‘Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), travels to Turkey to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and assistance for those affected by the crisis, 27 November 2012’.
‘Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), travels to Turkey to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and assistance for those affected by the crisis, 27 November 2012’.
RT gained exclusive access to the Syrian President, who continues to run the country from Damascus in defiance of foreign calls to step down. Bashar al-Assad slammed those calls from abroad for him to go, and warned against outside intervention in Syria. RT talks to Sophie Shevardnadze who interviewed the embattled leader in his capital. Watch the full interview with President Assad on Friday! (8 November 2012).
Last night, a house in the small Turkish border town of Akçakale was hit by a missile from Syria . . .
In spite of the warlike talk in the above CNN clip, Turkey is not quite ready to enter the war directly in spite of having shelled Syrian positions all throughout the night. On another note, Turkey has been supporting the Syrian insurrection behind the scenes. The U.S. and Turkey have been employing the U.S. Air Force Base in İncirlik as a centre for supporting and arming the anti-Assad forces. The CIA has also been active in the area for months, as was admitted in the pages of the New York Times some time ago. Turkey’s other ally, Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with Qatar, has been quite active in its efforts to remove an Arab regime friendly to Tehran and opposed to the preponderance of U.S. influence in the Middle East.
The victims of the attack on the Turkish town of Akçakale have now been taken to a hospital nearby. Al Jazeera‘s Anita McNaught reports from Şanlıurfa, Turkey (3 Oct 2012).
The pro-government Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reports that ‘Turkish artillery hit targets near Syria’s Tel Abyad border town for a second day on Thursday [, 4 Oct], killing several Syrian soldiers according to activists and security sources, after a mortar bomb fired from the area killed five Turkish civilians. Turkey’s government said “aggressive action” against its territory by Syria’s military had become a serious threat to its national security and sought parliamentary approval for the deployment of Turkish troops beyond its borders. “Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary,” Ibrahim Kalın, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, said on his Twitter account’.
The paper continues: ‘In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey hit back after what it called “the last straw” when a mortar hit a residential neighbourhood of the southern border town of Akçakale on Wednesday [, 3 Oct]. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several Syrian soldiers were killed in the Turkish bombardment of a military post near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, a few miles across the frontier from Akçakale. It did not say how many soldiers died. “We know that they have suffered losses,” a Turkish security source told Reuters, without giving further details. NATO said it stood by member-nation Turkey and urged Syria to put an end to “flagrant violations of international law.” The US-led Western military alliance held an urgent late night meeting in Brussels to discuss the matter and in New York, Turkey asked the UN Security Council to take the “necessary action” to stop Syrian aggression. In a letter to the president of the 15-nation Security Council, Turkish UN Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan called the firing of the mortar bomb “a breach of international peace and security.” UN diplomats said Security Council members hoped it would issue a non-binding statement on Thursday that would condemn the mortar attack “in the strongest terms” and demand an end to violations of Turkey’s territorial sovereignty. Members had hoped to issue the statement on Wednesday, but Russia – a staunch ally of Syria’s, which along with China has vetoed three UN resolutions condemning President Bashar al-Assad’s government – asked for a delay, diplomats said. Turkey’s parliament had already been due to vote on Thursday on extending a five-year-old authorisation for foreign military operations, an agreement originally intended to allow strikes on Kurdish militant bases in northern Iraq. But the memorandum signed by Erdoğan and sent to parliament overnight said that despite repeated warnings and diplomatic initiatives, the Syrian military had launched aggressive action against Turkish territory, presenting “additional risks. This situation has reached a level of creating a serious threat and risks to our national security. At this point the need has emerged to take the necessary measures to act promptly and swiftly against additional risks and threats,” it said. It was not clear who fired the mortar into Turkey, but security sources said it had come from near Tel Abyad and that Turkey was increasing the number of troops along its border. “Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement; targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar,” Erdoğan’s office said in a statement late on Wednesday. “Turkey will never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security.” Syria said it was investigating the source of the mortar bomb and urged restraint. Information Minister Omran Zoabi conveyed his condolences to the Turkish people, saying his country respected the sovereignty of neighbouring countries’.
