Saturday, March 09, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai under fire for 'main actor' comment

Tsvangirai under fire for 'main actor' comment
Main actor ... Morgan Tsvangirai and his late wife Susan, who died tragically in a car crash
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MORGAN Tsvangirai faced a backlash on Friday, a day after appearing to suggest it was better his wife died in a car accident in 2009 and he survived – because he is the “main actor”.

The Prime Minister spoke at a memorial service for his late wife, Susan, at which he said he had “recovered from the shock” of the March 6, 2009, car accident which killed the mother of six of his children.

The MDC-T leader – famous for putting his foot in it at formal events when breaking from the prepared script – then said something which has shocked even his supporters.

“Ask yourself, had it been me who died and she had survived, what would have happened?,” Tsvangirai was quoted as saying by the NewsDay.
“One of the fundamental things is that the main actor doesn’t die if the film is still on.”

Veteran journalist and feminist Grace Mutandwa, reacting on Facebook, said: “After reading that, I just thought WOW! Is he suggesting that Susan was a ‘bit’ actress so it was okay because the main actor was still there, the show would go on?

“He really needs real advisers not just hangers-on who tell him what he wants to hear. Currying favour got us to where we are now – stuck in IMPUNITY SQUARE.”

Media commentator Innocent Chofamba Sithole said: “What a thing to say! Even if you translate it to Shona, it still remains a clumsy and troubling statement.

“Why couldn't he say, simply, that he's humbled by the fact that he survived the accident, which left him in a fit state to continue the struggle that he began with his late wife at his side; that he knows she would have wanted nothing more than for him to carry on serving the people and providing hope to them? Isn't that a more humane and sensible thing to say?”

Commenting on Facebook, Herbert Chikosi said: “If he was my father I was going disown him. The speech or joke was off the rail and very insensitive towards his wife and kids. The way I miss my mum, hearing such...!”

Zanu PF supporter and academic George Shire also weighed in, describing Tsvangirai’s comments as “in bad taste, disrespectful and unkind to all who knew her”.

He added: “In the first edition of the film “Mr & Mrs Tswangirai”, Morgan tells us he was the lead character. So much for what was meant to be a partnership of equals! Maybe it gives us a hint of what he thinks about women.”

Precious Shumba, spokesman for the Harare Residents Association, quipped: "So the PM thinks it was better that his wife died because she was not the main actor. He has moved on I guess. My mother died when I was five, and I can't imagine hearing my father saying this before family and friends. It was highly insensitive of him... maybe he is under immense pressure to be humorous."

There were pockets of support for Tsvangirai, who married Elizabeth Macheka in September last year.

Cardwell Nyaungwa, writing on Facebook, said: “This is a warrior statement and one not for the sissies. It’s truth. Mai Tsvangirai could not stand [Robert] Mugabe as is happening [with Tsvangirai], she was a great pillar of support to the man of the hour!”

Clemence Manyukwe, the political editor of the weekly Financial Gazette said Tsvangirai presented a nightmare for his handlers by not paying much attention to what he says.

And Manyukwe says it’s unlikely to be the last time.

“He is an open zip and shut mind main actor. Talk about putting one’s foot in one’s mouth. The man is legendary,” he said.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Gays, lesbians condemn 'reckless' Tsvangirai

Gays, lesbians condemn 'reckless' Tsvangirai
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) slammed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday after he told a public meeting in Harare that marriage “should be between a man and a woman”.

Tsvangirai told supporters in Glen View suburb on Wednesday night: “In the draft constitution, we said marriage is between a man and a woman. If some want to marry another from the same sex, then they have a problem. Why do you want to sleep with another man?”

The MDC-T leader’s views on homosexuality have been a moving target. Having condemned gays before, he travelled to London in October 2011 where he told the BBC that gay rights were a "human right" that conservative Zimbabweans should respect.

He told the BBC: "It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody.
"To me, it's a human right.”

But the comments put Tsvangirai in direct confrontation with supporters in Zimbabwe, forcing his MDC-T party to declare that he was expressing his personal opinion in the BBC interview.
Zimbabwe is to hold a referendum on March 16 on a draft constitution. It explicitly bans same-sex marriage.

GALZ, which had campaigned for the recognition of gays, said it had been disappointed by Tsvangirai’s latest comments which it described as “reckless”.

In a statement, it said: “GALZ is of the view that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s statements fuel public prejudice against LGBTI individuals and contradict the very preamble of a draft constitution that he is seemingly promoting.

“The PM has been jolted into castigating violence in Headlands recently, however we find him equally guilty of inciting violence and advocating hatred and hate speech on the LGBTI community in Zimbabwe.”
President Robert Mugabe has railed against homosexuals, whom he famously described as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

GALZ said Tsvangirai’s latest comments proved he has failed to “uphold his commitment to human rights and the acceptance of diversity.”

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Kenyatta wins Kenya vote by slim margin

Kenyatta wins Kenya vote by slim margin
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by Reuters

UHURU Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president, won the presidential election with a slim margin of 50.03 percent of votes cast, provisional figures showed, just enough to avoid a run-off after a race that has divided the nation.

Kenyatta, who faces international charges of crimes against humanity, secured victory over his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who trailed with 43.28 percent of the vote.

To secure an outright win a candidate needed more than 50 percent of the votes. Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister, achieved that but with a margin of just 4,100 of the more than 12.3 million votes cast.

The first-round win, which must be officially confirmed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, means Kenyans who waited five days for the result of the vote will not now face a second round that would have prolonged uncertainty.

The winner also needs to get at least 25 percent of the votes in 24 counties out of 47. This is expected be confirmed by the electoral commission. The commission is due to announce the official result on Saturday at 11 a.m.

But such a narrow win will almost certainly prompt legal challenges from Odinga's camp, which complained about the election process throughout. Odinga also lost in a disputed vote in 2007 that led to weeks of tribal killings.

John Githongo, a former senior government official-turned-whistleblower, urged the rival coalitions, Odinga's CORD and Kenyatta's Jubilee, to ensure calm. "Jubilee and CORD, what you and your supporters say now determines continued peace and stability in Kenya. We are watching you!" he said on Twitter.

International observers broadly said the vote and count had been transparent so far and the electoral commission, which replaced an old, discredited body, promised a credible vote.

Provisional figures displayed by the election commission showed Kenyatta won 6,173,433 votes out of a total of 12,338,667 ballots cast. Odinga secured 5,340,546 votes.

The result will pose a dilemma for Kenya's big Western donors because Kenyatta is due to go on trial in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity, accused of orchestrating the tribal violence five years ago.

The United States and other Western states warned before the vote that diplomatic ties would be complicated with a win by Kenyatta who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court along with his running mate, William Ruto.

Western nations have given a broad range of views on how to deal with Kenya under Kenyatta and to what extent they will be ready to deal with his government.

"It won't be a headache as long as he cooperates with the ICC," said one Western diplomat. "We respect the decision of the majority of the Kenyan voters."

Both Kenyatta and Ruto deny the charges and have said they would cooperate to clear their names. However, Kenyatta had to fend of jibes during the campaign by his rival Odinga that he would have to run government by Skype from The Hague while he attended hearings.

Kenyans hope this vote, which has until now passed off with only pockets of unrest on voting day, would restore their nation's reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies after mayhem last time.

Cars drove through the streets honking their horns, and one taxi driver shouted "50+1, that's OK," referring to the 50 percent plus one vote threshold required by law to win the vote, as noisy pockets of people yelled on the rainy streets.
The test will be whether any challenges to the outcome are worked out in the courts, and do not spill into the streets.

Odinga's camp had said even before the result that they were considering legal action, but said they would pursue it through the courts and the newly reformed judiciary.
That is a change from 2007, when Odinga said he could not trust the judiciary at the time to treat the case fairly.
Kenyatta's camp had also complained about delays in counting and other aspects of the process.

But many Kenyans had said this race was more transparent than previous votes. Turnout reached 86 percent of the 14.3 million eligible voters, in a nation where tribal loyalties largely trump ideology at the ballot box.

Kenyatta, comes from the Kikuyu tribe, Kenya's biggest ethnic community, accounting for about a fifth of Kenya's 40 million people, and Odinga, 68, is a Luo. Their ethnic groups alone could not have secured victory, so both picked running mates from other tribes to beef up their support.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Kasukuwere signals Zimplats u-turn

Kasukuwere signals Zimplats u-turn
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by Reuters

EMPOWERMENT minister Saviour Kasukuwere said on Thursday a deal signed with South Africa's Impala Platinum was "non-binding" and could be changed, sowing confusion over a process that has divided the country's unity government.

Impala agreed in January to sell a majority stake in its Zimplats unit to Zimbabwean investors for $971-million to meet black ownership targets set by President Robert Mugabe.

However, Kasukuwere said the agreement was not set in stone.

"You have to remember that this was a non-binding agreement that we signed with Zimplats. It allows all parties to raise issues they want and if there is a change of circumstances," he told Reuters.

Under the deal, Zimplats provides a loan to the new shareholders at annual interest of 10%. The debt is to be repaid through dividends over 10 years, while management of Zimplats will remain with the company.

But Mugabe said in an interview with state TV last week that the country’s mineral resources - it is believed to have the world's largest platinum reserves after South Africa - should constitute shareholding for the locals and said Kasukuwere might have "made a mistake" by agreeing to the loan deal.

The veteran leader originally wanted to seize majority shares in foreign-owned mines without paying, a move fiercely resisted by unity government partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party.

Separately, Impala said on Tuesday Harare planned to buy about 50% of its mining claims and use them for "the benefit of the public".

The company said it was taking legal advice and that it remained in consultation with government.
Kasukuwere said this could change the empowerment agreement.

"They are losing part of their land so does that not constitute changed circumstances? It could change the structure of the deal," said Kasukuwere.

