Archive for the Chattel Slavery Category

Guns Versus Trade: U.S. and China Rivalry over Africa’s Riches []

Posted in Africa, Angola, Chattel Slavery, China, France, Genocide, India, Japan, Portugal, Russia, U.K. on June 5, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Asad Ismi

May 26, 2013

In my report on France’s invasion of Mali published in the March issue of The Monitor, I wrote that, “According to U.K. journalist John Pilger, ‘A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria, and Niger. The invasion has almost nothing to do with ‘Islamism,’ and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the U.S. and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Palestine.

The U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) has built a network of compliant African regimes ‘eager for American bribes and armaments.’ In 2012, Africom staged Operation African Endeavour, with the armies of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the U.S. military. As Middle East specialist Tony Cartulucci explains,

‘It is no coincidence that, as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali and Syria, with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

“The economically weak imperialist Western alliance has now staked its future on an endlessly expanding world war for resources that entails its re-colonization of the Global South [especially Africa]. This is a level and scale of violence that could result in a nuclear confrontation with the main countries that this resource war is aimed at: China, India, and Russia.”

According to Dr. J. Peter Pham, an advisor to the U.S. Defence and State Departments, a main objective of AFRICOM is:

“protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance — a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.”

Andrei Akulov, writing on the Global Research website, adds that:

“It’s an open secret that AFRICOM was created to counter the growing presence of China in Africa… Stiff competition for strategic resources like oil, gas, uranium, gold, or iron is the specific feature of the situation in Africa… The mission of AFRICOM is to push China and other rivals — like Russia, for instance — out of the continent or at least to cripple their access to the resources.”

China’s economic involvement in Africa has expanded enormously in the last decade. Beijing has focused on obtaining long-term agreements that guarantee it access to African resources in exchange for generous Chinese aid, credits, and soft loans for African countries, along with China’s construction of roads, schools, housing, hospitals, and railways, among other infrastructure in Africa.

China imports half of its oil requirements (2.6 million barrels per day) and one-third of this comes from African countries. China’s trade with Africa was worth $166.3 billion in 2011, with African exports to China increasing massively to $93.2 billion from $5.6 billion over the last 10 years. Beijing offered African countries $20 billion in loans in July 2012 for the 2012-2015 period, twice the amount it had given in the previous three years.

In 2008, China announced a $3 billion program in preferential loans and expanded aid for Africa, which was in addition to $3 billion in loans and $2 billion in export credits provided by Beijing earlier. According to Akulov, China’s soft loans and credits are

“greatly appreciated by African countries… Chinese aid [to Africa] is rendered with no strings attached and usually spent on infrastructure projects that raise grassroots living standards. The most frequently cited example is Sinopec, China’s state oil company. It has acquired oil concessions in Angola and is rebuilding the country’s transport infrastructure, hospitals, and state buildings. China is now viewed by most African countries as a more attractive economic partner than the U.S. or any other Western country.”

It is not hard to outshine the West in Africa, given the horrifying record of Western nations there. As I have documented in my Monitor article “The Ravaging of Africa” (October 2002) and the radio documentary of the same title (2007), U.S. imperial strategy towards Africa has devastated the continent. The strategy has aimed at creating an unstable, war-wracked, poverty-stricken continent in order to ensure a stable and prosperous West.

The U.S. has concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of wealth from Africa at the lowest cost. This has been achieved through the perpetration of a virtual holocaust created by the fomentation of 14 wars and World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment programs (SAPs) imposed on 36 countries. The wars have killed more than 8.5 million Africans and the SAPs have led to an estimated 21 million deaths by systematically demolishing African economies and their health and education services. This military and economic assault has exposed Africa to the looting of its resources by Western multinational corporations. The wars, SAPs, and corporate plunder have resulted in the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from Africa to North American and European nations.

Most African exports to the West take the form of raw materials, and the wars have helped keep their price artificially low since the armies need to sell these minerals for whatever money they can get in order to buy weapons. A considerable number of the weapons are also bought from Western arms manufacturers.

The SAPs imposed by the U.S.-dominated World Bank and IMF have transferred more than $229 billion in debt payments from sub-Saharan Africa to the West since 1980. This is four times the region’s 1980 debt. Like the wars, SAPs also help keep raw material prices low by enforcing the expansion of such exports to the West. The value of primary African exports has fallen by about half since 1980.

