus to neo-fascist projects and facilitates the transition from social welfare to social control – otherwise known as “police states”. This system becomes ever more violent.“
This provides one possible explanation for the drive to militarize our borders, and militarize our police forces across the US. I’ve had numerous conversations where we have pondered this question: is border militarization just simple corruption, giving the military industrial private prison complex more of our tax dollars? Or is there some more significant policy being implemented?
Think about a world in which the dominant economic order is unable to productively employ a third of the population! This implies that the .01% who control that order have a serious problem on their hands. One solution might be to put those excluded to productive work fixing any of a number of serious social problems, kind of a global New Deal. But imprisoning, building walls, and repressing seems to be more to their taste (and much more profitable).
Anyway, when I read that paragraph, something clicked in my brain: it is really the first rational explanation for the border militarization policy that I have come across.
A description… Chomsky starts off asking the same question I did in the prior post: WHY is the US elite pursuing these policies?
He actually doesn’t answer the question, but provides an appalling amount of detail on Obama’s attacks on civil liberties, and ties it back to the Magna Carta from the 13th century.
from Mondoweiss by Jennifer Loewenstein
Sixty-seven years after the end of World War II, a team of researchers and cameramen from the Anne Frank House in Holland showed up at the Capitol Lakes retirement center in Madison, Wisconsin to interview my father-in-law, Fritz Loewenstein. Fritz is the only known person still living who had been boyhood friends with Anne Frank’s “secret annex” companion, Peter van Pels (known in the Diary as Peter van Damm).
The oral historical account Fritz gave lasted over two hours, the interviewers – including Teresien da Silva, head of collections at the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands – asked probing and thorough questions about every aspect of his life before his family fled Germany, especially insofar as it intersected with Peter van Pels’. For Fritz this meant recalling many unwanted ghosts of his own past and what it was like for him as a Jewish schoolboy growing up under the darkening cloud of Nazism in 1930s Germany. There is no question that Anne Frank’s life and death, and all who played a part in it, still capture the imagination of millions long after her senseless and systematic killing. Fritz’s account of his childhood friendship with Peter will be featured prominently in new documentary footage on Anne Frank that will become available at the Anne Frank House later this year. Over a million people visit the Anne Frank House annually to see for themselves the place where Anne lived with her family and the van Pelses in hiding for more than three years.
Fritz Loewenstein’s father was a doctor in Osnabrueck in the 1920s and 1930s. Germany had been their family’s home for generations and they had lived successfully there for decades, cultured and upstanding German patriots. The Loewensteins hoped very much to weather the worst of the National Socialist rule, but as time passed it grew clearer to Fritz’s father and mother that they would have to get their family out. Fritz recalls his own, personal anti-Hitler campaign: washing the swastikas off the door of his father’s clinic each morning. That was in the spring of 1937 as it grew increasingly difficult for Jews to leave Germany. The Loewenstein family, at least that part of it, was fortunate: they were able to get out with some of their belongings and immigrate to the United States, the first choice of many Jews fleeing the horrors of the Nazi regime. They ended up in Binghamton, New York, where my husband, David Loewenstein, grew up.
Throughout the interview with the crew from the Anne Frank House, David marveled at what an iconic figure Anne Frank has become. People of all ages the world over still read Anne’s remarkable Diary and visit the place where Anne hid from the Nazis with her family after the Germans invaded and occupied Holland. I remember reading Anne Frank’s Diary when I was twelve, utterly absorbed in the world of this creative and eloquent child despite the fact that she and her family were caught and deported to concentration camps where everyone but Anne’s father, Otto, ultimately perished. She nevertheless remains a beacon of hope and perseverance to victims everywhere who have suffered persecution. Although some have tried to claim that Anne’s life and death were uniquely Jewish experiences, fully comprehensible only to other Jews,I believe that the source of Anne’s appeal is universal. In both her life and death, Anne Frank embodies the human will and desire to live and resist some of the worst odds imaginable. We recognize in Anne a child wrestling with the circumstances of a nightmarish human condition.
