“First, white folks discovered Africa/and they claimed it fair and square./Cecil Rhodes couldn’t have been robbing nobody/’cause he said there was nobody there./White folks brought all the civilization,/since there wasn’t none around./They said ‘how could these folks be civilized /when you never see nobody writing nothing down?’/And just to prove all their suspicions,/it didn’t take too long./They found out there were whole groups of people, in plain sight,/running around with no clothes on. That’s right!/The women, the men, the young and old,/righteous white folks covered their eyes./So no time was spent considering the environment./Hell no! This here, this just wasn’t civilized!/And another piece of information they had,/or at least this how we were taught/is that ‘unlike the very civilized people of Europe’/these tribal units actually fought!/And yes, there was some rather crude implements/and yes, there was primitive art/and yes they were masters of hunting and fishing/and courtesy came from the heart./And yes there was medicine, love and religion,/intertribal communication by drum./But no paper and pencils and other utensils/and hell, these folks never even heard of a gun./And this is why the colonies came/to stabilize the land./Because the Dark Continent had copper and gold/and the discoverers had themselves a plan./They would discover all the places with promise./You didn’t need no titles or deeds./You could just appoint people to make everything legal,/to sanction the trickery and greed./And back in the jungle when the natives got restless/they would call that ‘guerrilla attack’/and they would never describe that the folks finally got wise/and decided they would fight back./And still we are victims of word games,/semantics is always a bitch:/places once referred to as under-developed/are now called ‘mineral rich.’”- Gil-Scott Heron, Black History/The World
This song by Gil-Scott Heron came to my mind once again as although it was referring to the last “scramble in Africa” it can also be applied to the current one. Already this war is for big business, as ECOWAS, headed by the French-installed leader Ouatarra of the Ivory Coast has asked for $950 million dollars to support the African –led intervention force. Once again it becomes necessary to revisit the French-begun war in Mali. As people like Glenn Greenwald have been saying, the war in Libya, which I’ve previously written was an imperialist war for oil, caused this current war in Mali. A recent story by AFP six days ago made this case but went even further. The story cited a recent UN report, that “firearms amassed during the war in Libya and corrupt officials selling or renting out their guns have helped arm the rebels in Mali…[and that] most of the weapons used in the conflict initially came from licit sources.” Specifically between 10-20,000 weapons from Gaddafi’s Libya arsenal made their way to Mali which could be funding armed groups in the country itself. I looked up the specific UN report which was part of a bigger report by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime which said:
“a large number of more common firearms were also amassed during Gaddafi’s 40 years of rule, including tens of thousands of firearms in recent years. These firearms could be sold, albeit for relatively low prices per unit, to any of a number of rebel or criminal groups in West Africa… non-state armed groups in northern Mali… secessionist groups in northern Niger…Boko Haram in Nigeria…the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC) in Senegal… “third phase rebels” of the Niger Delta… Forces loyal to former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo… Empowerment of these groups could result in long-term conflict, as the region remains highly unstable… despite the decline in active conflicts, many countries in West Africa are still affected by the presence of militant groups… Though the location of demand shifts over time, there is no shortage of potential buyers… It is likely that this supply will soon be eclipsed by supply from Libya, though. There has been a significant escalation in arms seizures in northern Niger (headed for Agadez, a regional sales hub) and southern Algeria (transiting in the direction of Niger and northern Mali)… Flows from…corrupt security officials remain strong because few states in the sub-region have records of all the weapons they possess… Once stolen, the weapons and ammunition were transported to Mali in civilian trucks, often secreted under local produce… Security forces, former or current militants, mercenaries: all may be involved in procuring, transporting, and selling firearms. The flows from both Libya to Mali and from Côte d’Ivoire to Liberia are conducted by large numbers of former soldiers transporting their arms. The next buyers for these weapons could be anyone in the region… If the ratio between soldiers and guns were four per soldier, there would be just over 450,000 firearms in Gaddafi’s arsenal… It has been estimated that perhaps 1,500 to 2,000 Tuareg mercenaries recently returned from Libya, carrying at least their own weapons. Census data indicate that there are some 800,000 Tuareg in Mali today, of whom about 80,000 would be adult men… Based on both supply and demand side estimates, the number of weapons trafficked is likely to be in the low tens of thousands, perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 in 2012.”
This ties into the idea of blowback and how further neo-colonialism in Mali will result in horrible consequences.
