Saturday, November 03, 2012
In untransformed economic structures — as they exist in the mines — apartheid is alive and kicking.
For all the reasons we can give about the “illegal” strikes and the lawful correctness of the mining houses to fire the workers, this is part of an injustice that reigns supreme in our beautiful land.
We all know that if economic inequality persists in South Africa, this land will not know peace. Much as we want to believe that apartheid is dead – and much progress has been made in the last 22 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from prison – it is unavoidable to conclude that it’s not been buried.
The mining sector promotes a social structure where too few have everything and too many suffer. How do we justify a chief executive earning more than R50 million a year while many workers take home less than R200 000 a year?
We have to challenge practices and attitudes that not only compromise the ideals that so many sacrificed their lives for but which make each and every one of us complicit in perpetuating injustice and inequality.
There is absolutely nothing exemplary or aligned to Constitutional values in how the leaders and managers in the mines are handling the crisis. Yes they have all the money to take issues to the highest courts in the land to defend and protect the perpetuation of economic injustice, exploitation and inequality and perhaps win but it does not make it morally right. We have to admit that the miners are not only paid a pittance – despite the story that they are the highest paid in the variegated sectors – but condemned to live in conditions fit for pigs.
Many miners live in degrading and dehumanising conditions. This is a fact that many people conveniently forget. As for those who say they have the best salaries, it would be best for them to sacrifice what they have to not only live in those conditions but take less than R10 000 a month to feed an extended family caught in the pincer grasp of poverty and unemployment.
It is easy to point to the Constitution to say apartheid is dead, whatever that means. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The conditions under which miners live have not changed much from the late 1940s when my late father left KwaZulu at 17 years of age to seek his fortune and fame, which he never found. It’s time we spoke the truth about the hell on Earth the mining sector condemns African men, women, children and families to.
If South Africa is to be a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society based on justice and equality as espoused in the Constitution, it would be easier to say we have made progress if miners, for instance, had their dignity and self-respect restored. We can only judge a society by the way it treats is lowest workers.
When we see that miners – who are the backbone of this economy – live in and are treated like sub-humans by companies they give their lives for, this reveals not only the apartheid injustice that reigns supreme in the land but also the untruth of our claim to be an exemplary society in the continent and world. Today we are the most unequal society on Earth. We need to honestly and openly deal with what is going on in the mining, transport, manufacturing and other sectors.
We still hold the promise to be the best human experiment on non-racial and democratic living based on justice and equality.
Nobody was born with rights to own what is in the bosom of Mother Africa.
Not everyone will live in a mansion or drive a BMW but it is possible to live a decent and dignified life with basic amenities. It’s time something radical was done for the miners who have been oppressed, exploited and abused ever since gold and diamonds were discovered in the 1870s.
MDC-T official, wife brutally attacked
by Staff Reporter
THE MDC-T said Friday its treasurer for Midlands North, John Kinnaird and wife, Jackie, had been hospitalised with severe injuries after being attacked by suspected Zanu PF youths at their Kadoma home.
In a statement, the party said the Kinnairds were attacked with wheel spanners and metal rods Wednesday evening by four youths wearing Zanu PF bandanas after they gained entry into their home through the kitchen door.
The youths then made off with US$2,000 cash and two mobile phones.
“According to medical reports on the two, John, 56, sustained multiple head wounds, which required 14 stitches. His right arm was also fractured and has deep puncture wounds on his legs and one just below his throat, as well as injuries across his back,” the party said.
“Jackie, 47, has a bruised throat where she was grabbed by the youth and a compound fracture of her left arm and it requires immediate surgery.”
The attack was reported to the police but no arrests have been made.
“The MDC strongly condemns the barbaric attacks on its official and his wife as they are politically motivated,” the party said.
“It is of great worry that the attacks come at a time when there is the heavy presence of an illegal Zanu PF militia outfit, Al-Shabab that is causing terror in Kwekwe and surrounding areas.
“As a party, the MDC calls upon the police to urgently investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.”
Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have called for an end to violence as the country heads for new elections next year.
Mugabe has indicated that fresh polls could be held in March to replace his coalition government with Tsvangirai.
COPIED FROM A CURRENT KADOMA RESIDENT WHO POSTED THIS IN RESPONSE TO THE SAME STORY ON ANOTHER NEWS WEBSITE > If this had been arranged by ZANU PF the laptops would have been the first to go, because they are a source of intelligence about the MDC T activities and funding, and there would have been no traces whatsoever left behind. This was not stage managed by MDC T either, its a simple straight forward house breaking and robbery by criminals who are smart enough to know that attempting to sell a stolen laptop / DSTV decoder / or Blackberry handset on the black market is as good as laying a clear trail for the ZRP to follow. The targeting of affluent members of society in Kadoma by criminals in such a manner has become more and more frequent in the area, if one goes to the local sports club they are most likely to find a couple of the well off citizens learning and training in self defence techniques; this is a direct result of the increase in this type of robbery. Its not politically motivated at all, if the white couple were subjected to racial abuse during the robbery it is most likely in reaction to their (whites) persistence in using the K word which never fails to infuriate even the least literate of blacks. Ever since the korokozas were disenfranchised by the police there has been a steady rise in violent crime in and around Kadoma, the citizenry suspect these young men to be responsible. Kadoma used to be very safe 24/7. This is not a politically motivated incident at all and the story is very misleading and alarmist
A leopard will never change it's spots.Mugabe & your Zanu-pf?What a shame & you make me sick!!!!!
A skunk will also never change its stink. Tsvangirai and your MDC? What a spoof & you make me laugh!!!
Forgive him pls ,there is something in the waters at Zanu pf headquaters which makes them idiots.
Chisingaperi chinoshura. ZANU reign is coming to an end.
If wishes were horses...........
Interesting. Is it a strategy to divert attention from Tsvangirai's problems and his sudden riches? The narration of what happened suggests that this was just a robbery. There is nothing to suggest this has anything to do with politics. People may get robbed irrespective of their political affiliations. But interestingly, for some people, if some MDC-T official is robbed then ZANU PF has to be involved.
I have been watching MDC-t strategies for a while, & every time Tsvangirai's Open Zip & Shut Mind policy discredits the party; Biti's dura wall gets bombed, he recieves a bullet in an envelop, their party activists get attacked or robbed, & the other time they claimed a party activist scalded by Zanu pf hooligans with oil belonged to them when he actually belonged to MDC-N.
What happened to this official & his wife is unfortunate, but still I believe it had nothing to do with politics, & if indeed it was political I would bet it was the Harvest House militia that attacked these people to make us forget about Locardia, as all recorded acts of MDC-T violence involve iron bars/ metal rods (starting from the attacks on Trudy Steveson 2005 to the attacks 2011 on an election agent in a Byo party election( by Khuphe's driver & 2 others ))
This is just the MDC-t doing some damage-control.
The originator of the article, "Collen Makumbirofa is a political activist campaigning for change in Zimbabwe".
She is Hutu-minded. That is what caused genocide in Rwanda, especially when this information is given to people like you Joe Rug who do not have time to make some critical analysis of themselves, you simply take it hook, line and sinker and you go ballistic for something that's totally unscientifically proven.
Sure. I bet my last dollar on this.
The mere fact the attackers where wearing ZANU PF bandanas makes it suspicious already. Surely no fool would put on their identifying clothes to commit a robbery. In most case if you find yourself fighting a burgler in full police uniform then you know that there might be a police victim who has been attacked in order for his uniform to be used in the robbery. The wearing of ZANU PF bandanas was clearly a calculated move do disguise the robbers here. If I were Mr Kinnair, I would set aside this political labels business and tell the police to start their investigations internally. This has the whole mark of an internal job. Domestic aides telling their colleagues that there is money in the house and where it can be found, then followed by people sitting down to draw up a strategy - in this case it was simple - Mr Kinnaird is MDC-T so why not just wear ZANU PF bandanas and pounce - everyone in the politically polarised and gullible nation will then rush to blame politicians, probably with politicians themselves starting some deadly accusations - giving the thieves a leeway and time to plan another attack - this time maybe on a ZANU PF person wearing MDC-T bandanas or regalia whatever. My advice is simple - people should learn to scrutinise situations without rushing to politics and isolate these robbers who are capable of victimising anyone regardless of political affiliation. There are a lot of robbers waiting for elections to commit crimes knowing that they can always get away in this politics crazy country. And newspapers should do their bit by not stoking political fires any time without trying to analyse situations - its journalistic negligence and laziness. Newspapers should help the police uncover these culprits by practicing investigative journalism not this arm-chair matter-of-fact yet potentially dangerous journalism.
no u wrong, the wearing of zanu bandanas makes them immune from being arrested since zpf=zrp and zanu intelligence c.i.oz are masters in Reverse psychology. why would they live valuable items and jus take money? u don't have 2 defend zanu dirty tricks lest u eating with the devils.....
