Archive for the Africa Category

Human Rights Watch report documents attack on democratic rights in US and Europe [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Africa, Anti-Islam hysteria, Egypt, EU, European Union, Fascism, France, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Islamophobia, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Roma people, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, US imperialism, USA, Yemen on February 4, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Tom Hall
1 February 2016

Last week, US-based watchdog group Human Rights Watch warned of mounting attacks on democratic rights throughout Europe and North America, which governments have justified as a response to the migrant crisis.

The group’s annual report warned that the arrival of refugees fleeing war and repression in the Middle East is “driving many Western governments to roll back human rights protections,” adding, “these backward steps threaten the rights of all” sections of the population, not just refugees.

In the report’s lead essay, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth notes, “In Europe and the United States, a polarizing us-versus-them rhetoric has moved from the political fringe to the mainstream. Blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees have become the currency of an increasingly assertive politics of intolerance.”

“Public discourse,” Roth continues, “has been filled with voices of hatred and fear of Muslims, for whom the refugees [arriving in Europe] are surrogates.” This climate contributes to “the persistent discrimination, hopelessness, and despair that pervade neighborhoods on the outskirts of some European cities.”

2015 saw a dramatic rollback of democratic rights throughout Europe and America. In France, the Hollande government pushed through sweeping expansions of government surveillance and curtailing freedom of speech, seizing upon the attacks in Paris this November and the Charlie Hebdo attacks at the beginning of the year. In the United States, the military was deployed to Baltimore to crack down on peaceful protests against police brutality at the beginning of the year, while mass government spying continued unimpeded.

The report contains comprehensive summaries for more than 90 countries for the year of 2015. By far the largest single section, with 24 pages, is on the European Union, more than Saudi Arabia, whose absolute monarchy beheaded record numbers of people last year, including many political prisoners, and countries currently embroiled in civil wars such as Syria and Libya. The United States came in second place, with 17 pages…

…Previous agreements by European governments to resettle asylum seekers throughout the continent remain a dead letter as countries throughout Europe close off their borders to refugees. Only 159 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy and Greece in spite of an agreement last year to resettle 160,000 asylum seekers from these countries.

Attacks on Muslims rose sharply last year, as far-right and neo-Nazi groups are emboldened by the discriminatory policies of European governments. Such attacks have grown by 46.7 percent in London in the first half of 2015. However, racist attacks are by no means limited solely to Muslims; reports of anti-Semitic attacks are also on the rise, and discriminatory evictions of Roma by governments throughout the EU continue. Widespread discrimination also exists in the Baltic countries against native Russian speakers.

As Roth notes, Europe is joined in its persecution of refugees by the United States. Last year 30 US governors tried to prevent Syrian refugees from entering their states, while current Republican front-runner Donald Trump floated the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country altogether. The United States, the report declares, also “continued the dramatic expansion of detention of migrant mothers and their children from Central America,” many fleeing violence in their home countries, over the course of last year. While not mentioned in the report, the Obama administration rang in the new year last month with a new round of targeted deportations of Central American children.

The report also notes with concern the continued drive to expand state repression and surveillance in the United States and Europe, justified in the main by the supposed threat of terrorism…

…In the United States, spy agency leaders seized upon the Paris attacks last year to renew their calls for a “back door” to online encryption, despite the fact that the Paris attackers did not encrypt their communications. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Bay’s detention center remains open despite years of empty promises by Obama to close it. And last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama, “tightened existing restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo,” making the release or transfer of detainees even more difficult.

Many of the worst human rights violations elsewhere in the report were committed by allies of the United States or the European imperialist powers. In discussing the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, for example, in which civilian infrastructure has been deliberately targeted, the report argues that by virtue of providing “intelligence, logistical support and personnel” to the Saudis the United States would be “potentially jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces.” The report also cites continuing US aid to Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as well as the Obama administration’s waiving of provisions of the Child Soldier Prevention Act to continue supporting the militaries of several African countries.

