Archive for the South Africa Category

AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

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Anti-Empire Report #127: “Barack Obama – Indoctrinating a new generation with Washington’s lies” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Kosovo, NATO, Nelson Mandela, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Ukraine, UNSC, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

‘Indoctrinating a new generation’

by William Blum

April 7, 2014

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. one of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?..

Full text of Anti-Empire Report #127, with notes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/127

The Media’s Hypocritical Oath – Mandela And Economic Apartheid [MediaLens]

Posted in BBC bias, distortions and lies, Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Libya, Nelson Mandela, South Africa on December 28, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 13, 2013

by David Edwards

What does it mean when a notoriously profit-driven, warmongering…media system mourns, with one impassioned voice, the death of a principled freedom fighter like Nelson Mandela?

Does it mean that the corporate system has a heart, that it cares? Or does it mean that Mandela’s politics, and the mythology surrounding them, are somehow serviceable to power?

Consider, first, that this is what is supposed to be true of professional journalism:

‘Gavin Hewitt, John Simpson, Andrew Marr and the rest are employed to be studiously neutral, expressing little emotion and certainly no opinion; millions of people would say that news is the conveying of fact, and nothing more.’ (Andrew Marr, My Trade – A Short History of British Journalism, Macmillan, 2004, p.279)

Thus, Andrew Marr, then BBC political editor, offering professional journalism’s version of the medical maxim, ‘First, do no harm’. First, do no bias.

The reality is indicated by Peter Oborne’s comment in the Telegraph:

‘There are very few human beings who can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela is one… It is hard to envisage a wiser ruler.’

Responding to 850 viewers who had complained that the BBC ‘had devoted too much airtime’ to Mandela’s death, James Harding, the BBC’s director of news, also expressed little emotion and certainly no opinion when he declared Mandela ‘the most significant statesman of the last 100 years, a man who defined freedom, justice, reconciliation, forgiveness’.

In other words, the corporate media had once again abandoned its famed Hypocritical Oath in affirming a trans-spectrum consensus. As ever, a proposition is advanced as indisputably true, the evidence so overwhelming that journalists simply have to ditch ‘balance’ to declare the obvious.

The motive is always said to be some pressing moral cause: national solidarity and security at home, opposition to tyranny and genocide abroad. In these moments, the state-corporate system persuades the public of its fundamental humanity, rationality and compassion. But in fact this ‘compassion’ is always driven by realpolitik and groupthink.

– ‘Emotionally Potent Over-Simplifications’ –

Because it is an integral part of a system whose actual goals and methods would not be acceptable to the public, the corporate media cannot make sense of the world; it must deal in what US foreign affairs advisor Reinhold Niebuhr called ’emotionally potent over-simplifications’.

Thus we find the endlessly recurring theme of the archetypal Bad Guy. When bin Laden is murdered, Saddam Hussein lynched and Gaddafi bombed, beaten and shot, it is the same Enemy regenerating year after year, Doctor Who-like, to be ‘taken down’ by the same Good Guy archetype. This is the benevolent father figure who forever sets corporate hearts aflutter with hope and devotion…

Full article link: http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/750-the-media-s-hypocritical-oath-mandela-and-economic-apartheid.html

CIA and Mandela: Can the Story Be Told Now? [FAIR Media Advisory]

Posted in CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Media cover-up, Nelson Mandela, South Africa, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Agency’s role in Mandela capture still mostly not news

Dec 10, 2013

Back in 1990, FAIR (Extra!, 3/90) noted that the media coverage of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison failed to mention there was strong evidence that the CIA had tipped off South African authorities to Mandela’s location in 1962, resulting in his arrest.

So with coverage of Mandela’s death dominating the media now, can the story of the CIA’s role in Mandela’s capture be told?

Mostly not.

The link between the CIA and Mandela’s capture–reported by CBS Evening News (8/5/86) and in a New York Times column by Andrew Cockburn (10/13/86)–was almost entirely unmentioned in media discussions of his death.

There were a few exceptions. MSNBC host Chris Hayes mentioned it on December 5 (“We know there’s reporting that indicates the CIA actually helped the South African police nab Mandela the first time he was captured”). On Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show (12/7/13), Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman brought it up:

The US devoted more resources to finding Mandela to hand over to the apartheid forces than the apartheid forces themselves. It was the CIA that actually located Mandela, and he was driving dressed up as a chauffeur when he was stopped, and he was arrested and ultimately serves 27 years in prison.