This latest U.S.-imposed economic and military holocaust follows the 400 years of ravage and blight unleashed by the brutal slave trade carried out by Britain, Portugal, France, and the United States, as well as the century of ruthless Western colonialism in Africa, both of which helped build the U.S. and European economies at the expense of the lives of up to 500 million Africans.

This is the proper context to use when comparing the current activities of the West and China in Africa. Unlike the U.S. and European nations, China has inflicted no such horrors on Africa and has usually compensated African countries fairly for their raw materials. A particular case in point is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The U.S. instigated the invasion of the DRC by Rwanda and Uganda in 1998 and the subsequent slaughter of more than six million Congolese, while the SAPs imposed on the DRC have impoverished the country. The Congo is the richest country in Africa in terms of mineral resources, and the invasion has opened these to looting by Western mining companies.

In contrast, China signed a deal with the government of the DRC in 2007 committing $20 billion for desperately needed infrastructure and development projects in exchange for access to Congo’s resources. This is the biggest single Chinese investment in Africa.

The China-DRC agreement was reached between La Générale des Carrières des Mines (Gécamines), the DRC’s state-owned mining company, and several Chinese state enterprises. These include China’s Eximbank, the China Railway Engineering Company (CREC), and Sinohydro.

The agreement creates a mining joint-venture between Gécamines, CREC, and Sinohydro, to be called Socomin, in which the Chinese hold 68% of the shares and Gécamines 32%. Eximbank has invested $9 billion in Socomin including $3.25 billion in mining investment and $6 billion for infrastructural development.

The $9 billion is part of a $20 billion package of loans to be made available over 2011-2014. Of the $9 billion, a third will go to develop the DRC’s mines. The remaining $6 billion is a soft loan (backed by the DRC’s mineral deposits) to finance new roads, railways, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres, two universities, hydro-electric dams, airports, and vocational training centres. In return, China gets 10 million tonnes of copper and 400,000 tonnes of cobalt. As the BBC puts it,

“It’s a barter deal — what the Chinese side loves to call ‘win-win’. Not aid with strings attached, like Western powers have given DR Congo over the years.”

Adds Congolese journalist Antoine Riger Lokongo, writing on Pambazuka News, the most prominent website for African political affairs:

“The Chinese deal is an ‘infrastructure development resources-backed finance (IDRF)’ deal, a kind of barter/trade which will not leave the DRC saddled with debts… How can you kick-start the development of the DRC after 15 years of a war of aggression without basic infrastructures? Clearly, this is where you start. China is ready to put a larger amount of money into the DRC than any other country… China will help the DRC break free from the stranglehold of neocolonialism.”

So, summing up, to plunder the DRC’s resources the U.S. arranged the killing of six million of its people and the impoverishment of the rest, whereas to gain access to the same resources China has offered the country $20 billion. There is no doubt that the Chinese role in Africa is an incredible improvement over 500 years of Western slavery, genocide, and plunder.

Not surprisingly, the World Bank and Western governments have opposed the China-DRC deal. As Albrecht Conze, the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, explained:

“It is like the West being the Congo’s foster parents… The rising world power China could cause trouble, too – by providing billions of dollars in loans without imposing conditions or controls in return for access to the country’s valuable natural resources. Beijing has already used this method in neighbouring Angola, where it now controls [sic] much of the oil production.”

In Angola, the U.S. fomented a vicious 27-year long civil war (Africa’s longest war) which ended in April 2002. The conflict killed 500,000 people and shattered the country. Three and a half million Angolans (a third of the population) were displaced by the war and up to 15 million land mines covered Angola’s arable land, making agriculture hazardous. As a result, fertile Angola has had to import half its food requirements and 82% of Angolans lived in poverty. Like the Congo, Angola is rich in mineral wealth, being Africa’s second largest oil producer.

As Indira Campos and Alex Vines, researchers at the conservative think-tank Chatham House based in London (U.K.), describe it:

“Angola has enjoyed a period of sustained peace since April 2002. From having one of the most protracted conflicts in Africa, Angola has within five years become one of the most successful economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Fuelled by record-high international oil prices, Angola has experienced exceptionally high growth rates in recent years. Rapid post-conflict reconstruction has become the government’s priority. China has in particular played an important role in assisting these efforts. Chinese financial and technical assistance has kick-started over 100 projects in the areas of energy, water, health, education, telecommunications, fisheries, and public works.”