Millions in diaspora
Violence is Zanu pf's anatomy ,they cannot afford to be civil ,eversince killing Tongogara ,they will be finished .We knew this was coming ,but not when.So please don't patronize this fora with incoherent misguided copious balderdash .Your propanganda works on ZBC and Herald platforms ,not here .We will challenge you and punch big holes in your lies.
We warned Tsvangirayi about a need to reform mechanisms to counterbalance Zanu thugs and yet he assured Zimbabweans ,elections will be free and fair this time .Not a chance with Zanu .
true dat bro, they have no better way of dealing with opponents except through violence, every1 knows dis shit but there some who jus playin dumb or agents eating with tha zpf devils
Am sure if you look at the pictures, surely one may not suggest it was a robbery. This is sick. Chete Mugabe inhingiri kini saka not surpised......
True, because zanupf usually wear MDC regalia to make it look like MDC has done it. But in this case, the attackers are well know zanupf thugs so your story turns to c r a p. But keep trying
I am glad you know that ZANU PF usually wear MDC regalia. I might just be right then as there is nothing that can stop a robber from wearing ZANU PF regalia to take advantage. It shows there is credence in my caution. I am a scientist and believe in things that can be scientifically proven as opposed to some probabilistic opportunities. I stand by my theory that these people were robbed by people well known to those who know them - it is an inside job. Try it today by counting loads of cash in your home, then sending your maid to go and put it in some drawer in your bedroom - you will surely have some visitations from robbers except if you are not a politician they will not disguise themselves as supporters but boy will they beat the crap out of you.
Zuda,you are no scientist- someone that simple?scientist-you?no
That is your opinion. Why should I care as if I get paid by you. As long as my salary says so I don't care a bit what you say - it's of no significance at all, unless if I were expecting my pay check from you. My good life goes on while your head is stuck in sand and the next time you decide to extrapolate it you or your child will be working for me.
Zuda ,you have a devious mind ,that is how come you know these things.You are ZANU for sho
Is there any problem with being a ZANU PF supporter. I would not expect that to be from someone purporting to be a democrat. You find solace in supporting MDC and you expect everyone to do so, yet you still have the audacity to call yourself a democrat? God help you. Accept my choice of affiliation just as I accept yours. Simples. We cannot all be MDC-T - that will be dictatorship. Innit?
as much as we love it and praise every little positive thing that comes out of it, zimbabwe remains a very dangerous place.
Noways Babazala, read the posting that I have copied from a current Kadoma resident that I have pasted elsewhere on this website; this was a straight forward robbery and we need not politicise it at all, because ZANU PF functionaries have fallen victim to the same thing in Kadoma. Infact making a big issue of this particular incident actually shows a bias and overt concern for white folks only, this has happened to other prominent non-ZANU PF blacks in Kadoma and there has been less fuss than this, are their properties and lives of less value then? Zim is not a dangerous place at all at this point in time, maybe at election time next year yes, but then I live in Byo and those shennanigans never happen here so ....You have a duty to continue loving and promoting the interests of Zimbabwe..... you have no other choice there Babazala
This is a very likely story from these western puppets. Why would zanu pf youths put on zanu pf bandanas knowing very well that they will be identified? These Rhodesians were mugged by common criminals, probably MDC-T, who knew that they keep cash at home. They are just trying to sensationalise this issue seeing that elections are just around the corner! GO BACK TO F*&^ing UK and spare us the rubbish.
do zanu sponsor violence and terror attacks? jus a simple question
The story is so faulty and so foolish that even the foolishest fool in MDC will not be fooled into refocussing his attention from his boss' foolish theatrics.
Dont you think its the high time you take a rest from this forum? It appears you are becoming foolish yourself.
Anyone who believes that this criminal thuggish behaviour has anything to do with politics is severelystupid! It's even more suspect that whenever talks of impending elections begin, something brutal ALWAYS happens to MDC supporters ONLY. Observation: this MDC pre-emptive tactic has lost credibility and so outdated. It simply will not work. For all we know, this case is a pure act of thievery perfectly planned and executed (by overzealous MDC supporters), i.e. to make it appear political, thereby implicating ZPF in the process. Only fools will believe anything. MDC is finished..... Nonsense!!!
Interesting. Is it a strategy to divert attention from Tsvangirai's problems and his sudden riches? The narration of what happened suggests that this was just a robbery. There is nothing to suggest this has anything to do with politics. People may get robbed irrespective of their political affiliations. But interestingly, for some people, if some MDC-T official is robbed then ZANU PF has to be involved.
OK I responded to posts elsewhere on this article, now my contribution - Can anyone tell me why any time a black person is attacked and robbed in Zimbabwe the attackers are quickly labelled criminals while in the case of a white man attacked the attackers are quickly labelled ZANU PF? Has anyone with a detailed mind like mine noticed this? And what more each time a black family is attacked the crime is not debated except some people saying they are sorry and siding with criminals saying it is because of hardship brought by ZANU but if a white man is attacked people go hysteria accusing ZANU PF of attacking these whites? I am afraid that MDC-T shall or will unwittingly put the lives of our fellow white citizens and brethren at stake in order to gain political expedience. I might be wrong and I stand to be corrected but politics, being a game laden with opportunists and very, very greed people, participants herein should guard their backs for being used in a dangerous way; especially our white folks as their plight is deemed a quick sale for generous donations from fellow whites in the Western world. That is my warning to fellow white citizens you should appreciate that you are a hot commodity and thus you should stop taking things for granted.
Masked threats won't work,Zuda ,come into my house and try your ZANU tricks on me- don't say you weren't warned-let's say ,you will be surprised t say the least
Inside job this is- Gukurahundi offsprings at work!
How many Zimboz/Africans have been the victims of thieves?
There are some who still foolishly delude themselves that the blood of whites are precious and that of Africans not so much. Only those ignoramuses would want to delude others that this case is special. NOT!
In any event, if one finds thieves on one's properties, how are they usually treated? Are the invading thieves usually given gifts or punishment?
ALL whites in Zim are INVADING THIEVES!
The consequences for invasion and thievery are never pleasant; so best to vacate the properties of Africans and surrender African loot..
The fact that violence by Zanu PF thugs has always been condorned by the police makes it easier for anyone to commit a crime while wearing Zanu regalia and they know that police won't hunt for them. This is what happens in any state where lawlwssness has been deliberated. where the full might of the law is applied , its always to the wrong and undesrving innocent people. Perpetrators walk scott free in the street while the innocent languish and rot ibn Jail. Gushungo tichakubata chete. Your days are numbered. The blood of the innocent shall speak!!!!
Zvatanga...and its game on..all the bloody way to elections...vekwedu vazvimbirwa nemakeke..vakanganwa kutivarikurwa hondo..vuka madhoda!
Dear Editor - Why won't you publish the horrific pictures? Are you scared your bosses might not like it? If anyone would like to see them, go zimbabwecrisis dot org
Ndeyeropa for sure.
ELECTIONS TIME!......The Zanu thugs are sharpening their knives!
Mugabe, teaches children to steal rob and rape. He sees no wrong in this actions never does his supporters.
Zimbabwe is not yet ready for elections.The ex-majority party is blood thirsty & survives on killing.Think twice Morgan.No elections next year.
Iswi tolowa koga.
Lets here andsee what will BoB do or say about this.
Anyone who believes this silly story just proves why we have fools who worship idiots like Tsvangirai & Mukandiwana in Zimbabwe.
We have some grown up fools who will believe any nonsense as long as it accuses ZanuPF of any bullshit.
Even the foreign media which these stories are created for dont buy these crap stories.
Instead, these varungus should be arrested for making a false report.
As treasurer, he could also be attempting to hide monies he has stolen but of course he would get away with it because his party is run by more fools.
The bottom line is people were beaten, and those who did it should be arrested. Whether they are MDC, ZANU or non-aligned, the bottom line is they should be beaten.
Who should be beaten here? The victims? Am surprised really.
You know what he means you simpleton
ZIMBABWE’S only white government minister has said racial slurs against whites at the highest political level continue to show “a gross level of intolerance” in the country.
Education Minister David Coltart said if he made similar insults about blacks he would “rightly be branded as a sympathiser of the Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan.”
Ministerial colleagues sometimes seemed to forget he was in the same room when they made “shocking” remarks about whites, even at Cabinet meetings, he said on his Facebook page.
Debate on lingering prejudices in Zimbabwe has raged since allegations of racism in soccer have reemerged in Europe.
A weekly newspaper run by loyalists of President Robert Mugabe charged Friday that racism by whites has endured three decades since the end of colonial-era rule.
The Patriot newspaper said since independence in 1980 Zimbabweans have been giving each other “plastic smiles” that tried to conceal the deeply-rooted brutality of past white rule.
