Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2011

India: Food Inflation: Groping In The Dark

By Devinder Sharma
14 November, 2011

Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considers rising food inflation to be a sign of growing prosperity, the reality is very harsh and painful. Rising food inflation, which continues for the 4th successive year now, has hit the aam aadmi like never before. Adding fuel to fire is the frequent raise in petrol prices.

Every time food inflation crosses the double-digit barrier, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, have been quick to set a deadline some three to six months ahead during which period they promise to bring down the prices. While the failure to stem the price rise is written large, what is more worrying is the complete inability of the government to comprehend the reasons behind it. Economists and policy makers appear clueless and therefore continue to grope in the dark.

For over 4 years now, in every media discussion that I am invited to, I am appalled at the economic ignorance that prevails. They go on harping again and again on what the economic textbooks would prescribe as the plausible reasons behind any runaway inflation. Whether it is any member of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council or the Planning Commission or one of the senior officials of the Reserve Bank of India, the answers you get are all the same: food inflation is because of low production; with rising incomes there is a shift in demand towards nutritious foods thereby increasing the prices of fruits, vegetables and milk products; and because the farmers are being paid a higher procurement price, the consumers have to pay more.

Now let us look at the each of the argument separately. The common refrain that one hears is that food prices are on an upswing because production is unable to match the growing demand. For several months now, you have watched with concern news reports of foodgrains rotting in godowns. While lakhs of tonnes of wheat and paddy are allowed to rot, we are being told that there is a need to increase crop production. Ever since the TV channels began highlighting the grain wastage, except for lip-sympathy, the government has not made any significant allocation for creating additional storage space. In such a depressing scenario, how will more production help? Where will the government store the additional produce? Will it too not go waste?

Every year, as per official figures more than 16 lakh tonnes of foodgrains rot in godowns. The quantity of wheat and rice that becomes sub-standard and unfit for human consumption and which has to be sold for manufacturing alcohol and goes as cattle feed is several times more. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh equated inflation with prosperity, he was trying to say that with more income in hand people have shifted to nutritious diets. The demand for fruits, vegetables and milk products has shot up as a result. This too is untrue, and has no scientific basis. Since this is a frequently asked question, I did some computation of the production estimates. The per capita daily availability of fruits and vegetables is 480 grams. The per capita requirement for a balanced diet is roughly 80 grams, against which the actual consumption is much low. Therefore it becomes apparent that there is at least six times more availability of fruits and vegetables in this country than what is required. So where is the shortfall? Why are the prices of fruits and vegetables sky-rocketing when the availability is in abundance?

In any case, the argument that with rising incomes the intake of nutritious food products in the food basket expands is also not based on any empirical evidence. The 2007 National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) tells us that cereal consumption has been on a steady decline, with no corresponding increase in the intake of more nutritious eggs, vegetables, fruits and milk. It means hunger has been on a rise and is now more widespread and well-entrenched. The feeling was that with the changing food habits, people have shifted from cereals to nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and milk.

This assumption too does not hold true anymore. The decline in cereal consumption has more or less followed a steady pattern in the rural and urban areas, of course much faster in the rural areas. Per capita cereal consumption per month in the rural areas across the country has fallen from 13.4 kg in 1993-94 to 11.7 kg in 2006-07. The decline has been sharper between the period 2004 and 2007 when just in three years, cereals consumption fell from 12.1 kg to 11.7 kg. In the urban centres the decline was from 10.6 kg in 1993-94 to 9.6 kg in 2006-07. In a largely vegetarian society, cereals constitute the single important source of nutrition and therefore its importance in the Indian context is well established.

Moreover, if it was true, India’s ranking in the 2010 Global Hunger Index prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute should have improved. India continues to rank 67th among 81 countries, faring much lower then Pakistan, Sudan and Rwanda. If people had started eating more, I see no reason why India should be ranked so low in the hunger index.

And finally how true is the argument that food prices are going up because farmers have been paid a higher procurement price. Wheat, rice and sugarcane are essentially the three major crops where farmers have received a higher procurement price. Interestingly, wheat and rice are not the crops where food inflation is hurting the poor. In case of sugarcane, after a hike in prices in 2009, sugar prices have stabilised even though the growers are getting a higher price. It is in case of fruits and vegetables, which do not receive any benefit of procurement prices, where the market prices have made a hole in the pocket of average consumers.