In The Guardian, Matthew Weaver and Brian Whitaker write that the “Turkish daily Hürriyet has published the text of a Turkish government motion seeking parliamentary approval for military operation outside its borders. It says Turkey’s opposition is likely to vote against the proposal. The motion was tabled by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Hürriyet quotes it saying: ‘This situation has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security. Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country. Within this framework, on the condition that the extent, amount, and time will be appreciated and determined by the government, I submit according to Article 92 of the Constitution a one-year-long permission to make the necessary arrangements for sending the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries and having it [TSK] mandated, according to the principle causes that will be designated by the government’”.
 “Turkey renews shelling of Syrian military sites after mortar fire” Today’s Zaman (04 Oct 2012). http://www.todayszaman.com/news-294243-turkey-renews-shelling-of-syrian-military-sites-after-mortar-fire.html.
 “Turkey renews shelling of Syrian military sites after mortar fire”.
 Matthew Weaver and Brian Whitaker, “Turkey seeks parliaments approval military opearation” The Guardian (04 Oct 2012). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/04/turkey-syria-threat-security-live?CMP=NECNETTXT8187.
The Arab broadcaster presents an apologist view of foreign involvement in the Syrian uprising: ‘At the frontline in Aleppo city, the young fighters are mainly from the countryside of the province. It has not been easy to stand up against the Syrian army, especially when the city did not rise up when rebels stormed some poor neighbourhoods and set up bases. While the majority of the fighters in Aleppo are Syrians, the war has however attracted Arabs who feel obliged to help the opposition who are mainly Sunni Muslims. Al Jazeera‘s Zeina Khodr reports from Aleppo city (22 August 2012)’.
The U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar . . . and also Germany is now involved, as explained by Antiwar.com news editor Jason Ditz: in “what is the first confirmed instance of a foreign military directly aiding Syria’s rebels, German media outlets are reporting that the German Navy is using a spy vessel to collect information about Syrian troop movements and is forwarding that intelligence to the rebel fighters. The boat, which patrols the eastern Mediterranean for NATO, can collect information on troop movements as deep as 375 miles inland. The spy boat is also forwarding intelligence to the rebels provided by US and British spy agencies. Several NATO member nations have expressed interest in involving themselves in a war in Syria, but Germany was not generally considered among the most hawkish group, led by France. The German government declined comment on the report, as did British and US officials asked about their role in the scheme”.
 Jason Ditz, “German Military Directly Aiding Syrian Rebels” Antiwar.com (19 August 2012). http://news.antiwar.com/2012/08/19/german-military-directly-aiding-syrian-rebels/.
At the end of July, AP’s Rodney Muhumuza reported from Kampala that the “deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, Ugandan health officials said on Saturday [, 28 July], ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes. The officials and a World Health Organization representative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is “an outbreak of Ebola” in Uganda”.
The website Prime Health Channel informs us that the ‘period of incubation for ebola virus hemorrhagic fever is usually 5 to 18 days but may extend from 2 to 21 days depending on the type of virus that one contracts. The Ebola virus symptoms hemorrhagic disease that is generally noticed in individuals contracting the viral disease are high fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, muscular pain, malaise, inflammation of the pharynx, and diarrhea accompanied with bloody discharge, and the development of maculopapular rashes along with bleeding at other body orifices. Besides these, abdominal pain, joint pain, chest pain, coagulopathy, hiccups, low blood pressure, sclerotic arterioles, purpura, petechia are the other symptoms that are particular to the species of Zaire ebola virus and Sudan ebola virus. This kind of reference to these two particular species of virus is due to the fact that the other three species of ebola virus are either non–pathogenic to human beings or have very few cases to facilitate the detection of its symptoms’.