Since 2002, China has given Angola $15 billion in soft loans for hundreds of projects, leading to an “impressive resurgence of the country’s economy and infrastructure” after 27 years of U.S.-instigated civil war. Angola is China’s biggest trading partner in Africa and its largest source of foreign oil imports.

Asad Ismi is the CCPA Monitor’s international affairs correspondent. He is author of the highly acclaimed radio documentary “The Ravaging of Africa” which has been aired to an audience of about 30 million people. For his publications, visit

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“Slavery, Genocide and Nuclear War” – Paul Harvey’s ultra-right rant, courtesy of Disney [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Chattel Slavery, Corporate Media Critique, Genocide, Hiroshima, Iraq, Japan, Nagasaki, Nukes, U.K., US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA, World War II on May 21, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Jim Naureckas

August 1, 2005

Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely heard commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast.

Harvey’s commentary began by citing a speech by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (12/30/41):

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American people…he said, the American people, he said, and this is a direct quote, “We didn’t come this far because we are made of sugar candy.”

Actually, it’s not a direct quote; Churchill’s actual words, from a speech he gave to the Canadian parliament, were, ” We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

As one might expect, when Churchill said “we” he was not referring to the citizens of the United States, but to “the peoples of the British Empire.” And he followed the “sugar candy” line with a vow that “we shall never descend to the German and Japanese level.” But Harvey, repeating Churchill’s phrase throughout his commentary, turned it into a call for utter ruthlessness.

“And that reminder was taken seriously,” Harvey continued. “And we proceeded to develop and deliver the bomb, even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a single blow, World War II was over.”

That’s a dubious summary of the war against Japan, which was won by three and a half years of bloody fighting, not by two atomic bombs. At the time the bombs were dropped, U.S. officials knew that Japan was on the verge of surrendering, which is why Dwight Eisenhower in his memoirs called the bombings “completely unnecessary” (Mandate for Change, p. 312; Extra! Update, 4/95).

But Harvey presented the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a very literal guide to how the U.S. should have behaved in its current wars:

Following New York, Sept. 11, Winston Churchill was not here to remind us that we didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy. So, following the New York disaster, we mustered our humanity…and we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq, and we kept our best weapons in our silos.

Given that the U.S. did indeed use its most powerful conventional weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq, this can only be taken as a complaint that the U.S. failed to target these countries with nuclear weapons. This remarkable viewpoint was followed, appropriately enough, by a plea for the U.S. to ignore considerations of morality and civilization:

Even now we’re standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive, because we’ve declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies – -more moral, more civilized. Our image is at stake, we insist.

But we didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy.

Harvey concluded with a startling depiction of U.S. history as a series of necessary, even praiseworthy atrocities:

Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves.

So it goes with most great nation-states, which — feeling guilty about their savage pasts — eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy.

Feeling guilty about slavery and genocide, in Harvey’s worldview, will lead to the elimination of American civilization — apparently because the U.S. hasn’t turned quickly enough to nuclear and biological warfare.

The Disney media conglomerate, which cultivates a family-friendly image, syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old host.

In 2004, Disney blocked its Miramax subsidiary from distributing Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal investor in the film. A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper’s words, “Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore’s film…could alienate many.”

One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating families who oppose slavery, genocide or nuclear war.

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‘Moral capitalism? What an insult to our intelligence!’ By William Bowles [ / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Cameron, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Capitalist media double standard, Chattel Slavery, Corporate Media Critique, Genocide, Historical myths of the US, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, USA on May 20, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

27 January 2012 —

PM Cameron’s call for a “moral capitalism” would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic and hypocritical. After all, hasn’t it been capitalism’s alleged occupation of the ‘moral high ground’, what they now choose to call ‘humanitarian intervention’ that has been used as a justification for mass murder and genocide? But plainly the millions killed and the countries decimated don’t fall under Cameron’s definition of what is and isn’t ‘moral’. Clearly, it’s for ‘local consumption’ only.

What it does epitomize is a desperate capitalism that has just plain run out of excuses for the world’s desperate state of affairs. After all what does ‘moral capitalism’ really mean? The rich sharing their wealth with the poor? Fewer crooks and gangsters in government? An end to crony capitalism? The end to a political class that works solely on behalf of capital?