World imperialism has justified countless criminal wars over the past quarter century under the fraudulent pretext of “humanitarian interventionism.” Now, a leading human rights group is compelled to admit that these same powers are responsible for major human rights violations within their own borders. This not only exposes imperialism’s professed concern for “human rights” as a fraud, it is also an indication of the growth of police-state forms of rule within these countries…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/01/hrw-f01.html

Why U.S. rulers fear new Asian investment bank “AIIB” [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Bill Clinton, Bolivia, China, China-US relations, Economy, Ecuador, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Neo-colonialism, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela, Wall Street, World War II on March 28, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold March 24, 2015

Britain, France, Italy and Germany have agreed to join China in establishing an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has already announced it will put up $50 billion in initial capital.

It is too early to say what role this bank will play in helping underdeveloped countries modernize their infrastructure. Negotiations among the principals on the bank’s structure and policies are expected to take place for at least a year. What will emerge cannot be predicted at this time.

But one thing is very clear: Wall Street and Washington are fuming over the fact that the European imperialist countries are joining in, despite strong U.S. pressure to stay out.

Criticism of the new development bank by the U.S. has begun, with government officials telling the media they fear it will undermine the “good work” done by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which, they say, have aided developing countries while imposing regulations to protect the environment and help the poor.

You’re choking on this outrageous lie right now? So are we.

Tons of both popular and scholarly analyses of these institutions, and especially of the “structural adjustment programs” they have forced down the throats of poor countries, show that the kind of “development” they foster has usually done just the opposite: stripped countries of needed government services, increased their indebtedness and hurt the environment, all to benefit the financial institutions of the imperialists.

Take the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example, which have been going through the most horrific public health emergency caused by the spread of the Ebola virus. These countries are so poor that, even after Liberia declared an end to new cases, a televised news report on the return of a score of students to classes pointed out that their grammar school, which when full serves 1,000 students, has no electricity and no running water.

On Dec. 22, The Lancet, a preeminent British medical journal, published a commentary called “The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola outbreak.” It reads: “A major reason why the outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of health systems in the region. … Since 1990, the IMF has provided support to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for 21, 7 and 19 years, respectively, and at the time that Ebola emerged, all three countries were under IMF programs. However, IMF lending comes with strings attached — so-called ‘conditionalities’ — that require recipient governments to adopt policies that have been criticized for prioritizing short-term economic objectives over investment in health and education.”

The authors add that “economic reform programs by the IMF have required reductions in government spending, prioritization of debt service, and bolstering of foreign exchange reserves.” In other words, recipient countries — which should be receiving reparations for all the wealth extracted from them by colonial rule — have instead been forced to cut back on health care, education and other services in order to pay interest on loans.

* Bretton Woods, the IMF and World Bank *

Why does the U.S. ruling class feel particularly threatened by this new China-headed development bank? Because U.S. banks have dominated the financial architecture of the capitalist world for decades. The U.S. emerged from World War II as the undisputed global industrial and financial powerhouse, while Europe and Japan were in ruins and all regions involved in the world war were suffering.

The intention of the U.S. imperialist ruling class to translate its military and industrial muscle into financial domination over the rest of the world was made clear even before the war ended, with the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. This conclave in New Hampshire of the soon-to-be-victorious Allied powers was dominated by Washington and London. It established the “tradition” that the president of the World Bank would always come from the U.S.

One can read many critiques of these institutions. One was an interview by Greg Palast with Joseph Stieglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank, member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet and chair of his Council of Economic Advisers who turned against his former bosses.

Stieglitz told Palast that when nations are “down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up.” He referred to these social explosions as “IMF riots,” pointing to what happened when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies in Indonesia in 1998, when it made Bolivia increase water prices in 2000, and when the World Bank imposed a rise in cooking gas prices on Ecuador in February 2001. (“IMF’s Four Steps to Damnation,” The Observer, April 29, 2001)

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the people have tried to get rid of governments that served as tools of these imperialist-dominated financial institutions and have looked for other ways to climb out of poverty. In Latin America, the result has been ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) — an alliance of countries, led by Venezuela, that is trying to break free of the stranglehold over their economies imposed by U.S. imperialism for nearly two centuries.

