Posts Tagged ‘French’

‘Millions in Harlem March’ Aims to Stop US, NATO War-making in Libya

August 4, 2011

By Saeed Shabazz
FINAL CALL
August 4, 2011

NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Activists representing a broad coalition of anti-war organizations, the Nation of Islam, the political left, Islamic organizations and a plethora of grassroots community organizations recently stood together on the stage of the Assembly Hall at the Riverside Church, proclaiming that “all roads lead to Harlem” for the Aug. 13 “Millions in Harlem March” to stop the bombing of Libya.

There is a huge gap between Western Media reports in Libya and what is actually going on there.

“Where are we going to be on Aug. 13?” asked Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, the main sponsors of the Riverside Church event. “In Harlem!” the standing room only crowd shouted back.

“President Barack Obama never believed that his actions against Libya could galvanize the movement that will be in the streets of Harlem on Aug. 13”, said Abdul Akbar Muhammad, the international representative of the Nation of Islam, in response to a question from The Final Call. Marching alongside of the Nation of Islam the second Saturday in August will be members of the “White Left and other progressives, Pan Africanists, Black grassroots organizations and national Islamic organizations,” he added.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will be the keynote speaker at the Harlem march. “Min. Farrakhan will deliver a dynamic speech from 110th Street to 125th Street,” said Mr. Muhammad. The march will start at 110th Street.

The United Nations Security Council March 17 passed resolution 1973 by a vote of 10 in favor with five abstentions, authorizing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to begin a “no-fly zone” over Libyan air space, alleging President Muammar Gadhafi was targeting civilians in the North African nation.

Some Libyans had begun anti-Gadhafi demonstrations in February in the city of Benghazi, which turned into armed rebellion. The UN offered no proof Libya’s leader was killing unarmed civilians, though he vowed to fight those who had taken up arms against the government.

INNOCENT? There is still no evidence that Gaddafi had "gunned down innocent protestors" back in Feb 2011.

The U.S. and France March 18 started bombing so-called military targets, but the damage done by a “peace effort,” according to some observers, was more costly than what the Libyan leader had been accused of. Then came attacks on personal compounds that killed Libyan officials as well as a son of Col. Gadhafi and his grandchildren. NATO bombs hit the home of Libya’s leader at least twice as Western nations declared he had to go, pushing a policy of regime change.

Cynthia McKinney, a six-term former congresswoman from Georgia, was the keynote speaker for the Riverside Church rally. She told The Final Call she agreed with Mr. Muhammad’s assessment. “This will galvanize public opinion, as people see this as being important to them. Obama certainly stumbled this time,” referring to the president’s continued support for the NATO bombing of Libya. According to news outlets, the Obama administration is sending $10 million a day to NATO for the bombing of Libya.

Ms. McKinney had been on an 11-city tour telling packed audiences about her experiences in Tripoli in the early days of the NATO/UN aggression.

“There is definitely a buzz in the streets around Aug. 13,” said Larry Holmes of the Newark-based Bail Out the People Not the Banks movement. “Expect people to be in the streets of Harlem in numbers,” he said.

Information about the street mobilization for the march may be found at www.millionmarchinharlem.com. There are organizing teams in all five New York boroughs that have saturated neighborhoods with green posters announcing the march.

“The people are very excited about the march, and Min. Louis Farrakhan as the keynote speaker is great. We are going to fill up Malcolm X Boulevard,” said one volunteer.

During a June 15 press conference at a hotel across the street from the United Nations, Min. Farrakhan told the media the “United Nations, U.S.-sponsored, NATO-led bombing of the North African country of Libya” was the work of “a coalition of demons,” governments who have joined together to assassinate Col. Gadhafi.

But even some who voted for the initial resolutions and allowed the resolutions to pass have expressed reservation, if not outright regret. The African Union, in particular, has been calling for and working for a negotiated settlement only to be disregarded by Western nations intent on putting a new Libyan government in place.

The South African ambassador to the UN, Baso Sangqu, told the 15-member Security Council July 28 that his country’s delegation “echoes the African Union demand for an immediate pause in the fighting and in the NATO bombing.”

“We have noted the calls that ‘Gaddafi must go.’ We maintain that such statements do not bring us closer to a political solution,” the South African ambassador said. South Africa is occupying a rotating seat on the Security Council and supported the initial resolutions.