The Zimplats deal is Zimbabwe's largest local ownership transaction and a major scalp for Mugabe's controversial black economic empowerment push, the centrepiece of his campaign for re-election.

Kasukuwere's latest comments may be designed to keep the pressure on Zimplats, which has up to the end of June to conclude the deal, and to keep the political topic warm ahead of elections due in the second half of the year.

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Farewell Commandante Hugo Chavez Frias

Farewell Commandante Hugo Chavez Frias
By The Post
Fri 08 Mar. 2013, 11:40 CAT

There are moments in history that require a comment, even if it is as brief as Julius Caesar's Alea jacta est (The die is cast), when he crossed the Rubicon. It had to be crossed on Tuesday when Venezuelan Vice-President Nicholas Maduro announced the death of Commandante Hugo Chavez Frias.

Human cognition dictates that those who stand tall because they are carried aloft by the masses they represent and lead, will, in the many instances be seen as merely outstanding individuals, leaving the loving hands of the millions that serve as their pedestal out of sight and out of mind.

When the news was announced that at last Commandante Chavez had succumbed to the icy hand of death, the people he loved, the people who loved him, whose bare hands served as his pedestal while he lived, shed tears of grief that one who had so epitomised their revolutionary dream, their Bolivarian Revolution had left, never to return.

They kissed the images of his face that had been captured by a photographer who only went on a routine mission to take ordinary pictures for ordinary purposes. As he did his work, the photographer would not have known that one day wherever his photograph of the face of Commandande Chavez was seen, the people would approach and interact with it as though it were a holy shrine.

For these masses, the words of the poet of an earlier struggle, Berthold Brecht - "There is no greater crime than leaving" - would have been suffused with very deep meaning because they knew that the very life of their own heroic son, Commandande Chavez, who only left because death dictated that he must leave, confirmed the truth that there was no greater crime than living.
"There is no greater crime than leaving.

In friends, what do you count on? Not on what they do
You can never tell what they will do. Not on what they are.

May change. Only on this: their not leaving.
He who cannot leave cannot stay. He who has a pass
In his pocket - will he stay when the attack begins?

He will not stay.
Before we go into battle I must know: have you a pass
In your coat pocket? Is a plane waiting for you behind the battlefield?
How many defeats do you want to survive?
Can I send you away?

Well, then, let's not go into battle."
Commandante Chavez was ready to survive many defeats. He would never allow himself to be sent away from his people. He had no pass in his pocket to take him away from the battlefield. And because he could not leave, he stayed. And the people of Venezuela deeply grieve the forced departure of Commandante Chavez because with him at the helm, they knew that they could survive many defeats, with none willing to commit the crime of abandoning his or her comrades during a battle.

But of course there are others in the world that would not shed the tears that Venezuelans are shedding at the loss of such a titan among their ranks. Perhaps these saw Commandante Chavez merely as an individual of immense influence who could, like the kings of the old, decree what must be, knowing that it would be.
The masses for whom Commandante Chavez spoke thus disappeared from the eyes of these, who thought these masses were but mere hordes who could be commanded to do anything, provided the commander was such a hero of these masses as was Commandante Chavez.

About this, a world of heroes and heroines without ordinary people would not even so much as cook the food these shinning stars would eat, Brecht composed the famous poem - Questions from a Worker who Reads.

"Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you find the names of kings.

Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Great Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome

Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Antlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.

Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have a cook with him?
Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?"

Many of those who speak ill of Commandante Chavez and have shed no tear at his departure, would speak of him in a manner that would evoke similar questions from a worker who reads.

The worker who reads would ask such questions because the detractors of Commandante Chavez, those who would deny the reality of the rich and indelible heritage of principled and courageous struggle he left the Venezuelan people and all those who fight for a more just, fair and humane world everywhere else in the world, have sought to pretend that we could, as in the case of Julius Caesar, speak of Commandante Chavez without speaking about his cook.

They do this because they do not want the story to be told about the poor conditions of life under which the poor people of Venezuela and those of Latin America and the Caribbean in general were subjected to. Commandante Chavez, a product of the natural world of creation, because Commandante Chavez, the product and exemplar of the struggle for justice because the poor people of his country and his continent and indeed of the whole world were condemned to inhuman conditions.

On Tuesday, a man died who throughout his life was an example of courage, coherence and dedication.

The loss of Commandante Chavez, as a political person, as a revolutionary, as a socialist, is of great significance. Our reading of this tragedy is that it affects not only Venezuela, Latin America and the Caribbean, but the whole world and that stories of the people's revolutions and leaders are being lost.

It is inconceivable that Commandante Chavez could have lived in another place, in another age, if not this one, this epoch. He had an enormous moral and political stature which cannot be claimed only by Venezuelans. It belongs to us more widely. He belonged to this period, a certain period of struggle and politics, of which we are also a part. As a political person, a man who so deeply participated in our contemporary history, his contribution was so large that his loss has to be perceived as not only of Venezuelans, but as a loss to all humanity.

We were stunned and could barely believe he was gone. How could it be true that this great man has left us when our poor world, the Third World, and indeed Venezuela itself still need men of his stature?

Commandante Chavez has left the world with a grand legacy of words and deeds. His personal example and his teachings, his faith and firmness, his sincerity and cordiality will linger, always bringing benefit to all who learn from his life.

We think the Bolivarian Revolution that Commandante Chavez led has given rise to a galaxy of wonderful personalities in Venezuela and Latin America in general.

Commandante Chavez was outstanding in his grasp of big ideas and big developments, by his vision of the future and at the same time understanding the intricate problems of the ongoing process. He has left a formidable legacy. He will always be a symbol of commitment and dedication in the struggle to achieve a better life for our poor people. Commandante Chavez did not shirk from taking tough decisions but he was always very sensitive to the real needs of the most deprived.

Commandante Chavez was a fighter, an unforgettable man, full of humour, valour in thought and display. He was a heart to heart, flesh and blood revolutionary, socialist, Christian.

Commandante Chavez was a true human being for our world. A challenge to be humane. With him one cherished to be human.
We cannot minimise the loss and pretend that all is as before. We are very much worse off without Commandante Chavez. We say that no one is indispensable. But we only had one Commandante Chavez. We won't have another.

The greatest tribute we could pay him is to live and struggle as he did, with warmth and kindness, with great integrity, with courage, with a simple unaffected humility. We hope the Venezuelan people and all of us will be able to live up to his legacy.

We consider it an honour to have been invited by his government to monitor last October's elections, which he won. It gave us an opportunity to see him in action, to hear his words and see his deeds.
Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

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Sata appoints 2 more UPND MPs

Sata appoints 2 more UPND MPs
By Moses Kuwema and Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 08 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has appointed two more UPND members of parliament as deputy ministers. Meanwhile, re-elected PF Mpongwe member of parliament Gabriel Namulambe yesterday sat in the deputy ministers' pew, showing that a ministerial position has been given to him.

Sinjembela's Poniso Njeulu and Kalabo central's Chinga Miyutu have been appointed deputy ministers in the ministry of information and broadcasting, and sports respectively. Njeulu confirmed his appointment yesterday saying as far as he was concerned, he had not broken any law in the UPND.

"If anything, as members of parliament, we are already in government. We just use our parties as tickets to get there. This is an added responsibility.

I will now do two jobs, making of laws and implementing government programmes through the fostering of development. Even the UPND, I don't think they have said it is an offence to accept a position in government," he said.
Njeulu also said he had no disciplinary case pending with his party.

"I will be direct now with the government and it will be easy now to develop Sinjembela, Sioma and Shan'gombo unlike what was obtaining when I was in the opposition. I will be in direct contact with government," said Njeulu.
And Miyutu, who could not confirm, said whatever appointment would come his way would benefit the people of Kalabo.

"I have not yet attained that position. You attain that position when you are sworn in, before swearing in, it means it is not something that you should talk about. I have capacities and many roles to play in life. When I feel that there is need to act in a positive way, I act in a positive way. I represent the multitude in Kalabo who must also benefit through that person who they sent to Parliament. So if the appointment has to come, we have to look at the people who I am representing. How are they going to benefit because of this appointment?

To me what is in my heart is the people of Kalabo," he said.
Miyutu said his interest was to serve the people of Kalabo.
He said there was no way he could decline something that would benefit the people of Kalabo.

"It is better for me to resign as a member of parliament. I should not look at myself, the salary that I get is from government, so I have to work for the people of Kalabo in many ways. The people of Kalabo need someone who can work for them. I am not looking at myself because I am physically fit myself, I can fend for myself. I have to consider who is going to benefit from this position if it is to come. I have to be wise if that is to come my way.

My prayer is that whatever comes should be directed to the people of Kalabo," said Miyutu.
Earlier in the afternoon, the UPND party spokesperson Charles Kakoma told journalists at a briefing that the party was aware of the appointment of two of its members of parliament by President Sata as deputy ministers.

And Namulambe who resigned from the MMD and was re-elected last week Thursday under the ruling PF, sat right behind the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During the same session, Monze UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu rose on a point of order asking the whereabouts of Njeulu and Miyutu.

"Mr Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order to find out where our outspoken and critic of this PF government and also about my friend Njeulu, whose microphone has also been disabled (removed), I have looked around and can't see them in this house," said Mwiimbu.

But Speaker Patrick Matibini responded that his office only keeps records of MPs doing parliamentary work.
"I don't keep track of MPs' personal engagements but I am sure they will be coming," said Dr Matibini.

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Suspended PF officials accuse Sakeni of causing confusion

Suspended PF officials accuse Sakeni of causing confusion
By Staff Reporters
Fri 08 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

TWO of the suspended Luapula PF officials have accused party provincial chairman Kennedy Sakeni of causing confusion in the party because of his presidential ambitions.

