Saturday, September 24, 2011

(GLOBALRESEARCH.CA) Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest

COMMENT - The case for prosecution of Bush era war crimes just strengthened. Do not read of if you are sensitive.

Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest
by Ralph Lopez
Global Research, September 20, 2011
Daily KOS

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.

The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company. The company was under contract to the Department of Defense. The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the “mass acquisition” of American weapons. The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Monday, September 26, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet. Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.

Torture Room, Abu Ghraib

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters in 2004 of photos withheld by the Defense Department from Abu Ghraib, “The American public needs to understand, we’re talking about rape and murder here… We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges.” And journalist Seymour Hersh says: “boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has.”

Rumsfeld resigned days before a criminal complaint was filed in Germany in which the American general who commanded the military police battalion at Abu Ghraib had promised to testify. General Janis Karpinski in an interview with was asked: “Do you feel like Rumsfeld is at the heart of all of this and should be held completely accountable for what happened [at Abu Ghraib]?”
Karpinski answered: “Yes, absolutely.” In the criminal complaint filed in Germany against Rumsfeld, Karpinski submitted 17 pages of testimony and offered to appear before the German prosecutor as a witness. Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida, who participated in the hearings on Abu Ghraib, said of Rumsfeld: “There was no way Rumsfeld didn’t know what was going on. He’s a guy who wants to know everything.”

And Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the official Army investigation into Abu Ghraib, said in his report:

“there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Abu Ghraib Prisoner Smeared with Feces

Amazingly, the two American contractors in the 7th Circuit decision were known by the military to be working undercover for the FBI, to whom they had reported witnessing the sale of U.S government munitions to Iraqi rebel groups. The FBI in Iraq had vouched for Vance and Ertel numerous times before they nevertheless disappeared into military custody. They were held at Camp Cropper in Iraq where the two were tortured, one for 97 days, and the other for six weeks.

In a puzzling and incriminating move, Camp Cropper base commander General John Gardner ordered Nathan Ertel released on May 17, 2006, while keeping Donald Vance in detention for another two months of torture. By ordering the release of one man but not the other, Gardner revealed awareness of the situation but prolonged it at the same time.

It is unlikely that Gardner could act alone in a situation as sensitive as the illegal detention and torture of two Americans confirmed by the FBI to be working undercover in the national interest, to prevent American weapons and munitions from reaching the hands of insurgents, for the sole purpose of using them to kill American troops. Vance and Ertel suggest he was acting on orders from the highest political level.

The forms of torture employed against the Americans included “techniques” which crop up frequently in descriptions of Iraqi and Afghan prisoner abuse at Bagram, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib. They included “walling,” where the head is slammed repeatedly into a concrete wall, sleep deprivation to the point of psychosis by use of round-the-clock bright lights and harsh music at ear-splitting volume, in total isolation, for days, weeks or months at a time, and intolerable cold.

The 7th Circuit ruling is the latest in a growing number of legal actions involving hundreds of former prisoners and torture victims filed in courts around the world. Criminal complaints have been filed against Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials in Germany, France, and Spain. Former President Bush recently curbed travel to Switzerland due to fear of arrest following criminal complaints lodged in Geneva. “He’s avoiding the handcuffs,” Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

And the Mayor of London threatened Bush with arrest for war crimes earlier this year should he ever set foot in his city, saying that were he to land in London to “flog his memoirs,” that “the real trouble — from the Bush point of view — is that he might never see Texas again.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief-of-Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson surmised on MSNBC earlier this year that soon, Saudi Arabia and Israel will be “the only two countries Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest will travel to.”

Abu Ghraib: Dog Bites

What would seem to make Rumsfeld’s situation more precarious is the number of credible former officials and military officers who seem to be eager to testify against him, such as Col. Wilkerson and General Janis Karpinsky.

In a signed declaration in support of torture plaintiffs in a civil suit naming Rumsfeld in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Col. Wilkerson, one of Rumsfeld’s most vociferous critics, stated: “I am willing to testify in person regarding the content of this declaration, should that be necessary.” That declaration, among other things, affirmed that a documentary on the chilling murder of a 22-year-old Afghan farmer and taxi driver in Afghanistan was “accurate.” Wilkerson said earlier this year that in that case, and in the case of another murder at Bagram at about the same time, “authorization for the abuse went to the very top of the United States government.”


The young farmer’s name was Dilawar. The New York Times reported on May 20, 2005:

“Four days before [his death,] on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, Mr. Dilawar set out from his tiny village of Yakubi in a prized new possession, a used Toyota sedan that his family bought for him a few weeks earlier to drive as a taxi.On the day that he disappeared, Mr. Dilawar’s mother had asked him to gather his three sisters from their nearby villages and bring them home for the holiday. However, he needed gas money and decided instead to drive to the provincial capital, Khost, about 45 minutes away, to look for fares.”

Dilawar’s misfortune was to drive past the gate of an American base which had been hit by a rocket attack that morning. Dilawar and his fares were arrested at a checkpoint by a warlord, who was later suspected of mounting the rocket attack himself, and then turning over randam captures like Dilawar in order to win trust.

The UK Guardian reports:

“Guards at Bagram routinely kneed prisoners in their thighs — a blow called a ‘peroneal strike’… Whenever a guard did this to Dilawar, he would cry out, ‘Allah! Allah!’ Some guards apparently found this amusing, and would strike him repeatedly to show off the behavior to buddies. One military policeman told investigators, ‘Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny. … It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes.’”

Dilawar was shackled from the ceiling much of the time, with his feet barely able to touch the ground. On the last day of his life, after 4 days at Bagram, an interpreter who was present said his legs were bouncing uncontrollably as he sat in a plastic chair. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

The New York Times reported that on the last day of his life, four days after he was arrested:

“Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar’s face. “Come on, drink!” the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. “Drink!”

At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“‘Leave him up,’ one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.”

The next time the prison medic saw Dilawar a few hours later, he was dead, his head lolled to one side and his body beginning to stiffen. A coroner would testify that his legs “had basically been pulpified.” The Army coroner, Maj. Elizabeth Rouse, said: “I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus.” She testified that had he lived, Dilawar’s legs would have had to be amputated.

Despite the military’s false statement that Dilawar’s death was the result of “natural causes,” Maj. Rouse marked the death certificate as a “homicide” and arranged for the certificate to be delivered to the family. The military was forced to retract the statement when a reporter for the New York Times, Carlotta Gall, tracked down Dilawar’s family in Afghanistan and was given a folded piece of paper by Dilawar’s brother. It was the death certificate, which he couldn’t read, because it was in English.

The practice of forcing prisoners to stand for long periods of time, links Dilawar’s treatment to a memo which bears Rumsfeld’s own handwriting on that particular subject. Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the memo may show how fairly benign-sounding authorizations for clear circumventions of the Geneva Conventions may have translated into gruesome practice on the battlefield.

The memo, which addresses keeping prisoners “standing” for up to four hours, is annotated with a note initialed by Rumfeld reading: “I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?” Not mentioned in writing anywhere is anything about accomplishing this by chaining prisoners to the ceiling. There is evidence that, unable to support his weight on tiptoe for the days on end he was chained to the ceiling, Dilawars arms dislocated, and they flapped around uselessly when he was taken down for interrogation. The National Catholic Reporter writes, “They flapped like a bird’s broken wings.”

Contradicting, on the record, a February 2003 statement by Rumfeld’s top commander in Afghnanistan at the time, General Daniel McNeill, that “we are not chaining people to the ceilings,” is Spc. Willie Brand, the only soldier disciplined in the death of Dilawar, with a reduction in rank. Told of McNeill’s statement, Brand told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes: “Well, he’s lying.” Brand said of his punishment: “I didn’t understand how they could do this after they had trained you to do this stuff and they turn around and say you’ve been bad.”

Exhibit: A sketch by Sgt. Thomas V. Curtis, a former Reserve M.P. sergeant, showing how Dilawar was chained to the ceiling of his cell
Exhibit: Dilawar Death Certificate marked “homicide”
Exhibit: Rumsfeld Memo: “I stand 8-10 hours a day. Why only 4 hours?”
Dilawar’s daughter and her grandfather

Binyam, Genital-Slicing
Binyam Mohamed was seized by the Pakistani Forces in April 2002 and turned over to the Americans for a $5,000 bounty. He was held for more than five years without charge or trial in Bagram Air Force Base, Guantánamo Bay, and third country “black” sites.

In his diary he describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. He writes:

“They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor’s scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they’d electrocute me. Maybe castrate me…One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. ‘I told you I was going to teach you who’s the man,’ [one] eventually said.

“They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.

“I was in Morocco for 18 months. Once they began this, they would do it to me about once a month. One time I asked a guard: ‘What’s the point of this? I’ve got nothing I can say to them. I’ve told them everything I possibly could.’

“‘As far as I know, it’s just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you’ll have these scars and you’ll never forget. So you’ll always fear doing anything but what the US wants.’

“Later, when a US airplane picked me up the following January, a female MP took pictures. She was one of the few Americans who ever showed me any sympathy. When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. They treated me and took more photos when I was in Kabul. Someone told me this was ‘to show Washington it’s healing.’”