It said the tiny white minority of about 30,000 does not want to mix with blacks or respect the majority population of 12 million people.
It said racial polarisation was shown at a writers’ gathering in Harare last month addressed by white and black best-selling authors. It said Alexandra Fuller, author of “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” an account of growing up as a white child in colonial times, dodged questions on “white assumptions” about black Africans.
Coltart, a lawyer, longtime human rights activist and a politician of the former opposition now in the coalition government, said white attitudes had often been hardened by racist hate speech in media controlled by Mugabe loyalists and “ethnic cleansing” by Mugabe militants since 2000, the start of an often violent campaign to seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms and a black empowerment program to take control of 51 percent of white and foreign-owned businesses. That “entrenched bitterness in the minds of many whites,” Coltart said.
He said he was glad the “important debate” was now being aired openly.
In 1980, after a guerrilla war swept him to power, Mugabe announced a policy of reconciliation toward his former white foes and said he would allow the descendants of British settlers to keep their place in the sun.
Coltart noted no independent truth commission was held in Zimbabwe after white rule ended and so whites never had to face up to the realities of the past. In neighboring South Africa, many apartheid era crimes were investigated and heard by a truth and reconciliation commission.
Coltart said “deeply offensive” generalisations on race were frequently used by all groups in Zimbabwe.
“As always, it is wrong to paint any race or ethnic group with a single, broad brush. There are remarkable white people out there who are deeply committed to the concept of a multiracial, truly democratic Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Sadly, we all make generalizations which would be unacceptable in all genuine democracies,” he said.
(WHATS LEFT) Will Damascus Survive Washington’s Latest Attempt to Impose a Puppet Government on Syriawhat's left
Will Damascus Survive Washington’s Latest Attempt to Impose a Puppet Government on Syria?
Posted in Syria by what's left on November 2, 2012
By Stephen Gowans
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says Washington needs “an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution,” (1) but fails to add that it must also be open to the United States doing the same.
Uprisings aimed at overthrowing governments are often divided between militants who do the heavy lifting on the ground and politicians who lead the fight in the political sphere. Outside powers scheme to anoint an acceptable politician as a leader-in-waiting to step into the void if and when the current government is toppled. The leader must be both acceptable to his or her foreign backers and to the militants on the ground.
Washington has decided that the Syrian National Council, which it “initially charged” to “galvanize opposition” (2) to Syria’s Ba’thist government is unacceptable to Syrian rebels and therefore has no hope of leading a successor government. As an alternative to the failed council, it has handpicked the leaders of a new government-in-waiting, to be unveiled in Doha on November 7, and soon after receive the pre-arranged blessing of the Arab League and Friends of Syria. Make no mistake. What emerges from Doha will be a US creation, intended to represent US interests in Syria and the Middle East.
At a press conference following an October 30 meeting with the president of Croatia, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton revealed that the Syrian National Council, Washington’s initial pick to lead the opposition to the Asad government, no longer had Washington’s support. The SNC, in Washington’s view, had become irrelevant. The armed opposition to the Asad government is happening outside the leadership of the SNC, an organization of exiles with no legitimacy within Syria and internally divided by incessant squabbling between its Islamist and secularist factions. The SNC, commented one armed rebel, “has been over with for a long time now; fighters only talk about it sarcastically.” (3)
Equally problematic for Washington was the SNC’s narrow base of political support. “From the beginning, the council was seen as a prime vehicle for the long-exiled Muslim Brotherhood” (4) and therefore “failed to attract significant representation from minority groups,” (5) including Alawites, Christians and Kurds. Its failure to win support from fighters on the ground, and to expand beyond a narrow sectarian base, hardly recommended it as a viable government-in-waiting. Sounding the council’s death knell, Clinton decreed “that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition.” (6)
For weeks now, Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, has been putting together a plan to anoint a new US-approved government-in-the-wings. The initiative is known as the “Riad Seif plan” (7) named after a wealthy Damascus businessman and former Syrian parliamentarian who has long played an active role in the opposition to the Asad government. Acceptable to Washington owing to his businessman politics (as against the Ba’athist’s ideological commitment to state domination of the economy, marginalization of the private sector, and controls on foreign investment (8)), Seif has been endorsed by Washington to lead a post-Ba’athist government. It is hoped that his opposition credentials—he was jailed by the Syrian government for his activities—will put him in good stead with the rebels on the ground.
The plan calls for the creation of a “proto-parliament” comprising 50 members, 20 from the internal opposition, 15 from the SNC (i.e., the exile opposition), and 15 from various other Syrian opposition organizations. An executive body made up of 8 to 10 members—who have been endorsed by the US State department (9) — will work directly with the United States and its allies. (10) Washington and its subordinates, the Arab League and misnamed Friends of Syria, both democracy-hating clubs of plutocracies and oil monarchies, will attempt to make the body acceptable to Syrians by recognizing it as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
There’s no guarantee the plan will work. One of its goals is to marginalize the influence of the Jihadists, many though not all of whom have spilled into Syria from other countries, bent on overturning a secular regime led by a president whose Alawi faith they revile as heretical. If the Jihadists can be sidelined, Washington may be able to funnel arms to “acceptable” militant groups, without fear of their being used later against US targets. But there’s a question mark hanging over Seif’s appeal to religiously-inspired militants, especially when the hands of the marionette-master, the US State Department, are so visible. The same goes for the new council’s appeal to the anti-imperialist secular opposition, who “are against any new political entity that becomes subject to the agendas of foreign countries.” (11) And there’s no mistaking that the new ‘Made-in-the-USA’ council will be subject to the political agenda of the United States.
We needn’t tarry long on debunking the naive belief that Washington’s intervention in Syrian affairs has the slightest connection to promoting democracy. If democracy promotion motivated US foreign policy, absolutist monarchies with execrable records of human rights abridgements and violent repression of popular uprisings against their dictatorial rule would not make up the bulk of the United States’ Arab allies. The last thing the wealthy investors, bankers and corporate heavyweights who make up the US ruling class want is democracy, either at home or aboard. They want its polar opposite—plutocracy, rule by people of wealth in the interests of piling up more wealth through the exploitation of the labor of other people and the land, resources and markets of other countries.
When Saudi Arabia sent tanks and troops into Bahrain on March 14, 2011 to crush a local eruption of the Arab Spring, the United States did nothing to disturb their democracy-abominating ally’s assault on the popular uprising, except issue a meaningless call for “political dialogue.” As the New York Times explained,
The reasons for Mr. Obama’s reticence were clear: Bahrain sits off the Saudi coast, and the Saudis were never going to allow a sudden flowering of democracy next door…In addition, the United States maintains a naval base in Bahrain…crucial for maintaining the flow of oil from the region. “We realized that the possibility of anything happening in Saudi Arabia was one that couldn’t become a reality,” said William M. Daley, President Obama’s chief of staff at the time. “For the global economy, this couldn’t happen.” (12)
Considering that William Daley is an investment banker from a politically well-connected family; that “maintaining the flow of oil” means “maintaining the flow of oil revenues to US oil giants”; and that “the global economy” means “investors’ returns,” it’s clear why the plutocracy condoned their ally’s repression of the Bahrain uprising. Under plutocratic rule, steps toward democracy—even baby ones—are not allowed to get in the way of profits.
Nor need we tarry on the naive belief that a government that has been handpicked by Washington—the US State Department has “recommended names and organizations that ….should be included in any leadership structure,” disclosed Clinton (13)—will represent Syrian interests against those of its sponsor. US interests in Syria have no intrinsic relationship to protecting Israel, which—with its formidable military, yearly $3 billion dollop of US military aid, and an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons—hardly needs further assistance defending itself against Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas, none of which are significant threats to Israel anyway but are threatened by it. Weakening Iran, Syria’s ally, may be one of Washington’s objectives in trying to orchestrate Asad’s ouster, but not because Iran may acquire nuclear power status and therefore threaten Israel (which it could hardly do anyway considering that it’s severely outclassed militarily (14)), but because, like Syria, it zealously safeguards its economic territory from the US plutocracy’s designs, allowing the state to dominate its economy and protect its domestic enterprises, land and resources from outside domination. The real reason the US plutocracy wants to topple the Syrian and Iranian governments is because they’re bad for the plutocracy’s business interests. Democracy, existential threats to Israel, and nuclear non-proliferation, have nothing to do with it.
The Syrian government is no stranger to formidable challenges. It has waged a longstanding war with Islamists who have rejected the Ba’athist’s secular orientation from the start. Its war with the ethnic-cleansing settler regime in Tel Aviv oscillates between hot and cold. The United States has waged economic warfare against Syria for years, and has connived at overthrowing its government before. Still, Damascus is in a particularly bad spot now. The world’s strongest plutocracies have escalated their hostility. Jihadist terrorists from abroad—to say nothing of home-grown ones—are doing their best to upset Ba’athist rule. But the support of the Syrian military and a substantial part of the Syrian population, plus assistance from Russia and Iran, have allowed it to hang on.