And on CNN’s Outfront (12/6/13), Cornel West told guest host Jake Tapper, “Keep in mind, though, Brother Jake, the CIA colluded with the apartheid regime to find Nelson Mandela when he was disguised as a chauffeur in 1961.”

So the lesson might be that the kinds of guests rarely included in corporate media are the ones more likely to bring up this history.

In the New York Times’ long obituary (12/6/13), Bill Keller presented it as a story that is yet to be confirmed: “There have been allegations, neither substantiated nor dispelled, that a CIA agent had tipped the police officers who arrested Mr. Mandela.” He reiterated that on NPR’s Morning Edition (12/6/13): “I have not seen utterly convincing confirmation or refutation of it.”

Keller — who was convinced about Iraq’s WMDs — has presumably read the accounts of CIA involvement in Mandela’s capture, including a Cox News Service report (6/10/90) of a retired CIA official admitting that a CIA operative told him of the operation (“We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch”) the day it happened.

So with Mandela’s death making headlines everywhere, there is still very little coverage of this part of the Mandela story. One place you can find it, though — the New York Times letters to the editor section today (12/10/13), where this appears under the headline “CIA and Mandela’s Arrest”:

To the Editor:

Nelson Mandela’s membership in the South African Communist Party in the early 1960s was acknowledged by the Communist Party itself last week, confirming the findings of my own historical research, reported by Bill Keller (“Nelson Mandela, Communist,” column, Dec. 8).

Perhaps the United States government will now confirm the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in Mr. Mandela’s arrest in August 1962, which is also indicated by my research. It was the height of the Cold War, and it was all a long time ago, but the truth still counts.

STEPHEN ELLIS

Amsterdam, December 9, 2013

“The truth still counts” shouldn’t just guide government decisions about what it chooses to reveal about its own history. It’s something journalists should consider too. Much of the coverage of Mandela is focused on his remarkable ability to forgive his opponents. It would be especially useful for US media to spell out which US government actions might have to be forgiven.

Article link: http://fair.org/take-action/media-advisories/cia-and-mandela-can-the-story-be-told-now/

Statement of the South African Communist Party on Nelson Mandela [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Nelson Mandela, South Africa on December 12, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 6, 2013

“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”

Last night, the millions of the people of South Africa, majority of whom the working class and poor, and the billions of the rest of the people the world over, lost a true revolutionary, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Tata Madiba.

The South African Communist Party joins the people of South Africa and the world in expressing its most sincere condolences to Ms. Graca Machel and the entire Mandela family on the loss of what President Zuma correctly described as South Africa’s greatest son, Comrade Mandela.

We also wish to use this opportunity to express our solidarity with the African National Congress, an organisation that produced him and that he also served with distinction, as well as all his colleagues and comrades in our broader liberation movement. As Tata Madiba said, “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants. …”

The passing away of Comrade Mandela marks an end to the life of one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century, who fought for freedom and against all forms of oppression in both their countries and globally. As part of the masses that make history, Comrade Mandela’s contribution in the struggle for freedom was located and steeled in the collective membership and leadership of our revolutionary national liberation movement as led by the ANC — for he was not an island. In Comrade Mandela we had a brave and courageous soldier, patriot and internationalist who, to borrow from Che Guevara, was a true revolutionary guided by great feelings of love for his people, an outstanding feature of all genuine people’s revolutionaries.

At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Comrade Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle. The contribution of communists in the struggle to achieve the South African freedom has very few parallels in the history of our country. After his release from prison in 1990, Comrade Madiba became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days.

The one major lesson we need to learn from Mandela and his generation of leaders was their commitment to principled unity within each of our Alliance formations as well as the unity of our Alliance as a whole and that of the entire mass democratic movement. Their generation struggled to build and cement the unity of our Alliance, and we therefore owe it to the memory of Comrade Madiba to preserve the unity of our Alliance. Let those who do not understand the extent to which blood was spilt in pursuance of Alliance unity be reminded not to throw mud at the legacy and memory of the likes of Madiba by being reckless and gambling with the unity of our Alliance.

