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US imperialism

Can reparations for apartheid profits be won in US courts?

By Patrick Bond

Dennis Brutus 

Durban, July 6, 2008 -- A telling remark about US imperialism's double standards was uttered by Clinton-era deputy treasury secretary Stuart Eizenstat, who a decade ago was the driver of reparations claims against pro-Nazi corporations, assisting plaintiffs to gain $8 billion from European banks and corporations which ripped off Holocaust victims' funds or which were 1930s beneficiaries of slave labour (both Jewish and non-Jewish).

But how about reparations for corporate profits made under South Africa's racist apartheid system? As a November 2002 keynote speaker for the “USA Engage” lobby of 650 multinational corporations organised to fight the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), Eizenstat warned that South African reparations activists “can galvanise public opinion and generate political support,” and “may achieve some success despite legal infirmities''.

Fidel on Colombia, FARC and opposition to US intervention: `Pax Romana'

By Fidel Castro Ruz

July 5, 2008 -- I basically drew the data [below] from statements made by William Brownfield, US ambassador to Colombia, from that country's press and television, from the international press and other sources. It's impressive the show of technology and economic resources at play.

While in Colombia the senior military officers went to great pains to explain that Ingrid Betancourt's rescue had been an entirely Colombian operation, the US authorities were saying that “it was the result of years of intense military cooperation of the Colombian and United States’ armies”.

“`The truth is that we have been able to get along as we seldom have in the United States, except with our oldest allies, mostly in NATO', said Brownfield, referring to his country's relationships with the Colombian security forces, which have received over US$4 billion in military assistance since the year 2000.''

“…on various occasions it became necessary for the US Administration to make decisions at the top levels concerning this operation.''

Fidel on Trujillo; honesty in journalism; and the release of Ingrid Betancourt

The true story and the challenge of the Cuban journalists

* * *

Excerpt: ``Out of a basically humanist sentiment, we rejoiced at the news that Ingrid Betancourt, three US citizens and other captives had been released. The civilians should have never been kidnapped, nor should they have been kept prisoners in the conditions of the jungle. These were objectively cruel actions. No revolutionary purpose could justify it. The time will come when the subjective factors should be analysed in depth.''

* * * 

By Fidel Castro Ruz

July 3, 2008 -- Seven days ago I wrote about one of the great men in history: Salvador Allende, a man the world remembered with deep emotion and respect on his first centennial. However, no one quivered or even recalled the date of October 24, 1891, when the Dominica Republic's despot Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was born, eighteen years before our admired Chilean brother.

Characteristics of the experiences underway in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia

By Eric Toussaint

June 27, 2008 -- In Latin America, if we exclude Cuba, we can point to three general categories of governments. First, the governments of the right, the allies of Washington, that play an active role in the region and occupy a strategic position: these are the governments of Álvaro Uribe in Colombia, Alan García in Peru and Felipe Calderón in México.

Second, we find supposed “left” governments that implement a neoliberal policy and support the national or regional bourgeoisies in their projects: Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua and the government of Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, from Argentina’s Peronists. They are governments that implement a neoliberal policy that favour grand capital, covered up with some social assistance measures. In effect, they make it a bit easier to swallow the neoliberal pill by applying social programs. For example, in Brazil poor families receive a bit of help from the government, which assures them popular support in the poorest region of the country.

NATO's Balkan war and the Kosova liberation struggle

By Doug Lorimer

[The general line of this report was adopted by the June 12-14, 1999 DSP National Committee plenum. Text is taken from The Activist, volume 9, number 5, 1999]

On Wednesday March 24, 1999, the secretary-general of NATO, former Spanish social-democratic minister of culture Javier Solana, told a press conference: "I have just given the order to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, United States General Wesley Clark, to begin air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

The following day 371 NATO warplanes undertook bombing raids and six NATO warships in the Adriatic launched cruise missiles against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Between March 25 and the cessation of NATO bombing raids on June 9, more than 30,000 combat missions had been flown by NATO warplanes against Yugoslavia. Thousands of civilians in Serbia have been killed or wounded. Millions of Serbian workers are now living without electricity, or water, or jobs. Factories, power stations, houses, hospitals, bridges and roads have been destroyed or damaged. The destruction of oil refineries and petrochemical plants have poisoned the air, rivers and soil of Serbia with toxic products. It has been estimated that the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed infrastructure will cost between $US15-50 billion.

Howard Zinn: An illustrated people's history of the US empire

 

Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People’s History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.

