Latest Developments, January 11

In the latest news and analysis…

Françafrique lives
91 days after declaring France’s neocolonial relationship with Africa dead, French President François Hollande announced that his country was taking military action in former colony Mali:

“At stake today is the very existence of our ally Mali, the security of its population and that of French citizens. There are 6,000 of them in Mali.
I have, therefore, in the name of France, answered the plea for help from Mali’s president, which has the support of the nations of West Africa. As a result, the French armed forces gave their support this afternoon to Malian units for the fight against these terrorist elements.
This operation will last as long as necessary.” [Translated from the French.]

Deep roots
350.org co-founder Bill McKibben discusses the global significance of the indigenous protest movement that began in Canada last year under the banner #IdleNoMore:

“[First Nations] are, legally and morally, all that stand in the way of Canada’s total exploitation of its vast energy and mineral resources, including the tar sands, the world’s second largest pool of carbon. NASA’s James Hansen has explained that burning that bitumen on top of everything else we’re combusting will mean it’s ‘game over for the climate.’ Which means, in turn, that Canada’s First Nations are in some sense standing guard over the planet.

Corporations and governments have often discounted the power of native communities — because they were poor and scattered in distant places, they could be ignored or bought off. But in fact their lands contain much of the continent’s hydrocarbon wealth — and, happily, much of its wind, solar and geo-thermal resources, as well. The choices that Native people make over the next few years will be crucial to the planet’s future — and #IdleNoMore is an awfully good sign that the people who have spent the longest in this place are now rising artfully and forcefully to its defense.”

Importing cholera
Foreign Policy has published an account, drawn from former Associated Press correspondent Jonathan Katz’s new book, of his investigation into how the UN turned Haiti’s biggest river into an “artery of disease”:

“In two years, more than 7,800 Haitians have died of cholera. One in five people in a nation of roughly 10 million has fallen seriously ill with the disease, while the unusually virulent strain has spread across the Caribbean, into South America, and the United States.
The United Nations has made grandiose, if seemingly empty, promises to fight and eradicate the disease, but refuses to consider its own accountability in starting the epidemic. Aid workers and donor governments have lost a critical opportunity — to demonstrate that they took Haitian lives and welfare as seriously as their own.”

Funding abuses
The Guardian reports that the UK plans to give millions to Ethiopian “special police” accused of human rights violations, including summary executions, in the country’s restive Ogaden region:

“The Guardian has seen an internal Department for International Development document forming part of a tender to train security forces in the Somali region of Ogaden, which lies within Ethiopia, as part of a five-year £13m–15m ‘peace-building’ programme.
The document notes the ‘reputational risks of working alongside actors frequently cited in human rights violation allegations’. DfID insists that the training will be managed by NGOs and private companies with the goal of improving security, professionalism and accountability of the force, but Human Rights Watch has documented countless allegations of human rights abuses.”

Mining maze
Bloomberg reports on the difficult road to compensation faced by thousands of South African ex-miners suffering from silicosis:

“ ‘Whether we are able to bring Anglo American and other parent companies to the table or not will have a significant impact on the size of any final award or settlement,’ [the plaintiff’s lawyer Richard] Spoor said by phone yesterday. ‘The question of the parent company liability is a very difficult area of law because of the principle of limited liability.’

Mergers, acquisitions and delistings over the years have left former workers with nowhere to go to seek compensation, Spoor said. Gold Fields Ltd. was created in 1998 by combining the assets of Gencor and Gold Fields of South Africa Ltd. AngloGold was formed when Anglo American’s South African business bought out minority shareholders of its gold units in 1997.
Anglo American ceded control of AngloGold in April 2004 when the gold miner bought Ghana’s Ashanti Goldfields Ltd., creating AngloGold Ashanti.
Gold companies including AngloGold deny liability.”

Tax-shy telcos
The BBC reports that Indian tax officials have raided a facility belonging to Finnish phone giant Nokia:

“According to some media reports, officials said they were looking to recover tax payments totalling as much as 30bn Indian rupees ($545m; £340m).

The raid on Nokia comes just days after Indian tax officials asked the UK’s Vodafone to pay more than $2bn in back taxes.”