The SACP supported Madiba’s championing of national reconciliation. But national reconciliation for him never meant avoiding tackling the class and other social inequalities in our society, as some would like to make us believe today. For Madiba, national reconciliation was a platform to pursue the objective of building a more egalitarian South African society free of the scourge of racism, patriarchy and gross inequalities. And true national reconciliation shall never be achieved in a society still characterized by the yawning gap of inequalities and capitalist exploitation.

In honour of this gallant fighter, the SACP will intensify the struggle against all forms of inequality, including intensifying the struggle for socialism, as the only political and economic solution to the problems facing humanity.

For the SACP, the passing away of Madiba must give all those South Africans who had not fully embraced a democratic South Africa, and who still in one way or the other hanker to the era of white domination, a second chance to come to terms with a democratic South Africa founded on the principle of majority rule.

We call upon all South Africans to emulate his example of selflessness, sacrifice, commitment and service to his people.

The SACP says, “Hamba kahle Mkhonto!” [“Go well, brave warrior!”]

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/12/06/statement-south-african-communist-party-nelson-mandela/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Selection of Left perspectives on Mandela’s passing:

“Mandela and the South African Communist Party” by Bill Van Auken [World Socialist Website]

“In the wall-to-wall, week-long coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela, the corporate-controlled media has passed over in near universal silence the one piece of news that emerged with the demise of the former South African president…” Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/12/sacp-d12.html [This article is something of a Trotskyist retort to the SACP statement above. – Zuo Shou]

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“NYT Takes Mandela’s Death as a Chance to Mock His Fight to Free His Country” by Jim Naureckas [FAIR]

“Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote his paper’s obituary for Nelson Mandela (12/6/13). As you might have guessed, it glosses over the CIA’s role in helping the apartheid government catch Mandela…” Full article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/12/06/nyt-takes-mandelas-death-as-a-chance-to-mock-his-fight-to-free-his-country/

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“Chart of the Week: How South Africa changed, and didn’t, over Mandela’s lifetime” by Drew Desilver [Pewresearch.org – Fact-tank]

An essential and stunning (some would say damning) pair of charts documenting South African income disparity and population trends over Mandela’s lifetime, unfortunately not reproduceable here. Article link: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/06/chart-of-the-week-how-south-africa-changed-and-didnt-over-mandelas-lifetime/

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“The Legacy of Nelson Mandela: A Dissenting Opinion” by Jonathan Cook [Globalresearch.ca]

“…Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now. In my view, Mandela suffered a double tragedy in his post-prison years. First, he was reinvented as a bloodless icon, one that other leaders could appropriate to legitimise their own claims, as the figureheads of the “democratic west”, to integrity and moral superiority. After finally being allowed to join the western “club”, he could be regularly paraded as proof of the club’s democratic credentials and its ethical sensibility.

Second, and even more tragically, this very status as icon became a trap in which he was required to act the “responsible” elder statesman, careful in what he said and which causes he was seen to espouse. He was forced to become a kind of Princess Diana, someone we could be allowed to love because he rarely said anything too threatening to the interests of the corporate elite who run the planet. It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa…

Full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-legacy-of-nelson-mandela-a-dissenting-opinion/5360467

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“Why imperialism mourns Mandela” [World Socialist Website]

“The death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 has touched off a worldwide exercise in official mourning that is virtually without precedent.

No doubt working people in South Africa and internationally pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by the African National Congress leader—as well as thousands of others who lost their lives and freedom—during his long years of illegality, persecution and imprisonment under the hated Apartheid regime.

Capitalist governments and the corporate-controlled media the world over, however, have rushed to offer condolences for their own reasons. These include heads of states that supported South Africa’s apartheid rule and aided in the capture and imprisonment of Mandela as a “terrorist” half a century ago…”

Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/07/pers-d07.html

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“Mandela’s Dream of Black Power Became a ‘Neoliberal Nightmare'” by James Winter [Globalresearch.ca]

“[After Mandela’s release from prison,]…South Africa took the route [previously] characterized by Mandela as ‘inconceivable.’ Political successes, but economic ruin. South Africa is now among the most unequal societies in the world….”