In a recent interview with the Kremlin-funded Russia Today, Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War said that old European powers are trying to exploit Africa once again. Specifically he said that these countries are engaging in neo-colonialism by “reaching back to Africa for its resources where they used to operate a century ago” and specifically France when it was a colonial power “literally enslaved the people of West Africa to work in their mines, in their factories and on their plantations.” According to his account, it took until after the Soviet Union collapsed for “former neo-colonial powers [to begin]….again flexing their muscles” and he believes the current war is part of new “race for colonies.” These views were echoed in a recent article by UK peace activist Jason Liosatos in the Global Research Center’s website. He wrote that it “seems obvious that the French military charge into Africa is simply to secure the uranium rich mines there in Mali and Niger, some of which are already controlled by Areva, France’s nuclear energy giant, who have a strong foothold on the strategically important mines and assets.” He further noted that there currently is a mad scramble by the US and China to gain Africa’s mineral rich land and the possibility that “Western” countries involved want to expand their gold reserves. In his view, this war is part of a plan to “rob and pillage” the “black man’s land again” under “the guise of liberators and bringers of democracy” which has caused many in Mali to applaud them coming into the country. Already, France’s defense minister has said “The goal is the total reconquest of Mali. We will not leave any pockets [of resistance].”
But there is a further justification for these imperialist policies. That is saying the military intervention is just part of the ‘war on terror.’ One should remember that since 2009, the US has been building up the military presence in the Sahel region under the justification of counterterrorism. Also, it is important to recognize that after France started the war, French President Francois Hollande said: “We will stay…for as long as it’s necessary to ensure victory over terrorism” and interestingly months before he had said there would be “no men on the ground, no engagement by French troops” which turned out to be false according to Al-Jazeera. This is also how the US justifies its drone use over Mali. The mouthpiece of Wall Street, The Wall Street Journal says that “the U.S. is markedly widening its role in the stepped up French-led military campaign against extremists in Mali, providing sensitive intelligence that pinpoints militant targets for attack…[rather than just] provid[ing] air tankers to refuel French warplanes targeting rebels in Mali.” Specifically the US-provided intelligence has resulted in “nearly 60 French airstrikes in the past week alone in a range of mountains the size of Britain…[to] target top militants, including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of January’s hostage raid on an Algerian natural gas plant…The unarmed U.S. drones played a key role in the recent offensive in which French and Chadian forces succeeded in homing in on and ambushing a group of militants in the Adrar Tigharghar mountains of northern Mali.” Additionally, the US using drones (probably being launched from the US’s new base in Niger) as they do in Mali “could [even] be a model for future drone operations” in West Africa. Even worse is the fact that under the leadership of Africa Command, “a Joint U.S. Special Operations Task Force in Africa has provided Chad’s Special Anti-Terrorism Group…with equipment, training and logistical support” the same unit which supposedly killed Belmokhtar, who is being called a new “Osama Bin Laden.” France even wants is own drones as well, so they can do the same thing that is when they are backed up by the new 100 U.S. troops in Niger.
What are the human costs of these actions? In terms of deaths on the intervening side: twenty-six Chadian soldiers have been killed and three French soldiers have been officially reported as killed while participating in the war in Mali. In January in what has been called “the Battle of Konna” between 46 and 100 militants were killed by French and other intervening forces. The overall death count of the militants from the war is hard to say as the French claim it ranges in the “hundreds.” There were additional and likely “summary executions” denied by the Malian army of those who were suspected militants. Amnesty International also reported similar abuses in a report they published. According to Jeremy Kennan during the fighting between January and March 2012, “the number of [Malian] troops that have either been killed, taken captive or deserted is now thought to be at least 1,000.” All of this death and killing signifies war crimes which are clearly in violation of international agreements.
From this it is no surprise that UNICEF would say that the war has caused a “humanitarian crisis” in the country because of mass displacement of people and the fact that “only one on three schools in northern Mali is working.” What makes this an even more egregious situation for those in Mali are that humanitarian assistance is being blocked by the war itself. It is possible that Al-Qaeda’s leader in North Africa was killed and if this is true then there definitely be blowback against Western countries especially France. Even the UN is pitching in and supposedly helping the Malian army defuse landmines. This isn’t all. As The Guardian wrote in January, there are over “300,000 internally displaced Malians and 407,000 refugees…144,500 [in Mali]…54,100 in Mauritania, 50,000 in Niger, 38,800 in Burkina Faso…1,500 in Algeria [and] small groups…in Guinea and Togo.”