In the face of imperialist and Islamist opposition, its future looks grim, but governments have faced bleaker prospects before and survived, some even going on to thrive. To be sure, there are profound differences between the Asad government and the early Bolshevik regime, but the Syrian government and its supporters may take heart knowing that at one point it seemed all but certain that Lenin’s fledgling government would fail. Famine had gripped the cities. An imperialist war had thrown Russia’s industry into chaos and all but ruined its transportation system. Civil war had broken out and predatory hostile states had launched military invasions to smother the infant government in its cradle. Yet, in the face of these tremendous challenges, the Bolsheviks survived and over the next seven decades went on to build a great industrial power that eliminated unemployment, overwork, economic insecurity, extremes of inequality, and economic crises, while almost singlehandedly eradicating the scourge of Nazism. And it did so without exploiting other countries but helping to build them economically and escape colonialism and imperialist domination, often at great expense to itself. Similarly the Syrian government may overcome its challenges, both internal and external, and carry on a course of independent, self-directed development, free from the backwardness of Islamic fundamentalism, sectarianism and domination by the world’s great plutocracies. Let’s hope so.
1. Neil MacFarquhar and Michael R. Gordon, “As fighting rages, Clinton seeks new Syrian opposition”, The New York Times, October 31, 2012
2. Jay Solomon and Nour Malas, “U.S. pulls support for key anti-Assad bloc”, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2012
3. MacFarquhar and Gordon
4. MacFarquhar and Gordon
5. MacFarquhar and Gordon
6. Hillary Clinton’s Remarks With Croatian President Ivo Josipovic After Their Meeting, October 31, 2012. http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/10/199931.htm
7. Josh Rogin, “Obama administration works to launch new Syrian opposition council”, Foreign Policy, October 30, 2012. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/30/obama_administration_works_to_launch_new_syrian_opposition_council
8. See the Syrian page of The Heritage Foundations’ Index of Economic Freedom, http://www.heritage.org/index/country/syria
9. Andrew Quin, “Hillary Clinton calls for overhaul of Syria opposition”, The Globe and Mail, October 31, 2012
11. MacFarquhar and Gordon
12. Helene Cooper and Robert F. Worth, “In Arab Sprint, Obama finds a sharp test”, The New York Times, September 24, 2012
14. Stephen Gowans, “Wars for Profits: A No-Nonsense Guide to Why the United States Seeks to Make Iran an International Pariah”, what’s left, November 9, 2011. http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/wars-for-profits-a-no-nonsense-guide-to-why-the-united-states-seeks-to-make-iran-an-international-pariah/
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, October 31, 2012
Doing the right thing is risky. Greek magazine publisher Costas Vaxevanis faces charges of violating state privacy laws. Potentially he faces two years in prison. Press freedom and whistleblowing should be inviolate. Not in today’s corrupt money controlled world. More on this below.
A previous article discussed a recent Tax Justice Network (TJN) USA report. It estimates up to $32 trillion of hidden and stolen wealth stashed largely tax-free secretly.
“The Price of Offshore Revisited” reveals what super-rich elites want concealed. Governments let them avoid taxes. Societal costs are huge. Ill-gotten gains are free to make more of them. Only ordinary people pay what they owe. Many pay too much.
A vast offshore industry operates out of sight and mind. Only financial interests running it and wealthy tax avoiders know what’s going on.
The benefit of getting rich is being able to break societal rules to get richer. When ordinary people try they’re punished. When whisleblowers expose potential wrongdoing, prosecutors victimize them.
Under Obama, it’s truer than ever in America. Greece operates the same way. On October 29, Reuters headlined “Greek editor stands trial over Swiss accounts list, saying:
Hot Doc magazine editor Vaxevanis was arrested for publishing the “Lagarde List.” In 2010, French authorities gave it to Athens. At issue is investigating 2,059 wealthy Greeks with secret HSBC Swiss accounts.
Whether they’re guilty of criminal fraud or other financial crimes, remains to be seen. Many tax haven depositors have considerable amounts of questionable wealth.
Lagarde’s List includes business people, shipping magnates, politicians, physicians, lawyers, architects, scientists, journalists, housewives, a painter, an actress, and others. How they accumulated wealth and why it’s held secretly needs explaining.
Vaxevanis believes most on Lagarde’s List are suspect. Many may be tax cheats. They may also be involved in other illegal activities. He told supporters:
“I was doing my job in the name of the public interest. Journalism is revealing the truth when everyone else is trying to hide it.”
“Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in their hands, they are trying to arrest the truth and free journalism.”
“If anyone is accountable before the law it is those ministers who hid the list, lost it, and said it didn’t exist. I only did my job. I am a journalist and I did my job.”
He also said 15 officers Sunday surrounded the home of a friend where he was staying. They acted like German storm troopers in Greek uniforms.
Ahead of his apprehension he Twittered, “They’re entering my house with the prosecutor right now. They are arresting me. Spread the word.”
Hours later he was released to appear in magistrate court Monday.
The Ta Nea newspaper devoted 10 pages to the story. It believes secret accounts held about $2 billion dollars in 2007. It could be double or more that amount now.
At the same time, it said it wasn’t prejudging the list’s “content nor the connotations it evokes in a large part of the public.” No evidence so far implicates anyone in criminality.
Perhaps it’s because no investigations were undertaken. Influential people usually avoid them. It happens all the time. Vaxevanis said, “Today, it’s not Hot Doc that’s on trial but press freedom in Greece and truth.”
He added that an anonymous source supplied the list. Some observers said prosecutors targeted free expression in democracy’s birthplace.
The Greek chapter of Reporters Without Borders issued a statement about the speed of Vaxevanis’ arrest. He’s “not a dangerous criminal,” it said.
“The pressure created by the arrest of a reporter is clearly disproportionate. This procedure simply encourages an excessive cover-up, and the authorities appear to be imposing the ‘therapy’ of this sensitive issue, which is a gripping matter of public interest.”
Some of the names on his list include:
George and Fotis Bobolas
The Marinopoulos Brothers
Families of shipping magnates Martinou and Patera
Most well-known jewellers
usinessman Benroubi’s family
Journalist George Trangas
Caricaturist Katherine Shina
Pegasus publishing house manager Alexis Skanavis
Adviser to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras Stavros Papastavros
Athens area obstetrician Panagiotis Agraniotis in the prestigious
Thessaloniki dentist Vassilios Daniilidis
Athens Surgery Professor Ioannis Karaytianos
Athens surgeon Sotirios Stiloyanis
ENT doctor Ptolemeos Petridis
Gynacologist Giorgos Papadimitriou
Pediatrician Eli Mantsi
Sakoula publishing house founder Amalia Moutousi’s wife Yioanna Sakoula
Sculptor Alexandra Atanasiadi
Deceased former Kostas Karamanlis deputy minister Ioannis Boutos
Former newspaper editor Spiridonas Doukas
Following the list’s publication, prosecutors issued a search warrant for Vaxevanis’ premises. He claims he did nothing illegal. Personal data isn’t disclosed. Nor are monetary amounts.
He wants prosecutors to explain their “illegal actions.” An opposition political party SYRIZA statement accused the government of provocative and unacceptable persecution, saying:
“Unfortunately, justice hurried to set itself itself going against the one who reveals facts, and it tolerates those who conceal the facts.”
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and at least one other Greek parliamentarian called for charges against Vaxevanis to be dropped. They ridiculed prosecutors for targeting him instead individuals on the list.
“It is unacceptable that in Greece, which has been on its knees in recent years, tax evaders are left undisturbed and those who conceal possible evasion are not prosecuted but those who make revelations are.”
The Independent Greeks party said:
“The vassals of the Three are scared to death – those who betrayed our national sovereignty, are now betraying our constitutional rights – victims of fear and court intimidation.”
Independent deputy Nikos Nikopoulos added:
“In Greece, the law applies to those who reveal lists of bank accounts. There are people among the names who have illegally obtained these accounts.”
“At the same time, however, those who are keeping ‘forgotten’ lists in their desks, and do not publicize them, are left undisturbed.”
President of the Athens union of newspaper editors, Dimitris Trimis, called what happened “absolutely hypocritical.”
“Because justice and politicians have allegedly been looking for these publicly disclosed data, but are mutually accusing one another that they cannot find them. Publicity and transparency are the soul of Democracy and Justice.”
Former finance minister George Papaconstantinou said he gave about 20 names to financial crimes unit head Ioannis Diotis. He asked him to investigate possible wrongdoing.