The obvious question for any prosecutor in Binyam’s case is: Who does “Washington” refer to? Rumfeld? Cheney? Is it not in the national interest to uncover these most depraved of sadists at the highest level? US Judge Gladys Kessler, in her findings on Binyam made in relation to a Guantanamo prisoner’s petition, found Binyam exceedingly credible. She wrote:

“His genitals were mutilated. He was deprived of sleep and food. He was summarily transported from one foreign prison to another. Captors held him in stress positions for days at a time. He was forced to listen to piercingly loud music and the screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch-black cell. All the while, he was forced to inculpate himself and others in plots to imperil Americans. The government does not dispute this evidence.”

Obama: Torturers’ Last Defense

The prospect of Rumsfeld in a courtroom cannot possibly be relished by the Obama administration, which has now cast itself as the last and staunchest defender of the embattled former officials, including John Yoo, Alberto Gonzalez, Judge Jay Bybee, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and others. The administration employed an unprecedented twisting of arms in order to keep evidence in a lawsuit which Binyam had filed in the UK suppressed, threatening an end of cooperation between the British MI5 and the CIA. This even though the British judges whose hand was forced puzzled that the evidence contained “no disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters.” The judges suggested another reason for the secrecy requested by the Obama administration, that it might be “politically embarrassing.”

The Obama Justice Department’s active involvement in seeking the dismissal of the cases is by choice, as the statutory obligation of the US Attorney General to defend cases against public officials ends the day they leave office. Indeed, the real significance of recent court decisions, the one by the 7th Circuit and yet another against Rumsfeld in a DC federal court, may be the clarification the common misconception that high officials are forever immune for crimes committed while in office, in the name of the state. The misconception persists despite just a moment of thought telling one that if this were true, Hermann Goering, Augusto Pinochet, and Charles Taylor would never have been arrested, for they were all in office at the time they ordered atrocities, and they all invoked national security.

Judge Kessler’s findings point to yet another even more alarming aspect of the Bush-era crimes for which Rumsfeld is now being pursued for his part. And that is the emerging evidence that the tortures perpetrated were not designed to protect national security at all, but to obtain false confessions in order to score propaganda points for the War on terror.

Andy Worthington writes that:

“As it happens, one of the confessions that was tortured out of Binyam is so ludicrous that it was soon dropped…The US authorities insisted that Padilla and Binyam had dinner with various high-up members of al-Qaeda the night before Padilla was to fly off to America. According to their theory the dinner party had to have been on the evening of 3 April in Karachi … Binyam was meant to have dined with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Sheikh al-Libi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Jose Padilla. What made the scenario ‘absurd,’ as [Binyam's lawyer] pointed out, was that ‘two of the conspirators were already in U.S. custody at the time — Abu Zubaydah was seized six days before, on 28 March 2002, and al-Libi had been held since November 2001.’”

The charges against Binyam were dropped, after the prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, resigned. He told the BBC later that he had concerns at the repeated suppression of evidence that could prove prisoners’ innocence.
The litany of tortures alleged against Rumsfeld in the military prisons he ran could go on for some time. The new photographic images from Abu Ghraib make it hard to conceive of how the methods of torture and dehumanization could have possibly served a national purpose.

The approved use of attack dogs, sexual humiliation, forced masturbation, and treatments which plumb the depths of human depravity are either documented in Rumsfeld’s own memos, or credibly reported on.

The UK Guardian writes:

“The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources. The techniques devised in the system, called R2I – resistance to interrogation – match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

“One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: ‘It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn’t know what they were doing.’”

Torture Now Aimed at Americans, Programs Designed to Obtain False Confessions, Not Intelligence

The worst of the worst is that Rumsfeld’s logic strikes directly at the foundations of our democracy and the legitimacy of the War on Terror. The torture methods studied and adopted by the Bush administration were not new, but adopted from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE) which is taught to elite military units. The program was developed during the Cold War, in response to North Korean, Chinese, and Soviet Bloc torture methods. But the aim of those methods was never to obtain intelligence, but to elicit false confessions. The Bush administration asked the military to “reverse engineer” the methods, i.e. figure out how to break down resistance to false confessions.

In the 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report which indicted high-level Bush administration officials, including Rumsfeld, as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and Bagram, the Committee said:

“SERE instructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used by the Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during the Korean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart of those coercive techniques.”

The Biderman Principles were based on the work of Air Force Psychiatrist Albert Biderman, who wrote the landmark “Communist Attempts to Elecit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War,” on which SERE resistance was based. Biderman wrote:

“The experiences of American Air Force prisoners of war in Korea who were pressured for false confessions, enabled us to compile an outline of methods of eliciting compliance, not much different, it turned out, from those reported by persons held by Communists of other nations. I have prepared a chart showing a condensed version of this outline.”

The chart is a how-to for communist torturers interested only in false confessions for propaganda purposes, not intelligence. It was the manual for, in Biderman’s words, “brainwashing.” In the reference for Principle Number 7, “Degradation,” the chart explains:

“Makes Costs of Resistance Appear More Damaging to Self-Esteem than Capitulation; Reduces Prisoner to “Animal Level…Personal Hygiene Prevented; Filthy, Infested Surroundings; Demeaning Punishments; Insults and Taunts; Denial of Privacy”

Appallingly, this could explain that even photos such as those of feces-smeared prisoners at Abu Ghraib might not, as we would hope, be only the individual work of particularly demented guards, but part of systematic degradation authorized at the highest levels.

Exhibit: Abu Ghraib, Female POW
This could go far toward explaining why the Bush administration seemed so tone-deaf to intelligence professionals, including legendary CIA Director William Colby, who essentially told them they were doing it all wrong. A startling level of consensus existed within the intelligence community that the way to produce good intelligence was to gain the trust of prisoners and to prove everything they had been told by their recruiters, about the cruelty and degeneracy of America, to be wrong.

But why would the administration care about what worked to produce intelligence, if the goal was never intelligence in the first place? What the Ponzi scheme of either innocent men or low-level operatives incriminating each other DID accomplish, was produce a framework of rapid successes and trophies in the new War on Terror.

And now, American contractors Vance and Ertel show, unless there are prosecutions, the law has effectively changed and they can do it to Americans. Jane Mayer in the New Yorker describes a new regime for prisoners which has become coldly methodical, quoting a report issued by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, titled “Secret Detentions and Illegal Transfers of Detainees.” In the report on the CIA paramilitary Special Activities Division detainees were “taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes.”
Mayer writes that a former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the “takeout” of prisoners as:

“a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location.”

A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories, likened the treatment to “sodomy.” He said, “It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability.”

Of course we have seen these images before, in the trial balloon treatment of Jose Padilla, the first American citizen arrested and declared “enemy combatant” in the first undeclared war without end. The designation placed Padilla outside of his Bill of Rights as an American citizen even though he was arrested on American soil. Padilla was kept in isolation and tortured for nearly 4 years before being released to a civilian trial, at which point according to his lawyer he was useless in his own defense, and exhibited fear and mistrust of everyone, complete docility, and a range of nervous facial tics.

Jose Padilla in Military Custody

He was convicted by a Miami jury and sentenced to 17 more years. As of this writing, and meriting it’s own outrage, on Sept. 19, an appeals court threw out Padilla’s sentence as “too lenient” and has sent it back for review.

Rumsfeld’s avuncular “golly-gee, gee-whiz” performances in public are legendary. Randall M. Schmidt, the Air Force Lieutenant General appointed by the Army to investigate abuses at Guantanamo, and who recommended holding Rumsfeld protege and close associate General Geoffrey Miller “accountable” as the commander of Guantanamo, watched Rumfeld’s performance before a House Committee with some interest. “He was going, ‘My God! Did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy’s head and telling him all his buddies knew he was a homosexual?’”

But General Taguba said of Rumsfeld: “Rummy did what we called ‘case law’ policy — verbal and not in writing. What he’s really saying is that if this decision comes back to haunt me I’ll deny it.”

Taguba went on: “Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S.—Can’t Remember Shit.”
Miller was the general deployed by Rumfeld to “Gitmo-ize” Abu Ghraib in 2003 after Rumfeld had determined they were being too “soft” on prisoners. He said famously in one memo “you have to treat them like dogs.” General Karpinski questioned the fall of Charles Graner and Lyndie England as the main focus of low-level “bad apple” abuse in the Abu Ghraib investigations. “Did Lyndie England deploy with a dog leash?” she asks.

Exhibit: Dog deployed at Abu Ghraib, mentally-ill prisoner
Abu Ghraib prisoner in “restraint” chair, screaming “Allah!!”

Rumfeld’s worry now is the doctrine of Universal Jurisdiction, as well as ordinary common law. The veil of immunity stripped in civil cases would seem to free the hand of any prosecutor who determines there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed based on available evidence. A grand jury’s bar for opening a prosecution is minimal. It has been said “a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.” Rumsfeld, and the evidence against him, would certainly seem to pass this test.