The anti-colonial revolutions that began in Asia in the 1930s and spread throughout the so-called Third World in the 1950s and 1960s drove out the structures of direct colonial rule. Bretton Woods was the answer of the imperialists: Keep the masses of people enslaved to the banks.

Washington’s objections to the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have nothing to do with anything except the fear of U.S. capitalists that they could be losing their grip on what has been their main tool for world domination. As a backup, of course, they have the Pentagon, making the struggle against imperialist war ever more urgent.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/24/why-u-s-rulers-fear-new-asian-investment-bank/

Commentary: The West’s green eyes on China-Africa win-win cooperation [Xinhua]

Posted in Africa, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Media smear campaign on March 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xinhua Writer Zhu Junqing

BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — China-Africa cooperation has long been subjected to vile slanders from the West, even as its nature of mutual benefit has been repeatedly proved and widely acclaimed.

In the latest evidence of the win-win feature, the African Union and China signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to boost cooperation on Africa’s infrastructure, which has become a bottleneck hindering the development of the promising continent.

Yet the deal, which like numerous others is conducive to Africa’s sustainable development, did not stop the mud-slinging by biased Western media, which resorted to such terms as “neocolonialism” to smear China’s goodwill.

Such claims, sensational as they sound, are pure calumny and have no market both in Africa and across the world. And behind the slanders — at least some of them — are a pair of green eyes full of selfishness-born jealousy and frustration.

Deeply aware that poor infrastructure is its short slab, African countries have long decided to prioritize infrastructure development to speed up its modernization drive.

According to the World Bank, an extra 93 billion U.S. dollars is needed every year over the next decade to bridge the infrastructure deficit alone in Africa.

Yet the rich Western world has not been particularly helpful, partly because of its capital restrictions. As the Economist magazine has pointed out, new rules for insurance firms and pension funds in Europe penalize long-term illiquid investments, such as roads, ports and railways. But such projects are exactly what Africa desperately needs.

On the other hand, decades after the independence of African countries, the West still has not disabused itself of the anachronistic, parochial intention to keep Africa as its backyard.

Thus when China, a time-honored friend of Africa which used to be poor and backward but has now grown into a giant with deep pockets, rich experience and mature technologies, came out with a truly helping hand, many in the West had their eyes glow green.

Up to now, China has completed 1,046 projects in Africa, helping build 2,233 kilometers of railways and 3,530 kilometers of roads, among others. These projects have substantially improved the African people’s daily life and facilitated the African countries’ socioeconomic development…

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2015-01/31/c_133961174.htm

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Black propaganda, Canada, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Gaza, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nazism, Palestine, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sara Flounders

January 13, 2015

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)

In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.

In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.

According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.

U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/13/charlie-hebdo-free-press-racism/

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

World Federation of Trade Unions says Ebola virus deaths facilitated by imperialism [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Cuba, IMF - International Monetary Fund, U.K., US imperialism, World Health Organization on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Workers World staff on October 21, 2014

Following is an edited statement issued by the World Federation of Trade Unions’ Secretariat in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 15.

The Ebola epidemic that has struck mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of West Africa and threatens the entire world has killed thousands of people and caused panic to millions of others.

As high level officials of the World Health Organization confess, the epidemic has severely expanded over the last weeks and 70 percent of the people affected die because of the lack of proper health care facilities.

This epidemic brings in the forefront in the most tragic way the chronic and deep wounds in the African continent caused by colonialism, by the continuous plundering of the wealth-producing resources and by the high public debts that keep African states and their economies enslaved to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and monopoly cartels.

Crucial problems that in extraordinary conditions such as the one today can create an explosive atmosphere are: poverty, malnutrition, the lack of basic health care infrastructure and social welfare, the limited access to a system of public and free education capable of eradicating illiteracy and the effects of prejudices and superstitions, the slums that continue to exist being a disgrace for humanity and a danger to public health, the militarization and the state violence that are the answer of the panicked state mechanism.