Diotis gave them to Evangelos Venizelos, Papaconstantinou’s successor. He said Venizelos hadn’t told him to investigate – case closed. Isn’t that how things always work? In America, London, and other financial capitals, it’s standard practice.
Papaconstantinou added that authorities didn’t act because they’re covering for elite tax cheats.
“My interpretation is they probably got scared. They looked at the names on the list and saw it was full of important people from business and publishing and decided not to go ahead without clear political instructions and cover.”
He added that what’s now known represents only a small part of a massive tax evasion problem. He called the Greek system “broken and corrupt.”
Author and social commentator Petros Markaris said:
“This really is a mess, and it has become a mess because the politicians have handled it so badly. This was not incompetence but because they did not want to make public what could harm them.”
The origin of the scandal began in a January 2009 raid. The French home of former HSBC Geneva branch IT consultant, Herve Falciani, was targeted.
Swiss authorities accused him of selling stolen data on the bank’s clients. French police found computer files on 130,000 potential tax evaders. Swiss authorities were furious about initiated investigations. About 15,000 HSBC clients are involved.
So far, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras withheld comment. He’s got plenty of other crosses to bear. Add one more to his list.
A Final Comment
On October 30, Vaxevanis addressed Athens magistrate court, saying:
“There is an effort being made to convict me of a ‘crime.” The prosecutors say that I have published personal data while Mr. Venizelos, the former Finance Minister, ‘lost’ the list down the toilet of his home.”
“Over the last two years, there is a public effort through the appearance of legality to cover a very big scandal. The people who are handling and manipulating this issue and the public prosecutor have got to realize that from a legal point of view, there was no violation of personal data at all.”
“A few months ago in Greece, the public prosecutor made public the personal information of people with AIDS! Why? They said it was because they wanted to protect the public interest. In order to protect the public interests, I did my job. The people on the list need to be investigated.”
“I am speaking to the public prosecutor when I say that he has the obligation to show the same sensitivity to my case. I don’t know why the public prosecutor behaves in this manner, but they must adhere to rule of law and treat all cases equally.”
“Today, several international newspapers have published the Lagarde list and there has been no outcry or repercussions. A journalist’s job is to tell the truth, especially when others are hiding the truth. Anything less is just public relations and propaganda.”
His trial is scheduled for early June.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
(GLOBALRESEARCH) US Dumps Syrian National Council (SNC), Focus Exclusively on Arming “Al Qaeda in Syria”US Dumps Syrian National Council (SNC), Focus Exclusively on Arming “Al Qaeda in Syria”
By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, November 01, 2012
The Washington Post in its recent article, “U.S. looks to build alternative Syrian opposition leadership,” claims:
The Obama administration has spent the past several months in secret diplomatic negotiations aimed at building a new Syrian opposition leadership structure that it hopes can win the support of minority groups still backing President Bashar al-Assad.
The strategy, to be unveiled at a Syrian opposition meeting next week in Qatar, amounts to a last-ditch effort to prevent extremists from gaining the upper hand within the opposition and to stop the Syrian crisis from boiling over into the greater Middle East.
The Post also indicates that de facto “administrative zones” are being set up along the Turkish-Syrian border with “nonlethal” assistance provided by the United States, France and “other like-minded governments.” The so-called “Syrian National Council” is being discarded, as it is wholly seen as illegitimate by both Syrians and the world at large.
Image: Will the West’s new “resistance front” in Syria officially include Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)? Here he is addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion,” not rebellion.
The Washington Post would also quote Secretary Clinton:
The SNC, Clinton said, should no longer be considered the “visible leader” of the opposition.
“There has to be a representation of those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom,” she said during an unrelated visit to the Balkan states. “... And we also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution.”
It is clear that both the West’s political proxies, and its armed militant proxies have been compromised and the narrative that tentatively worked against Libya, is now unraveling and failing against Syria. While the US attempts to portray this latest move as an attempt to “prevent extremist elements from gaining the upper hand within the opposition,” it must be remembered that as early as 2007, US officials had admitted that efforts to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran would include primarily US, Israeli, and Saudi armed extremists drawn from across the Arab World, and sent into Syria to create the very sectarian bloodbath now unfolding. Rhetoric of “freedom” and “democracy” serve merely as cover within which foreign military aggression is couched.
This was first exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker report titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?”
In the report it specifically stated:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
Hersh’s report would continue by stating:
“the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
The link between extremist groups and Saudi funding was also mentioned in the report, and reflects evidence regarding the origin and backers of similar extremists who flooded Iraq during the US occupation, sowing sectarian strife and killing Western troops alike:
“…[Saudi Arabia's] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.”
It was exposed in “NATO Using Al Qaeda Rat Lines to Flood Syria With Foreign Terrorists,” that indeed, the very networks used by Al Qaeda to flood Iraq with foreign fighters is now being used by the United States, NATO and the Persian Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to violently overthrow Syria. The narrative that recent US efforts aim at heading off “extremists” from “hijacking” the armed violence in Syria, is exposed as a blatant lie. Extremists have constituted the so-called “opposition” from the very beginning, by design, with explicit US, NATO, Saudi and Qatari funding, weapons, and support.
Image: The most prominent routes into Syria for foreign fighters is depicted, with the inset graph describing the most widely used routes by foreign fighters on their way to Iraq, as determined by West Point’s 2007 Combating Terrorism Center report “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (page 20). These same networks are now being used, with the addition of a more prominent role for Turkey, to target Syria directly. (Click to enlarge)
By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, November 02, 2012
The Washington Post claims “soldiers” were executed – terrorists in video clearly refer to victims as civilian “shabih.” Victims had no weapons, uniforms, or IDs indicating they were soldiers.
An egregious war crime was reported on by the Washington Post, but deceitfully and purposefully spun and shrugged off. In the Post’s article, “Syrian rebels execute unarmed government soldiers; dozens killed in fighting,” it is first reported:
Syrian rebels executed at least a half-dozen unarmed government soldiers Thursday after attacks on checkpoints near the town of Saraqeb in northwest Syria.
The execution of the soldiers, which was documented in a graphic video [GRAPHIC] posted online Thursday, is not the first time that rebel fighters appear to have committed war crimes. U.N. representatives and human rights organizations have repeatedly criticized the Syrian opposition in recent months for carrying out summary executions and for abusing detainees.
The video clearly shows unarmed men, none of whom are wearing uniforms or equipment typical of “government soldiers.” The Washington Post then links to another video while reporting:
A second video posted online Thursday [GRAPHIC], which appears to have been filmed shortly after the execution, shows at least three other bodies spread out around the checkpoint. The man filming approaches two of the bodies and says, “The shabiha of Assad, the dogs.”
“Shabiha,” of course refers to alleged civilian militias organized locally to resist terrorists entering into and attempting to overrun neighborhoods. The term “shabiha” has been used by the Western media as a catch-all to spin any massacre committed against civilians by US-backed terrorists operating in Syria. That the murderers themselves, filming their own crime, refer to the victims as “shabiha” – indicates that civilians, not Syrian government forces, were murdered – contrary to what the Washington Post reported.
The term suspected “shabiha” has become analogous of the Western media’s use of the term “African mercenaries” in Libya during NATO destabilization and regime change operations there in 2011. These “African mercenaries” were lynched, beheaded, shot, burned, and hacked to pieces, just as terrorists are now doing to suspected “shabiha” across Syria.
Photo: Images and reports eventually trickled out as NATO-backed genocide unfolded throughout Tripoli’s streets, indicating the destruction of infrastructure and the specific targeting of black Libyans written off by the corporate media as “suspected mercenaries.” Benghazi rebels have been long reported to harbor extremist ideologies and an intense ethnic and racial hatred. These very Libyan, Benghazi terrorists are now streaming into Syria to commit similar atrocities against the Syrian people.”.
It would later turn out these black Africans were not mercenaries, but citizens who had lived in Libya for generations fighting desperately for their lives against sectarian extremists intolerant of their complexion and creed. Racially motivated attacks by NATO-backed terrorists in Libya would culminate in the extermination of the entire city of Tawarga where an estimated 10,000-35,000 inhabitants were either exterminated, imprisoned, or exiled to refugee camps and then beyond Libya’s borders.
Video: Wiped out. Tawarga, once home to 10,000 (this video claims up to 35,000) people, many part of Libya’s black community who had resided in the country for generations, had its inhabitants either exiled, imprisoned or exterminated. NATO-backed militants told the Telegraph in 2011, ” every single one of them has left, and we will never allow them to come back.” And just as the Western media initially covered up these atrocities by merely labeling all black victims of NATO terrorists as “African mercenaries,” a similar propaganda campaign is underway in Syria, labeling civilian victims of NATO-backed foreign terrorists as suspected “shibiha.”