The continuation of neo-colonialism will not only result in the exploiting of the Malian people, it will also create a humanitarian crisis which will plague the country for months if not years to come. This is a further reason we need to stop this war now, stop the land grab associated with this conflict and promote a peaceful solution! I recommend that you in order to fulfill this task read a number of other articles where I dig into the uncertainties about the war, ask why no one is resisting the war itself, why African countries are coming to the aid of the French imperialists, why the conflict is imperialist to the core, the connection between the governments of Mali and France and what I term the “best stories” on the Mali war.
On February 8th, 2013 at 3:50 pm a drone was sighted hovering above a neighborhood in West Oakland. There didn’t seem to be a focus, it just maintained it’s position above properties. It is not known at this point what agency or individual was operating the craft.
Alameda Sheriff’s recently released their intended policies around the use of drones. You can take a read here
Once introduced into their arsenal, they would be used for a variety of purposes ranging from counter terrorism operations, chases, search and rescue, surveillance, as well as other operations.
Well that looks like a scary little thing. I would be pretty angry to see that flying over where I live.
OWS Rappers join Occupy activists in push for ‘foreclosure-free zone’ http://t.co/Za60zs1d
Human Rights Day rally: “U.S. government can never be a champion of human rights” http://t.co/xs8yRxlC
Starbucks hit by UK Uncut protests as tax row boils over
Thousands protest in Kuwait City
The major recording labels are on a fresh High Court mission to force Ireland’s Internet service providers to block The Pirate Bay.
Unions prepare for protest at Michigan Capitol http://t.co/5H0dVQ9G
War in Iran is imminent (old reblogged post)
Egypt: Between revolution 3.0 and civil war
Uh-oh. Democrats in Congress are changing their tune on means testing in Medicare, an idea the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) resisted for decades.
Bitcoin exchange wins right to operate as a ban
Breaking the Taboo wants to turn Youtube views into political change
Delegates from the United States are running out of time to bury proposals that could have a major effect on the Internet as a United Nations treaty conference heads into its final week.
Fuck the USDA! Under pressure from lawmakers, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed its school lunch requirements to allow more meats and grains.
About 68% of US adults are overweight or obese, says National Cancer Institute, putting them at greater risk for cancer
More Walmart suppliers found making clothes at site of deadly fire in Bangladesh http://t.co/E05S3SJ9
#Fracking for Foreigners? New Report From Feds Backs More Natural Gas Exports http://t.co/xAMW2Cws
Monsanto’s Suicide Economy: Nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 http://t.co/W7Af09XQ
Anonymous Quote: “Politicians luv ignorant uninformed ppl b/c that means they cn get away w/ murder.” http://t.co/T8zOdrxW
Bill Clinton: Drug war ‘hasn’t worked’
Taking Over the Republican Party:
The United States has blocked a conference aimed at banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East
Fareed Zakaria: End the war on terror and save billions - [The mainstream starts to abandon the EndlessWar team]
Doha climate change deal clears way for ‘damage aid’ to poor nations
Fuck William Hague, goddamn war criminal: William Hague confirms ‘evidence’ of Syrian chemical weapons
Special report: Homeless banker hits rock bottom
h/t Rocky Anderson
remember that time President Obama ordered the military to fire indiscriminate missile attacks on populated areas?
LTMC: Frankly it would be better if it was indiscriminate, given that Obama has ordered the military, quite discriminately, to “double tap” drone targets by shooting missiles at civilian rescue workers attempting to tend to the wounded from drone attacks in Pakistan. I suppose this could somehow be justified in a Machiavellian paradigm if we were killing lots of terrorists. But America currently kills 49 people with drones for every known terrorist in Pakistan. And that too, quite discriminately, it would seem.
The whole thing is made even more grand by the fact that Pakistani political leaders have asked Washington to stop doing this. But they haven’t, despite the fact that the Pakistani government publicly opposes the program, which the State Department’s top lawyer says may make U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan an act of war under international law.
Oh, I forgot to mention that a 2007 report by the Homeland Security Institute called the “double tap” a “favorite tactic of Hamas,” and the FBI considers it to be a tactic chiefly employed by terrorist organizations. I suppose it takes one to know one, in the War on Terror.
Quality post right here. For all the interest that drone strikes draw in the current political climate, rarely do I see such a concise critique of not only the bloodshed itself but the immorality of the specific tactic, and the double speak that comes out of Washington during the rare times that it is discussed in public.
Damn. Props to NixonPlumbingCo for the research. Click the link that he/she posted saying: “Obama has ordered the military, quite discriminately, to “double tap” drone targets by shooting missiles at civilian rescue workers attempting to tend to the wounded from drone attacks in Pakistan.”
