Pt. II: Africa, Obama and AFRICOM

US President Barack Obama recently made a visit to Ghana. In his first official trip to Africa, he left a strong impression on the world. An analysis of his remarks and policies regarding Africa itself is in order.

We have Obama’s most hard hitting remarks: Africa should stop blaming colonialism for its problems; Africa should stop relying on foreign aid and do for self. We also have Obama’s policy, a continuation of Bush era militarism in the form of AFRICOM, the US Africa Military Command. This policy presents the most severe plan related to structural readjustment.

Of course a direct link to structural readjustment and AFRICOM cannot be suggested without understanding the economic challenges faced by African states. The relationship of these states to capital has alienated them from the masses. Nigeria and Kenya, for instance, have felt snubbed because Obama by-passed them. At the same time, these countries have governments whih have failed to move their societies forward in a way that reflects the best use of their own natural and social resources.

This is not to say that Africa has to develop along Western industrial methods. However, it does mean that certain infrastructure deficiencies from health care to water purification and agriculture have gone neglected. This contradiction prevails in nearly all African states.

Nkrumah is very instructive on this period. When he described neo-colonialism as the last stage of Imperialism, his critique was mainly confined to conditions in our Motherland. Yet we now have to apply that analysis to the United States and its relationship to the world. The current president was elected because of his mantra of “change”. Increasingly, we see Obama as rescuing all the most odious forms of US political culture: militarism, international finance, and expansionism. Which means he represents just a mere changing of the guard.

AFRICOM is a plan to place military bases in Africa. Now Obama has already made comments about US policy, in comparison to Cuba. In those comments he compared Cuba favorably, noting that Latin American leaders have stated that while the primary form of aid they receive from the United States is weapons shipments, they really could not survive without the medical aid and physicians that Cuba has sent them over the years. Obama expressed his intention on changing that imbalance.

Africa, being a destitute region, has its share of problems. Parasitic worms plague people; women daily walk miles to carry drinking and cooking water home to their families; war, rape and AIDS have intensified during the post-colonial era. It does not seem as tho AFRICOM can provide any answers for African people.

Some folks might point this out as a form of selective memory but, clearly, the black prez suffers from Politically Acquired Ideological Deficiency Syndrome (PAIDS) as do many of his African counterparts.

The strategic importance of AFRICOM to the US does not concern the people of Africa, except to the extent that it will be imposed upon them. As an African born in America, my black consciousness is primary. It means more to me to see the rise of our people at home than the continuation of a durable Imperialism. The US continues to produce strong expressions of racism in media, in culture, economics and in politics. Police murders of blacks have become outrageous since the Obama election. Obama was elected because people, white and Latino and black, have become disgusted with the policies in American political life. Yet he has miserably failed to take any strident steps and turns away from this. His rhetoric often says one thing, as in the words he spoke to the Organization of American States, tho the policy continues to maintain the historical status quo.

Indeed, even his rhetoric often belies his genuine stance. Following his Ghana visit, Obama met with AIPAC (American-Israel Political Action Committee). Brother president did not tell them to stop blaming the Holocaust for their problems (?) nor did he suggest that Israel cease relying upon US foreign aid — which amounts to over half the US foreign aid budget — and do for itself. Still, that is what he said while in Ghana. Obama said Africans must stop blaming colonialism and begin to depend upon their own devices, even while pushing AFRICOM. His statements in Ghana are reminiscent of last year’s Fathers Day speech, wherein he castigated absentee fathers in the black community, while ignoring conditions like unemployment which cause social disintegration and black family instability.

While the US GDP is about $13 trillion, the current military budget is $969 billion. The US maintains 737 bases around the world. It seeks to ring bases around Africa (AFRICOM) to guarantee access to oil. By 2015, it is estimated the US will receive 25% of its oil imports from Africa, which has already become the main supplier to the United States. Other strategic resources that AFRICOM will defend include coltan, gold, platinum, diamonds, timber, agriculture, political allies and labor.
African does not need foreign troops on its soil. While Obama says stop blaming colonialism, he forgets how the former colonial powers have behaved in the post-colonial period. This involves the overthrow of Nkrumah, Azikwe, Tolbert and others. During this period, history records the overthrow and physical liquidation of Patrice Lumumba for the long-term destabilization of Congo for Imperialist interests. Agents killed Cabral, Neto and Mondlane in newly independent Portuguese colonies, severely the path of development for Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, respectively. Apartheid South Africa waged war against neighboring countries and its black population right up thru the Nineties, routinely invading Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola.