But Sakeni described the accusations as sheer madness from indisciplined people. In separate interviews, Mansa district PF vice-chairman James Nyenjele and secretary Obino Chipanta said Sakeni, who is also Mansa Central member of parliament, had been working with his Bahati counterpart Harry Kalaba to destabilise the party by appointing people who would support the former's presidential ambitions in 2016.

"They want to make plans for the 2016 election, they want from among the group someone to come and contest the presidency. In fact, it's not only these two; there are even others. That's why Mr Sakeni has gone to that extent of bringing MMD people in the party; all that he needs is his popularity. We know very well that Mr Sakeni is positioning himself for the presidency in 2016 and he is using Kalaba and others to frustrate genuine members of the party," Chipanta said in an interview on Tuesday.

Asked if he had accepted the suspension, Chipanta vehemently responded in the negative.

"Accept? No, I can't. Why should I accept? And in fact those were just appointed, with me I was elected by the people. Those who gave me this mandate are the people who can remove me from this position," he said.

Asked if he and his colleagues had sought the intervention of party secretary general Wynter Kabimba, Chipanta responded: "We have written him, this is where we are waiting to hear from. We have written him, we have explained; even to State House, we have done everything. We don't just want to do something which can bring confusion here in Mansa. We are waiting first of all for the secretary general, including State House.

In fact, we should invite them to come as soon as possible before things go worse. In fact, they shouldn't just sit idle because these small things they sometimes turn into bigger things."
Chipanta said his team had lived up to the guidelines given by Kabimba when he visited them last November.

He said it was disappointing that Sakeni and his team had decided to overlook Kabimba's guidance and move in a different direction. On holding meetings, Chipanta said it was normal for party officials to hold legal meetings, and they had been doing that.

And Nyenjele said Sakeni had acted outside the party constitution. Nnyejele said their suspension came because they opposed the appointment of Bernard Musonda as Mansa district chairperson,a whom they said was ineligible for that position.

"We shall not allow anybody to be operating outside our constitution. As far as we are concerned, we are not suspended and we will not accept Bernard Musonda's appointment even if it comes from Mr Sakeni because the PF constitution says the appointment of a district chairperson should be done by the party president," said Nyenjele.

But Sakeni denied having any presidential ambitions and vowed to instil discipline in the party.

"I don't think I have the qualities to become president of this country. I weigh myself and I know that I'm nowhere near the presidency. Every person knows what they're capable of being in life, and I know that I am not presidential material," said Sakeni.

"Those chaps are just being malicious and they are trying to divert attention from the main issue of indiscipline. They were trying to put a rift between me and the secretary general, whom I work with very well, but they've failed. So, that story is fake. Let them find something else to say."
And Kalaba denied ever working against anyone in the provincial party leadership.

"But if Honourable Sakeni is working with the structure of the party, my duty as member of parliament is to work with the structure of the party. So, it's only correct that I work with the structure of the party because, for me, the PF is an organised party and as an organised party we have to work within the circumference of the organisation," said Kalaba.

Recently, the provincial executive suspended 13 officials from the party for, among other things, pushing for the removal of Sakeni.
PF provincial secretary James Kabwita, who confirmed the suspensions in an interview, named the suspended officials as Nyenjele, Chipanta and his vice Tascious Chaikatisha.

Others are district information and publicity secretary Joseph Songolo, Mansa Central Constituency chairperson Stephen Chenda, together with his secretary Elijah Sinfukwe, and Mansa Central Constituency youth chairperson Victor Kapasa.

Albina Chiyambi, Chaala Lwimpa, Danny Mulenga, Shamende Mpundu, Alice Chipulu and Katebe Wilson from Bahati and Mansa Central constituencies, respectively, have also been suspended.

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Lift Rupiah's immunity, probe team asks govt

Lift Rupiah's immunity, probe team asks govt
By Staff reporters
Fri 08 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE team investigating former president Rupiah Banda's corruption has asked the government to lift his immunity. According to sources, the investigators have concluded their work and have established that there were some issues Banda should explain in a number of transactions.

Last month, the Anti-Corruption Commission asked Banda to avail himself for questioning over a number of questionable transactions he is believed to have been involved in but he declined.

Banda argued that he had immunity and could not be made to answer any questions relating to what he did during his tenure of office as president of the Republic of Zambia.

Last week, Banda who is currently in Kenya asked those calling for the lifting of his immunity to leave him alone to enjoy his retirement.
Banda warned that lifting his immunity would set a bad precedent.
He also said he did not like the idea of lifting his immunity because it was detrimental to the development of the country.

According to sources, the investigators have done all the necessary work required to take the matter to court and have Banda prosecuted for corruption.

The investigators, according to the sources, cannot proceed any further in their work while Banda's immunity is still in effect, hence their request to the government to have it lifted.

The sources further revealed that substantial amounts of evidence had been gathered and what remained now was to proceed to court once Banda's immunity is lifted.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Activist Mukoko arrested, charged

Activist Mukoko arrested, charged
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by AFP

POLICE charged rights activist and former ZBC news reader Jestina Mukoko with a litany of alleged offences on Friday, hours after she handed herself in to the authorities, her lawyer said. "Police have charged her for allegedly operating an unregistered organisation," Harrison Nkomo, her lawyer told AFP.

Other charges included the smuggling of radio sets and mobile phones and broadcasting without a licence, Nkomo added. "They have released her into our custody and said they will call us when they are ready to go to court." The allegations come ahead of a March 16 referendum on a new constitution and crunch elections that will decide who will lead the country. Mukoko handed herself to police on Friday morning accompanied by her lawyers and spent three hours with the police as the charges were read. Nkomo described the meeting as "cordial".

Police charges against Mukoko come weeks after a raid at the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) where she is the director.

In 2008, Mukoko was seized from her home and detained at an undisclosed location before being taken to the notorious Chikurubi prison, a maximum-security centre outside Harare.

Her lawyers claimed state agents severely tortured her and forced her to confess to banditry and treason.

Serious threat
She was charged in 2009 with plotting to overthrow long-ruling President Robert Mugabe, but the charges were later dismissed.

The prosecution accused her of recruiting people for terror training in neighbouring Botswana, a claim rejected by Botswana and Prime Minister Mogan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

State media on Friday quoted police commissioner general, Augustine Chihuri appealing to people knowing Mukoko's whereabouts to report to any police station.

Alleged government harassment has spiked ahead of a referendum on March 16 and general elections later this year.
Police last month vowed to crack down on non-governmental organisations saying some pose a "serious security threat".

In February, authorities raided the offices of ZPP, a human rights NGO, purportedly looking for "subversive materials and illegal immigrants".
They seized several documents and other materials.

Detectives have forcibly entered the offices of local poll observer group the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and also confiscated documents.

In December they ransacked the offices of rights group Zimrights.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Kasukuwere: Zimbabwe’s Julius Malema

Kasukuwere: Zimbabwe’s Julius Malema
07/03/2013 00:00:00
by Mai Jukwa

SAVIOUR Kasukuwere is a politician of muddied reputation. His acquisition of a stake in Interfresh remains a thing of controversy. In addition to those charges of impropriety, his public persona is poorly served by his boisterous style of delivery, a bulky well-fed frame and repeated accusations of corruption.

You see, the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister paints quite the picture of the villain archetype, a rogue fat cat who represents everything opposition forces rail against.

This background – be it born of fact or fiction – has proved useful to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s shrewd political manoeuvring. Kasukuwere presents an easy target; any charge laid against him is easily believed no matter how hollow.

Professor Jonathan Moyo has already laid out an impressive rebuttal of the allegations that were conveniently leaked by Gono to a gullible Daily News at the same time he was publishing his own indigenisation model. What remains is an examination of Gono’s motivations and the implications that follow.

In the commotion that has followed these allegations, a troubling thread has developed. Previously mute voices have now summoned the courage to publicly condemn the entire indigenisation policy. Finance Minister Tendai Biti is quoted as saying that he would, if victorious in the coming elections, move to reverse all indigenisation deals. The general spirit of conversation amongst opposition types is that the entire process has been proved corrupt as they previously alleged.

In all these howls of disapproval, we are not told how a company like ZIMPLATS ceding a 51 percent to locals personally enriches Kasukuwere. It is a brilliant political move by opponents of the policy and entirely founded on nothing more than innuendo. We are eager to see how the money eventually finds itself into Kasukuwere’s pockets but this is not forthcoming. Instead, we are treated to a hysterical type of journalism that continues to scream misleading headlines without regard for facts.

Before we examine Gono’s motives in deliberately setting off this storm, it is important we examine the facts on Kasukuwere’s actual handling of the indigenisation policy. The popular view is of a reckless and hurried execution, which has relied on brutish bullying tactics. The reality is not quite as colourful.

Consider the issue of banks. Foreign-owned banks are yet to come into compliance but have suffered no sanctions, this despite growing evidence that they are deliberately dragging their feet after been quietly encouraged by Gono in this insubordination. But one must realise that indigenisation is a national programme that was passed into law and cabinet has signed off the implementation. The brazen intransigence displayed by the banks is not against the Kasukuwere boogieman, as you would be led to believe. They are refusing to implement the law of the land for their own selfish reasons.

The developing narrative hardly paints the banks as lawbreakers. Instead, we are given a misleading picture of vulnerable banks resisting the menacing and corrupt demands of a rogue minister. The fact of it is that Kasukuwere’s implementation of indigenisation has been relatively tame and well organised. It is nothing of the radical sequestration being peddled by scribes of questionable objectivity.

Consider President Robert Mugabe’s view on the ZIMPLATS deal. In an interview, Mugabe said quite clearly that the 51% stake should have been acquired without compensation of any kind on the argument that the natural resources being mined entitle locals to that stake. Would ZIMPLATS and Gono prefer for Kasukuwere to be less radical and implement the policy as per the instruction of the President and simply demand the stake?