Examining Cameron’s vision of his capitalist ‘morality’ a little more closely and it’s clearly empty, meaningless rhetoric as the following excerpts demonstrate:

“He used his speech to discuss his vision for a transformed capitalism, based on two principles “which have been at the centre of Conservative thinking for centuries”.“

“”The first is a vision of social responsibility, which recognises that people are not just atomised individuals, and that companies have obligations too.“

“”And the second is a genuinely popular capitalism, which allows everyone to share in the success of the market.”“

So I assume ‘at the centre of Conservative thinking for centuries’ includes slavery, colonialism, child labour and workhouses as well as a series of catastrophic wars and economic crashes? It would be nice to hear the Tories accept responsibility but now I’m the one fantasizing.

Thatcher’s dictum, allegedly the one of the justifications for neo-liberalism that “there’s no such thing as society” never existed either? Oh, companies have obligations? To their shareholders. Any other ‘obligations’ they might have exist only because we the people have demanded it such as regulation and a limit on the power and influence the corporations. Things that successive Tory and Labour governments have removed. Moreover, under the umbrella of Cameron’s call for a ‘moral capitalism’ I see no calls to reestablish regulation of the financial sector.

Popular capitalism as opposed to the unpopular variety. But surely isn’t this what US capitalism has been peddling since the 1940s: millions of small shareholders all benefiting from the ‘free market’. Small town America with granny and her shares in AT&T. And exactly how, could we share in the success of the market? Banks are making enormous profits right now, so where’s my share? It’s a nonsense.

“The prime minister said that “where they work properly, open markets and free enterprise can actually promote morality” by creating “a direct link between contribution and reward; between effort and outcome”.“

“Where they work properly”? Markets exist to benefit investors and nobody else, this is why the government has been bailing them out with billions of public money. In any case these empty calls are all after the fact. Cameron’s call for a moral capitalism is an outright admission that there is nothing moral about capitalism whatsoever. Neither will capitalism acquire a morality simply because Cameron says it should have one.

So, the fact that as with all capitalist economic crises, it’s those who sell their labour who pay whilst those who buy it just get richer just doesn’t square with Cameron’s fantasy of workers being ‘rewarded’. Tell it to the the 3 million in the UK without a job or it seems, any likelihood of ever getting one.

“So we should use this crisis of capitalism to improve markets, not undermine them, because I believe that out of this current adversity we can build a better economy, one that is truly fair and worthwhile.” – David Cameron says UK must build ‘a better economy’ BBC Website, 19 January 2012

What can one say about this rubbish? At the end of the day it’s just hot air, without substance or an iota of reality. It’s all about what it should be or could be but offering workers a share in the corporations they work for doesn’t alter a thing except, and this is crucial, transplant some of the risk over to the workers. Of course, if corporations were to be handed over to the workers, say in the form of cooperatives that would be novel and no doubt earn Cameron instant dismissal as PM. Not surprisingly, Cameron’s only actual proposal is to strengthen cooperatives but it’s merely cosmetic in nature.

“Bringing together the 17 existing pieces of legislation will simplify the process of setting up a co-op and reduce costs.” — Co-operatives will benefit from the UK’s consolidation bill, the Guardian 27 January, 2012

What I find truly incredible is that the MSM actually prints/broadcasts this stuff, it’s an embarrassing (public) schoolboy essay revealing Cameron as an extremely ignorant and arrogant member of his class. But it does indicate once again just how desperate the situation is for capitalism as each crisis increases in amplitude and with no apparent fix on the horizon except more impoverishment and more wars for the rest of us. Moreover, it also reveals the disdain Cameron and his class have for us that he thinks we would actually take this garbage seriously.

And if you think a Labour government would have done it any differently, dream on… join Cameron in his fantasy world of a ‘moral capitalism’.

This just in and an indication of the degree of complicity between the MSM and the state:

Outrage at RBS boss’s £1m bonus payout

Is it fair? Ed Miliband, Boris Johnson and countless others think not. Stephen Hester’s million pound bonus for running the state-owned bank, RBS, is an outrage, they believe.