Cuito Cuanavale: How Cuba fought for Africa’s freedom

By Barry Healy

June 14, 2008 -- This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, a heroic struggle in which, between October 1987 and June 1988, in some of the fiercest fighting in Africa since the Second World War, the South African Defence Force (SADF) were humiliatingly defeated by liberation forces in Angola.

Cuban assistance to Angolan resistance to the SADF invasion was vital. Defeat at Cuito Cuanavale spelled the doom of apartheid and the victory of the South African liberation movement.

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro famously observed that “the history of Africa will be written as before and after Cuito Cuanavale”. In South Africa’s Freedom Park, outside Pretoria, 2070 names of Cubans who fell in Angola are inscribed alongside those of South Africans who died during the anti-apartheid struggle.

India: US imperialism’s new cop on the South Asian beat

By Kavita Krishnan

June 11, 2008 -- The Indian ruling class is striving to forge what it calls a ``strategic partnership’’ with the United States, and in this aim the major ruling-class political parties are united. The previous government -- a coalition termed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by the Hindu majoritarian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- which was in power from 1999-2004, had in the wake of 9/11 strived to prove to the US rulers that India was a more stable and suitable ally on the subcontinent for the US ``war on terror’’ than Pakistan.

Fidel on Obama: The empire's hypocritical politics

By Fidel Castro Ruz

May 25, 2008 -- It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Barack Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23, 2008, at the Cuban American National Foundation, created by Ronald Reagan. I listened to his speech, as I did [John] McCain's and Bush's. I feel no resentment towards Obama, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

Yugoslavia, Washington and the `Balkanisation' of Bolivia

By Michael Karadjis

I feel forced to write to correct some confusion that has been circulating regarding the current US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, who has been supporting the so-called ``autonomy'' referendum by the Bolivian oligarchy.

A continuous line has come out that Goldberg ``has experience in partition'' because he allegedly participated in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. This tends to be a secondary point alongside a more general point that erroneously compares actual oppressed nations, such as the Kosovar Albanians, the poorest people in Europe, who have striven for independence for over a century, with the rich oligarchy of low-lands Bolivia, engaged in an imperialist-backed destabilisation of the Bolivian revolution.

Along with Kosova, some also list Tibet and other examples of so-called ``secessionism'' as being related to the Bolivian oligarchy's campaign. One feels compelled to add Palestine, Eritrea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Aceh, Tamil Ealam and other national liberation struggles by oppressed peoples just to make it consistent.

PAKISTAN: How Washington helped create a nuclear 'rogue state'

By Norm Dixon

18 February 2004 -- As proof continues to mount that US President George Bush's administration systematically lied about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify invading the oil-rich Persian Gulf country, it has been revealed that Pakistan, one of Washington's closest allies, has been peddling nuclear weapons technology for more than a decade.

On February 4, Abdul Qadeer Khan, dubbed the “father” of Pakistan's nuclear bomb by the corporate press' cliche mills, appeared live on national television. He confessed that he single-handedly commanded a complex trade network in nuclear weapons technology with Iran, North Korea and Libya, which has operated since at least 1989.

In a carefully scripted address, Khan stated that “there was never, ever any kind of authorisation for these activities from the government”.

ISRAEL: Washington backs Middle East's `nuclear outlaw'

Norm Dixon

 

March 24, 2004 -- “Every civilised nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction... We’re determined to confront those threats at the source”, US President George Bush declared in a February 11 speech.

“We will stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We’ll block them from being transferred. We’ll prevent them from ever being used. One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbours and force their influence upon the world.”

Arguing for combative new “arms control” measures that would further entrench the West’s control over nuclear weapons, Bush casually repeated the now thoroughly exposed lie that the US-led war against Iraq was launched because Baghdad “refused to disarm or account for ... illegal weapons and programs”.

Bush used the speech to signal that Iran remains in Washington’s gun-sights, alleging that Tehran “is unwilling to abandon a uranium enrichment program capable of producing material for nuclear weapons”. Bush also demanded that North Korea “completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs”.

LIBYA: More 'weapons of mass distraction' uncovered

21 January 2004

Norm Dixon

On January 4, while addressing British troops in Basra, British Prime Minister Tony Blair attempted to defend his government's participation in the US-led war against Iraq. In an embarrassing Freudian slip, Blair referred to “weapons of mass distraction” as the justification for the illegal war. On December 19, the US and Britain revealed that similar weapons had been uncovered in Libya.

On that day, the Libyan government issued a statement that announced that — after months of secret talks with agents of the British and US governments, which included visits to at least 10 sites in Libya — it had agreed to get rid of “substances, equipment and programs that could lead to [the] production of internationally banned weapons”.