Those close to the process have explained that Kasukuwere has avoided such forcible acquisitions for fear of being dragged into international courts and tribunals by disgruntled shareholders. In the same way that our diamonds were subjected to various unfair restrictions, there is a very real risk of retaliatory action by Western nations barring Zimbabwean platinum citing grounds just as spurious as those used against the Chiadzwa diamonds.

One would be interested to hear Gono’s view as regards the President’s position that Kasukuwere should not provide any consideration in exchange for the stake but instead simply acquire it on the basis that the minerals belong to us? The picture of a corrupt Kasukuwere menacing businesses is quite clearly a dishonest one that has been painted by clever minds at the RBZ.

But one wonders what Gono’s motives are. His public record makes it clear that he wants to derail the indigenisation policy. He is cleverly feigning a mere disagreement with Kasukuwere’s methods but a reading of his alternative model makes clear that he is opposed to the policy itself. One wonders why Gono has taken to public podiums to attack the policy when he could discreetly voice his concerns to cabinet. Who is he pandering to?

Gono’s conduct becomes all the more suspicious seeing that he knows full well that Zanu PF is campaigning on the back of indigenisation. Why would Gono move to attack or diminish the prestige of a policy that his party so desperately relies on? One would imagine that the natural inclination would be to cover up any mistakes and raise them in private. This is especially true given Gono’s own glass house. The man is hardly a saint given how he sucked funds out of private accounts to fund questionable activities.

Indeed, if his motives were pure he would begin his charity closer to home by allowing a full independent audit of the RBZ. The questions then remains, why is Gono doing this?

Jonathan Moyo correctly identifies Gono’s perfidy. Gono is trying to drive a stealth bhora musango campaign. While feigning concern for propriety (which he has not practiced in his own office as Governor), he is achieving two goals. The first is that he is showing his hand to the MDC-T and Western nations as the Good Governor who always stood for truth. The import of his shameless campaign is to suggest that he is a moderate and should therefore have a seat at the table of any future government or at very least avoid any punitive actions that could be meted out against Zanu PF officials.

The second goal is the discrediting of Zanu PF’s key election card. One needs not be reminded of his duplicity that was exposed with the publication of the Wikileaks cables in which he shamefully alleged the President was unwell and would not last another three years.

Kasukuwere finds himself in the position of Julius Malema. The policies and ideas he is championing are noble and beyond contestation. However his opponents will seize on his person in an effort to discredit the policy he preaches. In the same way the Boer-controlled South African media fed the population with an endless drip of detail on the person of Malema without actually discussing the merits of nationalising mines, we will continue to see an obsession with the person of Kasukuwere as opposed to the actual policy of indigenisation.

Amai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Interview: Gideon Gono on indigenisation

Interview: Gideon Gono on indigenisation
08/03/2013 00:00:00
by Faith Zaba I ZimInd

ZIMBABWE’S contentious indigenisation programme has of late been under scrutiny after debate erupted on over a whole range of issues, including the ideological foundations of the policy, its conceptual basis, frameworks, implementation, consultations, valuation of companies, legislative issues, exchange rate approvals, consultation fees, and terms and conditions of agreements.

The debate comes at a time when resource nationalism, varied widely in terms of definition from tax hikes, demand for greater state equity and indigenous participation to renegotiation of stability clauses in mining contracts and beneficiation strategies, is all the rage.

In Zimbabwe, the issue has sucked in people from all spheres of life — ordinary citizens, analysts, company executives and government officials — all the way to President Robert Mugabe.

Faith Zaba (FZ), news editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, this week interviewed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono (GG), one of the protagonists in the unfolding indigenisation drama, as part of a series of interviews the newspaper will conduct over the issue starting this week:

FZ: Governor Gono there has been a heated debate of late on indigenisation and it has been suggested you are opposed to the current policy because of your actions and remarks on the issue. Do you support indigenisation or not?

GG: Well, I have heard those false claims, including attendant labels bordering on character assassination and insults, but evidence exist to the contrary and my track record of practically embracing and supporting the ideals and values of indigenisation speaks for itself.

Throughout the 36 years of my working life I have always strived to emancipate indigenous people of this country from the bondage of historical economic disadvantage.

Indigenisation of our economy and broad empowerment of masses was at the core of the liberation struggle and for that reason I have always supported the concept and the vision informing it.

FZ: So in brief, are you saying you support indigenisation, is that correct?

GG: It’s common cause, I unequivocally support, not just the indigenisation policy itself, but also its ideological foundations, vision and objectives. I have said already my record of walking the talk speaks for itself and is there for all to see.

The record will also show my first high-profile and public endorsement of President Mugabe’s position on empowerment and associated national aspirations was in October 1996 when I had the privilege to address the Afro-American Conference on investment in Harare attended by African heads of state and business executives.

Some of those accusing me of undermining indigenisation now were either still youngsters then or anti-Zanu PF donor-funded expatriates.

In supporting the President’s vision then, I argued clearly and eloquently that the future stability of our country depended on the urgent extension of economic opportunities to indigenous people and broadening the ownership of the means of production to include the majority of hitherto disadvantaged Zimbabweans.

Furthermore, some of those who have chosen to be my loudest critics today know my record very well. By his own admission, Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment (Saviour Kasukuwere) himself is on record admitting that “had it not been for Governor Gono who saw the need to support and empower some of us as far back as 1994, I would not be where I am today”.

FZ: But are you not trying to blackmail Kasukuwere through such a reminder or remarks?

GG: I have no reason to blackmail him at all, I’m just telling the truth.

FZ: Your critics say your supply-side model is a fundamental negation of equity-based indigenisation and reflects your “house nigger” mentality. What’s your comment?

GG: I don’t want to sink to the pits of name-calling and insults like my critics who are dripping with venom and malice. Anyone who has carefully listened or read what I have been saying would know that I suggested the supply-side model to complement the equity model in line with my rationale that a “one-size-fits-all” policy approach is unworkable in this situation. I’m glad the President supports our position and this should be the way forward.

FZ: If you support indigenisation as you say, why is it that you have of late been publicly clashing with Kasukuwere on this issue?

GG: It is a toxic misrepresentation of the truth to suggest that I have spent the last few weeks arguing with anybody about indigenisation and empowerment. What you are probably referring to are brickbats that have been publicly thrown at me by some individuals who cannot accept advice from anyone other than themselves, but I’m not going respond to those attacks, except maintaining my position on this issue.

As one of my critics revealed in his venomous outbursts, I have engaged some colleagues privately in an attempt to exchange notes and see how some grievous mistakes made so far can be rectified, but we differed in approach over these matters, hence some of us are being unfairly targeted.
FZ: So who have you met in a bid to deal with these issues privately and what was the outcome of those meetings?

GG: I have met so many officials, and I can also hint, although this was not supposed to be public, that I had meetings with His Excellency (Mugabe), Vice-President (Joice Mujuru) and technocrats to seek their views and guidance on matters to do with indigenisation, including on deals such as Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa, (Pretoria Portland Cement) PPC, the banking sector and other transactions being negotiated or signed left, right and centre without input from others.

Honourable Minister Kasukuwere and myself also met after those consultations with a view to regularising some transactions behind closed doors, but officials at the central bank faced attitudinal impediments from some colleagues who refused to co-operate and provide paperwork.

It now transpires that we could not get those official documents to fix certain irregularities because unilateral decisions had been taken by some people and their advisors in and outside government that we “forfeited” our right to be consulted or to do our jobs by making our positions known or because we are “house n*ggers”.

FZ: Is there anything wrong with the frameworks and implementation mechanisms being used in deals like that of Zimplats and others?

GG: There is a lot of issues which need to be looked into, including corporate governance, legal issues, perceived lack of transparency in the appointment of advisors to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board and government, inappropriate valuation methods and potentially excessive financial burdens imposed on taxpayers and indigenous beneficiaries of empowerment deals.

We also need to pay attention to the conditions attached to some of these transactions and violations of standing exchange control laws, rules and regulations all of which could have been avoided had necessary consultations been done.

These problems technically render some of these transactions null and void if fundamental amendments required are not made. We also found unacceptable conflicts of interest and unfair awarding of all indigenisation consultancy assignments to one company established only a few years ago, while charging what we believe are exorbitant fees which eventually could be paid by taxpayers.

FZ: Given what you are saying, is it a wrong conclusion to say you are opposed to the current indigenisation thrust?

GG: It has to be appreciated that constructive criticism of a flawed process is not the same as opposing its framework and objectives. We are very clear about that. We are also clear about the fact that inclusivity, transparency, accountability and corporate governance as well as the quality of advisory inputs to a process guarantees its integrity and credibility of the outcomes, including its ability to withstand scrutiny and the test of time. Dodgy arrangements may undermine an otherwise noble idea and programme.
FZ: What exactly is your problem with the indigenisation programme as it stands now?

GG: Where the RBZ has differed is with the current “one-size-fits-all” approach in which the law is used to treat all sectors of the economy as if they are the same when we know they are not.

In that connection, we were deeply heartened to note that this same view was echoed by His Excellency (Mugabe) in his birthday interview aired last Friday. We stand by our well-considered view that the banking sector is different, has its own structural peculiarities and sensitivities which require a different mutually-agreed model.
FZ: Besides that, what else has been your gripe with this indigenisation approach?

GG: Apart from pointing out that a “one-size-fits-all” model is inappropriate for the banking sector, we have also been at pains to bring to the attention of relevant authorities contradictions in the indigenisation law and other pieces of legislation.

Also at stake is fact that the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act requires that shares acquired by local investors must be paid for.

How? It is not clear, but the law says the acquired equity must be paid for, not nationalised? We agree with the President that we should have found a formula in which our resources are used as equity, but as things stand, the constitution and relevant laws require payment of fair value in indigenisation transactions.

