The U.S. is moving towards war against Eritrea, a fiercely independent African nation of only six million people. Washington has deployed its UN “human rights” proxies to justify another “humanitarian” military intervention, remarkably like the UN-sanctioned aggression against Libya, in 2011. The UN panel charges Eritrea with “enslaving” and murdering its own people – a pack of imperial lies. Obama is set to add another war to his bloody legacy.
“Eritrea’s fierce independence has put it in imperialism’s crosshairs.”
The United States is methodically setting the stage for a so-called “humanitarian” military intervention against the small northeast African nation of Eritrea, under legal pretexts much like those used to justify NATO’s war of regime change against Libya, in 2011. As in Libya, the U.S. has hijacked the United Nations human rights apparatus to claim a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) Eritrea’s citizens from alleged abuses by their own government. War and regime change are the intended result.
Washington engineered UN sanctions against Eritrea, beginning in 2009, on the patently bogus charge that Eritrea’s determinedly secular government provided “political, financial and logistical support” to Islamist Shabaab fighters in Somalia. Islamic jihadism is anathema to Eritrea, whose population of six million on the shores of the Red Sea is about evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. But few people in the United States knew Eritrea existed, much less its secular revolutionary history and politics. The lies stuck, as did the sanctions, even after the UN Human Rights Council conceded there was no further evidence of Eritrean aid to the Shabaab.
A three-person UN panel now alleges that Eritrea is a lawless state that has committed “crimes against humanity,” enslaving up to 400,000 people and engaging in murder, forced disappearances, rape and torture. Mark Smith, the Australian chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, demands that Eritrea be put on trial before the International Criminal Court, a body that has indicted only Africans – and only those that were on the wrong side of U.S. foreign policy – since its creation in 2002. Smith laid the legal groundwork for the overthrow of the Eritrean government:
There is no genuine prospect of the Eritrean judicial system holding perpetrators to account in a fair and transparent manner. The perpetrators of these crimes must face justice and the victims’ voices must be heard. The international community should now take steps, including using the International Criminal Court [ICC], national courts and other available mechanisms, to ensure there is accountability for the atrocities being committed in Eritrea.
The UN commission demands that Eritrea be put on trial before the International Criminal Court, a body that has indicted only Africans.
In February of 2011, the United Nations Security Council, led by the U.S., Britain and France, referred the case against Libya to the ICC, to provide a criminal justice rationale for the military assault that was already underway against Muammar Gaddafi’s government. This time, Washington has instructed its UN proxies to give “humanitarian” legal cover in advance for an attack on Eritrea. The demonization campaign is built around two Big Lies: one, that Eritrea’s system of national service – a form of draft, which is the right of all nations – amounts to “slavery”; and two, that domestic oppression in Eritrea is a prime source of African refugees to Europe, with the tiny nation allegedly accounting for more cross-continental emigration than every other country except war-ravaged Syria.
National service in Eritrea, as in many other countries, includes not only military duty on the front lines with Ethiopia – which still occupies parts of Eritrea in clear violation of an international arbitration agreement – but also labor in public works projects as well as service in health and education infrastructures. (Most teachers in Eritrea, for example, are national service workers.) Lots of folks would call that socialism or nation-building – which is how the Eritreans see it.
The Eritreans defend extended national service on grounds of necessity, citing an existential threat from the Ethiopian military, backed to the hilt by Washington. Economic sanctions have also necessitated that Eritrea mobilize the population to develop its own national resources. However, self-reliance is also a cornerstone of Eritrean domestic development policy, and seen as central to maintaining true national sovereignty and independence. Eritrea rejects foreign “aid” and entanglements with structures of international capital, and is one of only two nations in Africa that has no relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. military command on the continent (Zimbabwe is the other).
It is insane to believe that little Eritrea, with only six million people, has set more people to flight than neighboring Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population 15 times greater.