The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its indignation at the current situation in the existing health care facilities in the above-mentioned countries which result in medical personnel offering their services while risking their own lives without any safety measures (gloves, masks). As a result, deaths amongst medical personnel have risen to extreme levels.

The World Federation of Trade Unions and its members worldwide have in the past, with two International Action Days, denounced the role of the multinational pharmaceutical companies which profit from the people’s suffering.

State budget cuts in the funding of public institutions in the field of research, pharmaceutical production and health care in the USA and the European Union are aggravating the problems while working in favor of the privatization of those fields, the expansion of the control of the monopolies over the industry and against the satisfaction of the people’s needs.

It is very clear in the case of Ebola as well that as long as research, production and health care are ruled by the laws of monopoly competition and the profit system, the people will be suffering from diseases that should have long been extinct or adequately controlled.

Furthermore, in complete contrast to the imperialist policy of the USA and Britain, which in the midst of the crisis have seized the opportunity to send new troops to Africa, the World Federation of Trade Unions feels the need to congratulate the heroic decision of the Cuban government and the Cuban people to show in the most humanitarian way their solidarity with the people of Africa by sending to Liberia and Guinea a large group of doctors and medical personnel in order to assist in the efforts for the relief of the Ebola patients. More than 50,000 Cuban doctors and medical personnel working in 66 countries around the world and specifically 4,000 in 32 African countries, are offering high level health services as a form of practical solidarity.

We congratulate our affiliate, the CTC Cuba [the Cuban Workers’ Central Union] and its members in the health sector who heroically prove their international solidarity.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 90 million workers in 126 countries, reaffirms its consistent position that preventive health care on a framework of a public, free and adequate health care system is the best solution in all health issues.

The WFTU struggles for:

The creation of contemporary, adequate and fully equipped institutions of health care in all countries that will be part of a broad, public, free and centrally designed health care system to offer to all the population proper health care services at all stages of their lives. The sufficient number of medical personnel, the satisfaction of the labour rights and the proper conditions of hygiene and safety are important factors.

The formation of public institutions of research, production and distribution of free or cheap pharmaceutical supplies, medicine and vaccination to all the people.

The eradication of illiteracy by securing access for all people to a public and free education.

For state policy that will solve the housing problems in many countries.

The elimination of poverty and hunger. The African continent is rich in natural resources and agricultural capabilities. If those are put in the control and the service of the people, it would help greatly in the rapid improvement of the living standards of the ordinary people and to the drastic elimination of diseases and poverty.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10/21/world-federation-trade-unions-says-ebola-virus-deaths-facilitated-imperialism/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

People’s Daily warns against “trap” of Western-style democracy [People’s Daily]

Posted in Africa, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, CPC, Thailand, Ukraine, USA on June 17, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) — The flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC) carried a signed article on Monday, calling on people to guard against “the trap of Western-style democracy.”

“Copying Western-style democracy would probably lead to disaster” and “‘street politics’ usually leads to domestic turmoil and even civil war,” according to the article by Mi Bohua.

The article acknowledged that democracy is good, but said it should be realized in different forms in different countries.

There is actually no objective standard concerning democracy hailed by the United States and other Western countries, it said.

For the United States and other Western countries, anything that accords with their interests and accepts their manipulation is democracy, while those that do not fit the norm are not, said the article.

Some countries in western Asia and northern Africa have fallen into the craze for Western-style democracy, which has led to irretrievable secession and endless domestic struggles instead of happiness and stability, it said.

Countries in western Asia and northern Africa, Ukraine and Thailand, which have experienced street protests and even armed conflicts, have been led astray to the wrong path of Western-style democracy, that is, ‘street politics,’ according to the article.