On Sunday, 5 August, the Ugandan reporter Paul Bushariza explains in some detail that it “is just over 10 years since Uganda suffered its first Ebola outbreak. At the time Uganda troops had just been withdrawn from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a huge contingent was camped at Aswa Ranch in northern Uganda. This and the fact that the outbreak was first registered around that area led to the suggestion that some soldiers may have come across the border with the hemorrhagic fever. I am not aware that attempts to find patient zero – the initial patient, were successful. Last week, the Government confirmed that the virus had resurfaced in western Uganda with a high concentration of cases in Kibaale district. The knee jerk reaction was to attribute the outbreak to the huge influx of refugees fleeing fighting in north Kivu province in the DRC, last month. But the largest influx of refugees was in Kisoro, more than 200km south of Kagadi, where at last count all but one of the country’s 25 isolated patients were registered. Suspicion has shifted to the Kibaale forest which has a high concentration of primates and birds, which act as transmitters of the virus. The last outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever was recorded in Bundibugyo in 2007. The disease takes its name from the River Ebola in northern DRC, where the disease’s first recorded outbreak was identified in 1976. I covered the first Ebola outbreak in northern Uganda and have cursorily followed how the country handled the subsequent outbreak in Bundibugyo and the current one, the response time is nothing but laudable”.
Bushariza’s op-ed continues: “Our health system is creaking under the weight of such preventable diseases as diarrhea, respiratory infections and malaria. But now like it or not we share borders with a country with no health system to speak of, but which, with its largely uninhabited jungle, is a petri dish for any number of tropical diseases, some of which, God knows, have not been identified by modern medicine [, meaning the DRC or Democratic Republic of Congo]. It does not help matters that the areas bordering us are in perpetual turmoil necessitating large uncoordinated movements of people, enough of whom find their way across our borders. The truth is the DRC is a security risk to us in more ways than just rebels straining at the bits to get at Kampala. At the beginning of this century, the George W. Bush’s administration commissioned a study on AIDS/HIV among other things it examined the effect of a runway HIV/AIDS epidemic on the US national security. The report has not been publicly released but it prompted the Bush administration to channel billions of dollars at providing ARVs to up to two million AIDS patients in Africa, prevent seven million new infections and provide support to another 10 million sufferers by 2010. Borrowing a leaf, if the worst comes to the worst, it would be in Uganda’s national interest in the not so distant future to start providing health services in eastern Congo, as the alternative barring Congolese from crossing into Uganda or Ugandans into to Congo is impractical”.
The eastern part of the DRC has been the scene of fierce fighting recently. The Rwandan writer Aninta Kikoto opines that “[c]onflict in the mineral-rich region in Eastern Congo has caused thousands of deaths and up to 420,000 people have abandoned their homes. Rwanda alone, has received some 20,000 Congolese – and the number is rising daily. Despite the different reports from the UN, aid agencies and rights groups, the problem still stands. Apart from mentioning how difficult the situation is for the Congolese people especially those in the war-torn areas, what are the tangible solutions to end this war? Are there suggestions and recommendations under way such as more troops – sufficient enough to end the conflict and restore peace in war torn Eastern DRC? M23 rebel spokesperson, Lt Colonel Jean Mary Vianney Kazarama, said that continued provocation from DRC government soldiers – while the government remains unwilling to negotiate, will only make matters worse”. In other words, the civil war in Congo is far from over. Kikoto continues that in “a spate of a few days, the previously unknown group which Kinshasa calls “bandits”, have expanded their control over large areas. They are said to be a few kilometers from Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Many now view M23 as well organised, and arguably one reason why fingers have been pointed at Rwanda as supporting the rebel group. It may sound ambitious hearing that M23 would fight and take over bigger towns – later alone Kinshasa, but the rebels are confident they can. “If our demands are not respected we continue fighting – why not to takeover Goma, Kananga or Kinshasa?,” [the M23 rebel spokesperson, Lt Colonel Jean Mary Vianney] Kazarama said. The M23 spokesperson is keen to reaffirm what pushed them to take up arms; “We want the 2009 agreement to be respected. That is ensuring of democracy. Sixty thousand of our family members are refugees in neighboring countries and need to come back home, we want the issue of military ranks and salaries to be addressed as well” . . . Routine followers of the DRC conflict since 1998 say peace talks will end the war. Dr Omar Kharfan, a political science don at the National University of Rwanda explains the situation using two theories, which he says can resolve the conflict. There is the “zero-sum game” and “non-zero-sum game”. The first describes a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant. Here one side is eager to defeat the other and take over. The “non-zero-sum” is where the two parties choose to sit at the table where they share the gains and losses. It describes a situation in which the interacting parties weigh whether the gains and losses are either less or more than zero. It is this approach that Dr Kharfan believes brings more gains”. So, what will it be . . . a “zero-sum game” or a “non-zero-sum game”???