On August 28th, 2012 in Israel, Judge Oded Gershon issued the verdict in the civil trial of Rachel Corrie. Unsurprisingly, however, the Israeli State and Military Machine exonerated itself from all responsibility for Rachel’s killing. I expected this. In the nine years since she was crushed to death by a D-9 armored Caterpillar bulldozer that was out doing routine – illegal and unconscionable – work destroying the landscape and the lives of tens of thousands of people from Rafah, Gaza, Rachel Corrie is still virtually unknown to the vast majority of the educated US public. Unlike Anne Frank, whose life has been immortalized by the circumstances of her death, Rachel’s name, life, and death have been virtually blacked out of US official history like the news out of Palestine generally. Both remain unknown, obscured, or distorted by deliberate disinformation.
The cause Rachel died defending, and the people she stood up for – people whose voices have yet to receive equal validation as credible and legitimate voices bearing witness to their own suffering and ruin – are still waiting to receive the long overdue recognition they deserve as the indigenous inhabitants of historic Palestine against whom a crime of unimaginable brutality and magnitude was committed. Until Israel acknowledges, offers reparation, and honors International Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; until the Israeli State can publicly apologize for the enormous historic injustice committed against the indigenous people of Palestine – the wound it has created will continue to fester and spread, as it already has, across the Middle East and into the four corners of the world casting modern day Israel into the role of a Pariah State. Its status as such has been increasingly recognized, even by western powers, that understand Israel can continue to act with impunity only as long as it remains under the protective umbrella of US military power.
Rachel Corrie was a resilient, articulate, and defiant 23-year-old college student who went to Gaza with other members of the International Solidarity Movement to bear witness to Israel’s ruthless and deliberate destruction of a coherent Palestinian national life, history, and culture. Because Rachel stood up for the voiceless victims on the wrong side of US-Israeli Middle East policy, her name and legacy have been blacked out of official historical records like classified information. She exists in whispers only; a shadow in the halls of power and in the mainstream media where the official version of modern political-historical events is authorized and spun; where US support and complicity in Israel’s regional hegemonic goals help sustain the necessary illusion of Israel’s overall benevolence.
If official America has so far successfully committed to the dustbin of US foreign affairs the life and death of a courageous white heroine who nevertheless chose to fight for justice on the ‘wrong’ side of American policy; what does this tell us about the overall status and credibility of Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims trying to get their voices heard and their cases re-opened? How many Palestinian Rachels have left diaries that will never be read? What school will require its students to read the hundreds of personal accounts and records of the abuses their people have suffered at the hands of colonial and imperial powers and their supplicants over the last century?
The Anne Frank’s and Rachel Corrie’s trapped in today’s US military arenas must be censored out of our consciousness. Their words threaten to expose the abominable policies of the United States and its allies. How many people, young and old, will die in drone attacks against civilians, never having had the chance to ask why they have been condemned to such a hell?
The occupation, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, fragmentation, and wholesale colonization of Palestine have been essentially reclassified in language used to render legitimate the tactics and goals of modern Israel. Its overtly racist framework and raison d’etre, and the methodologies used to perpetuate policies that will maintain the Jewish majority of the state, have been carefully redefined in the US’ and Israeli narratives as the necessary social and political preconditions all Palestinians must accept before “peace” talks can begin again. In plain English, only a total capitulation of sovereignty over the land, including sacred religious sites, and the renunciation of Palestinian nationhood would satisfy Israel’s leadership, which has the audacity to insist that the Palestinian leadership “come to the negotiating table without preconditions” — Netanyahu’s offer of a non-viable “statelet” notwithstanding.
Rachel saw for herself how the destruction of Palestine was being engineered and implemented in the Gaza Strip. With clear eyes, keen perception, and a conscience too rare in today’s world, Rachel Corrie would describe in her diary and in letters to her mother the unspeakable misery Israel’s routine procedures had from the most trivial to the most significant aspects of Gazan life: everyone and everything was affected by the checkpoints, settlements and settler roads, the curfews and closures.