The government says it was a decision for the board, even though it could have blocked the decision as majority shareholder. Mr Hester’s allies say it isn’t much to pay – and wonder who would run the bank if he left? I have heard various answers to that question over the last few days. Of course Mr Hester is merely a symbol of the debate that rages in politics right now, of what is fair.

Benefits caps, tax thresholds and rates – politicians are vying for your approval in their judgement of what is fair. Michael Crick is on the case and two giant brains will be discussing fairness and whether it is really achievable, or even definable – Will Hutton and Ruth Bender. — Channel 4 News Email, 27 January 2011

Note the reference to the “debate that rages in politics right now, of what is fair”. Rages on? Where? Who is raging on? More nonsense, this time from the MSM anxious to appear as if it actually knows what it’s talking about. My approval? How am I going to give that (or take it away)? An illusion of democracy in action. And the coup de grace for the entire ‘debate’ is “two giants brains…discussing fairness and whether it is really achievable, or even definable”? I despair. The chattering class chattering amongst themselves.

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Carry on the fight against racism [People’s Daily]

Posted in 9/11, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Chattel Slavery, Nazism, Norway, South Africa, US "War on Terror", USA on October 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Guo Jisi (China Daily)

Sept. 24, 2011

The UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting in New York on Thursday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. This document, which serves as the international community’s blueprint for action to fight racism, was adopted by consensus at the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa.

However, it is regrettable that several Western countries are boycotting it and even urge other countries to follow suit. But on second thought, it is no surprise, especially if we recall the situation in 2009 at the second World Conference against Racism, also known as Durban Review Conference, when nearly 10 countries refused to participate, and a walkout by about 40 delegates occurred, most of them from Western countries.

It is important to note that the 10th anniversary is not meant to single out any country for criticism or to pour salt in anyone’s wounds. Rather, it provides a platform for all nations to confirm their commitment to the values and principles of equality and non-discrimination and the measures by the international community to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The boycott of the Durban Review Conference and this year’s anniversary is a testimony to Western countries’ hypocrisy and lack of respect for fundamental human rights, including equality and the right to freedom of expression, supposedly strongly defended in the West. It clearly shows the West’s double standards over the issue of combating racism. The withdrawal from the conference by several Western countries exposes some countries’ fears of being held accountable for the implementation of the Durban Declaration.

First, some countries turned their backs with the excuse that the Durban Conference and its follow-ups had been “hijacked” by those seeking to bash Israel. But to the contrary, the noble mission to fight racism and discrimination was hijacked by those who were not willing to address human rights violations they have committed in history. Those with a myopic worldview seek to hold this conference hostage by preventing it from realizing its original objectives.

Second, some consider the history of the World Conference against Racism “a Durban disaster” as if they are the victims, while in fact it was slave trade, colonization, racial segregation and expropriation of indigenous people’s lands and resources that brought hideous disasters to generations of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

Third, as some countries explained that “many states would prefer to forget” the Durban Declaration, the decision to boycott the anniversary event stems from their attempt to downplay and legitimize racial wrongdoings by circumventing international criticism and open discussion. What some countries are doing is nothing short of self-deception. As a Chinese saying goes, with history as a mirror, one can understand the rise and fall of a nation. What we are doing by commemorating the anniversary is not settling old scores or giving a hard time to anyone, but learning from the past, putting things in perspective and being forward-looking in dealing with racism.

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay were “profoundly disappointed” at the boycotts in 2009. It was contrary to the principles the same countries claimed to uphold. Since the 2001 conference, the international community has made positive efforts in the fight against racism that have produced a number of good practices. But racism has not been eradicated and new forms have since appeared. The so-called democratic societies have experienced an erosion of human rights in the name of the war on terror since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, which is simply an outpouring of intolerance and xenophobia in the first place.

Likewise, the shooting rampage in Norway was triggered by an anti-Islam mindset and xenophobic worldview. The recent British riots were, in part, fueled by institutionalized racism and discrimination. Skinheads and neo-Nazis basing their thinking on racial superiority, bigotry, intolerance and discrimination are lurking again and have menaced numerous Western countries over the past decade.