In a speech that was not widely covered by the media, Ambassador Sangqu said, “South Africa remains concerned about the implementation of resolutions 1970 and 1973. Taking sides in an internal conflict situation to institute regime change in Libya sets a dangerous precedent that will surely damage the credibility of the Security Council.”

“Clearly action focused on a military solution has not had its intended purpose, instead it has worked to destabilize the country even further,” he added.

Gabon and Nigeria also initially voted yes on resolutions 1970 and 1973, but the African Union has strongly condemned the bombing of any African nation.

The UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Libya announced July 26 through a press office that the “two sides remain far apart on reaching agreement on a political solution.” The two sides are the Gadhafi government and the rebel Transnational Council, which the U.S., France, Italy, Britain have recognized as the legitimate government of Libya.

The two sides, however, “have reaffirmed their desire to continue to engage with the UN in the search for a solution,” said special envoy Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, a member of Jordan’s parliament. Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoud reiterated his government’s previous positions against the NATO air strikes and against the removal of Libya’s president.

“There comes a time when people have no alternative but resistance,” Viola Plummer, co-founder of the December 12th Movement one of the sponsoring organizations for the Harlem march, said July 30.

“This march will revitalize the Pan African movement. It will broaden our people’s world view and demonstrate the need for Africans to unite in our own political and economic interests internationally,” she added.

“We must expose the UN Security Council machinations, Western imperialism; the attack on Black people in the U.S. and all collaborations at every turn,” Ms. Plummer said.

March organizers say the Harlem event has garnered worldwide attention. One dignitary supporting the march is Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, a former Nicaraguan foreign minister and the 63rd president of the UN General Assembly.

During his speech at the press conference announcing the march, Father Brockman said the event was important in light of how the media “systemically deceived” the American people.

Meanwhile the killing of a major rebel commander by compatriots raised questions about how the group could stay together and raised again reports that elements of Al-Qaeda were heavily involved in the rebel effort. (See related story on page 12.)

The Chinese news service Xinhuanet reported July 31 NATO’s claim of bombing three satellite dishes in Tripoli to “stop” what was labeled “terror broadcasts” by President Gadhafi. However, there are Twitter messages, also July 31, that say Libya television is still on the air.

Just before the Aug. 1 start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer, NATO bombs struck Tripoli, and officials in Brussels would not rule other more strikes—though they were worried about a possible backlash in the Muslim world about strikes during the sacred month. “Tripoli shook with the sound of several explosions as NATO warplanes roared overhead doing what they have been doing since March, striking at what are supposedly Al Qathafi strategic infrastructure, particularly in the Libyan capital, Tripoli,” the Tripoli Post reported. “In normal times, much of the economy in Muslim countries world-wide shuts down as everyone enters a 30-day period of all-day fasting, prayer and the strict avoidance of conflict. But for Libyans this year it is an altogether different proposition. Libyans worry about sanctions and NATO strikes during this month.”

“There is an ongoing armed internal conflict as the rebels from the eastern part of the country battle on in order to reach their aim, of toppling or forcing Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi to step down from his high chair. They are involved in a battle that is barely making progress at the best of times, and with NATO forces, attempting to bomb Al Qathafi out of office,” the English language publication said.

“The NATO alliance thought it could finish it off before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in time for a new government to take shape. They failed and this month could become a perilous black hole threatening to undermine their whole campaign,” the Tripoli Post observed Aug. 1. “Muslims are not allowed to fight amongst themselves during Ramadan; they are also not allowed to attack another nation. However, they will fight back if they are attacked first, they are allowed to do that.”

     EDUCATIONAL FILM: The Process of “De-Demonizing” Gaddafi

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REVEALED: French Military Air-dropped Arms to Libya Rebels

June 30, 2011

The French military confirmed rumours Wednesday that it had dropped “light weapons” to Libyan rebels earlier this month. The story was reported in French newspaper Le Figaro in early June.

By Alex PARRY / Carlotta Ranieri (video)
AFP
June 30, 2011
The French military confirmed Wednesday that it had air dropped “light weapons” earlier this month to Libyan rebels fighting Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in the highlands south of Tripoli.
– 
SEE VIDEO REPORT HERE

Earlier, the Le Figaro newspaper and a well-placed non-government source had said that France had dropped several tonnes of arms including Milan anti-tank rockets and light armoured vehicles to the revolt.