In Syria, suspected “shabiha” are in actuality Syrians unwilling or unable, because of their ethnicity or creed, to capitulate to roving bands of foreign-armed sectarian extremists. The Washington Post and others throughout the corporate-driven Western media are willfully covering up crimes against humanity through overtly deceitful reporting and semantics.
It should be remembered, that these terrorists who have video taped themselves committing a massacre of unarmed men, out of uniform, and referred to as civilian “shabiha,” not soldiers – are at the center of renewed US, NATO, Saudi and Qatari efforts to refocus Western support for the violent, armed overthrow of the Syrian government.
Articles by: Tony Cartalucci
NATO Terrorists Mass Slaughter Civilians in Aleppo, Syria
NATO-backed terrorism swept the northern Syrian city of Aleppo this week, killing and maiming scores of civilians. Al Qaeda-style car bombings targeted public squares throughout the city in a coordinated attack the Western press has attempted to claim was “targeting government forces.” CNN in their article, “Syria: Dozens killed in blasts at Aleppo public square,” bases this conclusion on the discredited “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” a single man, Rami Abdelrahman, who is admittedly a biased member of the so-called “Syrian opposition,” based not in Syria but in Coventry England disingenuously posing as an entire “human rights organization.”
But even Abdelrahman’s baseless claims state that “most of the casualties were government forces” meaning that the remaining victims were indeed civilians.…
Cold-Blood Mass Murder in Syria by the West’s "Pro-Democracy Opposition"
Cold-Blood Mass Murder in Syria by the West’s “Pro-Democracy Opposition”
They were dragged out to be executed in a small, dusty courtyard in blazing sunlight. The victims were half-naked, dazed, their underwear soaked in blood, their legs bleeding from torture inflicted earlier. The expectant crowd, some armed with guns, others holding up mobile phones to take what were presumably trophy photos, were baying for execution.…
Crimes in Syria committed by terrorists backed by Western and Arab countries
The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent last night a message to the United Nations, the Islamic Cooperation Organisation and the Arab League, concerning the terror acts in Aleppo.
“The above terror acts are in line with the anti-Syrian campaign, backed and funded by some countries in the region and provoked by well-known mass media, nudging armed gangs to murders of civilians,” says the statement of the Syrian Foreign Ministry as quoted by the SANA news agency.…
US-Backed Terrorists Murder US Ambassador in Libya
“I have met with these brave fighters, they are not Al-Qaeda. … They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.” – Sen. John McCain, Benghazi, April 22, 2011.
Syria FSA Terrorists Behind “False Flag” Attack against Turkey
One of the German state television channels, the ZDF, has broadcasted two interesting reports today.
In both reports it is said that the so-called Syrian rebels have taken responsibility for yesterday`s provocations for which the Syrian Arab Army and thus, the Syrian government was immediately blamed for by the Turkish government, Western governments, last but not least, by Western media, of course.…
02 Nov 2012 07:39 - Lynley Donnelly
But with so many risks beyond their control, the one question is, who would want to take up Cynthia Carroll's position as Anglo American's CEO?
While the market is awash with speculation over who should replace Carroll it is clear that her successor faces a tough task, particularly in terms of stabilising the company's South African operations.
Susan Shabangu, minister of mineral resources, said she hoped a South African would be appointed after Carroll resigned last week. This chimes neatly with the Public Investment Corporation's call for greater representation of emerging markets on the Anglo American board.
But an industry insider, who did not want to be named, said it remained to be seen whether any chief executive would want to step up to the plate given the challenges Anglo faces, especially in South Africa.
More than a third of Anglo's assets are based in South Africa. They make up more than half of the group's profits and include Anglo Platinum (Amplats) and Kumba Iron Ore. The local mining sector has been pummelled by violent labour unrest and faces uncertainties as a result of the ongoing debate in the ruling ANC over state intervention in the industry. "The question is, would anyone be keen [on the job] given the ratio of assets exposed to risks that are outside their control?" the source said.
Besides that, the long-standing oversupply in the platinum group metals market means that whoever takes the job has difficult decisions to make in terms of the embattled Amplats. This included rationalising underperforming operations and possible retrenchments at a time when this would be "politically very difficult" to do, the source said.
Finding an individual with a rare blend of extensive commodities experience, the boardroom savvy to inspire international investor confidence and the political cachet to navigate South Africa's unique nexus of business and politics will not be easy. There has been extensive speculation about potential candidates. Chief among them is local-born Mick Davis, chief executive of Xstrata, which is negotiating a merger with commodities trader Glencore.
Previously tipped to head the merged company, Davis is now widely expected to lose out to Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg, which means he could be available for the post.
Depending on how the planned merger between Xstrata and Glencore unfolds – shareholders still have to approve the deal – speculation is on the rise that the merged giant could make a bid for Anglo.
Kobus Nell, analyst at Stanlib, said should the Glencore-Xstrata merger be successful it was likely that Anglo's South African assets would be unbundled and Davis would be first in line to head the entity.
Although Xstrata's performance had not been stellar when benchmarked against its peers, Davis had experience working with assets that were not necessarily the "best in class", Nell said. Anglo's portfolio, formerly world-class and relatively easy to manage, had been left to deteriorate over time, which suggested that someone with Davis's expertise could benefit the company, he said.
Other names doing the rounds include BHP Billiton's former chief financial officer, Alex Vanselow, and Chris Griffith, newly appointed head of Amplats.
Nell said that, given perceptions of Anglo as an "old boys club with a lot of fat on the table", there appeared to be a great deal of enthusiasm for someone such as Vanselow, who could introduce some of the BHP Billiton management culture to Anglo. But, Nell said, he was not a local and lacked South African exposure, which could count against him.
Peter Major, mining analyst at Cadiz Corporate Solutions, questioned whether Davis would be an appropriate choice for Anglo. Whoever took the helm would need to be adept at managing relations with South African role players such as the government and labour unions, he said.
Davis is from South Africa, but his ambitions have been constrained on home soil before. A former financial director of Eskom, he left the utility in 1994 after it became clear he would not get the top job.
Major said AngloGold Ashanti's Mark Cutifani was closer to what the company needed, given his record of hauling the gold miner up by its bootstraps. "He took over the biggest mess in mining and fixed it," he said.
Although not native to South Africa, Cutifani lived in the country and was respected and trusted by the authorities and labour alike, Major said.
To Carroll's credit, she spent a great deal of time building relationships with the governments of countries in which Anglo operates and had seen Anglo through the transfer of old-order mining rights to new-order rights under South Africa's new legislative regime, Major said.
Nevertheless, under her stewardship Anglo's share price had plummeted by 35% to 40%, Major said, and profitability was under strain.
Vanselow is touted as a man who could turn this around. He is competent and has experience of a multinational, diversified giant that has performed well in recent years.
However, a good deal of BHP Billiton's success could be attributed to good timing, Major said. Very few of the major deals that its chief, Marius Kloppers, planned went ahead, most famously the bid for Rio Tinto, and the largest one that has gone through has already been written down substantially.
Major said the failure to conclude many big deals had worked in the mining giant's favour, because the commodities cycle had slowed down and mining shares the world over had fallen substantially, mainly on the back of the global recession.
Given the dire state of Anglo American's most important asset, Amplats, Major said it was important that Griffith remain there. It would give him the opportunity to double the market capitalisation of a company with more than $1-trillion in "metals in the ground".
Two female bosses left
Anglo American's chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, is stepping down after months of pressure from shareholders and amid wildcat strikes in South Africa.
This will leave only two female bosses in FTSE 100 companies – Angela Ahrendts at fashion group Burberry and Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco.
United States-born Carroll, now 55, became the first non-South African, the first woman and the first outsider to take the reins at Anglo when she became chief executive in March 2007. Carroll will stay in the job until a successor is found, which could take up to nine months.
Potential candidates include Alex Vanselow, the Brazilian former chief financial officer of BHP Billiton; Aaron Regent, former boss of Barrick Gold; and Mick Davis, South African-born outgoing chief executive of Xstrata.
Anglo's chairperson, Sir John Parker, said the company would conduct a global search but "could not afford Davis".
One of Anglo's largest shareholders, South Africa's Public Investment Corporation, said the company had missed opportunities in Africa and criticised Carroll's "poor decision making". It called for a swift replacement.
Carroll has been under pressure since her appointment. Some investors were unhappy about the company's share performance and Anglo's exposure to South Africa, where a series of mining disputes have hit output. Anglo American Platinum, a subsidiary, sacked 12000 workers in early October.
Carroll said: "It is a very difficult decision to leave, but next year I will be entering my seventh year as chief executive and I feel that the time will be right to hand over to a successor who can build on the strong foundations we have created."