FZ: Let’s take the Zimplats deal, what is wrong with it? So what will happen to the Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki transactions, just to mention but a few?

GG: On the Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa transactions, the jury is still out. According to the law, we must pay fair value for what we acquire. But our ideological position as expressed by the President is, especially on mining companies, our resources must have been used pay for the shareholding, but that was not done. This is where we must secure the best brains available internally and externally to advise on these issues.

We need experts on corporate finance, accounting, taxation, law, geology, banking and other relevant disciplines to put their heads together to negotiate the best deals for our indigenous investors and communities.

The problem with some colleagues, for instance those who studied political science, is that they want to be economists, financial experts, actuaries, brokers and lawyers all at the same time because they think they know everything yet the truth is no one knows it all — nobody is omniscient.

The Zimplats deal, its valuations and term sheet left a lot to be desired and, as a result, there is a perception that the resource was undervalued, while the company itself was overvalued. The proposed financing model, loan and terms and conditions of the agreement being negotiated are skewed against locals in favour of existing shareholders, making it difficult for some of us to support such things.

FZ: Some people say the Zimplats deal and other indigenisation transactions are riddled with corruption in its various manifestations, including extortion, bribery, cronyism and patronage. What is your comment?

GG: Whether or not there is corruption in the Zimplats or other deals, it’s too early for anyone to reach that conclusion. We can’t say that without first closely examining necessary documents, resolutions and minutes on the transaction to establish if due process was followed or detect corruption, if any. Only time will tell.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Syria: West’s Legitimacy Collapses as it Props up Hostage-Taking Terrorists

COMMENT - Clearly the UK and US are back in bed with Al-Qaeda, in the interest of overthrowing governments in Libya and Syria. Considering AQ gave the Bush Administration everything they wanted on 9/11, did they ever stop working for the (Rockefeller faction of the) US government at all? Remember that Dick Cheney used to be a Director at David Rockefeller's CFR. David Rockefeller was CEO/Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPMorgan Chase after they took over JP Morgan and Company), and his family owns large chunks of ExxonMobil, the world's most successful oil company, started by his great-grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Sr. Quite simple, really.

Syria: West’s Legitimacy Collapses as it Props up Hostage-Taking Terrorists
By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, March 08, 2013
Land Destroyer

The so-called “Syrian rebels” have taken dozens of UN peacekeepers hostage, demanding the Syrian Army withdraw its troops from its own nation’s territory. The UN has confirmed that their peacekeepers are indeed being held hostage by what they call “rebels,” and has demanded their release.

Despite this overt, criminal act of terrorism directed at the UN, the West has spun, downplayed, and otherwise ignored the incident, an incident that had the Syrian Army been behind, would have invoked howling indignation, frothing condemnation, and in all likelihood, full-scale military intervention.

Image: Several of over 20 UN peacekeepers taken hostage by terrorists operating in Syria – operating with Western cash, arms, and immense, continuous political and media support. The inability of the West to condemn and recognize the so-called “rebels” as intolerable terrorists, ravaging an entire nation, inflicting death, injury and suffering upon tens of millions, is indicative of a West that has resigned entirely its legitimacy, and even feigned interest in the impartial application of international law. Worst of all, the West had purposefully planned this orgy of terror since 2007, not for promoting “democracy,” but specifically to undermine and destroy neighboring Iran.

Instead, the US Secretary of State John Kerry awarded the terrorists a whopping $60 million in what he called “non-lethal aid.” The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague also pledged support, including sending armor, vehicles and even weapons directly to the hostage-taking terrorists. This substantial and continuous torrent of cash, equipment, and weapons is sent to Al Qaeda terrorists even as both the US and UK sink in unprecedented domestic budget crises.

The West’s Arab collaborators, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have led the Arab World in offering these verified Al Qaeda terrorists Syria’s seat in the Arab League. The Arab League has given the green light (officially) to begin directly and openly arming the terrorists, though they have been arming them since at least 2007.

As the West coddles terrorists who are more overtly committing atrocities, both against the Syrian people, along Syria’s peripheries, and even against international observers including the United Nations, they shed the remainder of their legitimacy. In fact, a US State Department, a British Foreign Office, and even a UN who refuses to condemn and entirely break off relations with an organization that takes hostages amidst a myriad of other atrocities documented over the past 2 years, already has absolutely no legitimacy.

The people of the West must realize their governments have descended into a dangerous psychosis and has abandoned even a face-value commitment to maintaining a rule of law. A nation not confined by law, or even attempting to pretend to be, is a nation capable of anything, on any scale, at any time.

The people of the West now reside in nations far beyond the red line. Now, more than ever, people must begin making hard decisions about their lifestyles and their patronizing of the West’s corporate-financier monopolies. It is not the government or the individuals that constitute it that drive this agenda. It is the corporate-financier interests that create policy think-tanks, that literally write the scripts congressmen, presidents, secretaries and ministers read from – corporate-financier interests we patronize on a daily basis.

While we cannot change the current, perhaps terminal unraveling of Western civilization overnight, we can begin with small but significant steps in rolling back our dependency on corporate-financier monopolies by boycotting them and replacing them. Even a miniscule percentage of change in our lifestyles, month to month will have a profound, collective effect on usurping the unwarranted influence that has granted these insidious interests free reign over the planet and humanity. Decentralizing these monopolies is the ultimate goal, but will take hard work and patience – but it is a goal that most certainly can be achieved, and in many parts of the world it is already being achieved.

If we read the news of hostage-taking terrorists being showered with millions of our tax dollars and being allowed to destroy an entire nation after our own soldiers paid in blood to fight them in a 10 year faux “War on Terror” and are angered, searching desperately for a solution – getting self-sufficient, and decentralizing this war machine, thus returning the reins of power back to the people is that solution. That is real revolution.

The problems in Syria may seem distant, even if absolutely outrageous, but it is a symptom of a sickness our Western governments, amongst us, involved in our daily lives, suffer from. Refusal to treat the illness now, as it ravages Syria, will only allow it to get worse until it inevitably visits upon us the same unhinged hypocritical insanity it is now unleashing on the Syrian people. The fate of the Syrian people is indeed tied directly to our own wealth, prosperity, peace, and well-being. Failing to realize that is folly we shall pay for many generations to come.

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(LAND DESTROYER REPORT) US State Department-Funded BBC World Service "Jammed" in China

US State Department-Funded BBC World Service "Jammed" in China
West feigns indignation as China allegedly shuts down US State Dept-funded BBC propaganda.

February 26, 2013 (AltThaiNews-Tony Cartalucci) - Headlines across the Western corporate-media read, "BBC says 'extensive, coordinated efforts' to jam world service frequencies in China" (Fox News), "BBC blocked in China just days after reporting on Chinese hackers" (Washington Post), and "BBC "strongly condemns" China's attempts to jam World Service broadcasts" (Radio Times), before weaving a lofty narrative of a "repressive regime" trying to gag freedom of the press.

In reality, BBC's World Service is directly funded by the US State Department and is insidious propaganda admittedly designed to politically subvert not only China, but Iran, Russia, and many other nations perceived by Wall Street and London as intolerable competition. In March of 2011, the London Guardian in its report, "BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department," stated explicitly:

The BBC World Service is to receive a "significant" sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.

In what the BBC said is the first deal of its kind, an agreement is expected to be signed later this month that will see US state department money – understood to be a low six-figure sum – given to the World Service to invest in developing anti-jamming technology and software.

The funding is also expected to be used to educate people in countries with state censorship in how to circumnavigate the blocking of internet and TV services.

It is understood the US government has decided the reach of the World Service is such that it makes investment worthwhile.

Of course, "blocked" content translates to US State Department and other Western interests' propaganda in the form of the openly US State Department-run "Voice of America," and a myriad of faux-NGO's funded directly by the US government's National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In China particularly, NED has been cultivating a troupe of misfit "activists" and faux-fronts with names ranging from the cartoonish - the "Blind Activist" aka the "Barefoot Lawyer," to the very ironic - "China Labor Watch, Inc," which we must assume "watches" on, as exploited children and adults labor for WalMart and Apple.

RT would also report in 2011, in their report "BBC World Service and US State Department: new partners, new bias?," that:

This would not be the first time the BBC has accepted money from organizations with their own agendas. In 2008, the corporation faced accusations of pro-Europe bias after it was revealed it had taken out US $230 million in loans from the EU. The loans were given by the European Investment Bank, which strives to promote EU policies.

Member of European Parliament Gerard Batten has a long-running beef with the BBC.

"It is institutionally politically biased, certainly in favour of things like the European Union, mass immigration, and a whole other host of ‘politically correct’ ideas that I think it peddles to the public,” he told RT.

Batten says taking this money would expose the hypocrisy at the heart of the BBC.

"The EU bans sponsorship of any news and current affairs TV programs across the EU,” Batten said. “Now it would appear then, that if the US State Department is going to fund BBC that would appear to be in breach of the directive."

Biased, politically motivated enterprises like BBC's World Service in fact represent a breach of journalistic ethics, and not only was Beijing's decision to shut down World Services highly appropriate (if they in fact have done so), but so too would an investigation in both the US and the UK seeking to ascertain why in an economic crisis, money is being spent to sow political subversion overseas for the sake of corporate special interests, when people at home direly need assistance.

The BBC is an organization mired in controversy, and repeatedly exposed as exploiting people's trust in their reputation to push the agenda of well-paying special interests. The coordinated effort by the Western media to spin the BBC's latest confrontation from a well equipped nation-state who has decided to pull the plug, is indicative that the rot that has infected BBC, has spread far and wide across the West indeed.

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Robert Amsterdam is an economic vampire - Mpombo

Robert Amsterdam is an economic vampire - Mpombo
By Moses Kuwema
Mon 04 Mar. 2013, 15:10 CAT

GEORGE Mpombo says the PF's victory in the Mpongwe parliamentary by-election signals a significant breakthrough for the party and a resounding demise for the MMD.