Banning fake vaccines
The Center for Global Development’s Charles Kenny calls on the US government to declare it will never again use public health interventions to gather intelligence, as it famously did in Pakistan where there has been a recent spate of violence against vaccine providers:

“Such a declaration has been proposed in a letter sent to President Obama this Monday signed by the deans of America’s top public health schools.  I suggest this could be modeled on –and inserted into– Executive Order 12333 which mandates that ‘No element of the Intelligence Community shall sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects except in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services,’ and bans engagement in or conspiracy towards assassination and actions intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.”

Diluting responsibility
The Guardian reports that “opaque supply chains” are part of the reason that Bangladesh’s booming garment industry keeps experiencing deadly factory blazes, the latest of which claimed 111 lives:

“Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, says a convoluted and opaque supply chain is largely to blame for the lack of compliance with international labour standards. ‘Often the factory that gets the order is fully compliant,’ she says. ‘But multiple subcontracts make a mockery of so-called ethical sourcing. When an accident happens, the buyers can simply deny responsibility.’
After the Tazreen blaze, retailers said they had not authorised production at the factory. Walmart and Sears said in separate statements that suppliers had subcontracted production without informing them.”

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Latest Developments, January 8

In the latest news and analysis…

Cabinet pick
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent writes that US President Barack Obama’s nomination of drone czar John Brennan as the new head of the CIA presents an opportunity for the country (and the world) to move beyond “gray wars with gray rules”:

“What if Senators use his confirmation hearings to force a public debate about the legality and transparency of Obama’s drone strike program and the need for meaningful Congressional oversight of the program? The hearings could also initiate a conversation about the legacy of Bush era torture, other aspects of the Bush war on terror, and the areas of continuity between the two administrations on civil liberties issues.

‘We absolutely should have this debate,’ Steve Clemons, a foreign policy expert at the New America Foundation, tells me. ‘We still live with the legacy of the world that Dick Cheney and George Bush built — one that is not internationally sanctioned. One of the ways Obama and Brennan can restore America’s global leverage is to help lay out a blueprint for a new global social contract for a world with wars like those of today.’ ”

Development profiteering
The Guardian reports on calls for the World Bank, the British government and private investors to return “excessive” profits from a smelting project in Mozambique that uses 45% of the country’s electricity:

“The report calculates that foreign investors, governments and development banks have received an average of $320m (£199m) a year from the smelter, in contrast to the Mozambique government’s $15m. In other words, for every $1 paid to the Mozambique government, $21 has left the country in profit or interest to foreign governments and investors.

To attract foreign investors, the Mozambique government exempted Mozal from taxes on profit and VAT, levying only a 1% turnover tax, while allowing all profit from the smelter to be taken offshore. BHP Billiton, the mining group, owns 47% of Mozal, while Japan’s Mitsubishi owns 25%. The other two equity investors are the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (24%) and the government of Mozambique (4%).”

Strange catch
Agence France-Presse reports that fisherman have retrieved a crashed US drone in the waters off the central Philippines:

“In an interview with AFP last year, President Benigno Aquino confirmed that the Philippines has been allowing US drones to overfly its territory for reconnaissance flights, but were not allowed to make strikes.
About 600 US forces have been rotating in the southern Philippines since 2002 as part of the US government’s global war on terror.
However the drone was found in Masbate, many hundreds of kilometres from the Muslim insurgency-racked areas where no US troops are known to operate.
Masbate is one of the areas where communists waging a decades-long rebellion have long operated.”

Not this time?
Reuters reports that although the Central African Republic has experienced the “most frequent and blatant French military interference” in post-independence Africa, France insists it will not take sides in the country’s latest conflict:

“Despite appeals by [CAR President Francois] Bozize to ‘our cousins’ Paris and Washington for help, France said its several hundred troops in its landlocked former colony were there solely to protect French nationals and interests and not the local government.
‘This time the message was very clear, that “we are not here to save the regime”,’ said Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa project director for International Crisis Group.”

Opaque investments
Johns Hopkins University’s Deborah Brautigam argues America’s foreign direct investment in Africa must become more transparent:

“At least as posted on the website of the OECD’s statistics bureau, the US claimed that 2010 FDI data by US companies in twelve African countries (almost all resource-rich) was ‘confidential’. What’s more, in 2010 the second most popular destination for US FDI flows to Africa was … Mauritius (a tax haven) where US firms sent $1860 million.”