Parker dismissed suggestions that Carroll had been forced out by shareholders and said the decision to leave was her own. – Julia Kollewe, © Guardian News & Media 2012
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 12:20 CAT
A Rwandan court on Tuesday sentenced the country's top opposition political leader to eight years in prison for treason and on a charge stemming from this central African nation's murderous ethnic attacks 18 years ago - genocide denial.
The opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire, returned to Rwanda in 2010 after living abroad for 16 years and quickly visited the country's genocide memorial, where she asked why Hutus killed in the violence were not recognised like the minority Tutsis were. She had planned to run for president but instead was arrested.
More than 500,000 Rwandans, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. In the wake of that violence, the government set out to de-emphasise ethnicity. Many in the country now identify themselves simply as a Rwandan, not a Hutu or Tutsi.
The government accused Ingabire - who has had contacts with the FDLR, a group of Hutu fighters in Congo - of trying to raise an armed group, a charge Ingabire denied. The court on Tuesday acquitted her on charges of promoting ethnic division, genocide ideology, creating an armed group, and complicity in terrorist acts.
Ingabire's lawyer, Iain Edwards, said Ingabire will appeal the court's ruling.
"That's the problem I have with this government. If you talk about ethnicity, they say you are a divisionist," Ingabire said in a 2010 interview after she was put under house arrest. "I think the better solution is you talk about it and find a solution."
The government's chief prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, responded that Ingabire's statements were not simply a free-speech issue because she could incite Rwanda "to once more explode" as it did in 1994.
President Paul Kagame has been lauded by the international community for leading Rwanda through nearly two decades of peace, for advancing women's rights and for leading the country to strong economic growth. But the court's sentence reinforces the view by political analysts that opponents of Kagame have little space to operate in post-genocide Rwanda.
Human Rights Watch criticised the guilty verdict as the culmination of a "flawed trial that included politically motivated charges."
"The prosecution of Ingabire for 'genocide ideology' and divisionism illustrates the Rwandan government's unwillingness to tolerate criticism and to accept the role of opposition parties in a democratic society," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"The courts should not be used for such political purposes." - Reuters
By The Post
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 12:00 CAT
The other day the Vice-President of our Republic, Dr Guy Scott, was urging Zambians to begin appreciating local products and have confidence in themselves if the country's manufacturing industry was to grow.
Guy says it's worrying that most Zambians treat locally-made products as rubbish, preferring imported products because they think that products coming from outside the country are better; anything made in South Africa is better than something manufactured here. And he urged Zambians to begin to break that complex and start being proud of their own products.
But there is a history to all this. There are reasons for all this. This reminds us of the comments Yoweri Museveni made in the late 1980s when he was invited by Dr Kenneth Kaunda to come and officiate at one of our trade fairs.
Museveni found that Zambia was producing its own soft drinks - Quench, Tip-Top. And when Museveni asked Dr Kaunda why this was so, he was told that the country had very limited foreign exchange to give the Coca-Cola company for the importation of concentrates. The local soft drinks needed no foreign exchange for importation of anything.
Museveni responded: "You are right. After all, what is Coca-Cola? It's just a mixture of carbon dioxide and water!"
After the political changes of 1991 that brought the MMD into power, the shortage of Coca-Cola was made a political issue. Frederick Chiluba used to boast about the bringing back of Coca-Cola in abundance as one of the achievements of his government.
And he never talked about the loss of Quench, Tip-Top and other drinks that were created by the Zambian people but disappeared under his regime. Chiluba as president was more proud of having Coca-Cola in shops than Quench or Tip-Top, the soft drinks that were created by our own people from local materials. Chiluba preferred Coca-Cola, whose chemical formula he didn't even know, to the soft drinks made by our people from local fruits such as guavas, pineapples and oranges.
From this arises the question: what can we do to encourage Zambians to appreciate their local products as demanded by Guy? One is value re-orientation. We need to change the Chiluba mentality of thinking everything foreign, everything imported was better than local products.
Whereas Dr Kaunda used to wear suits made locally by Serios in Luanshya, Chiluba was wearing designer suits made in Europe and other clothes from very expensive European boutiques.
And during Chiluba's presidency, a lot of foodstuffs, including chickens, at State House were said to be imported from South Africa.
We certainly need to appreciate what we have. As you have read or heard, all that Dr Kaunda ate at State House was locally-produced. Later things changed, the leadership changed its food taste from locally-produced foods to imported ones.
Even most of the furniture that was at State House under Dr Kaunda was locally-produced. Later on things changed; everything at State House was imported.
This is not an over-statement, it is a reality. And if Dr Kaunda, as president, could in spite of all the opportunities and privileges that were around him decide to eat what was locally-produced, that sent a signal to everyone in the country that we needed to appreciate what we had, what we ourselves produced. Starting from there, in our homes and in our offices, we started to use and consume what we had, what we ourselves produced. And by doing so we began to create a lot of jobs, reduced the amount of money that went into foreign exchange needlessly.
There is something to learn from that. And if we follow what Guy is preaching, we will be able to build our economy better. So we think value orientation is very important in this case. We used to consume our locally-made products and they did us no harm. What would be wrong going back to that as far as possible?
But the story doesn't end here. A lot of things have changed in the way we manage our economy. The way we manage our economy, the policies we are pursuing don't encourage local production and as such consumption of locally-produced goods.
The economic liberalisation policies we have been pursuing since the early 1990s do not encourage local manufacturing. Of course, when we first embarked on these policies, we were told that they would stimulate domestic producers to improve efficiency and international competitiveness. However, this has not happened and our country's small manufacturing sector has actually been decimated.
Instead of addressing the structural challenges faced by our manufacturing sector, the neo-liberal economic policies have actually further eroded our country's manufacturing capacity.
During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, we tried to develop our manufacturing sector, hoping this would allow us to reduce our dependence on imported goods. We tried to promote the development of local firms to produce goods for the domestic market that had previously been imported. This was known as a policy of "import substitution".
But from the early 1990s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank encouraged us to start producing for export and advised us and other countries in our region to start dropping import tariffs which they claimed would force our manufacturing sector to become more competitive. The reality, however, was different.
Trade liberalisation has, on the whole, negatively impacted on our manufacturing sector. As we cut our import tariffs, we were flooded with cheap imported goods. This caused many of the local industries to collapse. And our companies that targeted export markets in Europe and the United States lost their market share because they were unable to successfully compete with producers in China and other Asian countries. The result was a massive de-industrialisation due to companies closing down.
As a result, our manufacturing sector cannot grow under the current unfair economic and trade system, even if they try to become export-oriented. Thus, unemployment remains a massive problem.
In order to build a viable manufacturing sector, we will have to fundamentally change the neo-liberal economic policies that we have been so far following. This includes breaking the stranglehold of international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation and creating policy space for increased local manufacturing. But of course this cannot be achieved by Zambia alone. Thus, the states of the region would have to try to integrate politically and economically into a single bloc, based on fairness, and the drive for equality based on achieving common goals and meeting common needs.
The stronger economies of the region, such as South Africa, would have to move away from their individualistic interests and pave the way for an integrated or inclusive regionalism that creates backward and forward linkages between manufacturing and other sectors within and between the countries of the region.
And a sustainable increase in manufacturing in our country and in our region can only be achieved if the division between the formal and non-formal sectors is overcome. Production by small and medium-size enterprises must be promoted systematically. And a portion of the income must be taken from the formal sector and invested in the transformation of the non-formal sector. This is the only option for reversing the current de-industrialisation. But to achieve this, we need to drop our "business as usual" approach to regional integration where states continue to pursue their individualistic interests without any overriding common goals for the region.
The desire for regionalism has often stopped at the doorsteps of some narrowly defined "national interests" which were often far from "peoples interests" and thus undermined any kind of integrative regionalism. Such regionalism is built on states with compatible interests which serve a common objective and common good. Under integrative regionalism, links can be created between the manufacturing sectors of our region and the non-formal sectors can be gradually formalised. The productive capacity of our region will be systematically improved through such a bottom-up transformative approach that will overcome the restrictions of the enclave economy.
If we succeed in this, the issue of consumption of locally-produced goods will cease to be an issue.
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 14:00 CAT
PRESIDENT Michael Sata says there are civil servants still aligned to the fallen MMD administration who want to frustrate his regime. After swearing in three top government officials at State House, President Sata ordered them to straighten things.
The President swore in former foreign affairs permanent secretary Peter Kasanda as deputy secretary to the cabinet, former Lusaka Province police commissioner Solomon Jere as new deputy Inspector General of Police, and Muyenga Atanga as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Transport, Works and Supply.
"And you Mr Kasanda I've decided to move you from foreign affairs to cabinet office because there's a very big vacuum in this present government. We are on a big MMD volcano and I want you to straighten the government," he said yesterday.
"There's so much confusion they want to frustrate us they don't want us to succeed. And people who are being frustrated are the common people, they're not the people who can speak."