And Mpombo says Robert Amsterdam is an economic vampire.
Meanwhile Mpombo says Zambia's problems cannot be solved on the streets of Johannesburg, and described the opposition political parties that held a briefing in South Africa as political amateurs whose careers would soon go kaput.

Mpombo yesterday said that at the rate things were going for the MMD, the former ruling party was headed for one of the biggest political extinctions.

"Even in my former constituency Kafulafuta, there was a local government by-election, and MMD got a paltry 100 while PF got over 600.

The change is permanent. Right now, PF has become a dominant party in Ndola rural and very soon, all the other seats will be under siege of PF and I am sure they are going to perform well," he said.

Mpombo said the PF had convinced people that it was a party with a national programme for development.

He said President Michael Sata had proved himself to be a locomotive politician who was very seasoned and that people had begun to appreciate his leadership.

"For Ndola rural, the landscape has shifted in favour of PF. There is no doubt about it. Very soon the entire Lambaland will be under PF. The PF has consolidated its position by this resounding performance in Mpongwe. I think it is a great achievement. It is no longer debatable as who is in charge of Ndola rural politically," he said.

And on the PF's victory in ward elections in Itezhi-Tezhi and Namwala, Mpombo said the party had started pulling the rag under the feet of the UPND.

"What this means is that it is very slippery for a political party to just have strength in a particular area, so the results in Namwala and Itezhi-Tezhi actually means that PF has started pulling the rag under the feet of UPND. It is also a sign that the PF has come to be accepted as a national party.

These are warning shots from PF to opposition political parties because very soon, you will find that there is a very good chance that UPND can be displaced. People are looking at results, performance, leadership, the direction of the country. It is a major victory for PF. It is a wake-up call to the UPND that they should change their political strategy; otherwise, they are in for big trouble," said Mpombo.

And according to extracts from his yet-to-be-published book The Audacity of a Journey, Mpombo, who is Zambia's deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, described former president Rupiah Banda's lawyer Amsterdam as an economic parasite who had no moral compass.

"Mr Robert Amsterdam is baying for Zambia's blood. He is baying for this blood for economic reasons. He has gone on an international campaign to humiliate and embarrass Zambia. He is an economic vampire who is hell bent on extracting every alms of kwacha. Zambians should be wary of such men masquerading as crusaders of peace and things like that," he stated.

He stated that if Amsterdam was a man of morality, he should tell the nation where the money he was receiving from his client was coming from.

And Mpombo stated that the opposition should not behave like a clique of political amateurs. He described the gathering in South Africa as a conclave of 'political reprobates'.

"They highlighted shocking levels of political amateurism because the issue of immunity is a sovereignty issue. It is a constitutional issue which cannot be resolved in the streets of Johannesburg. They were mortgaging the integrity of the country. If there are any problems, they should initiate dialogue with government, and government is bound to listen to them, and not go to Johannesburg," Mpombo stated.

Mpombo stated that it was unfortunate that the opposition had in their midst during the briefing in South Africa, international musketeers and racketeers.

"It is a greatest insult that these leaders could gang up with neocolonialists and hold such useless meetings in South Africa.

This collywobbles, where is it coming from and why now? They should understand that Zambia is a sovereign nation and cannot be subjected to some naked dance in the streets of Johannesburg. Every responsible politician cannot gang himself with neocolonialist and international gangsters," he stated.
Mpombo stated that the opposition should behave with a modicum of political responsibility and integrity.

"They should tell us which nation has gotten orders from the streets. You don't just go and join international con men and start….First analyse the driving force behind the desperation. Zambia is a sovereign nation and cannot be lectured to by international musketeers and racketeers. If a politician does not understand that, then he becomes irrelevant," Mpombo stated.

He stated that the action by the opposition was a desperate bid to gain relevance but that because of the way they were handling their issues, they risked becoming irrelevant.

"It is unbelievable that people masquerading as leaders would go and engage themselves in that kind of diabolical scheme. The best way to strengthen the nation is to sit down," stated Mpombo.

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

(GLOBALRESEARCH) Is Europe Ripe for Revolution

Challenging the Draconian Politics of Economic Austerity. Is Europe Ripe for Revolution?
By Michael Werbowski
Global Research, March 06, 2013

The question may not seem so far-fetched, as recent events have shown, the old continent is now confronted with ever (that is since the financial crisis first struck in 2008) deepening social fractures which have led to widening political instability.

Throughout the EU, countries such as Italy, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Spain and the latest state faced with a banking crisis or “financial meltdown”, that is Cyprus are all teetering on the edge of an economic abyss. What ails these euro zone states? It’s the draconian politics of austerity. These low or no growth remedies imposed by non-elected officials have led to the fall of governments in the so called EU “core countries” including now Italy. New actors have emerged to take on the effete elite. The Beppe Grillo political phenomenon has sent a deafeningly loud message to the establishment.

Massively, austerity with its adjunct deep social cuts, wage squeezes and endless “structural reforms”, has been rejected at the polling booth. The satirist cum politician, has not only provided some much needed comic relief to a deeply discontented populace, but he has also given vent to anger, or deep seated frustration with the out-going technocratic government of Mario Monte. In the wake of the national elections, Italy seems destined to return back to an era of short lived coalition and chronic instability which characterized the political life of the country in the post-world war years. But much more worrisome for the Brussels “commissars” is what’s happening in the Balkans. Over there we might be seeing the beginnings of a really “civil society” led, yet not so peaceful revolution.

Balkans Spring?

Do events in Bulgaria mirror those of the Arab spring? Has the violence in North Africa crossed the Mediterranean via Greece to Bulgaria? Yes it has, indeed.
The confrontations between police and protestors in places like Varna and Sophia (sparked by rising energy costs, stagnant wages etc.) have rocked the region to the same extend as those in Egypt or Tunisia. And like in North Africa, the government in Sophia has fallen fast in the wake of popular unrest.

The death this week of Plamen Goranov due to self-immolation in Bulgaria is not unlike the protests actions of Mohamed Bonazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose desperate act triggered massive demonstrations in his country, which later spread throughout the Maghreb. Whatever similarities there might be between these dramatic events in history, the suicidal yet symbolic act of one man in Varna, has ignite done more powder keg in another highly volatile part of the world which is the Balkans; an area which as we all know, was a flashpoint ofa conflict which sparked the outbreak of the First World War and also was the venue of the ex-Yugoslavia war. Both wars altered the geopolitical face of Europe forever. And will likely do so again soon if the instability there continues.

Oxymoron: EU peace prize in times of great social, economic and political unrest on the continent

Where this growing popular unrest is leading is hard to tell. But one thing seems sure: the EU is faced with widening instability not only in core states,but also in those on its periphery. That is the instability has spread beyond the Eurozone to the non-Eurozone states as well; or to Bulgaria, one of the newest member states but also one of its poorest. There is an explosive cocktail of dire poverty, widespread corruption and criminality known as “mafianomics” there, which characterizes boththe country and the region. This is not helpful. But then neither are the policies of the troika: EU, IMF and European Central Bank. These policies devised in Brussels, Washington and Frankfurt are destabilizing not only Mediterranean anymore, but Europe and the Balkans as well. Europe’s underbelly is on fire. How long will it take before the conflagration reaches the EU’s inner core: that is France, and then Germany?

Will the widening social protests against austerity lead to a continent wide revolution as it did in 1848? Perhaps not, but the EU is faced with permanent fragmentation into blocs composed of “haves and have not” states which is reminiscent of pre-war and pre-revolutionary Europe. An unpalatable prospect indeed, for an institution which won the Nobel peace prize in 2012.

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US Plots Conquest of Venezuela in Wake of Chavez’ Death

US Plots Conquest of Venezuela in Wake of Chavez’ Death
By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, March 07, 2013
Land Destroyer

US corporate-financier funded think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), declared in its “post-Chávez checklist for US policymakers,” that the US must move quickly to reorganize Venezuela according to US interests. Upon its checklist were “key demands”:

* The ouster of narco-kingpins who now hold senior posts in government
* The respect for a constitutional succession
* The adoption of meaningful electoral reforms to ensure a fair campaign environment and a transparent vote count in expected presidential elections; and
* The dismantling of Iranian and Hezbollah networks in Venezuela

In reality, AEI is talking about dismantling entirely the obstacles that have prevented the US and the corporate-financier interests that direct it, from installing a client regime and extracting entirely Venezuela’s wealth while obstructing, even dismantling the progress and geopolitical influence achieved by the late President Hugo Chavez throughout South America and beyond.

The AEI “checklist” continues by stating:

Now is the time for US diplomats to begin a quiet dialogue with key regional powers to explain the high cost of Chávez’s criminal regime, including the impact of chavista complicity with narcotraffickers who sow mayhem in Colombia, Central America, and Mexico. Perhaps then we can convince regional leaders to show solidarity with Venezuelan democrats who want to restore a commitment to the rule of law and to rebuild an economy that can be an engine for growth in South America.

Of course, by “Venezuelan democrats,” AEI means Wall Street-backed proxies like Henrique Capriles Radonski and his Primero Justicia (Justice First) political front, two entities the Western media is already gearing up to support ahead of anticipated elections.

West Has Positioned Proxies to Strip Venezuela to the Bone After Chavez’ Passing

Primero Justicia (Justice First) was co-founded by Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges, who like Radonski, have been backed for nearly a decade by the US State Department. Primero Justicia and the network of foreign-funded NGOs that support it have been recipients of both direct and indirect foreign support for at least just as long.