Breach of trust
George Washington University’s Lynn Goldman and Johns Hopkins University’s Michael Klag argue the US must take steps to atone for its role in precipitating the lethal violence that has been unleashed against polio vaccine providers in Pakistan:

“A massive vaccination effort like this one requires a bond of public trust, one that was broken by the CIA. The U.S. took the first step toward repairing the atmosphere of mistrust by admitting to the sham vaccination effort. Now, the president and Congress must take the next step by erecting a firewall between public health programs, like the global polio initiative, and espionage or other covert operations conducted by the CIA.
They should follow action taken by former Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver, who in 1961 won assurances from President John F. Kennedy that they would not infiltrate the ranks of the Corps. Shriver believed ties to the CIA could jeopardize the Peace Corps’ mission and put young volunteers at risk, especially in countries that were already suspicious of the program.”

Military throwback
The Sunday Times reports that a group of businessmen is assembling “Britain’s first private navy in almost two centuries” to take on piracy off Africa’s east coast:

“Its armed vessels – including a 10,000-ton mother ship and high-speed armoured patrol boats – will be led by a former Royal Navy commodore. He is recruiting 240 former marines and other sailors for the force.

The Britons intend to sail under a sovereign flag which will give them the legal right to carry their weaponry into harbour, rather than cache them on platforms in international waters.
[Simon] Murray is chairman of Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodities traders. He is backing the new force alongside other investors.”

Chain liability
Inter Press Service reports that Switzerland’s parliament is looking to tackle “wage dumping” by holding general contractors responsible for labour abuses committed by their subcontractors:

“The buck is passed around, and there are several victims: The workers don’t earn what they deserve, correctly employed labourers face pressure on their wages, and properly operating companies are confronted with unfair competition.

Swiss labour unions have demanded laws making general contractors legally accountable for misconduct by its subcontractors, so-called ‘chain liability’. General contractors are only freed from responsibility if they can show to have ensured that their subcontractors abide by the law.
The neo-liberal lobby along with the Swiss Employers’ Association has launched a much weaker counter-proposal. They want general contractors to be freed of any legal responsibility if their direct subcontractor simply signs a contract pledging to respect Swiss wage and labour conditions.”

Latest Developments, July 18

In the latest news and analysis…

Gulf build-up
The Wall Street Journal reports the US is building a missile-defense station in Qatar, but its location is a secret because of “the sensitivity surrounding any U.S. military deployments in the emirate”:

“The Pentagon chose to place the new radar site in Qatar because it is home to the largest U.S. military air base in the region, Al Udeid Air Base, analysts say. More than 8,000 troops are stationed there and at another U.S. base in Qatar.

Officials said the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is overseeing the buildup to counter Iran, also wants to deploy the Army’s first Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile-interceptor system, known as a THAAD, to the region in the coming months, possibly in the United Arab Emirates.”

Torture admission
The Independent reports that the British government has admitted for the first time that colonial forces tortured and sexually abused Kenyans during the Mau Mau rebellion more than 50 years ago:

“The starling admission came as a trio of elderly Kenyans stood up in court to describe how they were beaten, castrated and sexually assaulted by British forces and their Kenyan allies during the pro-independence rebellion.
The three Kenyans are suing the Government in a landmark legal case that could lead to a deluge of compensation claims from victims of British colonial violence around the world.”

Vaccine violence
Agence France-Presse reports that a World Health Organization team was shot at in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, during a polio immunization campaign:

“A health expert, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the attack was the latest in an alarming trend of violence against polio workers.
He said there had been threats and announcements in mosques branding the vaccine anti-Islam and blamed ‘a new wave of attacks on polio workers’ on the CIA’s use of Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi to help find bin Laden.
The doctor was jailed for 33 years in May after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme as cover.
‘It has become a very serious and critical issue. People suspect foreigners involvement in the programme and fake campaign by Afridi has given further credence to conspiracy theory,’ he said.
He said polio workers were beaten in the capital Islamabad on Monday, a team fired on in the southern town of Jacobabad and a motorcycle stolen in the southwestern town of Ziarat.”

ATT escape clause
Amnesty International is calling upon US President Barack Obama not to water down the Arms Trade Treaty currently being negotiated at UN headquarters in New York:

“President Obama’s officials have indicated they want the treaty to include an escape clause that would allow national security considerations to override any serious human rights concerns when deciding to supply arms.