Full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/mandelas-dream-of-black-power-became-a-neoliberal-nightmare/5360825

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Obama trying to get foothold in Africa [People’s Daily]

Posted in Africa, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Brazil, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, India, Obama, South Africa, Turkey, US imperialism, USA on July 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Article ignores US expansion of military in Africa [AFRICOM] – Zuo Shou

By Chen Weihua (China Daily)
08:19, July 05, 2013

[Recently]…US President Barack Obama…left for Africa for a weeklong three-nation visit. It was his first presidential visit to sub-Saharan Africa, except for a brief stop in Ghana in 2009.

His trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania was focused on trade. The United States is keen to get a foothold in the continent, as emerging economies, such as China, India, Brazil and Turkey, already have a fast-growing footprint in Africa. In 2009, China overtook the US as Africa’s largest trade partner and bilateral trade was close to $200 billion in 2012, compared with $10 billion in 2000, and the direct investment in Africa was $2.9 billion in 2012. China has been building roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure, and its investment in manufacturing has equaled its investment in mining. In 2011, more than 1 million Chinese visited the continent.

Obama said he does not feel threatened by the growing trade and investment in Africa by emerging economies such as China, but he quickly made a pointed remark: “If someone says they want to come build something here, are they hiring African workers? If somebody says that they want to help you develop your natural resources, how much of the money is staying in Africa?”

However, Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said Obama’s visit is just a “guilt trip”. He said the idea that China is not helping Africans is nonsense. “China works with Africans, and we have seen major opportunities opening up because of China,” he said.

It is common for US leaders to point accusing fingers at China when visiting Africa. But the lack of interest in Africa among US citizens is obvious despite the fact that 13 percent of its population is African-American.

While many emerging economies see Africa as a growing force, many in the US are still guided by the outdated view of Africa as a “hopeless continent looking for handouts”, to use the words of Kimenyi.

The lack of interest is also reflected in the news media. For example, CNN International runs a wonderful program called Inside Africa, but it is simply not available in the US. Meanwhile China’s State broadcaster China Central Television devotes more time to African news than any major network in the US.

Obama may not realize that while he was busy meeting officials and announcing a multibillion-dollar electricity initiative, intended to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, which he hopes will be his legacy in Africa, most US broadcasters had zero coverage of his trip or at most 40-second clips.

In sharp contrast, the trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of second-degree murder in a case that has triggered a heated racial debate in the US, has received unlimited airtime for weeks.

There is no doubt that companies from all countries, including China, must constantly improve their practices in Africa, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Yet Obama should first get more US citizens, including himself, interested in Africa, instead of throwing a jab at other countries.

That is the best way for the US to play catch-up in Africa.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90777/8311875.html

Also see “Obama in Africa to defend US strategic and profit interests” [World Socialist Website] – http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/28/afri-j28.html

NObama! South Africans prepare to protest Obama visit [SF BayView]

Posted in Africa, China, Cuba, Israel, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Palestine, Pentagon, South Africa, Syria, US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on June 30, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

South Africans protesting Mr. African-American POTUS Obomber is so excellent. – Zuo Shou

June 22, 2013

by NObama Coalition Cape Town

On June 20, a growing group of organizations gathered at Community House in Salt River to form the NObama Coalition Cape Town, aligning itself to the already formed NObama Johannesburg. The aim of the coalition is to mobilize widespread protest against Obama’s visit to Africa while exposing U.S. imperialism.

So far activists from the following organizations are part of the Coalition: Gugulethu Anti Eviction Campaign, Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign, Zilleraine Heights Community in Struggle, Consumer Fair, Concerned Education Forum, Anti-War Coalition (Cape Town), Muslims Against Illegitimate Leaders, Muslims Against Global Oppression, Struggle Veterans, Mitchell’s Plain activists, Workers International Vanguard Party, Blikkiesdorp community committee, Housing Assembly (Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel, greater Athlone, Langa, Delft, Mitchell’s Plain), Gleemoor Civic Association, New Unity Movement Southern Suburbs Branch, Apdusa, Friends of the Congo-Cape Town.

Cosatu also supports the campaign and is discussing how to broaden its specific support.

The NObama Campaign in Johannesburg consists of the following organizations: South African Communist Party (SACP), the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL), the South African Students Congress (SASCO), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Friend of Cuba Society (FOCUS), Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa), the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) the UJ Coalition.