As for the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, the AP reports that a ‘World Health Organization official said Friday [, 3 August] that the [Ugandan] authorities were halting the spread of the deadly disease. The official, Joaquim Saweka, the W.H.O. representative in Uganda, said everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims had been isolated. Ugandan health officials have created an “Ebola contact list” with the names of people who had even the slightest contact with those who had contracted Ebola. The list now bears 176 names. Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers were dying in a remote western corner of the country. Ugandan officials were slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, like coughing blood. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease. Delays in confirming Ebola allowed the disease to spread to more villages deep in the western district of Kibale, President Yoweri Museveni said. This is the fourth outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. Mr. Saweka said that organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were helping Ugandan officials to control the spread of the disease’.
 Rodney Muhumuza, “Officials: Ebola breaks out in Uganda” AP (28 July 2012). http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-07-28/officials-ebola-breaks-out-in-uganda.
 Akshay, “Signs and Symptoms of Ebola Virus” Prime Health Channel (11 January 2011). http://www.primehealthchannel.com/ebola-virus-symptoms-pictures-structure-facts-and-history.html.
 Paul Bushariza, “Ebola exposes Uganda’s precarious position” New Vision (05 August 2012). http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/633774-ebola-exposes-uganda-s-precarious-position.html.
 Paul Bushariza, “Ebola exposes Uganda’s precarious position”.
 Aninta Kikoto, “Rwanda : Is there any alternative to Eastern Congo’s conflict?” News Of Rwanda (05 August 2012). http://newsofrwanda.com/irembo/11732/rwanda-alternative-eastern-congos-conflict/.
 Aninta Kikoto, “Rwanda : Is there any alternative to Eastern Congo’s conflict?”.
 “Uganda: Ebola Outbreak Slows, Health Official Says” AP (03 August 2012). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/world/africa/uganda-ebola-outbreak-slows-health-official-says.html.
About a year ago I posted an entry talking about the war in Bosnia. . . and now, finally at long last, another butcher is having his day in court, as reported by the Associated Press from The Hague: ‘Twenty years after his troops began brutally ethnically cleansing Bosnian towns and villages of non-Serbs, Gen. Ratko Mladic went on trial Wednesday [, 16 May 2012] at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal accused of 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ailing 70-year-old Mladic’s appearance at the U.N. court war crimes tribunal marked the end of a long wait for justice to survivors of the 1992-95 war that left some 100,000 people dead. The trial is also a landmark for the U.N. court and international justice — Mladic is the last suspect from the Bosnian war to go on trial here. In Bosnia, leaders and victims hailed a historic day in the country’s recovery from its war wounds, while some Serbs lamented Mladic’s trial’. 
And given that some people are more equal than others, here is the always contrary but nevertheless very Russian RT allowing Mladić, Junior to spew forth his inanities: ‘Former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic is facing trial at the International Hague Tribunal. He’s charged with genocide during theYugoslaviawar in the 1990s. Among his alleged crimes are the massacre in the town ofSrebrenica, where 8,000 Muslims were slaughtered, and the deaths of over 10,000 civilians during the siege of Sarayevo. 69-year old Mladic was arrested by Serb forces nearBelgradelast year. His defense lawyers earlier asked for the trial to be postponed, saying the prosecution had failed to provide evidence on time. They also accused the judge of bias. Their request was denied. Mladic is still viewed as a national hero by some Serbs. In an interview to RT, his son Darko Mladic told RT why (16 May 2012)’.