The US has had its own sordid background in Africa, hunting down Somali President Mohammed El Aidid and flying vicious sorties over Mogadishu neighborhoods. The US has sent gunships to Liberia and Sierra Leone. CIA agents have played a role in many coups in Africa. The US benefits from the destabilization of DRC, backing the occupiers of Eastern DRC, Uganda’s Yoweri Musaveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. The effects of a US military presence are already obvious to anyone with a critical eye.

The solution for Africa’s problems is not AFRICOM. It is not foreign aid. It is in what Kwame Nkrumah stated and so tirelessly worked towards, the unification of Africa under a singular socialist state. That is not on the agenda for the majority of African leaders, who seek to maintain their despotic grips on power to control fiefdoms for Imperialism. Such leaders maintain the status quo, with Africa remaining a begging bowl ravaged by guinea worm, schistosomiasis, AIDS, war, malnutrition, rape, and ignorance. Cheik Anta Diop, John Henrik Clarke and other great historians had great suggestions for redeeming our Motherland from the chokehold of capitalism. We have to accept their advice to free our people.

When Obama attended the OAS conference a few months ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave him a book, Eduardo Galeano’s prosaic, polemic tour de force, The Open Veins of Latin America. Had Obama read it, that would signify the beginning of real change in the United States White House.

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Neo-Colonialism in the Racist US Police State

In this period of Obama-ite neo-colonialism, our colonial experience as Africans reminds us that we have previously traveled this road. To qualify this as a colonial experience clarifies the fact that African history does not begin with slavery or any relationship with Europeans. Therefore, any statements or feelings that the presidency of Barack Obama is in any way history-making or even “the end of racism” grossly misrepresents reality. It smears our role as a people in the vast interwoven social fabric that produces history thru COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERACTION.

So some racist ideologues continue to say that “your own people sold you into slavery”, and if it weren’t for slavery we could not enjoy freedom, etc. These views, all too often backed up by negro preachers and politicians at some level or another, derive directly from colonialist self-justification rather than any message that will liberate our people from the bondage of colonialism and Imperialism.

True, the seeds of ne(gr)o-colonialism took root when the first slatees received handfuls of beads in exchange for capturing their fellow Africans and selling them to white slavers. Hence, the guilt of neo-colonialism – beyond being an emotional game but embedded in a criminal activity – requires that the crooks engaged in this enterprise maintain their grip on the minds of a people sold out and eviscerated. In hand with slavery, neo-colonialism justifies Imperialism and obstructs our community from elevating critical issues like reparations, prisons, the war-of-drugs, health-care, and so forth.

It must be said that Obama is a neo-colonialist who speaks very differently from any prior US president. Obama seems to support the unions; he points out how Cuba’s relates to Latin America by sending physicians, while the US has historically sent weapons. If Obama wants to place a human face upon Imperialism, that will fail in the long run. He cannot dismiss any of the deep-seated hostility of a racist system, which presses down upon our community.

Thru out our colonial experience, those wielding power whose faces remain indistinguishable from ours have typically remained unable or unwilling to diminish the State monopoly on violence. Obama has yet to discuss critical issues relating to the State’s conduct in its operations, policies, and undue weight of forces on the black community. The apparent diluting effect of Obama-ite neo-colonialism, on the concentrated class question better known as racism, so far has failed to dilute anti-black police State repression.

For this reason, Africans must recognize the realities of Imperialism. The State continues to display naked aggression against the black community. Arizona’s Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio recently expressed his admiration of the Ku Klux Klan in a broadcast interview. This same official imposes the worst work camp conditions on detainees, and recently fired NBA law and order slatee Shaquille O’Neal.

Former US congressman turned Oakland mayor, Ron Dellums attempted to intervene in a demonstration protesting the recent police murder of Oscar Grant. Officers involved in the execution of Grant, a New Year’s Day reveler, in full view of scores of people on a BART platform, had remained at large. The State dragged its feet, despite more than ample footage captured by camera phone users, plus eyewitness accounts. For some reason, Dellums obviously believed that protests were uncalled for and people should never take to the street. Well, the demo turned int a rebellion when the mayor disappeared and the pigs moved in to arrest San Francisco Bay View activist/reporter JR Valrey.