That said, it is time to stop the sentiments espousing enmity and making vitriolic attacks against each other. It is time to get down to business, identify new forms of intolerance or racism and turn words into action. It is time to renew our commitment to fight all forms of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance that plague many countries and regions throughout the world in a way that appreciates cultural diversity, solidarity and harmony.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

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“Human Rights” Issue and Western – American Culture of Hypocrisy [The 4th Media]

Posted in Argentina, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Brazil, Chattel Slavery, Chile, China, China-US relations, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, DPR Korea, El Salvador, Genocide, Haiti, Hu Jintao, Indonesia, Iran, Media smear campaign, Mexico, Nicaragua, Obama, Philippines, Russia, south Korea, Sudan, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Venezuela, Western nations' human rights distortions on February 5, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Dr. Kiyul Chung (Visiting Professor, Tsinghua University/Editor-in-chief, The 4th Media)

January 26, 2011

In January 19, 2011, during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s press conference at the White House, American reporters, in addition to President Barrack [sic] Obama’s showy pressure on so-called “the rights issues,” specifically the cases of Dalai Lama and Liu Xiaobo in a private setting, pressed President Hu.  As reported in the Washington Post, titled, “Hu Jintao meets the free press,” they challenged him as if they competed who’re more aggressive or nastier than others when they raised the “rights” question.

Like the Washington Post article, overall attitudes, contents, and styles of most mainstream American media reports are very much identical, almost uniformly.  Their overall character is, as it’s been very much identical throughout the histories of US and its Western allies, hypocritical.  In fact, this is one of their most stereotypical cultural features, particularly among politicians, (corporate) media, and religious (fundamental Christian) people.

Whenever they approach to this so-called “human rights” issue, their culture of hypocrisy reemerges or is conveniently reemployed. T heir hypocrisy as an unconscious culture, backed up by culture of forgetfulness on their own history of “human rights abuses” (as distinctively as in the cases of history of black slave trade and genocidal history of Native-American people throughout their quincentennial history of colonial aggressions, masscares [sic] and the subsequent dominations), is geared into action or function.

This self-righteous thereby self-destructive culture of hypocrisy has been evermore present in their histories.  It’s been particularly omnipresent whenever they had to deal with their either strategic rivalries (e.g., China, Russia) or enemies (e.g., Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.) or even with difficult “preys” (e.g., Venezuela, Sudan, etc.). Whenever their goals are unmet or unfulfilled, or their interests are not obtained, particularly when their bully military threats and/or aggressions don’t work, they then take out their most stereotypical “weapon,” i.e., the “human rights” card and wield it both arrogantly and self-righteously.

The human rights issue as a political culture of hypocrisy is played out unconsciously both in their daily politics and international relations. Particularly, their “double standard” applications of “human rights” to others, while completely neglecting their own histories of human rights abuse, are notoriously hypocritical. In fact, they really don’t care other peoples’ “fundamental social/communal rights” in terms of  peace, security, survival, food, shelter, education, medical care, employment, equal sociopolitical rights and wealth/resource distribution, national sovereignty and independence, etc.

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The assassination of a nation – 50 years since the killing of the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba [Granma Internacional]

Posted in Africa, Chattel Slavery, France, IMF - International Monetary Fund, State Department, US imperialism, USA, USSR on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 21, 2011

by Josep Fontana

THIS January, 50 years have passed since one of the worst crimes of the Cold War:  the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, which not only signified the death of the prime minister of a democratically elected government, but also the end of the possibility of the Congo developing as an independent nation.  The initiative to assassinate the only Congolese leader who could have put a national construction project into practice came from Eisenhower and Foster Dulles, who shared a fear of the unpredictable evolution of “the mass of non-white, non-European humanity.”

Prime Minister Lumumba traveled to Washington and met with Secretary of State Christian Herter to ask for help, particularly in terms of the transportation means he needed to ensure control of the country.

Eisenhower, who remained at a distance from the capital during Lumumba’s visit, confined himself to asking the National Security Council if it was possible to get rid of him, with which he set in motion the process leading to his assassination.  That happened three days before Lumumba, forced by the U.S. rejection of his transportation request, turned to the Soviets, who supplied him with 100 trucks and 15 cargo planes, an action described by Eisenhower as a “Soviet invasion.”

On August 26, 1960, CIA Director Allen Dulles sent a cable to the chief of the CIA delegation in the Congo, Lawrence Devlin, to tell him that Lumumba’s elimination was “an urgent and prime objective.”  A few days later, President Kasa-vubu, after having discussed the plan with the U.S. ambassador and the UN representative, dismissed Lumumba, despite his party’s parliamentary majority.  While African diplomats tried to mediate in the crisis, Mobutu delivered a heavy blow with the support of Devlin, and arrested Lumumba.  But his imprisonment was not enough, either for the CIA or the Belgian government, whose minister for Africa sent a cable on October 6 asking for his “definitive elimination.”