And here is a propaganda clip showing Mladic’s ruthless treatment of Muslims in erstwhile Yugoslavia, meaning the Serbo-Croat inhabitants of Bosnia whose ancestors converted to Islam during the Ottoman period.
 “Milošević, Karadžić, Mladić and the Rape of Bosnia” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (28 May 2011). http://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/milosevic-karadzic-mladic-and-the-rape-of-bosnia/.
 “Ratko Mladic’s genocide trial begins at war crimes tribunal” AP (16 May 2012). http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/16/ratko-mladic-genocide-trial-begins-at-war-crimes-tribunal/.
War and natural disasters have driven many from their homes and the number has been increasing for the past five years. Jennifer Glasse reports from Kaldar district in northern Afghanistan (12 May 2012).
Recently I posted the propaganda clip made by the charity Invisible Children, which tells the story of how it was that the US suddenly became interested in the Joseph Kony and the LRA. But, last year, when the U.S. deployed their troops into Uganda, I posted a piece which highlighted the fact that oil deposits had been discovered in Uganda. And by sheer coincidence, or cold calculation, the troops deployment happened to coincide with this propitious find: ‘the Acholi Times [reported] on 3 October [that] “Betty Aol Ocan, the Woman Member of Parliament for Gulu and opposition Deputy Chief Whip has warned that the discovery and drilling of oil in Uganda could fuel conflict that will engulf the entire country. Aol Ocan explained that because of the lack of transparency in the oil sharing deals by the government and other foreign companies involved in the extraction, oil is a likely potential cause of clash in the country . . . Uganda has discovered at least 1 billion barrels of oil along its western border with Congo. In March the government approved a joint venture deal with UK’s Tullow Oil, China’s CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) and French oil major Total SA (TOT) for the development of oil fields in the three blocks in Uganda, including Acholi sub-region”. And to clarify a bit further, the Acholi people consitute ‘an ethnic group from the districts of Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, and Pader in Northern Uganda (an area commonly referred to as Acholiland), and Magwe County in South Sudan. Approximately 1.17 million Acholi were counted in the Uganda census of 2002, and 45,000 more were living in South Sudan in 2000’, as indicated by Wikipedia’.
Did the Invisible Children campaign merely provide a good pretext to deploy troops into Uganda, or is there something more sinister going on??? Is it really just a coincidence that Kony and the LRA happen to be active in the region of the Acholi, which happens to be the area where oil has been discovered??? The LRA has been fighting since 1991, and 20 years later, in 2011, the U.S. government decides to intervene, after having undertaken another “humanitarian intervention” to secure access to Libya’s oil . . . just to provide some context, the civil war in the DRC, which is a war waged to control access to lucrative mines of Coltan, has caused many more deaths and injuries: ‘‘[a] January 2008 International Rescue Committee survey found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998 – the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II. The vast majority died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition—easily preventable and treatable conditions when people have access to health care and nutritious food . . . The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is arguably the world’s most deadly crisis since World War II and the death toll far exceeds those of other recent and more prominent crises, including those in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur”, and in addition “45,000 people continue to die every month” in the DRC. As for neighbouring Uganda and the LRA, the BBC’s Martin Plaut gives some background: the Lord’s Resistance Army’s “leaders initially claimed to be fighting to install a theocracy in Uganda based on the Biblical Ten Commandments, but they now sow terror in Sudan and Central African Republic, as well as DR Congo”. On 28 March 2010, The New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman declared that the “United States is providing millions of dollars to the Ugandan army – in fuel, trucks, satellite phones, night-vision goggles and air support – to hunt [the LRA] down. It is one of the signature programs of AFRICOM, the new U.S. military command for Africa, which is working closely with the State Department to employ what U.S. officials call “the three D’s” – defense, diplomacy and development – to help African nations stabilize themselves. These efforts appeared to be succeeding, eliminating up to 60 percent of the Lord’s Resistance Army fighters in the past 18 months, U.S. officials said. But that may have been why the fighters tore off on their raid late last year to get as many new conscripts as possible, along with medicine, clothes and food. Human Rights Watch, which sent a team in February 2010 to investigate the killings, said the army killed at least 320 people in the Tapili area in one of the worst massacres in the armed group’s 23-year, atrocity-filled history’. But now, in 2011, Africom is upping the ante by means of putting some American boots on the ground, at a time when important oil reserves have been discovered . . . Coincidence or not???’.