No one – then or today – can live a life free of the soldiers with their guns, their guard towers, walls, and fences; of the barbed wire, motion sensors, and the futuristic “crossings” that suck the humanity out of the beings that enter them, commanding them with remote controlled voices; turning them into lifeless spare parts on a new age assembly line. No one can avoid the Orwellian surveillance technologies that infiltrate the lives of the inhabitants of Gaza, or that float like the ethereal white blimp above the Gaza Strip gathering “intelligence” on every aspect of the on-going lives below; no one can predict when the tanks and armored personnel carriers or the helicopter gunships and F-16s will invade or appear instantaneously, as if out of nowhere, to incinerate people identified as “suspects” in a matter of seconds. No one can avoid the sadistic and gratuitous actions that result from carefully-crafted strategies intended to humiliate, dehumanize, inflict pain, fear, and permanent psychological damage on children and adults alike. The water and food shortages; the daily electricity blackouts; the open sewage and dangerously inadequate infrastructure; the shortages of food, medicines, and the materials to rebuild the world that is literally crumbling into dust and debris all around them define the average day for Gaza’s unpeople.
Rachel Corrie’s death occurred during a time of great violence; during the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising), and – in the United States – just days before the Bush II administration began its war on Iraq. The timing and pretexts used to justify more land theft and natural resource appropriation could not have been better. America’s “War on Terror” was about to peak with the beginning of the “Shock and Awe” campaign over Baghdad. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had skillfully linked his administration’s policies to the psychopathic US obsession with “terror” and “terrorists” initially concocted by conservative and neo-conservative politicians and corporations devising ways to expand and consolidate US hegemony over a region saturated with oil and natural gas resources.
The violent context of the Second Intifada exacerbated the most racist and sanctimonious assertions by those who claimed Israel was defending itself against terrorist-infidels and that Sharon’s crusade was a necessary and vital component of the United States’ battle against Evil. Little, if any, effort was put into US reporting from the Palestinian side because it was understood – part of the accepted canon – that Israel was fighting for its survival. To portray the Palestinian cause as a just and necessary struggle for freedom, independence, and self-determination was as unheard of when Rachel lived in Gaza as it is today, inviting the most vicious attacks and outrageous accusations.
Like many who bear witness to criminal regimes that oppress, dispossess, and kill people under their rule, Rachel Corrie was deeply troubled by what she had been witnessing in Gaza – in a landscape that defied description. On the day she was crushed to death, Rachel stood between a bulldozer and a family home to protest one of the infinite number of indignities and crimes hurled like grenades at a population of overwhelmingly poor and defenseless refugees trying each day to find new ways of surviving without going mad. According to the Israeli courts, Rachel’s death was a “regrettable accident;” Rachel had put herself into a dangerous situation in the middle of a war zone. She was to blame. The victim was responsible for her own murder; the stateless, poor, and dispossessed were to blame for their status as refugees; for their relentlessly miserable treatment; their imprisonment, dehumanization, and occupation.
Rachel left a diary, letters and a legacy of courage and steadfastness that mirrored the courageousness and determination of the people around her. She refused to move when the bulldozer came closer and, after a certain point, she was trapped and unable to escape. Her death, like her life, reflected the outrage of a young woman who knew she was too weak to prevent the demolition of homes and the creation of a “closed military zone” in an area earmarked for destruction long before she’d ever arrived in Rafah.