Image: US State Department document (archived) illustrating the role National Endowment for Democracy (NED)-funded NGOs play in supporting US-backed opposition figures in Venezuela. The US regularly fails to transparently list who is included in extensive funding NED provides opposition groups in Venezeula, so documents like this give a rare glimpse into the names and dynamics actually involved. As was suspected, NED money is going into networks providing support for current presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski. In this particular document, NED-funded Sumate’s legal trouble is described in relation to its attempted defense of Radonski. At the time this document was written, Radonski was in jail pending trial for his role in facilitating the 2002 US-backed failed coup against President Hugo Chavez. The document may still be online at the US State Department’s official website here.

All three co-founders are US educated – Radonski having attended New York’s Columbia University (Spanish), Julio Borges attending Boston College and Oxford (Spanish), and Leopoldo Lopez who attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (KSG), of which he is considered an alumni of (and here).

The Harvard Kennedy School, which hosts the notorious Belfer Center, includes the following faculty and alumni of Lopez, co-founder of the current US-backed opposition in Venezuela:

John P. Holdren, Samantha Power, Lawrence Summers, Robert Zoellick, (all as faculty), as well as Ban Ki-Moon (’84), Paul Volcker (’51), Robert Kagan (’91), Bill O’Reilly (’96), Klaus Schwab (’67), and literally hundreds of senators, ambassadors, and administrators of Wall Street and London’s current global spanning international order. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (KSG) is clearly one of several universities that form the foundation of both creating corporate-financier driven globalist-international policy, as well as cultivating legions of administrators to execute it.

To understand fully the implications of Lopez’ education it helps to understand the leadership and principles guiding Harvard’s mission statements, best exemplified by KSG’ Belfer Center, which to this day, lends its public support to Lopez and his Primero Justicia opposition party.

Image: John P. Holdren (bearded, left), an advocate for population reduction through forced sterilization overseen by a “planetary regime,” is just one of many “colorful” characters to be found within the halls of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government from which Primero Justicia co-founder Leopoldo Lopez of Venezuela graduated. To this day, KSG provides forums in support of US-backed opposition bids at seizing power in Venezuela.

Named after Robert Belfer of the Belco Petroleum Corporation and later, director of the failed Enron Corporation, the Belfer Center describes itself as being “the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security affairs, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy.” Robert Belfer still sits in as an International Council Member.

Belfer’s director, Graham Allison provides an example of self-serving corporatism steering US policy. He was a founder of the Trilateral Commission, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a consultant to the RAND Corporation, Director of the Getty Oil Company, Natixis, Loomis Sayles, Hansberger, Taubman Centers, Inc., and Belco Oil and Gas, as well as a member of the advisory boards of Chase Bank, Chemical Bank, Hydro-Quebec, and the shady International Energy Corporation, all according to his official Belfer Center bio.

Other questionable personalities involved as Belfer alumnus are Goldman Sachs, CFR member, and former-World Bank president Robert Zoellick. Sitting on the board of directors is CFR member and former Goldman Sachs consultant, Ashton Carter. There is also former director of Citigroup and Raytheon, former Director of Central Intelligence and CFR member John Deutch, who required a pardon by Clinton to avoid prosecution over a breach of security while fumbling his duties at the CIA. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Rothschild of Atticus Capital and RIT Capital Partners, Paul Volcker of the Federal Reserve, and former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff all serve as Belfer Center’s “advisers.”

Last but not least, there is John P. Holdren, also a Council on Foreign Relations member, science adviser to both President Clinton and President Obama, and co-author with Paul Ehrilich, of the now notorious “Ecoscience.” When Holdren isn’t brand-building for “Climate Disruption,” he is dreaming of a Malthusian fueled totalitarian global government that forcibly sterilizes the world’s population. He feared, erroneously, that overpopulation would be the end of humanity. He claimed in his hubris filled, fact deficient book, “The No Growth Society,” that by the year 2040, the United States would have a dangerously unsustainable population of 280 million he called “much too many.” The current US population is over 300 million, and despite reckless leadership and policies, it is still sustainable.

One could argue that Lopez’ education is in his past, independent of his current political activities, however, the interests driving the agenda of the Belfer Center are demonstrably still backing his Primero Justicia party’s bid for seizing power in Venezuela. Lopez, Radonski, and Borges are to this day still receiving substantial funding and support through NGO networks funded directly by the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy, and is clearly favored by the Western press. Furthermore, the CFR, Heritage Foundation, and other corporate-financier driven think-tanks have all come out in support of Radonski and Primero Justicia, in their bid to “restore democracy” American-style in Venezuela.

With Chavez’ passing, the names of these opposition figures will become mainstays of Western reporting ahead of anticipated elections the West is eager to have held – elections the West is well positioned to manipulate in favor of Lopez, Radonski, and Borges.

Whatever one may have thought about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his policies, he nationalized his nation’s oil, forcing out foreign multinational corporations, diversified his exports to reduce dependency on Western markets (with US exports at a 9 year low), and had openly opposed corporate-financier neo-imperialism across the globe. He was an obstruction to Western hegemony – an obstruction that has provoked overt, depraved jubilation from his opponents upon his death.

And while many critics are quick to claim President Chavez’ policies are a “failure,” it would be helpful to remember that the US, on record, has arrayed its vast resources both overtly and covertly against the Venezuelan people over the years to ensure that any system outside the West’s sphere of influence inevitably fails.

Dark Days Ahead.

Dark days indeed lay ahead for Venezuela, with the AEI “checklist” foreshadowing an “uprising,” stating:

As Venezuelan democrats wage that struggle against chavismo, regional leaders must make clear that Syria-style repression will never be tolerated in the Americas. We should defend the right of Venezuelans to struggle democratically to reclaim control of their country and its future. Only Washington can make clear to Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and Cuban leaders that, yes, the United States does mind if they try to sustain an undemocratic and hostile regime in Venezuela. Any attempt to suppress their self-determination with Chinese cash, Russian arms, Iranian terrorists, or Cuban thuggery will be met with a coordinated regional response.

US military contractors and special forces had been caught operating in and around Venezuela. Just as there were warning signs in Syria years before the 2011 conflict began, the US’ intentions of provoking bloodshed and regime change in Venezuela stretch back as far as 2002. Just as Syria is now facing a Western-engineered proxy war, Venezuela will too, with the AEI already declaring US plans to wage a Syria-style proxy war in South America.

The AEI also reminds readers of the West’s faux-human rights, “economic development,” and “democracy promotion” racket Hugo Chavez had ejected from Venezuela and displaced across parts of South America, and the West’s desire to reestablish it:

US development agencies should work with friends in the region to form a task force of private sector representatives, economists, and engineers to work with Venezuelans to identify the economic reforms, infrastructure investments, security assistance, and humanitarian aid that will be required to stabilize and rebuild that country. Of course, the expectation will be that all the costs of these activities will be borne by an oil sector restored to productivity and profitability.

Finally, we need to work with like-minded nations to reinvigorate regional organizations committed to democracy, human rights, anti-drug cooperation, and hemispheric solidarity, which have been neutered by Chávez’s destructive agenda.

As the US openly funds, arms, and backs Al Qaeda in Syria, conducts global renditions, operates an international archipelago of torture dungeons, and is only now wrapping up a decade of subjugation and mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan that is still claiming lives and jeopardizing the future of millions to this day, it is difficult to discern just who the AEI’s target audience is. It is most likely those who can read between the lines – the corporate-financier vultures waiting for the right moment to strip Venezuela to the bone.

The fate of Venezuela lies in its people’s hands. Covert destabilization must be faced by the Venezuelan people, while the alternative media must do its best to unravel the lies already being spun ahead of long-planned operations in “post-Chavez Venezuela.” For the rest of us, we must identify the corporate-financier interests driving this agenda, – interests we most likely patronize on a daily basis, and both boycott and permanently replace them to erode the unwarranted influence they have used, and will continue to use against the Venezuelan people, as well as people across the globe.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Chavez vs. Thaksin: How the Media Demonizes a Progressive

Chavez vs. Thaksin: How the Media Demonizes a Progressive Leader while Praising a Corrupt Autocrat
By Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, March 06, 2013
Land Destroyer

Confounding was the Australian’s (newspaper) recent op-ed titled, “Death of a ruthless autocrat,” in regards to the late Hugo Chavez. Confounding not for the op-ed’s condemnation of socialist policies or its criticism of Hugo Chavez, an obstruction to Western corporate-financier interests in South America for over a decade, but because of the obscene hypocrisy displayed throughout, from a newspaper and a corporate-financier-academic establishment in Australia that coddles a figure in nearby Thailand that is every bit as guilty of everything it accuses Chavez of.

Image: When is blood-red socialism ok (Thailand) and when is it “ruthless autocracy” (Venezuela)? The answer depends on whether or not you serve Wall Street and London’s international order. Contrary to popular belief, socialism is not a unified global ideology and is instead like any tool – only as good or bad as the hands it finds itself in. The use of socialism by two governments no more indicates an affiliation than would guns in the hands of two opposing armies on a battlefield.….

The piece begins with:

HE was lionised as a hero by the Western Left, of course, but it would be hard to find a leader in recent history who more comprehensively betrayed the wellbeing of his country than Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. He was driven by an irrational, demagogic and self-defeating antagonism towards Washington that blinded him to his nation’s best interests.

The rambling narrative of the Australian equates to condemning Venezuela for not opening itself up to Western exploitation, domination by corporate-financier monopolies, and the folly of its challenging of the West’s campaign of global aggression from Mali, Libya, and Syria, to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In fact, the Australian itself makes a point of condemning Chavez for his support of Saddam Hussein, who’s nation was occupied by the West during a brutal 10 year war, following a decade of sanctions that in total cost the lives of over 2 million Iraqis (including half a million children) and still counting. The Australian implies that Chavez was wrong to support Iraq, despite documented evidence that the Western assault on Iraq was waged upon a patently false pretense.