Eritrea’s fierce independence has put it in imperialism’s crosshairs. Eritrea is “Africa’s Cuba” – and the United States treats it as such in a striking variety of ways. Indeed, the other Big Lie against Eritrea – that it is the second largest contributor to the waves of refugees risking life and limb to reach Europe – is directly related to European immigration policies, urged on them by the U.S., that put Eritrea in much the same bind as U.S. policy towards Cuba.
It is insane to believe that little Eritrea, with only six million people, has set more people to flight than neighboring Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, now in the throes of a devastating drought, with a population 15 times greater; or neighboring Sudan, also desperately poor and afflicted by multiple wars, with 40 million people; or nearby Somalia, a nation without a state, inhabited by 10 million people. Indeed, economic, political and war refugees from all across Africa claim to be Eritrean because, unlike citizens of any other African country, Eritrean refugees are afforded special status on arrival in Europe as presumptive political refugees who might face torture if returned home. As with U.S. Cuba policy, the Eritrean exception was designed to weaken and destabilize the country through a brain and human resource drain. Inevitably, however, the policy has made Eritrean identification papers the hottest selling documents on the streets of Khartoum and other refugee gathering points. Europe is awash, as is Israel, with fake Eritreans fleeing various military, political and economic catastrophes – most of them rooted in Euro-American foreign destabilization policies and the global capitalist Race to the Bottom.
If Latin Americans could pass for Cubans, the populations of U.S. “Little Havanas” would number in the tens of millions, full of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Mexicans.
“Economic, political and war refugees from all across Africa claim to be Eritrean.”
Ethiopians pass most easily as Eritreans, since millions of them share the same ethnic background. About half of Eritreans are Tigrayan, the ethnic group that is the fourth largest in Ethiopia and dominates the ruling party in Addis Ababa. The Austrian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Andreas Melan, last year estimated that “among the thousands of Eritrean migrants in Europe, 30 to 40 percent are Ethiopians.” That may be an underestimate. And many more “Eritreans” actually hail from as far away as West Africa.
The Eritrean ambassador to Israel believes that Ethiopians account for half of the purported Eritreans seeking refugee status in that country. “They know the Eritreans automatically receive a six-month visa, so they pretend to be Eritrean,” said the ambassador.
The Eritrean refugee scam is an open secret all across Europe, and is well known to the American and European governments. The Big Lie is maintained to serve imperial purposes, and will now be deployed to justify an armed assault on Eritrea as an alleged mass enslaver and rogue nation. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea will submit its manufactured findings to the Human Rights Council on June 21, setting the imperial lynch mob in motion.
“They know the Eritreans automatically receive a six-month visa, so they pretend to be Eritrean.”
Eritrea cannot expect a fair hearing from a UN apparatus that is puppeteered from Washington. As the Eritrean government stated in its preliminary response to the UN commission’s charges:
The purposes of national service in Eritrea are clearly stated in a legal proclamation of 1994 and are three-fold: national defense, economic and social development and national integration. The service is not indefinite although for a time and in certain cases it has been prolonged due the already explained existential threat of war.
The commission based its findings on the testimony of about 800 (alleged) Eritreans interviewed in various foreign cities, while ignoring the 42,000 Eritrean expatriates that have petitioned the world body to lift sanctions against their home country.
The UN panel is ignoring what is “effectively a continuing state of war with Ethiopia, the illegal occupation of Eritrean territory which constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights, repeated armed aggression, sanctions and mistaken policies that consider almost all Eritreans asylum-seekers,” said Eritrean government spokesperson Yemane Gebreab. That’s a diplomatic way of putting it. By referring the case to the International Criminal Court, and implicitly threatening military action against Eritrea, the commission has become a warmonger.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean troops were rushing towards the disputed border, the site of heavy artillery duels. The Times quoted an Eritrean dissident living in Sweden as their expert of the moment. “If there is a war, or the rumor of a war, it could be a way for the Eritrean government to get support and divert attention,” said the dissident. The newspaper also relayed a Twitter message from an Eritrean American in his homeland’s capital. “Here in Asmara, it’s peaceful despite #EthiopianAttacks against #Eritrea on the Tsorona front. And you wonder why there’s national service?”