In another age, Rachel’s diary, Let Me Stand Alone, would be the iconic classic of a young woman living a great adventure; determined to survive and fight for what she believed was right. In another time Rachel’s story would be read by school children around the world and millions of people would visit the place where she stood alone facing an armored bulldozer to say with her body, “this has to stop!” In our day she is an unknown martyr in the annals of official history. Her courage has been decried and condemned; her name sullied and vilified. But I believe that Anne Frank would have admired Rachel Corrie. She would have recognized the universal call for justice in the face of war and terror, the dangers inherent in the dehumanization of an entire people and the brutal occupation of their land. She would have verified the violence that a silent and indifferent world bestows upon the victims of nations bloated with power and a righteous sense of their God-given destiny, nations determined to avenge their past, and licensed to kill. Equally, I believe she would have been mortified by the way her own Diary and the death she was subjected to were used as moral justifications for the actions of a state defined by blood and soil, and by the way her own popularity was buoyed by an ideology she would most probably have found repugnant and contrary to the lessons she herself had learned and the horror she experienced. I believe Anne Frank would have agreed with Rachel’s mother, Cindy, who – when asked if she thought Rachel should have moved away from the bulldozer –replied, “I don’t think that Rachel should have moved. I think we should all have been standing there with her.”
Jennifer Loewenstein is a faculty associate in Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has lived and worked extensively in Lebanon, Israel, and occupied Palestine and has traveled throughout the Middle East. She is a human rights activist and a freelance journalist and can be reached at: email@example.com
Nearly 55,000 people have been killed since 2006 in Mexico’s ‘Narcoinsurgency.’ Drug and arms trafficking—going north and south across the international divide—are now the primary concern of U.S. military and homeland security forces and the Mexican Army. But that’s not all. Millions of undocumented migrants came to the United States from Mexico in the wake of the destruction of the Mexican agricultural sector starting in the 1980s with the implementation of NAFTA-like neoliberal policies.
In Israel, military forces and industries have been largely shaped by decades of conquest and pacification campaigns against Palestinians. Israel began restricting Palestinian labor inside Israel with closure policies and the widespread erection of checkpoints in 1991. Closely linked political, economic, and ecological crises in eastern Africa have createdan influx of migrants and refugees, especially from Sudan and Eritrea.
What do these things have to do with each other?
Quite a bit actually, most significantly in the intertwining of Israeli and U.S. enforcement mechanisms. This is not to make an analogy between the Mexico-U.S border and Israeli pacification of Palestinian resistance. These are, at most, only loosely analogous. Hamas is not the Sinaloa Cartel and the Bil’in Popular Resistance Committee is not Los Zetas. They all, however, play a big role in what Todd Miller recently described as “the big business of border control,” a white supremacist political-military arena and multi-billion dollar market.
Haifa-based Elbit Systems is a prime example of where these systems intersect. Elbit is one of two main providers of the electronic detection systems along Israel’s wall of separation throughout the West Bank. It won a contractfor similar equipment along the Mexico-U.S. border, a partially completed project cancelled in January, 2011. Elbit’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are extensively used by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including during Operation Cast Lead. The same Hermes 450 UAV model deployed against Palestinians was the first UAV to patrol the Mexico-U.S. border in 2004.
Elbit won a $22.5 million contract in 2008 with Mexico’s Air Force that included the Hermes 450 for similar arms and narcotics interdiction and surveillance missions on the southern side of the Mexico-U.S. border. Mexico’s Federal Police in 2009 contracted another Israeli firm, Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS), for their Orbiter UAV and Skystar 300 aerostat for $22.5 million. ADS too, developed its technology through Israeli military experience. Some of the police and military units tasked with combating drug cartels, including some who later joined cartels themselves, were trained by Israelis who shared their anti-Palestinian counterinsurgency experience.
Magna BSP is another Israeli firm working for U.S. border control contracts. It provides surveillance systems on the Israeli wall surrounding the Gaza Strip as well as on the new barrier being built along the Egypt-Israel border. It is partneringwith U.S. firms like AXCESS Technology to enter the lucrative U.S. ‘border security’ market. Another firm, NICE Systems (founded by “former IDF personnel putting their intelligence knowhow to civilian use and converting military technologies into communications infrastructures”), provides CCTV for notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Jail system in Arizona.