The name Dilawar translates to English roughly as “Braveheart.” Let us pray he had one to endure the manner of his death. But the more spiritual may believe that somehow it had a purpose, to shock the world and begin the toppling of unimaginable evil among us. Dilawar represented the poorest of the poor and most powerless, wanting only to pick up his three sisters, as his mother had told him to, for the holiday. The question now is whether Americans will finally draw a line, as the case against Rumsfeld falls into place and becomes legally bulletproof. Andy Worthington noted that the case for prosecutors became rock solid when Susan Crawford, senior Pentagon official overseeing the Military Commissions at Guantánamo — told Bob Woodward that the Bush administration had “met the legal definition of torture.”

As Rumsfeld continues his book tour and people like Dilawar are remembered, it is not beyond the pale that an ambitious prosecutor, whether local, state, or federal, might sense the advantage. It is perhaps unlikely, but not inconceivable, that upon landing at Logan International Airport on Wed., Sept. 21st, or similarly anywhere he travels thereafter, Rumsfeld could be greeted with the words such as:

“Welcome to Boston, Mr. Secretary. You are under arrest.”

Massachusetts District Attorneys Who Can Indict Rumsfeld, Please Email them this post and call them.SAMPLE INDICTMENT TEXT, BASED ON GERMAN CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley:
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108 -1518
Phone: (617) 727-2200
Here is the contact info for members of the Boston City Council, which could pass a resolution directing the Police Commissioner to arrest Rumsfeld on sight (google Brattleboro Resolution, George W. Bush):…

And Gov. Duval Patrick has an obligation to order the state police to do the same: CONTACT FORM
Local District Attorneys
Berkshire County: District Attorney David F. Capeless
Elected November 2006
888 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02741
PHONE: (508) 997-0711
FAX: (508) 997-0396

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter
Appointed March 2004
Elected November 2004
OFFICE ADDRESS: 7 North Street
P.O. Box 1969
Pittsfield, MA 01202-1969
PHONE: (413) 443-5951
FAX: (413) 499-6349
Internet Address:…

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe
Elected November 2002
3231 Main Street
Barnstable, MA 02630
PHONE: (508) 362-8113
FAX: (508) 362-8221

Essex County: District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett
Elected November 2002
OFFICE ADDRESS: Ten Federal Street
Salem, MA 01970
PHONE: (978) 745-6610
FAX: (978) 741-4971

Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni
Elected 2010
OFFICE ADDRESS: Hall of Justice
50 State Street
Springfield, MA 01103
PHONE: (413) 747-1000
FAX: (413) 781-4745

Middlesex County: District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
Elected November 2006
OFFICE ADDRESS: 15 Commonwealth Avenue
Woburn, MA 01801
PHONE: (781) 897-8300
FAX: ((781) 897-8301

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey
Elected 2010
OFFICE ADDRESS: 45 Shawmut Ave.
Canton, MA 02021
PHONE: (781) 830-4800
FAX: (781) 830-4801

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan
Elected 2010
Northampton, MA 01060
PHONE: (413) 586-9225
FAX: (413) 584-3635
Greenfield, MA 01301
PHONE: (413) 774-3186
FAX: (413) 773-3278

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz
Appointed November 2001
Elected November 2002
OFFICE ADDRESS: 32 Belmont Street
Brockton, MA 02303
PHONE: (508) 584-8120
FAX: (508) 586-3578

Suffolk County: District Attorney Daniel F. Conley
Appointed January 2002
Elected November 2002
OFFICE ADDRESS: One Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114
PHONE: (617) 619-4000
FAX: (617) 619-4009

Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
Elected November 2006
OFFICE ADDRESS: Courthouse – Room 220
2 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
PHONE: (508) 755-8601
FAX: (508) 831-9899

Global Research Articles by Ralph Lopez

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Destroying a Country's Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed

Destroying a Country's Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 20, 2011

"There is no tomorrow" under a NATO sponsored Al Qaeda rebellion. While a "pro-democracy" rebel government has been instated, the country has been destroyed. Against the backdrop of war propaganda, Libya's economic and social achievements over the last thirty years, have been brutally reversed:

The [Libyan Arab Jamahiriya] has had a high standard of living and a robust per capita daily caloric intake of 3144. The country has made strides in public health and, since 1980, child mortality rates have dropped from 70 per thousand live births to 19 in 2009. Life expectancy has risen from 61 to 74 years of age during the same span of years. (FAO, Rome, Libya, Country Profile,)

According to sectors of the "Progressive Left" which have endorsed NATO's R2P mandate: "The mood across Libya, particularly in Tripoli, is absolutely —like there’s just a feeling of euphoria everywhere. People are incredibly excited about starting afresh. There’s a real sense of rebirth, a feeling that their lives are starting anew. (, September 14, 2011 emphasis added)

The rebels are casually presented as "liberators". The central role of Al Qaeda affilated terrorists within rebel ranks is not mentioned.

"Starting afresh" in the wake of destruction? Fear and Social Despair, Countless Deaths and Atrocities, amply documented by the independent media.

No euphoria.... A historical reversal in the country's economic and social development has occurred. The achievements have been erased.

The NATO invasion and occupation marks the ruinous "rebirth" of Libya's standard of living That is the forbidden and unspoken truth: an entire Nation has been destabilized and destroyed, its people driven into abysmal poverty.

The objective of the NATO bombings from the outset was to destroy the country's standard of living, its health infrastructure, its schools and hospitals, its water distribution system.

And then "rebuild" with the help of donors and creditors under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank.

The diktats of the "free market" are a precondition for the instatement of a Western style "democratic dictatorship ".

About nine thousand strike sorties, tens of thousands of strikes on civilian targets including residential areas, government buildings, water supply and electricity generation facilities. (See NATO Communique, September 5, 2011. 8140 strike sorties from March 31 to September 5, 2011)

An entire nation has been bombed with the most advanced ordnance, including uranium coated ammunition.

Already in August, UNICEF warned that extensive NATO bombing of Libya's water infrastructure "could turn into an unprecedented health epidemic “ (Christian Balslev-Olesen of UNICEF's Libya Office, August 2011).

Meanwhile investors and donors have positioned themselves. "War is Good for Business'. NATO, the Pentagon and the Washington based international financial institutions (IFIs) operate in close coordination. What has been destroyed by NATO will be rebuilt, financed by Libya's external creditors under the helm of the "Washington Consensus":

"Specifically, the [World] Bank has been asked to examine the need for repair and restoration of services in the water, energy and transport sectors [bombed by NATO] and, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, to support budget preparation [austerity measures] and help the banking sector back on to its feet [The Libyan Central bank was one of the first government buildings to be bombed]. Employment generation for young Libyans has been added as an urgent need facing the country."

(World Bank to Help Libya Rebuild and Deliver Essential Services to Citizens emphasis added)

Libya's Development Achievements

Whatever one's views regarding Moamar Gadaffi, the post-colonial Libyan government played a key role in eliminating poverty and developing the country's health and educational infrastructure. According to Italian Journalist Yvonne de Vito, "Differently from other countries that went through a revolution – Libya is considered to be the Switzerland of the African continent and is very rich and schools are free for the people. Hospitals are free for the people. And the conditions for women are much better than in other Arab countries." (Russia Today, August 25, 2011)

These developments are in sharp contrast to what most Third World countries were able to "achieve" under Western style "democracy" and "governance" in the context of a standard IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment program (SAP).

Public Health Care

Public Health Care in Libya prior to NATO's "Humanitarian Intervention" was the best in Africa. "Health care is [was] available to all citizens free of charge by the public sector. The country boasts the highest literacy and educational enrolment rates in North Africa. The Government is [was] substantially increasing the development budget for health services.... (WHO Libya Country Brief )

Confirmed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), undernourishment was less than 5 %, with a daily per capita calorie intake of 3144 calories. (FAO caloric intake figures indicate availability rather than consumption).

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya provided to its citizens what is denied to many Americans: Free public health care, free education, as confirmed by WHO and UNESCO data.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO): Life expectancy at birth was 72.3 years (2009), among the highest in the developing World.

Under 5 mortality rate per 1000 live births declined from 71 in 1991 to 14 in 2009

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya General information
Total population (000)
6 420
Annual population growth rate (%) ^
Population 0-14 years (%)
Rural population (%) ^
Total fertility rate (births per woman) ^
Infant mortality rate (0/00) ^
Life expectancy at birth (years) ^

GDP per capita (PPP) US$ ^
16 502
GDP growth rate (%) ^
Total debt service as a % of GNI ^
Children of primary school-age who are out of school (%)
(1978) 2
Source: UNESCO. Libya Country Profile

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2009)

Total life expectancy at birth (years) 72.3
Male life expectancy at birth (years) 70.2
Female life expectancy at birth (years) 74.9
Newborns with low birth weight (%) 4.0
Children underweight (%) 4.8
Perinatal mortality rate per 1000 total births 19
Neonatal mortality rate 11.0
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 14.0
Under five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 20.1
Maternal mortality ratio (per 10000 live births) 23

Source WHO


The adult literacy rate was of the order of 89%, (2009), (94% for males and 83% for females). 99.9% of youth are literate (UNESCO 2009 figures, See UNESCO, Libya Country Report)

Gross primary school enrolment ratio was 97% for boys and 97% for girls (2009) .
(see UNESCO tables at

The pupil teacher ratio in Libya's primary schools was of the order of 17 (1983 UNESCO data), 74% of school children graduating from primary school were enrolled in secondary school (1983 UNESCO data).