President Obama seems intent on adding War #8 to his imperial legacy.
Stephanie St. Clair was born in Martinique, an island in the East Caribbean in 1886 and came to the United States via Marseilles, France. In 1912 she arrived in Harlem. She was known for her deep involvement in the seedy gangster underworld. According to those who knew her, she was arrogant, sophisticated and astute to the ways of urban life. She reportedly told people that she was born in “European France” and was able to speak “flawless French” as opposed to the less refined French spoken by those in the Caribbean. Whenever people questioned her national origin, she would always respond in French. St. Clair also spoke Spanish. Noted for her fierce temper, St. Clair spouted profanity in various languages when angered or outraged by some perceived slight or injustice. Her eloquent sense of fashion was well- known throughout Harlem where she was referred to as Madame St.Clair. In in the rest of Manhattan and other city boroughs, she was referred to as “Queenie.”
St. Clair developed the first numbers bank located in Harlem. Here she and her partners, including Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, made the first significant criminal fortunes in black New York. Initially they had little competition except for rival Casper Holstein but by the 1930s their undisputed control over Harlem’s numbers rackets was challenged. After the Great Depression began and Prohibition ended in 1932, a number of white New York mobsters saw their profits rapidly diminish. They turned to the lucrative Harlem illegal gambling scene to supplement their loss revenue. Led by Dutch Schultz, a coalition of non-Harlem gangsters engaged in a bloody war with St. Clair and her allies for control of organized crime in that community. Over 40 people were killed in gangland related violence including often the murder of Harlem numbers operators.
Despite the violence against their operation, St. Clair and Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson initially refused to surrender to Shultz. Over time, however, their power weakened. St. Clair made several futile complaints to local authorities about harassment from the New York Police Department which she felt aided Shultz. Without political influence at City Hall, her concerns were ignored. In response, St. Clair took out several ads in Harlem newspapers accusing senior police officers of various forms of corruption. Outraged by this, she was arrested by the police on several exaggerated charges. In response she testified to New York State’s Seabury Crime Commission about the large number of kickbacks she had paid police officials to protect her operations. Her charges led to the dismissal of several police officers.
As St. Clair realized she could no longer oppose Shultz, she agreed to a truce which transferred the power and profits from her organization to Shultz and the Italian Mafia headed by Lucky Luciano. In 1935, Dutch Shultz was assassinated on the orders of Luciano. Although St. Clair was not involved with his murder, she was remembered for sending an infamous telegram to his bed that stated “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” The telegram reportedly made headlines across the nation. St. Clair’s former lieutenant, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson became the Mafia’s representative in Harlem while she slipped into obscurity. Stephanie St. Clair died quietly in Harlem in 1969. –
Original Article Found At BlackPast.org — http://www.blackpast.org/aah/st-clair-stephanie-1886-1969#sthash.RUqeIavr.dpuf
Decades-old records detailing the NYPD's monitoring of the Puerto Rican activist group the Young Lords during the 1960s and 1970s have been found in a Queens warehouse. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
The records documented the NYPD's conduct during the civil rights movement. But somehow, according to the department, hundreds of boxes of files detailing its surveillance of activists from 1955 to 1972 were lost, until now.
"Nation of Islam files, and I am not just talking about a few folders," said civil rights attorney Gideon Oliver. "According to the index, there are several boxes. There are boxes of surveillance of the Black Panther Party. There are boxes of records related to the Columbia University antiwar uprising."
Baruch College Professor Johanna Fernandez fought the NYPD for 10 years for records detailing the surveillance of the Puerto Rican activist group The Young Lords. She ended up seeking the so-called Handshu files documenting surveillance of all activists in the '60s and '70s.