In most of the cases, the United States and some Western forces have been involved in the street politics in these countries, either on stage or behind the scenes, it said…

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-06/09/c_133393632.htm

“Into an abyss of disgrace” – Commentary on Abe’s ultra-right outrages [China Daily]

Posted in Africa, China, India, Japan, War crimes, World War II on February 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2014-02-12 07:02
By Bu Ping (China Daily USA)

Despite Abe’s abject denials of the historical truth and evidence, Japan is still liable for its wartime crimes against humanity

Among world leaders, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unparalleled in making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Since he became Japan’s leader for the second time, Abe has more than once come under fire because of his controversial comments, one of which was his remark that the definition of “aggression” has yet to be established in the international community or academia . His publicity stunts, from wearing a camouflage jacket and helmet waving from a tank to posing inside a training jet emblazoned with the number “731”, a reminder of the imperial Japanese army’s notorious Unit 731 that conducted horrific human experiments during World War II, have also been widely condemned.

But it was his year-end visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals that proved his words and acts could not be taken in anything but a militarist way.

Japan’s war crimes are beyond dispute. During the Tokyo war crime trials (1946-48), groups of major political and military leaders in Japan were indicted on 55 counts of “crimes against peace”, “conventional war crimes”, and “crimes against humanity”, among which Class-A charges were brought against Japan’s top leaders who had plotted and organized crimes against peace.

After the end of WWII, former prime minister Nobusuke Kishi was at the forefront of those encouraging revisionism [sic] and he even dedicated a headstone to seven war criminals executed after the Tokyo trials honoring them as “patriots who died for their country”. Coming from the Kishi family, Abe has stepped into his maternal grandfather’s shoes and has now gone even further down the revisionist path, claiming that the Tokyo Trials were merely “victor’s justice” and the Japanese wartime leaders charged with Class-A war crimes are “not war criminals under Japan’s laws”.

The truth is that even if Abe acknowledged the verdicts of the Tokyo Trials, it would not be enough, as most of the court battles centered on substantiating the crimes against peace charges, with the crimes against humanity a lower-profile part of the trials.

However, the general definition of crimes against humanity includes murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, and persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, whether or not in violation of the domestic laws of the country where perpetrated. Anyone who has a role in planning, organizing, or instigating the aforementioned acts should be held accountable.

In this sense, Japan’s use of forced labor and the coerced recruitment of what it euphemistically calls “comfort women”, namely the women and girls forced into sexual slavery to serve the Japanese military during WWII, and its illegal use of chemical or biological weapons are all crimes against humanity that were overlooked in postwar trials and should be re-examined today.

The issue of the women forced into sexual slavery by Japan was first raised at the United Nations by a civilian group in February 1992 and a Special Rapporteur was tasked with checking the issue. In her 1998 report, the UN’s Special Rapporteur Gay J. McDougall concluded, “the Japanese Government remains liable for grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law, violations that amount in their totality to crimes against humanity. The Japanese Government’s arguments to the contrary, including arguments that seek to attack the underlying humanitarian law prohibition of enslavement and rape, remain as unpersuasive today as they were when they were first raised before the Nrnberg war crimes tribunal more than 50 years ago.”

Despite all the evidence, including first-hand testimonies, and the condemnation of the international community, Abe publicly declared that there was “no evidence” that women had been coerced into sexual slavery when he first became prime minister in 2006. Now, in office for the second time, Abe has said he intends to review the 1993 Kono Statement, which expresses remorse to former “comfort women”.

Abe is certainly not reticent when it comes to showing his revisionist streak, but his worrisome rhetoric denying Japan’s war crimes against humanity and its liabilities, and his step-by-step but relentless efforts to revise the Constitution and rearm Japan, have dragged Japan into an abyss of disgrace. A real danger to the international community as well as Japan looms large as Abe’s words and acts mirror those of war-time politicians of militarist Japan.

So far this year, Abe has visited India, the Middle East and Africa as part of his diplomatic strategy, but while this may have succeeded in increasing the business opportunities for his country, he has not won any sympathy or repaired the damage he has caused to Japan’s image in the international community with his denials-of-the-truth posturing. He never will unless he truly repents.

The author is a researcher with the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

(China Daily USA 02/12/2014 page11)

Article link: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2014-02/12/content_17279352.htm