Based on more recent date, which confirms a marked increase in school enrolment, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in secondary schools was of the order of 108% in 2002. The GER is the number of pupils enrolled in a given level of education regardless of age expressed as a percentage of the population in the theoretical age group for that level of education.

For tertiary enrolment (postsecondary, college and university), the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was of the order of 54% in 2002 (52 for males, 57 for females).
(For further details see

Women's Rights

With regard to Women's Rights, World Bank data point to significant achievements.

"In a relative short period of time, Libya achieved universal access for primary education, with 98% gross enrollment for secondary, and 46% for tertiary education. In the past decade, girls’ enrollment increased by 12% in all levels of education. In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10%." (World Bank Libya Country Brief, emphasis added)

Price Controls over Essential Food Staples

In most developing countries, essential food prices have skyrocketed, as a result of market deregulation, the lifting of price controls and the eliminaiton of subsidies, under "free market" advice from the World Bank and the IMF.

In recent years, essential food and fuel prices have spiralled as a result of speculative trade on the major commodity exchanges.

Libya was one of the few countries in the developing World which maintained a system of price controls over essential food staples.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick acknowledged in an April 2011 statement that the price of essential food staples had increased by 36 percent in the course of the last year. See Robert Zoellick, World Bank

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had established a system of price controls over essential food staples, which was maintained until the onset of the NATO led war.

While rising food prices in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt spearheaded social unrest and political dissent, the system of food subsidies in Libya was maintained.

These are the facts confirmed by several UN specialised agencies.

"Missile Diplomacy" and "The Free Market"

War and Globalization are intiricately related. The IMF and NATO work in tandem, in liason with the Washington think tanks.

The NATO operation purports to enforce the neoliberal economic agenda. Countries which are reluctant to accept the sugar coated bullets of IMF "economic medicine" will eventually be the object of a R2P NATO humanitarian operation.

Déjà Vu? Under the British Empire, "gun boat diplomacy" was a means to imposing "free trade". On October 5, 1850, England's Envoy to the Kingdom of Siam, Sir James Brooke recommended to Her Majesty's government that:

"should these just demands [to impose free trade] be refused, a force should be present, immediately to enforce them by the rapid destruction of the defenses of the [Chaopaya] river... Siam may be taught the lesson which it has long been tempting-- its Government may be remodelled, A better disposed king placed on the throne and an influence acquired in the country which will make it of immense commercial importance to England" (The Mission of Sir James Brooke, quoted in M.L. Manich Jumsai, King Mongkut and Sir John Bowring, Chalermit, Bangkok, 1970, p. 23)

Today we call it "Regime Change" and "Missile Diplomacy" which invariably takes the shape of a UN sponsored "No Fly Zone". Its objective is to impose the IMF's deadly "economic medicine" of austerity measures and privatization.

The World Bank financed "reconstruction" programs of war torn countries are coordinated with US-NATO military planning. They are invariably formulated prior to onslaught of the military campaign...

Confiscating Libyan Financial Assets

Libya`s frozen overseas financial assets are estimated to be of the order of $150 billion, with NATO countries holding more than $100 billion.

Prior to the war, Libya had no debts. In fact quite the opposite. It was a creditor nation investing in neighboring African countries.

The R2P military intervention is intended to spearhead the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya into the straightjacket of an indebted developing country, under the surveillance of the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions.

In a bitter irony, after having stolen Libya's oil wealth and confiscated its overseas financial assets, the "donor community" has pledged to lend the (stolen) money back to finance Libya's post-war "reconstruction". Libya is slated to join the ranks of indebted African countries which have driven into poverty by IMF and the World Bank since the onsalught of the debt crisis in the early 1980s:

The IMF promised a further $35-billion in funding [loans] to countries affected by Arab Spring uprisings and formally recognized Libya’s ruling interim council as a legitimate power, opening up access to a myriad of international lenders as the country [Libya] looks to rebuild after a six-month war. ...

Getting IMF recognition is significant for Libya’s interim leaders as it means international development banks and donors such as the World Bank can now offer financing.

The Marseille talks came a few days after world leaders agreed in Paris to free up billions of dollars in frozen assets [stolen money] to help [through loans] Libya’s interim rulers restore vital services and rebuild after a conflict that ended a 42-year dictatorship.

The financing deal by the Group of Seven major economies plus Russia is aimed at supporting reform efforts [IMF sponsored structural adjustment] in the wake of uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

The financing is mostly in the form of loans, rather than outright grants, and is provided half by G8 and Arab countries and half by various lenders and development banks. (Financial Post, September 10, 2011,

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Hungwe, Moyo traded secrets for sanctions removal

Hungwe, Moyo traded secrets for sanctions removal
23/09/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FORMER Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe and the ex-Labour Minister July Moyo were removed from United States sanctions after they “provided useful information” to American diplomats.

A leaked US embassy cable reveals how politburo member Hungwe, his wife Ruthmae, and Moyo were let off the sanctions net by giving away Zanu PF and government secrets. A July 11, 2005, cable marked “sensitive” and signed by the Deputy Chief of Mission, Eric T. Schultz, suggested names to be added and removed from the US travel ban.

The sanctions, in place since 2002, are said to target “members of the government of Robert Mugabe and other Zimbabwean nationals who formulate, implement, or benefit from policies that undermine or injure Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions.”

Under a section marked ‘Names to be Deleted’, Schultz said: “Embassy suggests that we take this opportunity to remove certain names from our existing visa sanction list...

“Josiah Hungwe, ex-Masvingo Provincial Governor who has provided the Embassy with useful information in the past. He is also on the outs within Zanu PF after the December 2004 Party Congress;

“Ruthmae Hungwe, wife of Josiah Hungwe;

“July Moyo, ex-Minister of Social Welfare, Labour, and Public Works who worked constructively with the embassy and NGOs while minister and is currently suspended from the party.”

As the trio were being lined for removal from the sanctions, dozens more people were being added including Phillip Chiyangwa’s wife, Jocelyn; Emmerson Mnangagwa’s three daughters – Chido Emmah, Justina Mhurai and Farai Seline as well as Jonathan Moyo’s two daughters and son – Nokuthula, Lungile and Tawanda.

The public released of the cable by whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, will add to growing concern within Zanu PF over unsanctioned contacts between American diplomats and senior party leaders.

Top officials including Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo have been revealed to have criticised President Mugabe’s reluctance to quit in meetings with American interlocutors.

But despite growing demands within the party for Mugabe to take action, political analysts say this is unlikely as it would divide the party.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Ncube won't ride MDC-T 'hyena': Dube

Ncube won't ride MDC-T 'hyena': Dube
23/09/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC last night appeared to rule out a coalition with the rival faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, comparing such a united front to “riding a hyena to fight a lion”.

Responding to newspaper reports that Ncube had raised the possibility of a united front to confront President Robert Mugabe at the next election, the MDC insisted last night that its leader “stirred a debate” on the subject, which was “not similar to advocating for it”.

Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said: “As a party, our position is that because of the historical actions of the MDC-T where they turned down our call for a united front in the last election, we are not in a position to look around for such coalitions again but will dedicate our efforts to building our party in our quest for a just and fair Zimbabwe.

“In any case, as a party we believe that riding a hyena to fight a lion is a self defeating exercise that will put the democratic struggle in jeopardy, for we are convinced that MDC-T is no different from all other enemies of democracy and they are undoubtedly an impediment to a just and a fair Zimbabwe.”

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in an interview with a French magazine last month, suggested the Ncube-led MDC was a regional party and all but confirmed unity was unlikely.

“To me it will always be essential to have peace talks; at the appropriate time we will talk to them and find out whether they still feel that they can go it alone,” Tsvangirai said, while insisting that his party had won the 2008 elections despite the split three years earlier.

“Now they have retreated to be regional party; so I don’t think that is healthy for uniting the people. So we will have to put that into consideration, as to whether they want to be a national flag or (sic).”

But Dube accused the MDC-T of “basking in past glory”, adding: “The political landscape has changed and the people of Zimbabwe know the kind of leadership that they want, a leadership with the undiluted commitment and capacity to deliver real change.”

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(HERALD) Obama at UN: The arrogant voice of imperialism

Obama at UN: The arrogant voice of imperialism
Saturday, 24 September 2011 02:00
Bill Van Auken

US president Barack Obama delivered an empty and arrogant sermon to the United Nations on Wednesday, laced with platitudes about "peace" that were designed to mask Washington's predatory policies.

The American president received a tepid response from the assembled heads of state, foreign ministers and UN delegates. Not a single line in his speech evoked applause.

The novelty of two years ago, when Obama made his first appearance before the body posing as the champion of multilateralism in contrast to Bush, has long since worn off.

As the world quickly learned, changing the occupant of the White House did little to shift the direction of American foreign policy or curb the spread of American militarism.