Amnesty International is urging governments to ensure a ‘Golden Rule’ on human rights is included in the treaty. This would mean that if there is a substantial risk arms due to be supplied by a country are likely to be used to commit serious human violations the arms transfer shall not take place.
Many governments and most US allies support this position. However, some influential states including China, Russia and US have been promoting weaker rules.”

De-development
The New School for Social Research’s Tarak Barkawi uses the example of private security companies to take on “the big lie of private sector efficiency”:

“One of the hidden costs of privatisation is that knowledge and expertise are no longer retained by public institutions. Instead, they become the property of private contractors. Militaries, police forces, and other public services lose the ability and the institutional memory to conduct various tasks. Governments must then pay the price over and over again for contractors to do the job badly.
Contractors care little about developing and retaining dedicated expertise in particular tasks. They need only enough to secure the contract. Their bottom line is profit, not security or the public good. As a consequence, privatisation is a kind of “de-development”, a de-modernisation of the services government provides and which we pay for through taxes.”

Punishing banks
Global Witness’s Stefanie Ostfeld argues that the only way banks will get serious about tackling money laundering is if they and their executives face harsh financial and criminal penalties:

“Global Witness investigations have detailed how major banks including Barclays, Citibank and HSBC, have done business with corrupt senior officials from Nigeria, Angola, Turkmenistan, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo. Banks are the first line of defense against corrupt funds, but as long as they continue to accept the proceeds of state looting and grand corruption, as long as they continue to facilitate the money laundering that makes drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorist finance possible, they are fully complicit in these crimes and the poverty that persists in so many countries.”

NGOs as instrumentalities
FCPA Blog’s Philip Fitzgerald argues that NGO staff should, in some cases, be considered “foreign public officials” under anti-bribery legislation, such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:

“Certain NGOs, then, can be considered to be exercising part of the powers usually reserved to a state authority. Nuanced analysis is, however, necessary. The keys, as with instrumentalities under the FCPA, would be the degree of state influence and the degree to which the NGO officials are performing a public function.

If NGOs can be public international organizations for purposes of the OECD convention and global anti-corruption regimes, the fight against graft would benefit from a very interesting extension to the reach of the current international anti-bribery framework.”

Drone casualty report
Inter Press Service reports that a new study that found no civilian deaths caused by US drone strikes in Pakistan this year has come under fire for its underlying methodology:

“ ‘[New America Foundation] relies only on a small number of media reports immediately following a strike. Sometimes we learn crucial facts days, weeks or even months after an initial attack,’ [the Bureau for Investigative Journalism’s Chris Woods] told IPS.
‘In February of this year, for example, a major investigation by Associated Press, based on 80 eyewitness testimonies from civilians in Waziristan, found previously unknown evidence of civilian deaths in 20 percent of the sampled strikes. Unfortunately, NAF has not incorporated these important findings into its data,’ said Woods.”

Latest Developments, July 13

In the latest news and analysis…

Drums of war
Reuters reports that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said a foreign military intervention in Mali is “probable” now that Islamist forces appear to be in control of the country’s north:

“ ‘In the north, at one moment or another there will probably be the use of force,’ Fabius said, noting that intervention would be African-led but supported by international forces.

Fabius said Paris would not lead a military intervention since its colonial past in the country would complicate matters.”

Export responsibility
The Guardian reports that a British parliamentary committee is calling on the government to alter its arms export policy so as to avoid selling military equipment to repressive regimes:

“Under the government’s own guidelines, licences cannot be issued if there is a clear risk that the equipment might provoke conflict or could be used to facilitate internal repression.
Records for last year show 97 licences were granted for sales to Bahrain for equipment including assault rifles, sniper rifles, body armour, gun silencers, shotguns, pistols, weapons sights and small arms ammunition.”