And addressing Atanga, President Sata warned him against the temptation of being corrupted by contractors.
"Where you are going there's temptation; the temptation of single-sourcing contracts. Follow all the things, follow the tender procedures, don't single source," President Sata said.
On Dr Jere, the President warned him against fighting his superior.
"I'm very impressed with you, and because I'm impressed with the entire police that's why I've promoted you. But I want to warn you, stop fighting that woman, she's the Inspector General," warned President Sata.
"So, muzamwalila bonse muzamusiya (you will all die but she will remain). She's the Inspector General and I'm very pleased with the entire police force because at least we politicians can mislead you, but with an exception of me who is untouchable. All these ministers are touchable; you can ask the Minister of Justice. And when you know that we are going to incite problems say no, you don't need to explain why you are saying no. And I want you to go to Mufumbwe. So far you have done well, Mufumbwe is very peaceful."
And Dr Jere has promised to keep peace in the Mufumbwe parliamentary by-elections.
"Whether it's MMD or PF, there are rules that have been set out by the ECZ Electoral commission of Zambia. And we expect all those participants in that election to adhere to the law," said Dr Jere.
"We are not going to look at faces, we're just going to look at the participants, especially those that decide to disobey the law, we are going to effect arrests immediately. We have had enough violence in Mufumbwe. And the history of Mufumbwe being a place that is prone to violence, I think that is enough, let by-gones be by-gones."
By Brina Manenga-Siwale in Livingstone
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 12:30 CAT
THE Road Development Agency says Zambia has an extensive road network with potential to facilitate trade and commerce.
Making his presentation during the on-going African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) annual general meeting in Livingstone on Monday, RDA senior manager for construction and maintenance Charles Mushota said the extensive road network would provide the country with good internal access to agriculture and tourism areas.
He said it was unfortunate that most roads were in a deplorable state.
"Due to many years of neglect, the condition of the road infrastructure had deteriorated to an extent that at the end of the 1970s, only 40-50 per cent was considered to be in good condition. By the beginning of the 1990s the value of the network had shrunk to US$1.5 billion from US$2.3 billion in the 1970s and only 20 per cent of the network was in good condition," Mushota said.
He said the roads in Zambia and some parts of Africa have continued to deteriorate despite attempts by the World Bank and donor support to save the road network.
Mushota said the government recognised the key role road infrastructure plays in realising sustainable economic development.
"In the view of the new government, the unmet demand for physical infrastructure to support the delivery of transport services limits economic opportunity and is therefore a major barrier to the achievement of meaningful national development," he said.
Mushota said the government would rehabilitate and upgrade the existing road network, including feeder roads in all districts, to prescribed standards.
He said the government would construct ring roads around major cities to decongest the central business districts.
"The construction of roads will promote employment creation through the use of labour intensive technologies and the use of local resources," said Mushota.
By Kabanda Chulu
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 12:20 CAT
AFRICAN countries have been urged to implement better ways of utilising natural resources to promote people-centred sustainable development.
According to resolutions adopted at the recently held 8th Africa Development Forum (ADF VIII) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it was noted that policy, legal, regulatory, economic, governance, equity, knowledge, institutional and environmental constraints were critical to the sustainable management of Africa's natural resources with a developmental vision.
"Overcoming these constraints is key for attaining inter-sectoral linkages between agriculture, forest, industries and human settlement in Africa," it stated.
The 8th ADF that was held under the theme 'Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa's Development', focused on how to generate maximum benefits from the exploitation of Africa's lands, minerals, fisheries and forests for the benefit of its people.
On issues of land which have come under intense speculative pressure from local and foreign investors, the adopted resolutions stated that scientific and methodical approaches to land would guarantee transparency, equity and sustainability.
"These include strengthening policy, access, property rights, and investment in large-scale agriculture in line with the existing Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)," it stated.
"Africa accounts for 60 per cent of the world's uncultivated arable land that need to be protected against rapacious speculation."
On mining, the adopted resolutions stated that transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources should underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socioeconomic development.
"The continent is home to one-fifth of global gold and uranium supplies, while over 30 countries produce oil and gas in commercial quantity so implementation of the African Mining Vision adopted by African leaders in 2009 is important since the vision sets out how mining can be used to drive the development of their countries," it stated.
On fisheries and aquatic resources, the forum called for the strengthening of policies, legislation, strategies, investment and collaboration among states in various areas to develop the sector.
"Greater attention also needed to be paid to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) action plan on inland, coastal and marine fisheries and aquaculture at the national and regional levels especially that Africa loses a million tons of fishery resources estimated at over US $ 600 million annually to illegal and unreported fishing," stated the forum.
By Fridah Nkonde
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 14:00 CAT
PRESS Freedom Committee of The Post chairperson Leah Kabamba has appealed to political leaders to keep their cadres in check and sensitise them on the need to refrain from violence, including violence against journalists.
In a statement condemning the attack on ZNBC journalists outside police headquarters by UPND cadres on Monday, Kabamba described the harassment of Brian Mwale and Gerald Singwa as unfortunate. The UPND cadres harassed the duo on alleged lack of fair coverage of the UPND by ZNBC. Kabamba expressed concern at the continued harassment of journalists.
"This is a serious affront to press freedom and if left unchecked, Zambia's ranking with regards freedom of the press will continue to slip. Brian and Gerald were simply carrying out their jobs when the cadres threw pan bricks at them, banged on their vehicle and hurled insults at them. Had it not been for the quick action of the police, the duo could have sustained serious injuries," Kabamba said.
She said journalists had an option to blackout people who perpetrated hooliganism. Kabamba stated that it had taken Zambia 48 years to get to where it was today, although the road to destruction through violence could take a shorter period and should therefore not be entertained.
By Allan Mulenga in Lusaka and Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 14:00 CAT
UNIP candidate in the November 8 Mufumbwe parliamentary by-election Stephen Kamwengo says his party is gone, but MMD is going much deeper into the doldrums.
Meanwhile, six Patriotic Front officials campaigning in Mufumbwe escaped death after the vehicle they were in lost control and overturned three times.
In an interview ahead of the by-election that he is contesting against Patriotic Front's Steven Masumba and MMD's Stafford Mulusa, Kamwengo said the locals in Mufumbwe have lost confidence in the MMD.
Kamwengo said it would be very difficult for MMD to revive itself.
He said MMD was cheating itself by thinking that it would retain the Mufumbwe seat.
"Of course, people had almost decided to vote for MMD, but I am telling them that 'yes UNIP is gone, MMD is the worst'. Maybe UNIP can start resuscitating itself, but MMD is going much deeper to the doldrums. The terrain around here is that when you lose power, people will lose confidence of voting for you and that is the situation here.
To make matters worse, the MMD has fielded someone from Solwezi, that is also giving us an impetus to go forward," he said.
Asked on his chances of scooping the seat, Kamwengo said Mufumbwe needed a leader who was forthright and development-oriented.
"The chances are very high. The campaigns are okay, the messages are clear to people in Mufumbwe, we need a forthright leader.
The area has lagged behind in terms of development. It is the only district which is not connected to the national grid, despite the late member of parliament, Misheck Bonshe, trying to make connections for the national grid to reach Mufumbwe," he said. "The past leaders never realised that those things people need them. This time we are saying that all those projects which were started by Mr Bonshe need to be completed. The only person who can do it is Steven Kamwengo."
Meanwhile, six PF officials survived a crush around 11:30 hours on Tuesday in Lalafuta ward, about 520 kilometres away from Mufumbwe Boma, where the their party had a meeting with the residents.
The vehicle, a Toyota Hilux double-cab registration number ABJ 944 belonging to PF Copperbelt youth secretary Chanda Kabwe was extensively damaged following a tyre burst that made the vehicle to lose control and later roll three times.
Those involved in the accident include Kabwe who was driving the vehicle, PF Copperbelt chairman Rebby Chanda, Mufumbwe district PF chairman Edwin Kafolola, Kitwe district PF vice-chairman Stanley Chandindi, Wusakile Constituency PF youth chairman Moses Musonda, and his deputy Michael Chileshe.
According to Kabwe, the six were rushed to the nearest health institution owned by the Zambia Air Force where doctors examined them as they were complaining of chest and general body pains while Chileshe was bleeding from the mouth and nose.
"The doctors looked at us and declared that we are out of danger while Michael was given some injections and he is also out of danger. We thank God we survived. It happened on our way back because we had another meeting before leaving the place for our base in Mufumbwe. Where the accident happened is part of Kafue National Park and ZAWA officers came to rescue us because there are elephants and lions, so they feared for our lives and we were rescued immediately," he said.
Kabwe said the support the PF was receiving from Mufumbwe residents was inspiring and expressed confidence that Steven Masumba would scoop the seat.