Let me simply repeat some of the salient points raised in the previous paragraph. The U.S. has deployed its AFRICOM since 2010 to hunt down the LRA and Josph Kony – “providing millions of dollars to the Ugandan army – in fuel, trucks, satellite phones, night-vision goggles and air support” – but these efforts have somehow escaped the attention of the charity Invisible Children . . . or what is going on???
The New York-based Black Star News spins an interesting tale in this respect: ‘Invisible Children’s goals initially may have been to publicize the plight of children caught in Uganda’s decades-long conflicts; lately, IC has been acting as apologists for General Yoweri K. Museveni’s dictatorship and the U.S. goal to impose AFRICOM (the U.S. Africa Military Command) on Africa. IC has produced a brilliant film that’s making the global rounds on Facebook. It’s a classic as propaganda pieces come. The short but overwhelmingly powerful film uses all the best tear-jerk techniques. In the end, the film denounces Joseph Kony, the leader of the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, while giving the impression that Museveni’s dictatorship and his brutal military, which was found liable for war crimes in Democratic Republic of Congo by the International Court of Justice, has nothing to do with the atrocities committed against children in Uganda. It also doesn’t inform viewers that Museveni abducted thousands of child soldiers to win his insurgency in Uganda in 1986, launching the pattern of child soldier recruitment all over Africa. In fact, Kony’s insurgency against Museveni was launched later, meaning he too learned child soldier-abductions from Museveni. Look at the way Invisible Children exploits American children in the beginning of their documentary; they then transplant the audience to Uganda, where again they take advantage of Ugandan children, who are the victims of both the LRA and the Ugandan government’s army. The imagery are powerful. Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ and Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud of this cinematic coup by Invisible Children. If Invisible Children was in fact a serious organization that has not been co-opted by the Museveni regime and the U.S. foreign policy agenda, the organization would inform the world that General Museveni, who has now stolen three elections in a row in Uganda is the first person who deserves to be arrested. This Ugandan and East African nightmare gets a blank check from Washington simply because he has deployed Ugandan soldiers to Somalia at the behest of the United States. So democracy, human rights abuses, and genocide, become minor nuisances as far as U.S. foreign policy goes and as far as Invisible Children cares. This is beyond hypocrisy. Those members of Invisible Children who may have supported this misguided project to send more U.S. troops to Africa because they were unwittingly deceived, should do some serious soul searching. Museveni does not care for the plight of children in Uganda’s Acholi region. How else would he have herded 2 million Acholis in concentration camps for 20 years where, according to the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1,000 children, women and men died of planned neglect–lack of medical facilities; lack of adequate food; dehydration, and; lack of sanitation and toilet facilities. Does this sound like a person who cares about children? His colleagues have denounced Acholis as “backwards” and as “biological substances.” General Museveni himself revealed an interesting pathology, as a first class racist African when he told Atlantic Monthly Magazine, in September 1994: “I have never blamed the whites for colonizing Africa: I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave.” Ironically –or perhaps not– the general was even more embraced by Washington after those remarks. Gen. Museveni has been a U.S. ally since the days of Ronald Reagan. So why does Invisible Children only go after Kony while leaving Museveni alone when in fact they are two sides of the same coin? These young folks who run Invisible Children are extremely dangerous to the welfare of Ugandans and other Africans should they succeed in broadening U.S. military presence in Africa. If the United States were truly interested purely in eliminating Kony why deploy now when Kony abandoned Uganda in 2006 when he was negotiating a peace deal that ultimately collapsed, with Museveni. While Kony and his fighters were camped at Garamba in Congo, as agreed upon during peace negotiations, who was it that launched a military attack with planes and helicopters in December 2008? It was Gen. Museveni, with U.S. assistance. The peace negotiations, which had been embraced by traditional and religious leaders in Acholi region, collapsed. According to Jan Egeland, the former U.N Under-Secretary General for humanitarian affairs, Museveni also wanted to pursue a military approach and even ridiculed his own attempts to negotiate peace. Immediately more killings ensued –this time in Congo; and since Museveni and Kony are two sides of the same coin, it’s unclear who committed the atrocities in Garamba after the abortive attack. After the attacks the LRA scattered into the Central African Republic. One would imagine that if the U.S. and