Oh no, don’t thank me for the research, that was Letterstomycountry. I don’t do shout outs very often, but I feel it’s necessary to thank them for their great research and fantastic blog in general. If you’re not following them, you’re missing out.
I am happy to join in this conversation and oppose drones the best I can, because they lead to permanent war in ny mind.
Howard Zinn’s statement that the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened without the frenzy of war…
As the situation in Gaza heats up and Israel commits more war crimes (bombing hospitals, media center, random houses), there are other troubling events in the world…
Torrents everywhere!!! (What would Jesus Download?? Haha)
Obama in Burma: A Milestone for Reform or Groundwork for Oil-Friendly Junta Rule?
FINALLY!!! Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine: OWS Says No To War
U.N. Special Rapporteur Calls for Global Protection of Gaza Civilians from U.S.-Backed Israeli Assault
Palestinian Civilians Bear the Brunt of Unrelenting Bombings in U.S.-Backed Attack on Gaza
1 Dead, 1 Missing in Fire on Gulf Coast Oil Rig
Oh, come on!! Obama Calls Corporate CEOs as “Fiscal Cliff” Talks Begin
RIAA Hammers Google With DMCA Takedowns In Six Strikes Prelude
Protesters Hold Weekend of Actions Against Military Training Base in Georgia
Turkish PM Calls Israel a ‘Terrorist State,’ US State Dept. Refuses to Comment
WTF!!!Flatten all of Gaza
Chomsky Statement on Israel’s War on Gaza
Occupy Sandy builds on longstanding progressive tradition
Thousands in Ireland march for woman refused an abortion
HOW SAFE ARE AMERICA’S PIPELINES?
FIVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT OUR TATTERED SAFETY NET
THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP: THIS IS WHAT CORPORATE GOVERNANCE LOOKS LIKE
IT’S THE INTEREST, STUPID! WHY BANKERS RULE THE WORLD
Slaughterhouse Fined $500m in Biggest Meat-Recall in US History
Ron Paul: You’re Not Free If You Can’t Secede From An Oppressive Government
“No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Says Man Who Regularly Bombs Pakistan and Yemen
Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged
Why Obama is more than Bush with a human face
Israel facing ‘millions’ of cyber-attacks over Gaza
Violent protest against opening of new Golden Dawn office (neo-nazis)
Inside the Psyche of the 1%
What is Israel Really Up to in Gaza?
New York Times acknowledges conspiracy of silence over “fiscal cliff”
Walmart Asks a Judge to Block Historic Black Friday Strikes
That’s all, y’all!
After my article about Israel’s war of aggression in Gaza (once again the media is lying to you), I have some other nice stories as well.
There are as follows:
In photos: Israel relentlessly bombs Gaza, West Bank protests repressed
ANOTHER WAR CRIME! Israeli officials use fake graphic to justify bombing Gaza hospitals
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-massive-explosion-israeli-bomb-hits-gaza-city-residential-area and http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-officials-use-fake-graphic-justify-bombing-gaza-hospitals
Top Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza
Stop pretending the US is an uninvolved, helpless party in the Israeli assault on Gaza
Understanding the Chemical-Industrial Complex
DeGette files bill to require feds to respect marijuana law
‘Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what’s wrong with America’
That Was Fast: Hollywood Already Browbeat The Republicans Into Retracting Report On Copyright Reform
How to Build a Grassroots Power Base
Support Walmart Black Friday Strikers!
Thinking Before Doing: In Defense of the Armchair Activist
The Grenade of Understanding: Winners of the Write-Like-Friedman Challenge
Will EU nations turn over tax-and-spending sovereignty to Germany?
Iran Sanctions may be ‘Crippling,’ but they are not ‘Working’ (Cher)http://www.juancole.com/2012/11/iran-sanctions-may-be-crippling-but-they-are-not-working-cher.html
The Grenade of Understanding: Winners of the Write-Like-Friedman Challenge
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/the-grenade-of-understanding-winners-of-the-write-like-friedman-challenge-20121115#ixzz2CYC0CrSrhe Grenade of Understanding: Winners of the Write-Like-Friedman Challenge
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/the-grenade-of-understanding-winners-of-the-write-like-friedman-challenge-20121115#ixzz2CYBk2J80he Grenade of Understanding: Winners of the Write-Like-Friedman Challenge
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/the-grenade-of-understanding-winners-of-the-write-like-friedman-challenge-20121115#ixzz2CYBk2J80