Israeli control of occupied Palestinian territory learns from the Mexico-U.S. border as well. Egyptian military engineers—tasked with enforcing the southern end of the siege on the Gaza Strip—traveled to the United States to study tunnel detection, and U.S. personnel joined them and provided equipment to assist their efforts. Israel too studies tunnel detection in the United States and has bought sophisticated detection equipment for the same use.
Most major firms now operate internationally, many globally, and the U.S. is a global empire. It is thus neither surprising nor particularly interesting that the U.S. military, Elbit, ADS and Magna BSP distribute their practices and technologies to the Israeli, Mexican and U.S. governments. Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Microsoft and others do the same. What is both interesting and deeply troubling is what exactly is being exported.
Elbit’s Hermes 450 is not simply a piece of technology, it is the product of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship itself and is marketed as such with a bright yellow “BATTLE PROVEN” stamp on its promotional brochure. Israeli military technology is primarily developed for field use against Palestinians (and regional complications mostly though not exclusively stemming from Palestinian removal) and is tested and adjusted there. The battle in which it was ‘proven’, is the Israeli conquest of Palestine and the protection of that conquest (for example, the East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements), a battle costing thousands of Palestinian lives and most Palestinian land.
Israeli and U.S. border surveillance technologies and practices exchanged between each other (and Egypt) each reflect the white supremacist polities that seek to exclude others. U.S. border ‘security’ policies stem from the same systemic dialogue that includes border vigilantes and attacks on migrants (or people who fit the profile). Israel’s border policies with Egypt too seek to preserve an ethnocentric apartheid regime, untainted by others who, unlike the migrant laborers, enter Israel on their terms and not Israel’s. Magna BSP’s border technologies are produced by the same systemic dialogue that produces anti-African pogroms and concentration camps (which were preceded by similar actions against Palestinians). It is these relationships—Israeli apartheid and military occupation and U.S. white supremacy and securitism—that are being exported.
Resisting and dissenting against these policies and exchanges must be done at the sites of oppression but solidarity can explore a much larger political geography. Just as Israel’s technologies developed for use against Palestinians are exported for U.S. use against migrants or Mexico’s subsidizing of U.S. prohibition policies, organizers for social justice can build solidarity between liberation movements.
Most, but certainly not all, activists and analysts pretend that the systems—’Israel’, ‘Palestine’, ‘immigration policy’—they contest and explore are somewhat discrete, sometimes under the banner of focusing on or not diluting a cause or issue. We build borders between ‘issues’ and guard them, zealously protecting our turf. But the Israeli-Palestinian and U.S.-Mexican oppressive relationships are in constant conversation. Why aren’t there those of us who contest these systems?
Jimmy Johnson is one of over 200,000 unemployed Detroiters. He can be reached at Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org.
from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss
Two weeks back we reported on 23 billboards being put up in the Los Angeles area calling for an end to aid to Israel. The ads have been torn down by the billboard operator, CBS Outdoor, which is part of CBS, the media giant. The Stop $30 Billion organization sent out this email:
On June 11 the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel had 23 billboards erected in Los Angeles and surrounding cities with the message “Tell Congress: Spend our Money at Home, Not on the Israeli Military” over an American flag background. The billboards were contracted to run for four weeks, and we were preparing to put more up in other spots around the city. We were thrilled. L.A. had never seen a campaign of this size devoted to this issue. That win fell apart just one week later when the billboard company–CBS Outdoor, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation– took all our billboards down.
They sent a curt email telling us they were canceling our contract and refunding our money because “your organization has used the ‘CBS Outdoor’ name without permission” in email messages and in our petition thanking CBS for putting up the billboards in the first place. Needless to say, this was a punch in the stomach.
If you support us trying to get our message of ending military aid to Israel back up on billboards in the nation’s second largest city, won’t you help flood CBS with phone calls demanding that our billboards be put back up and our contract be honored to the full term?