US covered up Somalia massacre

8 April 1998

By Norm Dixon

US “peacekeepers” in Somalia in 1993 massacred more than 1000 people, including civilians and children, in a single afternoon. While western media reports focused on the deaths of 18 US soldiers, broadcasting shocking pictures of a dead pilot being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the fact that hundreds of Somalis (200, according to the US government) died in the clash was barely mentioned. A US journalist's investigation has revealed the US covered up the terrible extent of the bloodbath.

Mark Bowden from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who is researching a book on the US occupation of Somalia, interviewed former US soldiers and officials as well as Somali witnesses. His findings were published in the London Observer on March 22.

The US invaded Somalia on December 9, 1992, under the guise of a “humanitarian” operation to protect aid workers distributing food. The US handed over control to the United Nations in May 1993. At its height, the operation involved 35,000 troops from 20 countries, 24,000 of them from the US.

SUDAN: Can the northern elite allow peace to flourish?

8 March 2006

Norm Dixon

January 9 marked the first anniversary of the historic “comprehensive peace agreement” (CPA), which ended the devastating 21-year war in the south between the central government in Khartoum and the impoverished people of southern Sudan. Despite the enthusiasm of the anniversary celebrations in the ramshackle southern capital of Juba, there are growing concerns that Sudan’s powerful northern elite is not committed to peace and may again plunge the south into war.

Review rejects key Lockerbie ‘evidence’

By Norm Dixon 

14 July 2007

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) ruled on June 28 that the 2001 conviction of Libyan citizen Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi — sentenced to 27 years’ jail for allegedly bombing Pan Am flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people — “may have suffered a miscarriage of justice”. The SCCRC referred al Megrahi’s case to Scotland’s appeal court.

Behind the Lockerbie frame-up

By Norm Dixon

14 February 2001 -- The eminent barrister Horace Rumpole has often noted that the “golden thread running through the history of British justice” is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Of course, Rumpole is a fictional character created by writer John Mortimer. As the verdict handed down in the Lockerbie bombing trial proves, the “golden thread” is just as fictional.

On January 31, the three Scottish lords sitting in judgement on the charges against two Libyans accused of planting the bomb that felled Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland on December 21, 1988, found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi guilty of the murders of the 270 people killed in the disaster. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was found not guilty.

The nine-month trial was held in the Netherlands and conducted according to Scottish law. It was the result of an agreement between Libya and the US and British governments that finally allowed the trial — which had been stalled for almost five years by London's and Washington's insistence that the case be held in either the United States or Britain — to be heard in a “neutral” third country.

In their 82-page judgement, the three judges found that, despite “uncertainties and qualifications”, “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused [Megrahi]”.

How the US armed Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons

By Norm Dixon

August 28, 2002 -- On August 18, 2002, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

Taliban: Made by the USA

By Norm Dixon

10 October 2001 -- Since the appalling acts of mass murder in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, US President George Bush has at times sounded like a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

With home-spun, Bible-inspired homilies, Bush has warned that the “evil-doers” — Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that shelters him — will pay for their sins. However, Bush has avoided the most pertinent and illuminating Biblical phrase to explain those terrible events: “You reap what you sow”.

The seeds of what became the Taliban were sown by Washington itself in the rugged mountains and deep valleys of Afghanistan and the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

In 1978, the left-wing, secular Peoples Democratic Party (PDPA) took power in Afghanistan. Fearing the radical reforms being implemented there would inspire similar demands from the peoples of the region, Washington immediately moved to arm and train counter-revolutionaries — the mujaheddin — organised by Afghanistan's wealthy landlords and its Muslim religious establishment.

US warmongers exploit 9/11

By Norm Dixon

September 11, 2002 -- In the week before the first anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, TV networks aired a seemingly never-ending string of ``special events'' featuring ``exclusive'' or ``never before seen'' footage of the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) and its aftermath. People around the world again experienced the horror, anger and tragedy of that terrible day, when almost 3000 working people were murdered.

Culminating on the anniversary of the day itself, thousands of journalists and TV presenters from across the globe will converge at ``ground zero'' in New York for ``remembrance and reflection''. Solemn ceremonies will be telecast and patriotic speeches by top US politicians broadcast, restating Washington's determination to pursue its ``war on terrorism''.

But by the end of the 9/11 anniversary hoopla, after the thousands of hours of TV time and the column-kilometres published in the world's newspapers and magazines, you can be sure that the most glaring aspect of the post-9/11 period will have remained unmentionable by all but the most honest commentators: that Washington's ``war on terrorism'' is a cynical fraud.

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