"We are talking about approximately a million documents involving the histories, activities and efforts of New Yorkers," Fernandez said.
A judge actually tossed out a lawsuit Fernandez filed, ruling the city and the NYPD proved they couldn't find the documents, which a federal court had ordered preserved. But this week, the Department of Records and Information services said it found those documents during a routine inventory at a Queens warehouse. There could be more than 500 boxes.
"This is going to be the most complete record of police files, of surveillance of political activities, I would venture to say in existence," Oliver said.
For Felipe Luciano, a co-founder of the Young Lords, this is personal. He says police illegally infiltrated many groups with the help of informants. There were violent and deadly clashes, and still a lot of questions that may have answers in those NYPD records.
"Imagine the person who was next to Malcolm, is the one who said, 'My wallet, somebody took my wallet,' and that's when they shot him. Imagine the Nation of Islam finding out who were the rats," Luciano said.
The city says it could be months before the files are made public and that, of course, some information won't be released because of privacy concerns.
Written by Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
Saturday, 18 June 2016 21:12
| Will CARICOM stand with Zimbabwe?
At the end of 2015 between December 4 and 6 a very important meeting took place in Trinidad and Tobago between the Caribbean Pan African Network (CPAN), Citizens and Diaspora Directorate of the African Union and CARICOM (CIDO) that resulted in a historic Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and CARICOM.
The President of CPAN Mr David Commissong discussed a bridge between the two governmental structures of the AU and CARICOM in order to foster the realisation of concrete developmental objectives. It would be truly monumental if CARICOM and the AU issued a joint resolution calling for the immediate lifting of US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe; a political statement of that magnitude would not only be unprecedented diplomatically speaking, but would evoke the spirit of the modern day Pan African movements architect and forefather, who ironically was born in Trinidad and Tobago, Henry Sylvester Williams.
While that Pan African giant is best remembered for organising the 1st Pan African Conference in 1900 in London at West Minster Hall, it should never be forgotten that three years before in 1897 he formed the African Association for the purpose of challenging paternalism, racism and imperialism. The objective was to promote and protect the interests of all subjects claiming African descent, wholly or in part, in British colonies and other places especially Africa, by circulating accurate information on all subjects affecting their rights, privileges and subjects of the British Empire by direct appeals to imperial and local governments. This bold and visionary move by Comrade Sylvester Williams was not only completely in step with the energy and courage displayed by Mbuya Nehanda and her comrades on the battlefield during the First Chimurenga that began in 1896; in 1903 he went on to practice as a barrister in South Africa, making him the very 1st African to be called to the bar in what was called the Cape Colony.
The people of Zimbabwe only hope that CIDO, CPAN and CARICOM recognise that establishing a union of this magnitude means that all three bodies recognise the paramount importance of correcting all political mistakes and errors committed in the past, especially the ones that wreak of capitulation to US-EU imperialism.
At the moment CARICOM consists of the following nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St Marteens and Venezuela.
It was rather disappointing in 2008 when CARICOM decided to condemn the Presidential elections in Zimbabwe, for a multitude of reasons, the first being extremely audacious because several Caribbean nations (Montserrat, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands) are to this day officially recognised as British Occupied Territories and while Aruba and Curacao have associate status and St Maarten has observer status, all three nations are recognised on the world stage as Countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We must also remember that Puerto Rico is officially recognized as a colony of the USA.
Another reason CARICOM should be celebrating President Mugabe and ZANU-PF was for not accepting LDC status when offered at the UN 10 years ago, which was a gesture that failed to acknowledge the impact that US-EU sanctions were having on the economy and social infrastructure. According to CARICOM its 15 members are currently broken down economically into two categories respectively, Less Developed Countries and More Developed Countries. The nine that are considered LDC are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Haiti, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines. The economic struggles of these nations could be at the heart of their subservience when Zimbabwe was suspended and eventually withdrew from the Commonwealth 13 years ago.