If there are people and organizations that disagree with our message, they have every right to buy their own billboards with a message they compose. We stand ready to debate American carteblanche support for Israel in the free marketplace of ideas. But that debate can only take place if companies like CBS Outdoor don’t cave when pressured by people who claim any criticism of U.S. policy favoring Israel is anti-Semitic.
Call CBS Corporation, the New York-based parent company of CBS Outdoor, at (212) 975- 4321 right now. Then tell us you made the call and what if any response you got from CBS. Email us at email@example.com.
Then be sure to share this Call to Action with your friends, family and colleagues via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for working for justice!
Jeff, Armen and Sue
White House Strategy for Africa Revealed: Intensified Militarization and War on Terror
Wed, 06/20/2012 – 13:14 — Glen Ford
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The White House has put in writing its policies for sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is, there’s hardly a word of truth in the document, and not a single mention of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command on the continent. The presidential paper repeats Obama’s 2009 lecture to Africans on “good governance.” He also warned that they avoid the “excuses” of blaming “neocolonialism” and “racism” for their problems. Meanwhile, AFRICOM is “positioning the U.S. to launch coups at will against African civilian, or even military, leaders that fall out of favor with Washington.”
White House Strategy for Africa Revealed: Intensified Militarization and War on Terror
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The Obama regime has turned the continent into a battleground, where AFRICOM is the principle interlocutor with the region’s governments and peoples.”
President Obama, that imperialist son-of-a…um, Kenyan, last week unveiled what he described as a “new” U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The White House report does not once mention AFRICOM, the U.S. military command that has pushed aside the State Department as the primary institution of U.S. policy and power in sub-Saharan Africa. The report comes three years after Obama’s trip to Ghana, when he declared that Africa’s biggest problems were “corruption and poor governance,” rather than five centuries (and still counting) of Euro-American predation. African complaints about “neo-colonialism, or [that] the West has been oppressive, or racism” are mere “excuses,” said Obama, in a performance that scholar Ama Biney described as “imperialist lecturing” and “Obama-speak.”
Having effectively abandoned even the pretense of competing with China, India, Brazil and other rising economic powers in Africa, the Obama regime has turned the continent into a battleground, where AFRICOM is the principle interlocutor with the region’s governments and peoples. In addition to conducting year-round military maneuvers with nearly every nation on the continent, AFRICOM handles much of U.S. food distribution and medical aid to the region, while the CIA monitors Africa’s vast expanses with a network of secret airstrips and surveillance aircraft.
The White House report, a document of pure obfuscation, puts U.S. efforts to “strengthen democratic institutions” at the top of the list. It rehashes Obama’s Ghana declaration, that “Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions.” Yet, Washington’s closest allies in sub-Saharan Africa are Paul Kagame, the minority Tutsi warlord in Rwanda; Yoweri Museveni, who rose to power with a guerilla army of child-soldiers and locked up two million Acholi people in concentration camps; and Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi, a military dictator who heads an ethnic-based regime. Rwanda and Uganda are the principal culprits in the deaths of six million Congolese since 1996, the worst genocide since World War Two, while Zenawi’s 2006 invasion of Somalia, instigated by the United States, led to “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa – worse than Darfur,” according to United Nations observers.
“Washington’s closest allies in sub-Saharan Africa are Paul Kagame, the minority Tutsi warlord in Rwanda; Yoweri Museveni, who rose to power with a guerilla army of child-soldiers; and Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi, a military dictator who heads an ethnic-based regime.”
The text of the president’s statement on the “new” sub-Saharan strategy warns that “the United States will not stand idly by when actors threaten legitimately elected governments or manipulate the fairness and integrity of democratic processes, and we will stand in steady partnership with those who are committed to the principles of equality, justice, and the rule of law.” In the context of Obama’s humanitarian military intervention doctrine – and especially since AFRICOM led NATO’s regime change in Libya – this is war talk.