But Colonel Thierry Burkhard, spokesman for the French general staff, told AFP that the shipments were essentially light arms such as assault rifles to help civilian communities protect themselves from regime troops.

SARKO: French boss Sarkozy tried to sell Gaddafi a nuclear reactor from Areva, now he's bombing Libya.

Burkhard said France had become aware in early June that rebel-held Berber villages in the Djebel Nafusa highland region south of the capital had come under pressure from the Libyan strongman’s loyalist forces.

“We began by dropping humanitarian aid: food, water and medical supplies,” he said. “During the operation, the situation for the civilians on the ground worsened. We dropped arms and means of self-defence, mainly ammunition.”

Burkhard described the arms as “light infantry weapons of the rifle type” and said the drops were carried out over several days “so that civilians would not be massacred”.

According to Le Figaro, which said it had seen a secret intelligence memo and talked to well-placed officials, the drops were designed to help rebel fighters encircle Tripoli and encourage a popular revolt in the city itself.

“If the rebels can get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will take the chance to rise against Kadhafi,” said an official quoted in the report.

“The regime’s mercenaries are no longer getting paid and are scarcely getting fed. There’s a severe fuel shortage, the population has had enough.”

A well-placed non-government source told AFP that 40 tonnes of weapons including “light armoured cars” had been delivered to rebels in western Libya.

According to Le Figaro the French arms shipments are dropped from planes across the Djebel Nafusa region, where Berber tribes have risen to join the revolt against Kadhafi’s rule and seized several provincial towns.

The crates hold assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, it said, and also European-made Milan anti-tank missiles, a powerful addition to the rebel arsenal that can destroy a tank or a bunker.

France has taken a leading role in organising international support for the uprising against Kadhafi’s four-decade old rule, and French and British jets are spearheading a NATO-led air campaign targeting his forces.

Rebel forces are based in Benghazi in the east of the country, and hold a besieged enclave supplied by sea in the western coastal town of Misrata, but have been unable to mount a convincing advance on the capital.

YOUTH UPRISING 2011: A PLANETARY 1968

February 24, 2011

By Andrew McKillop
21st Century Wire
February 24, 2011

Today’s surging youth-led revolution in the Arab world has common points with the 1968 student’s revolt that rocked developed countries including the USA, France and several other European countries, with lasting sequels – of student and youth unrest – in Latin America, the then-USSR, Japan, developed countries in East and SE Asia, and even Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.

THEN AND NOW…

But the shared themes and common goals tend to stop there: today’s youth revolt has a planetary dimension, already moving out from the Arab world, and changing as it goes. The uprising, today, may be mostly of young persons but the goals and themes of this much more massive, probably world scale revolt are not only political, but also economic. In turn this likely makes them even more “impossible” than the euphoric hippy-oriented peace and love, anti-war, drug influenced alternate society dreams of the 1968 revolt in the rich world, that carefully ignored such boring old-style issues such as the economy.

A key slogan of the French 1968 student revolt summed this up:  “… be reasonable – demand the impossible”.

By an interesting time warp, Mouammar Gaddafi’s rise to power was under way in 1968 and was completed in 1969. This part-educated self-declared tribal ruler, himself drug-influenced, at first claimed to be reproducing the power grab of his supposed mentor, Nasser’s mid-rank army revolt in Egypt, and both of these models served elsewhere in Africa- for example in the bloody coup that gave sergeant Mobutu Sese Soko decades of corrupt power in the Congo. This he promptly renamed Zaire, like Gaddafi renamed Libya as the Arab Jamahiriya, but for any average citizen of these 3 countries little or nothing changed for the better and almost everything changed for the worse.

The antiquated other-worldliness of these flashback regimes takes us back to the postwar world of two competing superpowers in an abundant oil and other fossil-fuelled era of constant economic growth. The difference with today’s real world is massive and striking. With the fall of the dictator and mass killer Gaddafi, following hard on the heels of Tunisia’s and Egypt’s creaking leaderships being overthrown, a page of history is being rapidly turned, after decades of being frozen into deathlike inertia. But today’s world is vastly different from that of 1968, and the differences do not only include mass cellphone and Internet-based communications. Through 1968-2008 world population almost exactly doubled, adding 3 400 million people. If by some miracle of 1950s and 1960s style economic growth– as in China and India today, the world’s 3.4 billion population increment could consume oil at today’s OECD average of about 12 barrels per person each year, world oil demand would be about 90 million barrels a day more than present. In other words demand would be more than double today’s demand, needing roughly 50 or 60 “New Libyas” to make up the difference.

SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: Libya was worth approximately 1.4 million barrels a day.

This immediately sets one parameter for the post-revolutionary world of the next 10 years or so, and generates one basic need:  learning what is possible to change, and eschewing economic growth dreams of the 1950s and 1960s variety, even if China and India are soldiering along that path. For delirious and malevolent dreamers like Gaddafi, and like the 1968 crop of student and alternate society leaders of the rich world, all and every economic detail was as uninteresting as it was unimportant.

In both cases there was however sufficient fat to trim, or existing wealth slopping around the system to permit these almost 18th century mindsets, more influenced by J-J Rousseau than by Nietzsche or Sartre– or effectively and in reality by Hitler and Mussolini in the case of Gaddafi. Both the type and kind of Flash Mob cellphone and Internet-based revolutions that are possible, today, will be heavily influenced by existing wealth, and the lack of it in affected countries- and as noted the current wave of revolutionary change is potentially global, exactly like the economy.

GMO EPOCH AND THE NEW FOOD CRISIS

Another interesting flashback to the late 1960s and early 1970s is that period was marked by serious and recurring famine outbreaks which were solved by the one-time, once-only science and technology quick fix called the Green Revolution. Today’s GM crop hybrid “revolution” is far behind in its scope and potential for raising world food output, despite loud claims to the contrary, and for a battery of simple and basic reasons. These start with the fact, using FAO and other data, the world had an average of nearly 1 hectare of arable land per person in 1968, but today has less than 0.25 hectares per person.

THE GREEN REVOLUTION: Monsanto and GMO giants work to create global food markets for their products.

Food shortages- even famine, therefore has a short fuze today.  As the initially joyful Flash Mob youth rebellion in some countries (Tunisia is in fact the only one) are followed by increasingly bloody and lengthening struggles we can easily fear these will degenerate into, and generate, long civil wars. Prolonged breakdown of civil society is a sure and certain threat. During civil wars, all through history, famine is the common fellow rider able to further intensify the loss of life and trigger further, more bloody struggles and massive flows of refugees.

It is likely- but not certain, that this parameter is understood by leaders of the developed world, somewhat rocked and shocked by the rapidity and intensity of events in the Arab world since this new start of 2011. The non-ideological dimension is also troubling – so troubling that conspiracy theories are flocking to fill the void: obviously Iran is behind the Bahraini uprising, to inflict collateral damage on Saudi Arabia and deprive the west (and China, India and more than 100 other importer countries) of Saudi oil. Egypt’s uprising, when it is not the fruit of CIA and US Joint Chiefs of Staff plotting, is surely the result of Hamas infiltrating Egyptian youths’ minds using Facebook. Tunisia’s revolution was almost certainly remote-controlled by neighboring ex-Algerian islamic terrorists, when it was not the product of French socialist intellectuals and trade unionists. And so Western conventional wisdom goes. Gaddafi’s very welcome downfall poses problems for cobbling rosy conspiracy theories, but with time these will flourish. We might suggest his downfall could or might be linked to Wikileaks, like any other unexplained geopolitical event, inch’allah.

But in all cases of revolt in the Arab world no conspiracy theory can claim the objective is to deprive the world of food supply. Taking simply Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, these 4 countries import more than 45 percent of world total wheat export supply. As traders in their exuberant excesses of panic and euphoria reasoned, in their own way through February 21-23, any prolonged civil strife in the Arab food importer countries could crater demand, and therefore a rigorous sell-off was needed. To be sure, the long-only bets will be back in a few days. Much more important and more grave, the world is in a long-term process of depriving itself with food. Rebellion, revolt and revolution inside countries totally dependent on food imports is a dangerous signal not only for their citizens but for the world. The list of urgent measures in these countries – and in the huge number of countries outside the Arab world but like them heavily dependent on food imports – starts with the development of farming and food production. To date, this basic need is almost inaudible, along with other economic realities.