When CARICOM was established at the Treaty of Chaguaramas in Trinidad in 1973 Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia were all in the bush waging guerilla warfare for their total independence, which said the statement total sovereignty and self-determination is worth dying for; something that our ancestors in Haiti way back in 1804 and our comrades in Cuba understood from the very outset. The manner that CARICOM as a collective has chosen the Zimbabwe question should not in any way overshadow how Cuba and Venezuela under the late Commandante Hugo Chavez and currently President Marduro have not wavered on solidarity towards their comrades in the SADC region of Africa. For anyone who doubts the authenticity of these relationships, President Mugabe has the Jose Marti Award from Cuba which he received in 1986 and the Simon Bolivar award from Venezuela in 2003 as proof in the pudding.
What also has been problematic concerning this dynamic is the manner in which President Obama manipulates his cultural makeup to promote neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism throughout the Caribbean. This can be seen in President Obama’s recent statement concerning Caribbean-American Heritage month when he is quoted as saying, “The legacy of Caribbean Americans is one of tenacity and drive. This month let us honour the resilient heritage and rich history of Caribbean Americans and let us reflect upon the diversity of experience that unites us as a people”.
These remarks by President Obama though lofty and verbose magnify the contradictions and ideological divide among Africans in the Caribbean at a moment where his ego has him functioning from the understanding that visiting Cuba just before he leaves office, but spending seven years doing absolutely nothing sufficient to lift the US blockade on Cuba, represents a new chapter in US-Cuba relations.
Our people in the Caribbean should view President Obama and former US Secretary of State and Joint Chief of Staff General Colin Powell as one and the same. It was General Powell who gave the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 the diplomatic seal of approval and penned an opinion piece entitled “Freeing a Nation From A Tyrant’s Grip” in the New York Times that introduced many US citizens who read that paper to the political buffoonery of former Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. This explains that when General Powell leaped across the aisle and endorsed President Obama in 2008, he was looking for an African who hated President Mugabe as much as he does. Let us remember President Obama wrote President Bush a letter when he was still a Junior Senator of Illinois pleading with him not to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe until President Mugabe, whom he referred to as a dark cloud, was ousted from power. We are glad President Mugabe took the high road and chose not to ask President Obama whether he was referring to his complexion when using the word dark, especially since we know historically Africans who are lighter are biologically products of a mixed marriage, have in many cases mocked Africans who are, as the iconic R&B singer Curtis Mayfield put it, we who are darker than blue.
The Africans in the Caribbean should know that General Powell and President Obama’s sentiments are echoed by Professor Horace Campbell who authored the Pro MDC manifesto, “Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhausting of the Patriarchical Model of Liberation”. Professor Campbell was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica. At one point earlier in this millennium professors at Morehouse University in Atlanta Georgia had told Dr Simbi Mubako, the former Zimbabwe Ambassador to the US, there was an interest in linking up with traditional healers in Zimbabwe to gain more insight concerning green medicine and also how Zimbabwe was weathering the storm dealing with HIV-AIDS.
During this time, the Director of Public Health was none other than Dr Patricia Rodney, the widow of Pan African giant and historian Dr Walter Rodney who is best known for his epic book “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”.
According to the late national hero Dr Nathan Shamayarira when Walter Rodney visited Zimbabwe he was seeking military and political support from President Mugabe and zanu-pf, and was escorted throughout the country by former zanu-pf, political commissar Webster Shamu, who has stated he will write about his time with Dr Rodney in Zimbabwe if it could help Zimbabwe solidarity efforts in the US and the d Diaspora.
If CARICOM is going to betray Zimbabwe, the rhetoric of President Obama, General Powel and on a much lower level Professor Campbell is hardly a justifiable reason.
Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US Correspondent to The Herald and the External Relations Officer of ZICUFA(Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association). His email is firstname.lastname@example.org