In order to settle the matter, he was sent with two of his collaborators to Katanga, where they were tortured until they were barely alive.  On January 17, 1961 they were taken to a forest by night, tied to trees and shot, after which care was taken to destroy the bodies in order to eliminate all traces of them.

Shortly afterward, the country was handed over to the government of Joseph Desiré Mobutu, who headed it from 1965 to 1997, with 32 years of a kleptocratic regime which exceeded all examples of corruption known to history, militarily protected by the United States and France and with economic support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  The fact that, in 1989, when there was no possible doubt as to the disaster into which he had led the country, he was still received at the White House as a champion of freedom is a demonstration of the shamelessness which inspired Cold War politics.

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After the US celebrates the ghastly myth of Columbus Day: “Examining the Reputation of Columbus” []

Posted in Chattel Slavery, Cuba, Historical myths of the US, India, Official US Holidays from hell, Spain, U.K., USA on October 13, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
” …In October, we [U.S. citizens] honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history.”
So long past time to scuttle the twisted lie that is the U.S.’ Columbus Day and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead. – Zuo Shou 左手
Examining the Reputation of Columbus
An Essay by Jack Weatherford

Christopher Columbus’ reputation has not survived the scrutiny of history, and today we know that he was no more the discoverer of America than Pocahontas was the discoverer of Great Britain.  Native Americans had built great civilizations with many millions of people long before Columbus wandered lost into the Caribbean.

Columbus’ voyage has even less meaning for North Americans than for South Americans because Columbus never set foot on our continent, nor did he open it to European trade. Scandinavian Vikings already had settlements here in the eleventh century, and British fisherman probably fished the shores of Canada for decades before Columbus.  The first European explorer to thoroughly document his visit to North America was the Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto, who sailed for England’s King Henry VII and became known by his anglicized name, John Cabot.  Caboto arrived in 1497 and claimed North America for the English sovereign while Columbus was still searching for India in the Caribbean.  After three voyages to America and more than a decade of study, Columbus still believed that Cuba was a part of Asia, South America was only an island, and the coast of Central America was near the Ganges River.

Unable to celebrate Columbus’ exploration as a great discovery, some apologists now want to commemorate it as a great “cultural encounter.”  Under this interpretation, Columbus becomes a sensitive genius thinking beyond his time in the passionate pursuit of knowledge and understanding.  The historical record refutes this, too.

Contrary to popular legend, Columbus did not prove that the world was round; educated people had known that for centuries…Nevertheless, Americans have embroidered many such legends around Columbus, and he has become part of a secular mythology for schoolchildren.  Autumn would hardly be complete in U.S. elementary schools without construction-paper replicas of the three ships that Columbus sailed to America, or without drawings of Queen Isabella pawning her jewels to finance Columbus’ trip.

This myth of the pawned jewels obscures the true and more sinister story of how Columbus financed his trip.  The Spanish monarch invested in his excursion, but only on the condition that Columbus would repay this investment with profit by bringing back gold, spices, and other tribute from Asia.  This pressing need to repay his debt underlies the frantic tone of Columbus’ diaries as he raced from one Caribbean island to the next, stealing anything of value.

After he failed to contact the emperor of China, the traders of India, or the merchants of Japan, Columbus decided to pay for his voyage in the one important commodity he had found in ample supply — human lives.  He seized 1,200 Taino Indians from the island of Hispaniola, crammed as many onto his ships as would fit, and sent them to Spain, where they were paraded naked through the streets of Seville and sold as slaves in 1495.  Columbus tore children from their parents, husbands from wives.  On board Columbus’ slave ships, hundreds died; the sailors tossed the Indian bodies into the Atlantic.

Because Columbus captured more Indian slaves than he could transport to Spain in his small ships, he put them to work in mines and plantations which he, his family, and followers created throughout the Caribbean. His marauding band hunted Indians for sport and profit — beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs. Within four years of Columbus’ arrival on Hispaniola, his men had killed or exported one-third of the original Indian population of 300,000.

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