Invisible Children were really interested in Kony, the deployment would have been to Central African Republic. The young folks behind Invisible Children don’t understand the conflict in Uganda; yet they have made themselves the spokespersons. They have campaigned and convinced some celebrities, including Rihana and P. Diddy, to tweet their half-truth propaganda film. This is a way to have one-sided or impartial information become the “dominant truth” globally, and drown out critical analyses. It’s like a group of impressionable White youngsters coming to Harlem and saying: we see you have major crises, let us tell you what’s the solution. Who would accept such misguided and destructive arrogance? If it’s unacceptable in Harlem, it must also be rejected in Uganda’s Acholi region. Acholi traditional leaders, religious leaders, and members of Parliament in Uganda, have all opposed further militarization. But they are not in a position to express their views on CNN or in The New York Times, or to make a slick documentary, such as Invisible Children‘s. What’s more, they’re not accorded the presumptive credibility that [is] often bestowed to White analysts when compared to native Ugandans. Yet, rather than listen to the cries of Uganda’s traditional and religious leaders who live in the war-devastated regions, Invisible Children has decided to produce a beautiful documentary with an ugly agenda that only escalates conflict and endorses Gen. Museveni. Who really believes it’s a good thing for the United States to be sending troops to Uganda or anywhere in Africa? Why would these troops act any differently than those sent to Iraq and Afghanistan? The U.S. government and Invisible Children are using the brutal Joseph Kony as a bogeyman to justify the U.S. long-term plan, which is to impose AFRICOM on Africa. Since everyone knows about Kony’s atrocities, who would object if the U.S. sends 100 U.S. “advisers” to help Uganda, after all? Brilliantly devious. Of course it never stops at 100 “advisers.” That was the announced deployment; there are probably more U.S. troops in the region. Even before the deployment some had already been training Museveni’s soldiers. And more will come; unannounced. AFRICOM, the ultimate objective, would allow the U.S. to be able to counter resource-hungry China by having boots on the ground near the oil-rich northern part of Uganda, South Sudan, Congo’s region bordering Lake Albert, and the Central African Republic. The troops would also be near by in case a decision is made to support regime-change in Khartoum, Sudan. After all, the U.S. foreign policy reasoning is that since Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his defense minister have both been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), few would shed tears for them. The U.S. is aware that African countries oppose AFRICOM. So what does the U.S. do? Go after a “devil” and in this case it’s Kony. Tell the world –with the help of Invisible Children– that our mission is to help rid Uganda of this “devil”; who by the way is hiding somewhere in Central African Republic, while the dictator who most recently stole elections last February, sits in Kampala and meets with U.S. officials and leaders of Invisible Children. If the real target was simply Joseph Kony, the U.S. would have used an armed predator drone; this is how the U.S. has eliminated several suspected leaders of Al-qaeda and the Taleban, after all. It doesn’t seem that Invisible Children is an independent do-good save-the-children outfit. They are paving the way –with Kony, brutal as he is, as the bogeyman– for AFRICOM. Kony is a nightmare, but Museveni has caused the deaths of millions of people in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. In 2005 the International Court of Justice found Uganda liable for what amounts to war crimes in Congo: mass rapes of both women and men; disemboweling pregnant women; burning people inside their homes alive; massacres and; plunder of resources. Congo lost six million people after Uganda’s occupation of parts of Congo. The Court awarded Congo $10 billion in reparations; not a dime has been paid. Congo then referred the same crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for war crimes charges. On June 8, 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gen. Museveni personally contacted Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary General and asked him to block the criminal investigation. It seems that the U.S. and ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo might have indeed obliged. Gen. Museveni and senior Ugandan military commanders remain un-indicted for the alleged crimes that the ICJ already found Uganda liable; only one side of the same coin, Kony was indicted. Prosecutor Ocampo is also totally discredited; readers should Google “Ocampo and South African journalist case.” There is another documentary that tries to explain the Ugandan tragedy, in a more sober manner, unlike Invisible Children’s slick propaganda piece. Hopefully this commentary will motivate people to do their research and demand that the international community deal with both Kony and Museveni. Hopefully more people will also do their own research and not be vulnerable to slick propaganda such as Invisible Children‘s’.