The immediate purpose of Obama's 47-minute address was to supplement a behind-the-scenes campaign of bullying and intimidation aimed at forcing the Palestinian Authority to drop its plan to seek a UN

Security Council vote on recognition of Palestine as a sovereign member state.
Washington has vowed to veto any bid for Palestinian statehood if it comes to the Security Council, a move that would only underscore the real character of US imperialist policy in the Middle East and the hypocrisy of its claims to identify with the revolutionary upheavals of the Arab masses.

The speech and Obama's defence of the veto threat served to accomplish the same purpose, further diminishing the US president's popularity in the Arab world.
According to a recent poll, his favorable rating in the region has fallen from roughly 50 percent when he took office to barely 10 percent, even lower than George W Bush in his second term.

Obama rushed from the podium at the General Assembly hall to a meeting and joint appearance with Benyamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister praised Obama's remarks and made it clear that the two are working on a joint strategy to muscle Palestine Authority head Mahmoud Abbas into dropping the statehood bid.

It was reported on Thursday that there were efforts to get the Palestinian delegation to make an entirely symbolic plea for recognition, while agreeing to postpone any vote until after the resumption of US-brokered negotiations with Israel.
There have been two decades of such talks, which have achieved nothing, while Israel has relentlessly expanded Zionist settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Since the onset of negotiations in 1991, the number of settlers has more than doubled, while the West Bank has been internally divided by settlements, security roads and checkpoints as well as the apartheid security wall separating it from Israel.

Obama's remarks in the UN speech represented an even further accommodation to Israel compared to his proposal in May for a resumption of talks, which he then said should be based upon pre-1967 borders with "mutually agreed swaps."

That statement, which implicitly supported Israel's demand to retain existing settlements, merely reiterated the official policy of the US government since the Clinton administration. Nonetheless, the mere reference to borders provoked a storm of criticism from Netanyahu, the Israeli right, and the Republican Party.

In his speech to the UN, Obama mentioned neither the 1967 borders nor any proposal to halt the expansion of settlements on the West Bank. Instead, he presented the basis for proposed negotiations as: "Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state." As the rest of the US president's remarks made clear, both those conditions are to be dictated by Israel.

While behind the scenes US officials are reportedly threatening the Palestinian Authority with cutting off all US aid if it goes ahead with the request for recognition, in his speech Obama described a turn to the UN as a "short cut" that would accomplish nothing.

Dismissing the role of the institution that he had rhetorically praised at the outset of his remarks, Obama said, "Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN - if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now."

Indeed, scores of UN resolutions on the plight of the Palestinians have been repudiated and ignored by both Israel and Washington. The US has used its veto in the Security Council to kill scores more.

Evidently responding to the right-wing criticism of Republican presidential hopefuls, who have denounced him for "throwing Israel under the bus" with his 1967 borders remark last May, Obama went out of his way to dismiss the historical grievances of the Palestinian people, while identifying unconditionally with Israel.

Of the Palestinians, he said only that they deserved a "sovereign state of their own" and they "have seen that vision delayed for too long".

This was followed by a declaration that "America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring". He continued by describing Israel as a country "surrounded by neighbours that have waged repeated wars against it," whose "citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses".

He referred to Israel as a "small country" in a world "where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map". And he wound up by invoking the Holocaust.

"These facts cannot be denied," he said. One would never guess from this selection of "facts" that some 4 million Palestinians live under the oppression and constant violence of Israeli occupation, and that another 5 million are refugees, driven from their homeland.

Nor for that matter, would one have any inkling of the constant wars that "little Israel," with its elastic borders, has waged against its neighbours. Among the more recent are the 2006 war against Lebanon, which left 1 200 civilians dead and much of the country's infrastructure in ruins, and the 2008 "Operation Cast Lead," against Gaza, which claimed the lives of nearly 1 500 Palestinians, compared to 13 Israelis.

With a tone of exasperation, Obama acknowledged that "for many in this hall," the Palestinian question was the issue that "stands as a test" for Washington's claims to champion human rights and democracy.

In reality, however, the rest of the speech proved just as revealing in terms of the hypocrisy and imperialist interests that pervade Washington's policies all over the world.

The pretense laid out at the beginning of Obama's speech was that the US government is engaged in "the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world". The address included a trite refrain, repeated three times: "peace is hard".

Fleshing out this theme, Obama pointed to the partial troop withdrawals from the eight-and-a-half-year-old war and occupation in Iraq and the decade-old war in Afghanistan. He bragged that by the end of the year, only 90 000 US troops will be deployed in these wars.

Washington's aim, he said, was to forge an "equal partnership" with Iraq "strengthened by our support for Iraq - for its government and its security forces," and an "enduring partnership" with "the people of Afghanistan". He claimed that these changes proved that "the tide of war is receding".

The rhetoric about "partnership", however, refers to the plans being pursued by the White House and the Pentagon to keep US troops, CIA operatives and American bases in both countries, long past the dates set for US withdrawal. US imperialism is determined to continue pursuing the goals that underlay the wars from the outset: hegemonic control over the strategic energy reserves of the Caspian Basin and the Persian Gulf.

Obama then preceded to extol the "Arab Spring," declaring: "One year ago, the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed . . . One year ago, Egypt had known one president for nearly 30 years."

Needless to say, the American president made no reference as to whose support had kept the dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak in power for so long, nor to the current attempts by Washington to salvage the regimes they headed and suppress the mass popular movements that forced their ouster.

From there, he proceeded to praise the NATO war in Libya, declaring that, by authorising this imperialist intervention, "the United Nations lived up to its charter."

In reality, the war represented a fundamental violation of the tenets of this charter, which proclaimed the "sovereign equality" of all member states, demanded that all disputes be settled peacefully and insisted that member states "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state".

In the case of Libya, the US and its NATO allies, proclaiming the threat of an imminent massacre in Benghazi, procured a resolution authorising "all necessary measures" to protect civilians. It used this resolution as a cover for a war of regime change. The NATO powers carried out thousands of air strikes and sent in special forces troops to organise, train and arm a "rebel" force for a war that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Libyans.

The aim of this war, like those in Afghanistan and Iraq before it, is domination of strategic energy reserves - as well as inserting Western military power in the midst of a region facing revolutionary turmoil.

"This is how the international community is supposed to work," Obama declared in relation to the Libyan operation, calling to mind Lenin's description of the League of Nations, the UN's predecessor, as a "thieves' kitchen".

Turning to uncompleted business and potential imperialist interventions yet to come, Obama condemned Iran for failing "to recognise the rights of its own people" and calling for the UN to impose new sanctions against Syria. "Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?" he demanded.

Given the bloody events in Yemen, where over 100 civilians have been massacred over the past three days, Obama could not completely ignore the upheavals against US-backed regimes in the region. In Yemen, however, there was no invocation to stand against oppressors, merely a call to "seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition".

Even more tepid was his reference to Bahrain, the headquarters of the US 5th Fleet. "America is a close friend of Bahrain," he declared. Here, where thousands have been killed, tortured, imprisoned, beaten and fired from their jobs for demanding democratic rights, he proposed merely a "meaningful dialogue," while justifying the repression by suggesting that Bahrainis were confronting "sectarian forces that would tear them apart".

The rest of the speech consisted of a hollow and unconvincing recitation of the usual platitudes. These included the elimination of nuclear weapons - with Washington, sitting on the greatest nuclear arsenal in the world and the only state ever to use such weapons lecturing North Korea and Iran. He inveighed against poverty and disease and insisted on the need "not to put off action that a changing climate demands". Thrown in were calls for the rights of women as well as gays and lesbians.

On the decisive issue facing millions of working people in the US and across the globe, Obama acknowledged that economic "recovery is fragile", that "too many people are out of work" and that "too many are struggling to get by". Referring to the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of the banks, he boasted, "We acted together to avert a depression in 2009" and insisted that "we must take urgent and coordinated action once more".

But as with all the other issues raised in the speech, the American president had no "co-ordinated action," no programme, and no policy to propose.

In the final analysis, Obama's empty rhetoric is a direct expression of the profound crisis gripping American capitalism and its ruling financial elite as it confronts economic collapse and the threat of revolutionary upheaval. -

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(HERALD) MDC-T councillor up for assault

MDC-T councillor up for assault
Saturday, 24 September 2011 02:00
Court Reporter

AN MDC-T councillor who allegedly assaulted and injured a Zanu-PF supporter in Epworth has appeared in court charged with assault. Didymus Bande (35), who is councillor for Ward 4 in Epworth, appeared before provincial magistrate Mr Kudakwashe Jarabini who remanded him out of custody to October 5 this year for trial.

The complainant in the matter is Getrude Chivende of Epworth who is a Zanu-PF supporter. On January 22 this year, Chivende went to see Samuel Shumbamhini who is the Zanu-PF secretary for Kugarika Kushinga branch in Epworth.

She met Bande at Shumbamhini's place who was in the company of two others, it is alleged.

The State says Bande and his accomplices who are still at large punched and kicked her.

As a result of the assault she dislocated her left leg.



(HERALD) Firms urged to contract farmers

Firms urged to contract farmers
Saturday, 24 September 2011 02:00
Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT has urged agricultural manufacturing and processing companies to contract farmers to produce raw materials for them. Acting President John Nkomo made the call at the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union's 17th annual congress in Harare yesterday.