The Australian condemns Chavez’ “populist economics” and ends its piece by stating:

Thumbing your nose at Washington and aligning your country with the world’s worst dictatorships is a recipe for disaster. Those who come after Mr Chavez should see that and change course.

Thumbing your nose at Washington and its interests is indeed a recipe for disaster, as has been thumbing your nose at brutal empires throughout human history. Your nation will become the target of covert military operations, terrorism, political subversion, and economic sabotage, the very root of Venezuela’s current malaise. Thumb your nose long and hard enough at the West, and you may even become subject to an outright invasion, as was the case in Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. Or, you may suffer a long-term proxy war, as Syria now faces.

In reality, the Australian reveals what Hugo Chavez was really guilty of. Not of being a “ruthless autocrat,” or of being a socialist, but of being independent and for having the nerve to challenge the extraterritorial interests of an increasingly violent and unhinged West.

Thaksin Shinawatra – Populist, Socialist, Ruthless Autocrat, and Darling of the West.

Of course, the most preposterous statement of the Australian’s op-ed would easily be, “but it would be hard to find a leader in recent history who more comprehensively betrayed the wellbeing of his country than Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.” The Australian might start with Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand, propped up and coddled by the West since the 1990's, and to this day given free passage throughout the West despite being a convicted criminal and a fugitive from the law in his native country.

The Australian’s editorial board itself has lent support to his despotic, nepotist regime, currently led by his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, defending him as a progressive, pro-democratic force in Thailand. In a 2011 Australian news article preceding Thailand’s national elections, no where is found the same venomous language directed at Chavez in describing Thaksin’s own populist/socialist schemes. No mention at all is made of Thaksin’s grotesque human rights record – the worst in Thai history, his intimidation of the press, and his habitual assault on any and all who challenge him.

Indeed, while the Australian calls Hugo Chavez a “ruthless autocrat,” it was Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand who mass murdered 3,000 innocent people over the course of 90 days during a so-called “war on drugs” where police were sent into the streets to conduct extrajudicial executions. It would later be determined that most of the those murdered were not even involved in the drug trade. Human Rights Watch (HRW) would confirm this in their 2008 report titled, “Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’,” a follow up to the much more extensive 2004 report, “Not Enough Graves.”

To this day Thaksin counts his “war on drugs” as one of the many highlights of his 2001-2006 stint in office. And while the Australian fails to remind readers of this inconvenient fact, other Western propagandists, such as the Economist, boldly defend the mass murder that took place under his ruthless regime. In its op-ed titled, “Thailand’s drug wars: Back on the offensive,” the Economist states:

Faced with soaring methamphetamine abuse, Mr Thaksin ordered the police to draw up blacklists of suspected traffickers and “to act decisively and without mercy”.

The Economist would also go on to say:

On the streets of Khlong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok, there is nostalgia for Mr Thaksin’s iron-fisted drugs policy. The 2003 crackdown drove up prices, smashed trafficking networks and forced addicts into rehabilitation programmes. In drug-ravaged communities, where the ends tend to justify the means, that was enough to turn Mr Thaksin into a hero.

The Economist finishes its op-ed by lamenting that the then military-led government which ousted Thaksin in 2006, had not kept up Thaksin’s abhorrent, extrajudicial campaign of mass murder:
You might expect a military junta with sweeping powers to have kept up the fight against such illicit activity. Anti-narcotics officials say that drug seizures have risen since the military coup in September 2006.

And more recently, the Huffington Post hosted Stanley Weiss of the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) and his op-ed titled, “The Oracle of Thailand,” where he praises Thaksin Shinawatra’s populist-socialist policies and suggests the US would be better off if it applied his “Thaksinomics” across America. Weiss openly admits that Thaksin Shinwatra, despite being a convicted criminal and living in exile, is running the country by nepotist proxy. Yet, he defends what he considers a brilliant exploitation of Thailand’s desperately poor, notoriously under-educated rural population, spinning it as:

The great innovation of Thaksin and Pansak (along with U.S.-trained academic Somkid Jatusripitak) was “the increased role of government in the allocation of credit,” as Chulalongkorn University Professor Pasuk Phongpaichit writes. But not just anywhere: “Thaksinomics” focused the government’s attention on the poor and rural areas of Thailand. Arguing that “a country is a company and a company is a country,” the self-described “CEO Prime Minister” approached the national economy like a business, looking for ways, as Pasuk explains, to “mobilize any dormant or unexploited assets including unused natural resources and neglected human resources.”

Tapping unused reserves of credit in the state banking system, the team created one rural credit fund after another. To lower household expenses, they offered low-cost housing and health insurance; provided subsidized credit for buying taxis and provided loans for children to get to school.

One might wonder how that is any different than what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela, who also won over the population in part by using state money to subsidize his support base. The difference is simple: Hugo Chavez used socialism to co-opt the population in opposition to the Wall Street-London international order, while Thaksin Shinwatra co-opted Thailand’s rural poor on behalf of Wall Street and London’s interests.Weiss’ BENS front is lined with representatives of America’s Fortune 500 who have played a pivotal role in both Thaksin’ rise to power, and his continued relevance in Thai politics.

Thaksin had been prime minister from 2001-2006. Long before Thaksin Shinwatra would become prime minister in Thailand, he was already working his way up the Wall Street-London ladder of opportunity, while simultaneously working his way up in Thai politics. He was appointed by the Carlyle Group as an adviser while holding public office, and attempted to use his connections to boost his political image. Thanong Khanthong of Thailand’s English newspaper “the Nation,” wrote in 2001:

“In April 1998, while Thailand was still mired in a deep economic morass, Thaksin tried to use his American connections to boost his political image just as he was forming his Thai Rak Thai Party. He invited Bush senior to visit Bangkok and his home, saying his own mission was to act as a “national matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. In March, he also played host to James Baker III, the US secretary of state in the senior Bush administration, on his sojourn in Thailand.”

Upon becoming prime minister in 2001, Thaksin would begin paying back the support he received from his Western sponsors. In 2003, he would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Thaksin would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.

In 2004, Thaksin attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before 2011?s elections that saw Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Thaksin’s “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD).
Image: The US-ASEAN Business Council, a who’s-who of corporate fascism in the US, had been approached by leaders of Thaksin Shinwatra’s “red shirt” street mobs. (click image to enlarge)

The council in 2004 included 3M, war profiteering Bechtel, Boeing, Cargill, Citigroup, General Electric, IBM, the notorious Monsanto, and currently also includes banking houses Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Chevron, Exxon, BP, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, Northrop Grumman, Monsanto’s GMO doppelganger Syngenta, as well as Phillip Morris.
Photo: Deposed autocrat, Thaksin Shinawatra before the CFR on the even of the 2006 military coup that would oust him from power. Since 2006 he has had the full, unflinching support of Washington, Wall Street and their immense propaganda machine in his bid to seize back power.

Thaksin would remain in office until September of 2006. On the eve of the military coup that ousted him from power, Thaksin was literally standing before the Fortune 500-funded Council on Foreign Relations giving a progress report in New York City.

Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group, PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).

Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, would also simultaneously represent Thaksin’s “red shirt” UDD movement, and was present for the inaugural meeting of the so-called “academic” Nitirat group, attended mostly by pro-Thaksin red shirts (who literally wore their red shirts to the meeting). Additional support for Thaksin and his UDD street-front is provided by the US State Department via National Endowment for Democracy-funded “NGO” Prachatai.”

Time to Grow Up

It is time for the general population to refine their understanding of socioeconomic-political processes. Socialism is not an internationally unified political ideology. It is a set of tools that is only as good or as bad as the hands that wield them. And just because these tools can be found in two different hands, does not mean that both hands serve the same agenda – no more so than would guns in two opposing armies’ hands indicate a mutual agenda or alliance.

Hugo Chavez used socialism to build a support base, because if he didn’t, Wall Street and London would do it themselves with their proxy opposition front in Venezuela – just as they have done in Thailand with Thaksin Shinwatra.

The proof is in the West’s own narrative, where they hypocritically celebrate Thaksin Shinawatra’s “Thaksinomics” while condemning Chavez’ “Chavismo.” It would appear that socialism is only “ok” if it is used to co-opt the population for the interests of Wall Street and London. “Thumb your nose” at the West, and it doesn’t matter what socioeconomic strategy you employ, you are a “ruthless autocrat” whose days are numbered and whose memory will be immediately defiled upon your passing.

Governments do not adhere to political ideologies, they simply use them when and where profitable. In the US where a corporate-financier oligarchy literally writes the policy for politicians on both sides of the aisle, the use of socialism and “free market” economics is done in tandem to achieve a multitude of goals that would be impossible using only one or the other. While the West itself placates its population with socialism, such policies are condemned when employed contra to their interests, especially when used to galvanize a population against Western advances – as was the case in Chavez’ Venezuela.

In reality, socialism is but a single tool. An entire nation cannot be sustained upon it, no more than an entire house can be built using only a hammer. The true test of a government is not whether it uses socialism or not, but with what other tools it employs it. A nation must seek to build upon socialism’s stop-gaps with sustainable, pragmatic solutions. Outside of Wall Street and London’s international order, many nations are doing just that, but progress is difficult to gauge when the West arrays the summation of its influence and power against such progress.

The general population’s habit of perceiving socialism, capitalism, or any other socioeconomic system as a unifying ideology is folly. The ruling elite, whichever side they stand on, do not see such systems as unifying ideologies, but merely tools. It is time for the general population to look at how these tools are used, and whose hands they are actually in, instead of fixating on the tool itself as being inherently “good” or “bad.”

The story of Chavez and Thaksin illustrates the double standards and hypocrisy hidden in plain sight and casts doubts on narratives proposing anyone using “socialism” is part of a unified global cabal. Such a notion falls flat unless financial and political ties can be documented. In the case of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, the chasm between his movement and the West’s use of socialism couldn’t be any deeper or wider.

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