 “U.S. Troops in Uganda: LRA or Oil???” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (15 October 2011). http://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/u-s-troops-in-uganda-lra-or-oil/.
 “KONY 2012, Invisible Children’s Pro-AFRICOM and Museveni Propaganda” BSN (08 March 2012). http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/8007/2012-03-08.html.
Tent cities have sprung up all over America and poverty has a key role in the increasing numbers. Homeless people have been forced to seek refuge in camps in the woods over the last 5 years. What will it take to make places like these obsolete? Richard Eskrow, senior fellow at The Campaign for America’s Future, helps us answer this tough question (7 December 2011).
While Occupy Wall Street tents have been popping up all across the U.S., homeless people have been forced to Occupy a camp in the woods over the last 5 years. RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports from New Jersey’s Tent City — and finds out why the homeless haven’t been joining the protests (7 December 2011).
In fact, somebody, probably Pastor Steve Brigham, has even ensured that Tent City has an internet presence now: ‘2005 started out a few people homeless trying to find shelter. Now known as Tent City a makeshift village in the woods near Lakewood, New Jersey has approximately 70 people seeking shelter. Now six years later it’s a battle to be able to call this place home for some. With eviction notices from the township on its doorstep. Tent city is in need of community support’.
One of the Tent City dwellers, a certain Elwood E. Hyers, has said this about living in Tent City: “Instead of being depressed that you’re homeless, at least this way you’re going inside and saying ‘wow’. You shut the door and don’t feel homeless”.
A small business owner and independent investor, as well as blogger and propagandist Mac Slavo writes that “[w]hile Americans [seem to] argue amongst themselves over wages, union bargaining rights, government spending, monetary easing, and a host of other issues, including who’s to blame for the country’s malaise, Minister Brigham and his community [at Tent City] trudge on, despite what’s happening outside of their neighborhood microcosm. As millions struggle to hold on to the American Dream, the residents of this New Jersey “Tent City” have already experienced loss, and the emotional roller coaster that inevitably follows. They’ve gone through the first four stages of loss – denial, anger, bargaining, depression. In a situation where everything has been lost, and hope seemingly doesn’t exist, only the fifth stage, acceptance, becomes applicable. These individuals and families have accepted what has happened, and understand that they have a choice. Either give up and wallow in regret and blame. Or, empower oneself, and those around you, and move forward by whatever means are available”.
Another way to look at the situation is to assume that the fifth stage would be resignation, which would be anathema to the American Dream and its championing of the underdog striving hard to overcome adversity and emerge victorious.
(8 December 2011)
 “Tent City: New Jersey’s Homeless Refuge” AFP (21 October 2011). http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/tent-city-new-jersey-homeless-refuge-20111020-ncx.
Syrian television shows pictures of thousands of Syrian people rallying in support of President Bashar al-Assad as he warns of an ‘earthquake’ if the West intervenes in the country.
The Syrian foreign minister arrived in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, 30 October, to meet with Arab league officials. The meeting took place even as reports came in from activists that at least 10 people were been killed by Syrian government forces. In Doha the subject of discussion was how to find a solution to the eight-month uprising against the government of President Bashar Al Assad. Al JAzeera’s Omar Al Salah reports from Doha.