He said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe had made it difficult to mobilise finances off-shore as lenders demand high interests rate and at such rates, it also becomes difficult for farmers to borrow and make a profit hence the need for local companies to support farmers.

Cde Nkomo said the system whereby tobacco merchants, grain millers, cotton ginners and oil expressers contract farmers would benefit the two parties.

"Under such arrangements, farmers will be provided with the necessary support and will have a guaranteed market for their produce," he said.

Cde Nkomo warned farmers to be cautious when entering into contracts to avoid being offered poor prices for their produce.

"I am pleased to note that ZCFU has successfully run a winter wheat programme, where farmers were contracted by the Grain Millers Association to grow wheat," he said.

ZCFU also mobilised inputs for the contract growing of 20 000 hectares of soyabeans during the forthcoming season.

It has also come up with a farming inputs scheme for salaried personnel where employees buy inputs over an extended period of payment.

Cde Nkomo, however, urged farmers to repay their loans.
"I want to remind farmers that farming is a serious business where recapitalisation is a must, and banks will not continue to advance loans to bad apples as they are not creditworthy," he said.

Cde Nkomo said Government was undertaking a number of initiatives to enhance farmer productivity.
"We are in the process of acquiring tractors from Brazil and elsewhere to complement the fleet that is on the farms and also setting up mobile service centres that will assist farmers to repair the tractors and equipment on their farms," he said.

Government has also mobilised US$45 million of the summer cropping season through the provision of subsidised seed and fertilisers.

The ZCFU held this year's congress under the theme "Regaining the country's bread basket status through enhanced agricultural production".

ZCFU president, Mr Donald Khumalo said farmers were having problems with contractors who did not supply adequate inputs and yet claim the whole crop during the selling season. "Some companies inflate input prices and offer low prices when they buy the contracted crop from farmers," he complained.

Mr Khumalo also raised concern over the continuous electricity cuts, which he said has left many farmers not willing to produce wheat.

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(HERALD) New president for Zambia

New president for Zambia
Saturday, 24 September 2011 02:00

MICHAEL Chilufya Sata being sworn in
From Takunda Maodza in LUSAKA, Zambia

MICHAEL Chilufya Sata was yesterday sworn in as the fifth Zambian President at a colourful ceremony attended by thousands of his supporters and foreign dignitaries. He defeated Movement for Multiparty Democracy candidate and then President Rupiah Banda and eight other presidential aspirants in tripartite elections held on Tuesday.

The swearing in ceremony at the High Court of Zambia, was witnessed by foreign dignitaries including Vice President Joice Mujuru who was leading a Zimbabwean delegation comprising State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa.

VP Mujuru said in an interview that the coming in of a new leadership in Zambia would not change relations between Zimbabwe and its northern neighbour.

"One thing people must realise is that Zimbabweans and Zambians are one people. If you want to think about how our independence was achieved, we got it through the assistance of Zambia," she said.

"In the region, Zambia is one of us. There is no difference. We came here to fulfill that we are one and we should work as one people."

It was all joy for President Sata and his Patriotic Front supporters who lined the streets in the morning sloganeering and horning their vehicles.

They chanted "Let's Go Sata, Let's Go Sata" while others had banners inscribed "Rupiah Banda for sale".

Some of the supporters carried makeshift coffins bearing the name of Mr Banda signifying an end to his three-year rule.

President Sata took his oath of office in the afternoon before that country's Chief Justice Enerst Sakala.

In his maiden speech, he called for peace and urged all Zambians regardless of political affiliations to join him "in rebuilding the nation".

"We will heal this nation and reconcile all of us. We must not allow violence to separate us. We are brothers and sisters," he said.
President Sata hailed other presidential contenders for giving him "a good fight".

Zambia, he said, was facing huge problems manifested by high unemployment, which he blamed on alleged poor governance by his predecessor.

"Seventy percent of our people live in poverty, a clear testimony of bad governance," President Sata said.

To address the challenges facing Zambia, he promised to reduce the size of Government and to cut on State expenditure.

"We have to restructure things and some of them might take longer," he said.

He promised developmental programmes within 90 days.

"We have to go back to the drawing board and come up with solutions," the veteran politician said.

President Sata promised to deal with corruption.

"This culture should never be entertained at any level," he said, amid whistling and ululation from his supporters.

President Sata pledged to work with existing and new foreign investors in turning around the economy.

He, however, warned investors already operating in Zambia to abide by the law.

The elections were marred by violence though foreign observers including the European Union have endorsed them as held in accordance to international standards.

President Sata thanked his predecessor for allowing a peaceful transition.

The former president was among delegates that witnessed the swearing in ceremony.

Mr Banda conceded defeat and called for unity among Zambians.

"Yes, we may have different ideas but we both want the same thing, a better Zambia. Now is not the time for violence and retribution. Now is the time to unite and build tomorrow's Zambia together. So, I congratulate Michael Sata on his victory. I wish him well in his years as president. I pray his policies will bear fruit."

Mr Banda shook hands with President Sata as he handed over power and the huge crowd went ecstatic.

Zambia's founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana and various other senior Government officials from Sadc also graced the occasion.

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(LUSAKATIMES) PF to fulfill manifesto promises-Kabimba

PF to fulfill manifesto promises-Kabimba
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, September 24, 2011, 1:09 pm

The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party which has sailed through to victory in the just ended tripartite elections says it is committed to fulfilling the promises of its manifesto. General Secretary Wynter Kabimba told Journalists that the PF will abide by its manifesto and see to it that it is implemented to the latter.

ZANIS reports that Mr Kabimba who is also expressed joy at the party’s victory said everything that the PF has outlined in the manifesto still stands and will implemented.

‘’Everything we have put in our manifesto still stands and we are going to abide by our manifesto, see to it that our manifesto is implemented to the latter,’’ he said.

He said this shortly, before the inauguration of President Michael Chilufya Sata which took place at the High Court grounds in Lusaka yesterday.

On the just ended election, Mr Kabimba who described the PF’s victory as sweet said lessons to be drawn from the September 20 election is that money is not what wins an election but that the message that the party has for the people and how appealing the message is.

He said if money were a means to win an election, the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) would have won with a resounding victory.

‘’ Victory is sweet especially when you defeat a ruling party. The lesson drawn from this is that money is not what wins an election.

What wins an election is the message that you have for the people and how appealing your message is to the people,’’ Mr Kabimba said.

He further pledged the party’s commitment to ensuring that the plight of women and youths are addressed.


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(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia attends the 2011 IMF/WB meeting

Zambia attends the 2011 IMF/WB meeting
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, September 24, 2011, 1:07 pm

Deputy Governor for Bank of Zambia responsible for operations Dr. Austin Mwape is currently attending the ongoing 2011 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Washing DC.

Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is leading the Zambian delegation to the meetings which started on 22nd September and are expected to end on the 26th of September, 2011.

The meetings are among other things focusing on job creation, global economy, gender issues and climate change, the 12th Five Year Plan including the role of financial reform in transforming China’s growth.

This is contained in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today signed by Secretary to the Press in Washing DC Ben Kangwa.

The delegation will also hold bilateral discussions with other partner financial institutions to discuss Zambia’s reclassification to Lower Middle Income Country.

“ The delegation is also scheduled to meet the African Department of IMF to discuss the preliminary focus of the 2012 budget and the way forward on the economic programme, “ Mr Kangwa said.

He said other meetings will be held with the Fiscal Affairs Department to discuss technical assistance in revenue administration and the public financial management reforms.

Mr. Kangwa noted that the delegation is further expected to meet with the World Bank Director Colin Bruce on strategy and operations of the Africa Region including the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The IMF and World Bank Board of Governors normally meet once a year between the period of September and October in Washington and in another member country during the third year to discuss the work of their respective institutions.

The meetings give an opportunity to governors to take up matters of business and consult with one another on how current international monetary issues should be addressed among other things.


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(LUSAKATIMES) Top MMD official in Monze defects to PF

COMMENT - "It does not pay to belong to an opposition..."

Top MMD official in Monze defects to PF
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10:07 am

Monze District Movement for Multi-Party Democracy-MMD vice-chairman Mr. Bernard Chisangano has defected with immediate effect to join the Patriotic Front.
Announcing his resignation, Mr. Chisangano said he decided to resign saying the PF government has lined out a number of programs that will benefit the country.

Mr. Chisangano has also urged the former ruling party district executive to work with the new government and help develop the country.

”Yes today I have joined the PF and I want to work with the new government which has proved to the nation that it is capable of taking the country forward. And I want to ask my colleagues i worked with in the MMD to join me and work together,” Chisangano said. Ine lelo nachoka mu MMD nangena mu PF.

”The time has come for everyone to start afresh and look forward as the elections has come to an end but the country continues. I want to appeal to the PF government not to look upon us as enemies but to embrace us as we want to work together. I also want to appeal to the PF government to use us in anyway possible”, he added.

Another figure that has resigned from the MMD is Monze Central Manungu ward chairlady, a Miss Queen.

She was speaking in an interview saying it does not pay to belong to an opposition claiming that the PF government has what it takes to lead Zambia to its greatest height.