Following that day’s uprising, the State finally arrested the trigger man, tho his two accomplices – who accessorized the crime by confiscating camera phones – have not been charged. Meanwhile, Valrey continues to fight charges for participating in a demonstration.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, another journalist, has spent 26 years on Pennsylvania’s death row for a wrongful murder conviction. He steadfastly continues to write about the plight of poor and disorganized working people. The State refuses to not only recognize his innocence, it refuses to review exculpatory testimony from witnesses, and ignores established legal precedents where Mumia’s rights have been violated.

One of two orgiastic statues on the Pennsylvania State Assembly

One of two orgiastic statues on the Pennsylvania State Assembly

Indeed, across Pennsylvania more political prisoners waste away in prison than in any other state. Maroon Shoatz has been on 23-hour lockdown since 1991. The MOVE Eight cannot receive a fair and lenient parole hearing for a crime that they did not commit.

A group of human rights activists traveled to Harrisburg on April 22 to discuss with state lawmakers the conditions that prisoners face inside the state prison system. These people complained of sons, friends and contacts who were on 23 hour lockdown, had urine and other contaminants in their food, denied medical attention, and subjected to other horrendous problems. Some of the lawmakers or their aides seemed concerned, while a few appeared nonplussed. In any event, the struggle for prisoner rights will not stop there, let alone the struggle for those wrongly convicted to serve as fodder for the Imperialist system.

These are the conditions which real freedom fighters face, and our community must not wait for anybody else to speak for these oppressed sisters and brothers. Four percent of the world population, the US accounts for 25% of all prisoners worldwide. Of that number, fully two-thirds are colonized workers, being Latino and African. Together, these two groups make up one-fourth of the US population. FBI crime states have consistently stated that crimes are committed fairly evenly across populations, meaning that white commit the same crimes at the same rate as anybody else, which means that white prisoners should out-number blacks or Latinos by eight-to-one. But they do not because law enforcement and the prison system are based upon colonialism and racism.

While any number of somebodies still need to justify the State by pleading for balance when conditions demand mass uprisings, that blind lady with the sword and scales comes from mythology. Our mistress for justice is Mama Assata Shakur, living in exile in revolutionary Cuba with a $1 million bounty on her head by this same injustice system.

Cuba, the embargoed country which sends doctors to Latin America while America sends guns. Cuba, a land where people took up arms and joined the fight against apartheid South Africa ten thousand miles away, while America deepens African oppression. Negroes want to become doctors and politicians not to help their own people but to help capitalism. Yet African people need revolutionary physicians, revolutionary politicians and journalists, and revolutionary thinkers and doers who will help liberate our people. We must not believe in neo-colonialism no matter how well it works; we must pick up on revolution.

Luis Posada Carriles, US Guest, International Terrorist

Havana.  April 9, 2009

Posada accused in relation to the attacks in Havana

Jean-Guy Allard

IN a surprising change of strategy, Washington district attorneys responsible for the case against Luis Posada Carriles have increased the number of charges brought against the international terrorist in El Paso, Texas, with respect to false statements in relation to the campaign of attacks that he unleashed in Havana in 1997.

According to the AP, Posada is now charged with having lied about his involvement “in seeking individuals to carry out attacks in Cuba.” More specifically, the district attorneys specified that he failed to tell the truth about having asked Salvadorian mercenary Raúl Cruz León to take explosives to the island for attacks designed to damaging tourist activity.

One of the acts of terrorism perpetrated by Cruz León, contracted by Posada in El Salvador, resulted in the death of Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo. Posada has admitted to his involvement in these crimes in interviews published in the United States.

With a lengthy record in terrorism, including the mid-flight destruction of a Cuban civilian aircraft that caused the death of all 73 people on board, Posada now faces 11 charges, once again appearing before Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone, who previously released him.

The change of strategy on the part of the district attorneys, headed by John W. Van Lonkhuyzen, who belong to the Anti-Terrorist Section of the Justice Department – now directed by Eric Holder – would seems to correspond to a review of the case given repeated extradition applications by the Venezuelan government, in the run up to the Americas Summit, where the issue will inevitably be raised.

However, the District Attorney’s Office has limited itself to additional charges perjury and obstruction against the most famous terrorist in the hemisphere, who worked for the CIA for more than 25 years, besides having served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The new charges will be filed today in the El Paso Court, in a hearing where Posada will supposedly have to be present.