In another sense, however, it is, quite simply, pure crap. Rwanda has for 16 years destabilized and spread genocidal chaos in neighboring Congo, in blatant violation of a U.S. law specifically tailored to curtail and punish those activities.The Democratic Republic of The Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, written by then-Sen. Barack Obama and co-sponsored by his colleague Hillary Clinton, now Secretary of State, authorizes the Secretary of State to withhold U.S. aid “if the Secretary determines that the government of the foreign country is taking actions to destabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” The Obama administration, like its predecessors, not only disregards its own policy statements – it ignores laws passed by the president and the chief foreign policy officer.
The White House claims the U.S. has made Africa a safer and more just place “by strengthening institutions and challenging leaders whose actions threaten peaceful political transitions, including in Cote d’Ivoire” – where the U.S. and French accomplished armed regime change.
Obama brags that: “We have been the world’s leader in responding to humanitarian crises, including in the Horn of Africa, while at the same time working with our African partners to promote resilience and prevent future crises.” In reality, George Bush and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi ended Somalia’s brief period of peace under an Islamic Courts regime, plunged the country into “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa,” and then, under Obama, withheld food from Somalia in order to weaken the Shabaab resistance, all of which set the stage for an even worse famine in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands.
Such realities give the lie to Obama’s promise to “work to prevent the weakening or collapse of local economies, protect livestock, promote sustainable access to clean water, and invest in programs that reduce community-level vulnerability to man-made and natural disasters.” AFRICOM and U.S. policy are the disasters afflicting the continent; they are part of the disease, not the cure.
“Obama withheld food from Somalia in order to weaken the Shabaab resistance, which set the stage for an even worse famine in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands.”
During the winter following his Africa visit in 2009, Obama took the lead in destroying all prospects for slowing global warming, at the Copenhagen climate talks. But he still wants to peddle American “green” products (and natural gas fracking) to a scorched Africa. “We will continue promoting resilience and adaptation to impacts of climate change on food, water, and health in vulnerable African countries, supporting the adoption of low-emissions development strategies, and mobilizing financing to support the development and deployment of clean energy,” said the White House report.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu had his own interpretation of U.S. climate policy. Africa, he said, “is to be condemned “to incineration and no modern development.”
Obama assures Africa that: “The United States will seek to expand adherence to the principle of civilian control of the military.” In practice, AFRICOM has cultivated a “soldier-to-soldier” policy between U.S. troops and African militaries that extends from “general-to-general” to “colonel-to-colonel” and down the ranks, positioning the U.S. to launch coups at will against African civilian, or even military, leaders that fall out of favor with Washington. As Dan Glazebrookrecently wrote in The Guardian, America’s “great hope is that the African Union’s forces can be subordinated to a chain of command headed by AFRICOM.”
As with George Bush, the death of millions and the erasure of nations can all be justified by the invocation of one word: al-Qa’ida.
“In our approach to counterterrorism,” said the White House, “we will continue to be guided by the President’s affirmation in the National Security Strategy that he bears no greater responsibility than ensuring the safety and security of the American people.
“Consistent with the National Strategy for Counterterrorism, we will concentrate our efforts
on disrupting, dismantling, and eventually defeating al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents in Africa to ensure the security of our citizens and our partners. In doing so, we will seek to
strengthen the capacity of civilian bodies to provide security for their citizens and counter violent extremism through more effective governance, development, and law enforcement efforts.”
And there you have it. Ultimately, “good governance” and the rest of Obama’s wish-list for Africa is whatever suits U.S. war on terror priorities – and keeps out the Chinese. Which only confirms that Barack Obama is, indeed, an imperialist son-of-a…um, Kenyan.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
from (title unknown) by todd.miller
This collection of photographs, taken on the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Texas, depicts the story of an often silent and often deadly war. The photo essay is in memory of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez who lost his life to this war in the Arizona desert in early May, trying to reunite with his family in California after his deportation in March.
From December to April I was on the U.S. southern border travelling between Arizona and Texas. This is a collection of photographs I took during those months.