Outsourcing peacekeeping
Global Policy Forum has released a report detailing the UN’s growing reliance on private military and security companies, with an estimated 250% increase in field missions’ use of security services since 2006:

“In the absence of guidelines and clear responsibility for security outsourcing, the UN has hired companies well-known for their misconduct, violence and financial irregularities – and hired them repeatedly. These include DynCorp International, infamous for its role in a prostitution scandal involving the UN in Bosnia in the 1990s and, more recently, its participation in the US government’s “rendition” program; G4S, the industry leader known for its violent methods against detainees and deported asylum seekers; ArmorGroup, a G4S subsidiary singled out in a US Senate report for its ties to Afghan warlords; and Saracen Uganda, an offshoot of notorious mercenary firm Executive Outcomes with links to illegal natural resources exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Collateral damage
The New York Times asks if the killing of Osama Bin Laden may have come at the cost of the “global drive to eradicate polio”:

“In Pakistan, where polio has never been eliminated, the C.I.A.’s decision to send a vaccination team into the Bin Laden compound to gather information and DNA samples clearly hurt the national polio drive. The question is: How badly?
After the ruse by Dr. Shakil Afridi was revealedby a British newspaper a year ago, angry villagers, especially in the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border, chased off legitimate vaccinators, accusing them of being spies.
And then, late last month, Taliban commanders in two districts banned polio vaccination teams, saying they could not operate until the United States ended its drone strikes. One cited Dr. Afridi, who is serving a 33-year sentence imposed by a tribal court, as an example of how the C.I.A. could use the campaign to cover espionage.”

Drone sales
Al-Monitor reports that the US Defense Department is looking to “boost profits for US manufacturers” by selling drones to Middle Eastern governments:

“In May, Iraq agreed to buy at least six unarmed US surveillance drones despite the protests from Iran. Turkey currently is haggling with the US for the purchase of $4 million hunter-killer Predator or $30 million Reaper drones armed with Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs for use against the guerrillas of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party).

In a statement, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said ‘There are some technologies that I believe should not be shared with countries, regardless of how close our partnership.’
But in a speech at the US Institute for Peace last month (June 28), [US Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta said he would press for loosening the restrictions on arms sales, with or without the support of Congress.”

Leading from the sidelines
The Center for Global Development’s Charles Kenny makes his case for the US to allow a strong Arms Trade Treaty at the final UN negotiations which are currently underway:

“The silver lining is that a consensus approach that brings in all major players may not actually be necessary to make progress. The U.S., Russia, and China have yet to sign the 1997 landmine ban treaty, for example. Yet the treaty is largely responsible for a dramatic decline in the number of mines being used and the number of people being killed or injured by them.

So it would be better for the U.S. to shoot blanks and negotiate for a strong document that includes ammunition—even if everyone at the table understands it won’t sign the resulting agreement. If the U.S. wants to show leadership on stopping the global arms trade, the best thing it can do at this point is get out of the way.”

Shared responsibility
In the wake of the deaths at sea of 54 African migrants earlier this week, a Dutch politician is calling on European governments to take collective action to avoid future tragedies:

“ ‘Governments in Europe, and not only in the countries on the southern shores of Europe, must react, and take an equal share in the protection of asylum seekers arriving from Africa,’ said Tineke Strik, author of a report on ‘Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: Who is responsible?’

‘It is still not safe in Libya and the boats will continue to arrive. Europe knows that.’ ”

Illegitimate roadmap
Independent consultant Ahmed Egal argues that British “nation-building” efforts in Somalia are not designed to provide the Somali people with a legitimate and representative government:

“For example, the intelligentsia are frustrated and deeply unhappy that, despite all the pious statements about the Somali ownership of the Roadmap at the various conferences, an illegitimate, externally financed and externally-driven process is being imposed upon them. The political elite (and their business community backers), comprising warlords, present and past ‘government officials’ and Diaspora carpet baggers, are girding up for the auction of political posts and ministerial seats as they eagerly anticipate the flow of riches and patronage to come. The vast majority of the long suffering population of Somalia, however, are apathetic about the entire enterprise since they have no say in the proceedings; they just desperately hope that some semblance of normalcy can be restored, even if they can hardly recognise it should it somehow arrive.”

Latest Developments, May 29

 

In the latest news and analysis…

Monetizing nature
The World Development Movement’s Hannah Griffiths rejects the idea, underlying schemes such as the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD), that nature needs to be assigned a price in order to be protected.
“The co-option of the term green economy to mean commodifying and marketising nature is made worse because it is in danger of dominating the Rio+20 summit at the expense of some of the really positive policies being proposed. These include ending massive subsidies for fossil fuels and other dirty industries, supporting greener industries instead, and moving away from taxing social goods (such as labour) towards taxing social bads (such as pollution).
But in the longer term, a real green economy would need to overcome even thornier issues. We need to change our consumption and production patterns and end the obsession with economic growth, looking instead at other indicators of a healthily functioning society.”