We will be awarding Freedom of the City to

Mumia Abu Jamal
Bradley Manning
the masses of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
the masses of the Palestinians
the Marikana community
the impoverished masses of Cape Town

(The list is still being added to.)

Basic platform

The USA under the leadership of Obama has escalated its assault on human rights, militarization of international relations and continuing gobbling of world resources at the absolute expense of the environment and oppressed peoples of the world.

Monopoly capitalists and banks, mainly from the U.S., are responsible for the ongoing plunder of trillions of dollars of wealth from Africa each year. This is the main reason why most of the youth have no future – the masses are unemployed and the few who work earn starvation wages. Much more is stolen from Africa than is received in “aid.” We demand all the stolen wealth to come back! In fact, U.S. and other imperialism [sic] are responsible for the plunder of the world.

Africom out of Africa; end the drone wars and imperialist wars of plunder such as in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); stop warmongering and genocide in Syria and elsewhere.
Free all the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay prison – shut it down.
Free the Cuban 5.
End the blockade on Cuba.
We reject the Freedom of Cape Town and the honorary doctorate awarded by the University of Johannesburg to Obama with the contempt it deserves.
Any diamonds sent to Israel by Anglo American and other mining companies are blood diamonds. End all support for Israel. We demand one Palestine, no Bantustan.
Free Bradley Manning!
Stop snooping on our e-mails, phone calls and social networking!
Halt the unleashing of your Al Qaeda forces on the world’s people!…

…We also support the call by the Muslim Lawyers Association for the arrest of Obama – their complaint was made in terms of international customary law – as well as the implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Act 2002 (the ICC Act):

“The [drone] program is responsible for extra-judicial killings of both innocent civilians as well as U.S. citizens abroad. The drone strike policy has continued unabated with total disregard for territorial sovereignty and this is cited as the primary reason that Obama should be investigated and tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.”

Proposed program of action

Mobilize and invite other progressive organizations to join the NObama Coalition.
We support the petition against University of Johannesburg giving an award to Obama
Saturday 22nd June at 12 noon, meet at Community House in Salt River to prepare placards
Wed and Thursday 26-27 June from 12 noon to 14h00 meet at the taxi rank opposite entrance to Civic Centre in Cape Town to claim freedom of the City for the masses and to reject freedom of the city for Obama
Friday 28 June, picket at parliament from 12 noon to 14h00 to protest the government’s role in inviting Obama to SA and their complicity in allowing plunder by U.S. monopolies
For those who cannot make it to Cape Town centre on these 3 days, we call on to mobilise for lunchtime pickets at these times, to either hold education programmes about the role of U.S. monopolies in the plunder of the world, or to take to the streets, to picket forming human chains outside your workplaces, or at a selected point, to show rejection of the visit and of U.S. imperialism

We call for the masses across Africa

to also mobilize protest actions against the Obama visit and
to ready themselves at a moment’s notice to come to the areas where Obama may appear, so we can protest and issue our own warrant of arrest for Obama.

The Freedom of the City is for the people of Cape Town, not for OBAMA. He is not welcome!

Signed by Imraahn Mukaddam, Eleanor Hoedemaker, Rabia Petersen, Frank Van der Horst, Mustafa Jacobs, Abdurahman Khan, David Appolis, Lucille Kennedy, Ms UC Fataar and Shaheed Mahomed.

Contact the NObama Coalition Cape Town at…

…Read a similar statement from the NObama Coalition Johannesburg at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/19/18738681.php.

Editor’s note: In the U.S., an outcry is rising against Obama’s trip to Africa for its cost, projected at $60 million to $100 million according to an anonymous source reporting to the Washington Post. “The White House is hoping the return on that investment will be an increased foothold for U.S. businesses on a continent where China and other emerging economies are already major players,” the AP reports. Rep. John Barrow, D-Georgia, however, told President Obama not to “rub that (exorbitant spending) in the faces of hard working Americans” in a time of sequester-generated austerity. And Black economic commentator William Reed complained that Obama is not taking an African-American business delegation with him, concluding, “The trip will show the continent’s ‘Homeboy’ to be no different than his 43 White predecessors: a paternal view of Africa as development cases, rather than opportunities for partnership.”

[Edited/excerpted by Zuo Shou]

Full article link: http://sfbayview.com/2013/nobama-south-africans-prepare-to-protest-obama-visit/