”Ine lelo nachoka mu MMD nangena mu PF. Nifuna kusebenza nabantu bamene bafuna ncinto. Ba MMD bankala maningi mupower kuchoka mu 1991. Vintu nikucinja”,Queen said.

(I have today defected from the MMD and joined the PF. Iwant to work with people committed to hard work. MMD has overstayed in power since 1991. Leadership should be shared.)

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(LUSAKATIMES) Obama congratulates Zambia on ‘historic’ elections

Obama congratulates Zambia on ‘historic’ elections
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, September 24, 2011, 8:13 am

US President Barack Obama congratulated Zambia yesterday on its “historic” elections and said he looked forward to working with incoming leader Michael Sata.

The polls in Zambia, one of the few African countries to have the ruling party change democratically twice since independence, were marred by sporadic violence, but the US leader said it commended the southern African nation “for building on your commitment to multiparty democracy.”

“Zambia’s Electoral Commission, political leaders, civil society, and above all its citizens all contributed to this important accomplishment,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

He also hailed outgoing leader Rupiah Banda’s “contributions to Zambia’s democratic development,” and his “admirable acceptance of the will of the Zambian people.”

Observers said the violence, which left two people dead on Thursday had not compromised the elections, and found no evidence of fraud in the voting.

Scores of police on horseback or in riot helmets stood by, but Banda’s speedy concession of defeat diminished the chance of more unrest.

“The hard work of a living democracy does not end when the votes are tallied and the winners announced,” Obama warned.

“Instead it offers the chance to reconcile and to advance greater security and prosperity for its people.

“I hope that all Zambians will find common ground as you address the challenges and seize the opportunities facing your country and our world.”


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COMMENT - Not connected to the Communist Party of Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, check out these demonstrations against the attack on Libya in Accra, Ghana.

(YOUTUBE) Anti-NATO March in Accra, Ghana 21st Sept 2011
, and this demonstration in London.

As the Libyan resistance fights on, ‘Stop the War’ misleaders are already dancing on Gaddafi’s grave
Updated 10 September 2011.

Issued by: CPGB-ML
Issued on: 08 September 2011

The CPGB-ML warmly applauds the heroic resistance that the Libyan people have mounted against imperialism’s six-month-long assault on their national sovereignty. Despite the blitzkrieg visited upon them by the best-equipped military forces on earth, deployed in support of a rag-tag band of terrorists and agents seeking to undo the gains of the revolution, the Libyan people have remained steadfast.

We recall Fidel Castro’s earlier warning that the “crude attacks against the Libyan people, which have taken on a Nazi-fascist character, may be used against any third-world nation. The belligerent organisation now depends on Gaddafi. If he resists and does not yield to their demands, he will enter history as one of the great figures of the Arab nations.” (

Even were the resistance struggle now to flag, confronted with such an uneven balance of forces, Castro’s words would hold true. Yet despite the false impression created by government and media lies, it emerges that the forces of national resistance are in fact fighting on against enormous odds. In Sirte and elsewhere, the resistance continues.

Anti-war movement’s treachery

Shamefully, it is at this hour of greatest peril for the Libyan revolution that the national leadership of the Stop the War Coalition has chosen to issue statements rowing in with the anti-Gaddafi hysteria whipped up by imperialist propaganda. So eager are they to see the Libyan revolution buried that they would dance on its grave, even whilst the outcome remains in the balance.

The final paragraph of a statement on Libya issued nationally by the Stop the War Coalition on 22 August chimed in with the imperialist demonisation of Gaddafi, airily informing us that “The old rulers will not be missed if and when they depart. The decisive issues – genuinely democratic and popular regimes across the Arab world, the exclusion of great power interference in the region and justice for the Palestinian people – remain in the balance and require our solidarity.”

So rather than support the real resistance that is actually being mounted against the aggression of our own ruling class, these gentry are reserving their precious ‘solidarity’ solely for what their tunnel vision is prepared to recognise as a “genuinely democratic and popular” resistance movement – ie, a movement which for the moment exists only in the realm of their imagination.

Such ‘solidarity’ can well be dispensed with by those engaged in resisting imperialism in reality.

John Rees in turn informs us in a YouTube interview that “nobody is going to shed a tear for the fall of this brutal dictator” and advises the quisling “Transitional National Council” to gain credibility by “telling the major powers where to get off” – ie, to adopt his own tactic of salting a counter-revolutionary position with some bogus anti-Nato rhetoric.

Such games will not sanitise Nato’s quislings any more than they sanitise Rees’s own vile stance.

We denounce all such treachery towards the Libyan national resistance. It brings the Stop the War Coalition further into disrepute, weakening and dividing an anti-war movement whose ability to mobilise has already been seriously weakened over the past ten years by its persistent enslavement to social democracy.

Reasons for Nato’s war on Libya

Rather than regurgitating Nato’s propaganda about the ‘dictator’ Gaddafi, Stop the War and others on the left in Britain should acquaint themselves and their followers with a few facts about Libya.

Workers in Britain and elsewhere need to understand the real reasons for Nato’s aggression, which have nothing to do with democracy or human rights and everything to do with profit and domination.

1. Oil and water

Libya’s natural resources are coveted by western multinationals. As well as wishing to siphon off Libya’s vast oil wealth (Libya is home to 3-4 percent of the world’s proven reserves), the Nato imperialists want to take control of the country’s valuable water reserves.

2. A bad example

Libya has set an example to all of Africa in showing what can be done when resources are used to benefit the people. Under the Gaddafi government, all Libyans have had access to decent, cheap housing; education and health care have been universal and completely free; electricity has been free; women have enjoyed equal status with men.

The Great Man-made River project has been developing Libya’s water reserves for use by the people of Libya and surrounding nations, allowing the desert to bloom using sophisticated and sustainable technology, and depending solely on the country’s own financial resources.

In the 42 years since the Green Revolution, Libya’s people have gone from being the poorest in the world to the richest in Africa, enjoying a standard of living comparable to parts of western Europe.

3. African unity

Libya has been working to free the people of Africa from colonialism, including helping to fund cheap telecommunications and domestic media and participating in development projects encompassing education, health and infrastructure.

It allocated massive funds for projects such as the African Central Bank and the African Monetary Fund. It has been a strong supporter of the African gold dinar currency plan and the African Union alliance.

4. Anti-imperialism

Libya has given fraternal support and assistance to anti-imperialist liberation movements across Africa and beyond, including the ANC in South Africa, Zanu in Zimbabwe, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Irish republican movement, socialist Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela and Morales’ Bolivia.

5. Dollar supremacy

Russia Today has reported that the Libyan government was planning to switch its reserve and trading currency from the dollar to the gold standard, further undermining the faltering US economy, which is already mired in crisis.

6. Loot

Not content with the many billions Gaddafi’s government invested in the West and the concessions already given by Libya to multinational oil companies, imperialist multinationals and governments want to get their hands on all of Libya’s huge sovereign wealth funds.

All the above should provide ample reason for the self-appointed ‘leaders’ of the anti-war movement to campaign unambiguously for Gaddafi and against Nato. Instead, this motley crew of Counterfire Trotskyites and CPB revisionists have revealed their ultimate loyalty to the interests of British imperialism – and the great chasm that divides them from the masses of workers all over the world whose only future lies in smashing the system that Stop the War leaders seem so keen to embellish and perpetuate.

British imperialists: thieves and terrorists

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of the British state forces and media knows no bounds. At the same time as they are branding participants in the recent youth uprisings as ‘evil criminals’ and ‘thugs’, these free-market fundamentalists are attempting to steal the entire wealth of the Libyan people using the most blatant and outrageous terror tactics.

While the British judiciary is dishing out heavy penal sentences for such crimes as writing the words ‘Let’s start a riot’ on Facebook (four years), receiving a pair of ‘looted’ shorts from a friend (nine months) or ‘nicking a bin’ (criminal record given to an 11-year-old), Nato’s incineration of Libyan army units attempting to defend their country, and the terroristic bombing of Libyan houses, schools, hospitals, power stations, water facilities and infrastructure with depleted uranium goes unremarked.

In the theft of the century, US and European governments have already stolen nearly $100bn worth of Libyan sovereign wealth funds that were deposited in the imperialist countries. This is being used to pay for their genocidal war on the formerly free Libyan people and to prop up the Libyan puppet forces, who are merely the ‘domestic’ front of what is, in reality, a straightforward case of modern-day colonialism. The stealing of this huge sum is a massive blow to the people of Africa.

Unite the resistance

As monopoly capitalism feels itself falling under the hammer-blows of a profound economic depression and the intensifying pitch of anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles worldwide, it will resort to ever more desperate measures to try and pull its chestnuts out of the fire.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ukraine, the DPRK, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Grenada ... the list of countries singled out for US/British intervention in living memory, or threatened with it in the immediate future, in order to depose progressive regimes and prop up puppet rulers – and so preserve the flow of loot into imperialist coffers – is almost as long as the list of world nations.

It is time we stopped allowing British governments to commit such crimes in our name and withdrew our labour from every part of the war effort – whether serving in the forces, making the munitions, shipping the supplies or writing and broadcasting the war propaganda.