The killer torturer, who is of Cuban origin but was naturalized in Venezuela, has been at liberty since May 2007, after the same judge, Kathleen Cardone, rejected the immigration charges brought by the Justice Department of former U.S. president George W. Bush. That ruling was overturned by the New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, which ordered a retrial.

Translated by Granma International

Mara Salvatruchas Trece (MS-13)

Overlap: Drug Gangs and Geo-Politics

Mara Salvatruchas Trece (MS-13) is a violent drug network that has filtrated from Centroamerica up thru Mexico and into the United States. MS-13 comprises blowback from the CIA-counterinsurgency terror network — organized during the Eighties to repress the revolutionary movements — operating in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. They have been blamed for countless acts of horrific violence, including indiscriminate attacks against other colonized peoples, particularly Africans.

In order to understand their linkages to international narco-terrorism, you have to pose MS-13 against the backdrop of the CIA Guns-for-Drugs operations, sanctioned and financed by the National Security Administration. Also known as CIA Iran-Contra during the Reagan Administration, Guns-for-Drugs was overseen by Oliver North, and run out of the White House.

The Israelis managed a big cut in the action, traced to the vast numbers of Uzis and foreign manufacture weapons on the streets here and elsewhere. Associated with the volatile cocaine traffic that flooded the US starting in the 80s, the bullet-riddled body of an Israeli Mossad officer turned up in car trunk when US armed forces invaded Panama in 1989.

Under the Carter Administration, the CIA was assigned to arm and train Al Qaida in Afghanistan to face down the Soviet occupation. CIA/Al Qaida encouraged opium cultivation to finance the pre-Taliban mujahiddeen, which formed the bulk of the anti-Soviet fighters. As then-NSA advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski directed this strategy, subsequently taken over by North, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan aimed to halt the rising leftist trend in “America’s backyard” thru the most violent counterinsurgency methods in recent history. Centroamerica’s main operatives behind US policy included Nicaragua’s Contras, Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega (whom the US later deposed and imprisoned), the Guatemalan government. Right-wing death squads operated with impunity in El Salvador during that era, massacring 100,000 students, workers, peasants and even nuns. These vicious activities had political backing from Congress, which led a toothless investigation of CIA Iran-Contra, for the illegal mining of Nicaragua’s harbor. Columbia, Bolivia and Peru became enmeshed in violent struggles between communist rebels versus reactionary governments. Imperialist drug kingpins press ganged peasants into intense coca production, which eventually hit our streets as cocaine.

A sidebar, Nicaragua and El Salvador at that time sustained the world’s second highest amputation rates, following closely behind Angola and Mozambique. In all four cases, militarized gangs — funded and trained by Imperialist forces — used machetes and other edged implements to terrorize, dismember, maim and murder people by the thousands.

Undeniably connected with this time, drug money laundered thru Cayman Islands or US savings and loans institutions accounted for billions of dollars in illegal proceeds, which ultimately contributed to the collapse of 747 S&Ls like Whitewater, BCCI, and others. This is only one of many leading edges of the reactionary right-wing agenda in American politics.

MS-13 arose as the heir apparent of the Centroamericano pro-imperialist death squads and drug gangs. Parasitic excrescences backing this web of intrigue include reactionary financiers, presently looting the worldwide working class, and imposing a regime of terror across the globe.

We can connect the dots to make comparisons with CIA-trained Al Qaida, spreading its bloodsucking influence thru out Asia. Alongside Al Qaida, include the US-backed military regimes of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Musaveni presently aiming to annex DRC, the interhamwe in DRC, the Saudi-funded janjaweed in Darfur, and other similar pro-imperialist and sub-imperialist terror formations. The common thread running thru these factions involves profit-making via militarized violence, counterinsurgency, and neo-colonialism. Illuminating MS-13 makes one more case for the revolutionary transformation of Imperialism’s genocidal class system.

MS-13, like all drug gangs, poses a serious threat to the stability of working class communities. Their indiscriminate targeting of black people must meet stiff resistance. Yet it makes little sense to stampede peoples minds with scattershot information that provides primitive context, liberal-reactionary content, and race nationalist underpinnings. Our community must become organized not just for simple self-defense. That cannot survive as a successful strategy within any scenario. We have to organize by building scientific socialism, that is, revolutionary communities of resistance, a maroon society.