THE FOOD AND JOB CRISIS

One sure cause or intensifier and accelerator of today’s Arab revolt is the twin – in fact interrelated – crises of not enough food and not enough jobs. To be sure, citizens listening to the high-flown delirium of a megalomaniac like Gaddafi, or a despot like Mubarak or Ahmedinejad of Iran will be less than thrilled by the ranting rhetoric, when they do not have enough to eat and their job outlook is close to zero. We can suggest that rising strains, and coming fractures in the world food production and supply system will initially be good for democracy but the best-before date on the packaging will be short. The massive rate of urban growth in the Arab world, both due to and causing rural and agricultural under-development, low productivity and poor paid jobs outside cities, is only an extreme version of the same general process in all developing and emerging countries. Inside the fast-growing cities of the entire world outside the OECD countries, which count for 15 percent of world population, the growing capital intensity of low paid manufacturing jobs, to play a humble export platform role in the global economy, also chokes off job growth.

Solving both these crises is the challenge for the world that arises from the ashes of the fossil regimes of the Arab world, in Africa and elsewhere, set in a moment of time that disappeared decades ago.

Returning again to their time, in the 1960s and 1970s, we can take a swift look at Mao’s failed but deadly rural development and regeneration revolution, and the extreme war crimes of the Khmer Rouge forced return to village living in Cambodia. Both these acts of criminal folly were failures. Their total body count was perhaps as high as 40 million – the same as the total death toll from World War 2. What is important and usually missed out in analyzing these sombre events is that both were either directly, or in major part driven by an attempt to solve chronic or acute food shortage – and create jobs.

We are currently offered a bizarre, even eccentric mix-and-match of supposed Green Growth, and intensified consumer society growth economy, by institutions and agencies such as World Bank, IMF, the UN development and economic agencies and some major private corporations. We might ironically think that the dreamers producing these concepts for the economic way ahead are working on a basis that if one fails the other could work, if God wills. The gravest problem is that neither can or will work due to these models being totally antinomic or exclusive. Case in point: at this moment in time, when the post-uprising civil societies of countries experiencing the Flash Mob youth revolt need support, advice, help and direction, the policy void in the OECD developed countries is a grave threat to recovery and sustained change in the world.

LES FLASH MOBS: Tunisian youth takes to the streets with calls for reform.

SOME CONCLUSIONS

The rate of change since the start of January 2011 is high and may be growing, not weakening. The Arab revolt now means what it says: anti-regime movements now span almost the whole Arab world, from Morocco to Yemen, and can likely soon spill over and spread to African countries, Iran, Armenia, the Central Asian republics, and perhaps China. All the autocratic and unelected governments unable or unwilling to solve the basic issues of food and jobs will now suffer rising popular opposition and the risk of overthrow by mass uprising. By contagion, this movement could spread to the elected governments in many countries which are unwilling or unable to solve exactly the same challenges and can lose what remains of their own popular credibility and support.

Unlike the student revolts of 40 years ago, and totally unlike the rock-solid economic growth of the time, during les Trente Glorieuse, today’s weakened and fragile global economy is exposed to a host of challenges always bringing the economic issues closer to the surface. These as we said, start with the basic issues of failure to feed large chunks of humanity, or employ the youth of nearly all countries, whether rich or poor. Given the resource pinch, geopolitical climate change concerns, rising threats of major ecosystem collapse and heightened awareness of these economic constraints the way forward is both complex and difficult. This however does not mean we can avoid grasping the nettle: on the geopolitical front, endlessly avoiding the basic humanitarian need to eliminate toy-sized Hitlers (many of whom serve at the pleasure of Western powers) like Gaddafi- is returning home to roost. The coming storm of refugee, economic, security and energy problems for the whole Europe-North Africa region, and beyond, is a clear proof of this.

Exactly the same applies to meeting the nested challenges of feeding humanity and creating sustained employment within resource and ecological limits, that is within a set of sometimes clear – and often growing – constraints and limits. Time is short, and the heavy weight of avoided and ignored problems over several decades, the ultimate in laisser faire, shows that finally action is the only choice.

COPYRIGHT ANDREW MCKILLOP 2011

Andrew McKillop is guest writer for 21st Century Wire. He has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.