Déjà vu all over again
The Independent Online reports that a South African community, which appeared to have won its fight to keep mining off its territory, now faces another prospecting application from the local subsidiary of an Australian mining company.
“The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) said in a statement that it was outraged that the community again faced a mining application even after Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu revoked Transworld Energy and Minerals’ (TEM) mining rights last year. TEM is a subsidiary of [Australia’s Mineral Resource Commodities].

Shabangu revoked TEM’s mining right in May last year due to outstanding environmental issues, and the company was given 90 days to provide additional information.”

Fake vaccines
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Heidi Larson argues the CIA’s use of fake immunizations in Pakistan has hurt the global fight against polio.
“It is no coincidence that the remaining three countries in the world which have polio endemics are Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yes, there are geographical challenges and financial challenges. And, yes, finding Bin Laden has been a global security priority. But deep-seated suspicions about the motives of those who provide polio vaccines have persisted in some circles from Nigeria to Pakistan, and the CIA’s choice of immunisation as a strategy to find Bin Laden has only given credence to the conspiracies.
There must have been a better, more ethical, way. This choice of action has jeopardised people’s trust in vaccines, and in particular the polio-eradication campaign, now so close to success – broken trust that will take years to restore. Was this strategy worth this sacrifice of trust and the loss of opportunity for the final eradication of a disease scourge – another threat to human security?”

Fed transparency
The New American reports on the progress of proposed US legislation that would “thoroughly audit the secretive Federal Reserve.”
“The legislation, H.R. 459, already has over 225 co-sponsors in the House including an impressive roster of senior Democrats and Republicans, some of whom chair important committees. In the Senate, however, a similar bill has only about 20 co-sponsors so far, forcing Audit-the-Fed activists to wage a massive campaign aimed at exposing Senators who refuse to support transparency at the shadowy central bank. Polls in recent years revealed that four out of five Americans support auditing the Fed. ”

Survival of the fittest
Dublin-based economist David McWilliams argues the EU fiscal treaty offers more of a straitjacket than the kind of union he witnessed on the other side of the Atlantic.
“Many years ago, like many of my generation, I emigrated looking for work. I ended up as a dishwasher in Boston. Boston too had a boom and bust in the late 1980s but when it collapsed the rest of the US didn’t punish it, it transferred money via the federal budget to help it recover.
With this treaty, the EU envisages the opposite: cutting spending in the periphery when we most need help. In so doing, it creates lower growth, higher unemployment, more political instability and more capital flows from the periphery to the core.”

AFRICOM expansion
In a Q&A with the Real News Network, Friends of the Congo’s Maurice Carney talks about America’s role in the “escalation of the militarization” of Africa.
“There are terrorist groups operating, you know, in Somalia and the Maghreb, Sahara, Northwest Africa. But I think it’s overblown, because if we look at where [US Africa Command] is and where it’s operating, it’s not solely in areas where we see some presence of terrorist groups. I’ll give you an example. In the Central African region, for example, there are no terrorist groups in—that we’re aware of, anyways—in Rwanda, and they receive large shipments of equipment, they get training, intelligence, and money from the United States. So although terrorism is a casus belli for the United States, we see that the larger issue is the protection of their strategic interests and their economic interests on the continent.”

Facing the Truth
Moyers & Company’s Bill Moyers and Michael Winship argue that the best way for the US to honour its troops is to renew the country’s commitment to the rule of law.
“So here we are, into our eleventh year after 9/11, still at war in Afghanistan, still at war with terrorists, still at war with our collective conscience as we grapple with how to protect our country from attack without violating the basic values of civilization – the rule of law, striving to achieve our aims without corrupting them, and restraint in the use of power over others, especially when exercised in secret.
In future days and years, how will we come to cope with the reality of what we have done in the name of security? Many other societies do seem to try harder than we do to come to terms with horrendous behavior commissioned or condoned by a government.”

Emerging left
Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Jayati Ghosh identifies seven characteristics of the new global left that she believes holds the key to a brighter future for humanity.
“Fifth, the emerging left goes far beyond traditional left paradigms in recognising the different and possibly overlapping social and cultural identities that shape economic, political and social realities. It is now realised that addressing issues only in class terms is not sufficient, and many strands of the emerging left are now much more explicitly (even dominantly) concerned with addressing the inequalities, oppression and exploitation associated with social attributes, race, community, and so on.”