If British workers wish to put their own interests above those of the British imperialist ruling class, which is determined to loot, plunder, bludgeon and cut its way through the forthcoming political and economic crisis, we must learn who are our enemies and who are our friends. We will advance faster on the road to our own emancipation when we learn how to break the link with Labour and social democracy – and how to give real solidarity to those engaged in resistance against our own imperialist masters.

The struggle of the Libyan people is also our struggle. Whatever the immediate future may hold, we may be sure that history is on our side.

Victory to the Libyan resistance against Nato terrorism; victory to Gaddafi! No cooperation with British war crimes!

Workers of all countries, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains; you have a world to win!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

(AFRICARESOURCE) The AIDS Scam: 300 die of “HIV/AIDS” each year in Nigeria – Where is the Pandemic?

COMMENT - HIV/AIDS projections in Africa, especially by UNAID$, are a scam. Nigeria has a population of 155 million, and they have 300 HIV/AIDS deaths per year? My guess is that if there was proper testing throughout Southern Africa, you would see similar numbers. Right now, the testing procedures during surveys are geared to eliciting massive numbers of false positives.

The AIDS Scam: 300 die of “HIV/AIDS” each year in Nigeria – Where is the Pandemic?

Former Commissioner for Education in Delta State, Dr.(Mrs) Veronica Ogbuagu, has decried the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS scourge, lamenting that Nigeria is the third most infected country in the 3rd most infected country in the world.

According to her, over 300 deaths are recorded annually just as more than one million people are infected yearly. The educationist disclosed this during a two-day seminar on education and sensitization on Teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS control.

Ogbuagu, who is the Initiator and Founder of Every Child Counts Initiative for Education (ECCIFED) said on the occasion held at David Ejoor Army Barracks, Effurun that the seminar was pertinent to sensitize teenagers on the dangers of sex promiscuity.

She further revealed that the deadly disease occur predominately among adults from 15-50 years, depriving communities of their strongest and most productive citizens and leaving the old to care for the very young.

“Though a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), our vision is to create a society where our children are well positioned for responsibility of future leadership and parenting, said Ogbuagu adding that the body also strive to bring hope to Nigerian children through the protection and promotion of proper child up bringing.”

The educationisttsaid that a two-day workshop has been proposed for young people between the age range of 11-24 adding that the programme will include among others, lectures, role play, drama and songs.
“It is our responsibility to provide meaningful information to children, youths and adults to enable them to know how best to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. We must equip all children and young people with skills to develop attitudes to curb the deadly disease.

She added that education is not only the best vaccine available for now, stressing that every child counts Initiative for Education has its primary focus, the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS scourge before they become sexually active. She is particularly sad that some parents, especially mothers encourage their female children to indulge in sexual activities which would later result to unwanted pregnancy.

“We should not have a child that is fatherless because it increases the poverty level in the society. Parents should guide against teenage pregnancy”, said Ogbuagu at the two-day seminar that attracted scores of parents and school children.

She therefore advised parents to show love to their children especially the female whose age range between 18-25years adding that any one of them that attain marriageable age should be given out in marriage. She explained that ECCIFED is out to correct the ills in the society as it concerns young boys and girls and to also lecture them on the dangers of early pregnancy.

“Beside, we are very much concerned with the issue of the deadly HIV/AIDS scourge hence we are creating the awareness and sensitizing people to be mindful of the partners they keep”, she remarked.

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(MONITOR UGANDA) Mehta top officials tour Buganda land

Mehta top officials tour Buganda land
By John Njoroge
Posted Thursday, September 22 2011 at 00:00

Representatives from the Mehta Group were on Tuesday taken on a ground tour of Buganda Kingdom land offered for sugarcane growing by Kabaka Ronald Mutebi to Lugazi Sugar Works.

A team led by the Buganda Kingdom’s Economic Planning and Development Minister Rajni Taylor, took the Mehta Group representatives to three of 10 possible areas available for use in Mukono District.

Kabaka Ronald Mutebi offered the land as an alternative to the disputed 7,100 hectares of the Mabira Central Forest that President Museveni in August said should be handed to Scoul. In 2007, the Kabaka made a similar offer following the April 2007 Mabira demonstrations.

The Mehta delegation, led by Mr P.M. Ndikusooka, was taken to the areas of Magonga-Kizzi Kibi, Nakiguddo and Jjumba in Nabbaale Sub-county, Mukono District, where over 44 square miles of land was viewed. Buganda Land Board publicist Saul Katumba said the two delegations resolved to meet in 30 days when the Mehta Group is expected to acknowledge or decline the land offer.

“We had lined up 10 more areas to show them, but the delegation said the land in the three areas we visited was more than sufficient,” Mr Katumba said.
The visit is the first sign of a search for land options by the Mehta Group.

Last month, Scoul General Manager Suresh Sharma told this newspaper the organisation was not interested in the Kabaka’s offer because the lands were occupied by squatters and Bibanja holders. The Kingdom’s Lands minister Kabuuza Mukasa, however, said no one from the Group had shown interest in the property.

The Mehta delegation said it would take the opportunity to pick soil samples and survey the properties before making a decision. The tour followed a series of meetings between representatives of the Mehta Group and Buganda Kingdom officials. On Thursday last week both parties resolved to make spot visits of the offered properties.

“We want to assure the Mehta Group that we are serious about this offer, and that these properties are available for their use,” Mr Katumba added.

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(MONITOR UGANDA) Farmer’s Diary-Minimising pre-and post-harvest losses

Farmer’s Diary-Minimising pre-and post-harvest losses
By Michael J. Ssali (email the author)
Posted Wednesday, September 21 2011 at 00:00

A farmer’s job has many risks. He normally has to worry about such issues as the quality of seeds to plant, when to plant, and how much seed to plant as well as its spacing.

A false step during any of these stages could lead to the loss of the entire crop growing season. He worries about the weather and the possibility of farm thefts or the damage caused by stray animals and the wild birds. His other worry is of possible losses during harvesting, after harvesting, and also during the storage or transportation of the harvested crops.

Producers of fast perishable foodstuffs like fruits, vegetables, and animal protein food products like milk, meat or fish face even greater risks. In a situation like ours, when we have no electricity to support cold storage facilities or good roads to ease transport in most of the rural areas, the farmer seems to live in constant anxiety. Such hardships often render us vulnerable to merciless traders who take our hard-earned produce at meaningless prices lest we keep it for too long then rot and perish.

Having gone through all the rigours of planting and crop nourishment, some thought has to be given to every decision that you take at the time of harvesting a crop. For example, some farmers, eager to lengthen the shelf life of fruits like mangoes, may harvest them before they are really ripe. But it is also good to consider the disappointment of the consumer and the subsequent negative impact on the market quality when the mangoes’ taste falls short of what is expected because they were harvested prematurely.

Most agriculturists recommend that produce is harvested at the right maturity stage to keep them attractive to the consumers and to promote sales.

One good basis to depend on when determining maturity is the number of known weeks or days a crop takes to mature. For some fruits, their colour and size are enough to tell if they are mature. A farmer should know if the cabbage is mature by looking at its size and firmness. Some people will make a gentle tap on a fruit like a jackfruit or a pineapple and judge if it is ripe by the sound produced.

Avoiding the fruit bruises

Fruits from tall trees like paw paw, mangoes and avocados will usually get bruises when they fall on hard ground. A careful farmer will attach a net on a pole to harvest such fruits to minimise losses. Some people will consider climbing up the trees or using ladders to pick the fruits with their bare hands.

However, for farmers who climb trees to pick the fruits, care has to be taken because some tree branches may break under the extra weight of the farmer and also snakes often hide in fruit trees.

Careless use of farming tools during harvesting may cause bruises on the foodstuffs and lead to their degradation. For example, while harvesting such items as cassava or potatoes, the hoe could make accidental cuts on them and expose them to destructive micro-organisms and unfavourable appearance. To minimise moisture loss and disfigurement in such crops as fruits and vegetables, it is better to harvest in the morning hours and to keep the items under the shade. It is also good to transport such delicate foodstuffs as fresh vegetables and fruits packed in clean wooden boxes or crates.

Modern technology will save you worry

The best solution to all our post-harvest worries, however, lies in how fast we embrace modern food processing and preservation technologies. Some people call it value addition.

The new approach now is for leaders of farmers’ groups and development NGOs to periodically invite experts from District Agricultural Training and Information Centres (Datics) as well as dieticians and food science technology personnel from Naro and some of our public universities and colleges to teach farmers about food preservation and processing.

The campaign now is not merely about food production; we also emphasise food processing and preservation. When, for example, a farmer has learnt how to make wine out of pineapples, that farmer will not rush to harvest and sell his pineapples to fruit traders at give-away prices because he is afraid that they will rot and perish.

When he has learnt how to make banana chips or potato chips, he will not worry too much about some of his potatoes and bananas that get bruises during harvesting and acquire a poor appearance. He will soon discover that he even earns more money selling bottled fruit juice than selling actual fruits in a hurry. The farming household will still have some preserved food to eat during times of prolonged drought and food scarcity.

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