Economists need to understand that it is not the farmer who gains from food inflation. He never gets a high price for his produce even when market prices touch the roof. For sake of illustration, let us look at a banana grower. All he earns is between Rs 8-9 per dozen where as the prevailing market price hovers between Rs 50-60. The real problem therefore lies in the mandis. It is the wholesale and retail trade, which in the absence of any tough regulation, is exploiting the consumers by raising the prices by anything between 100 to 300 per cent. In the absence of any crackdown, the trade is having a free run. The government doesn’t want to check the traders because as the Prime Minister said the other day he wants more and more commodity prices to be deregulated. He wants market to decide the final price of the farm produce. In other words, we are paying through our nose to keep alive market reforms Devinder Sharma is a food and agriculture policy analyst. His writings focus on the links between biotechnology, intellectual property rights, food trade and poverty. His blog is Ground Reality


Mittwoch, 14. Dezember 2011

Pakistan says U.S. drones in its air space will be shot down

It was really high time that the army spoke out. That has certainly been accelerated after in November Memogate exploded in the face of president Asif Ali Zardari - Obamas running dog. The documents showed that Zardari did a deal with the USA to oust Pakistan's leadership. A clear case of high treason as also the opposition stated (see here). December 15th Zardari should be heard before the apex court. But then he preferred to evade quickly to Dubai (see here). Then his son took over the reins of government.

By NBC News December 11, 2011
Foto: Pakistani security personnel examine a crashed US surveillance drone inside Pakistan in August.
Pakistan will shoot down any U.S. drone that intrudes its air space per new directives, a senior Pakistani official told NBC News on Saturday. According to the new Pakistani defense policy, "Any object entering into our air space, including U.S. drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down," a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.
The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all U.S. personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan. Pakistan told the U.S. to vacate Shamsi Air Base by December 11.

A senior military official from Quetta, Pakistan, confirmed to NBC News on Saturday that the evacuation of the base, used for staging classified drone flights directed against militants, "will be completed tomorrow," according to NBC’s Fakhar ur Rehman.
Pakistan's Frontier Corps security forces took control of the base Saturday evening after most U.S. military personnel left, Xinhua news agency reported. Civil aviation officials also moved in Saturday, Xinhua said. Pakistani Military Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had issued multiple directives since the Nov. 26 NATO attack, which included orders to shoot down U.S. drones, senior military officials confirmed to NBC News on Saturday. It was unclear Saturday whether orders to fire upon incoming U.S. drones was part of the initial orders.
The Pakistani airbase had been used by U.S. forces, including the CIA, to stage elements of a clandestine U.S. counter-terrorism operation to attack militants linked to al-Qaida, the Taliban and Pakistan's home-grown Haqqani network, using unmanned drone aircraft armed with missiles. President Barack Obama stepped up the drone campaign after he took office. U.S. officials say it has produced major successes in decimating the central leadership of al-Qaida and putting associated militant groups on the defensive.
Since 2004, U.S. drones have carried out more than 300 attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistani authorities started threatening U.S. personnel with eviction from the Shamsi base in the wake of the raid last May in which U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden at his hide-out near Islamabad without notifying Pakistani officials in advance. NBC News' Fakhar ur Rehman,'s Sevil Omer and Reuters contributed to this report.


Dienstag, 6. Dezember 2011

Libyan Liberation Continues with Algerian Tribes Entering War.

Posted on by nsnbc

Southern Libya is firmly under control of Libyan and Allied Forces. Fighting continues in Tripoli, North Eastern and North Western Libya. Algerian Tribes have entered what Algerian Tribal Leaders call “The War for the Liberation of Northern Africa“. The Western Corporate Media continue their media blackout while NATO reports of having flown 40 Strike Sorties.         
by Dr. Christof Lehmann

Nsnbc is trying to bring it´s readers a balanced reporting on the Libyan war, containing both in depth analysis and day to day reports. Yesterday nsnbc received an e-mail from a Libyan expatriate family in Europe, thanking nsnbc for delivering day to day updates about the situation on the ground in Libya. With communication between Europe and Libya being problematic in the best, and rudimentary or non existent in the worst case, our daily reports are often all information families have available that can give at least some indication of the situation of their loved ones. We promised to convey this thank´s to all the other independent media that are covering the conflict.

Xavier Driencourt
After yesterdays reports of NATO preparations to expand military operations into Algeria, and confirmation that NATO special operations teams have been on the ground in Algeria for considerable time; and after yesterdays reports that French Ambassador to Algeria Xavier Driencourt is preparing for emergency evacuation within a week; nsnbc received confirmed reports that tribes from Algeria have entered the war.

Desert Foxes
According to reliable sources a series of secret meetings between tribal leaders from Zintan, Libya and Algeria resulted tonight in an agreement that a unified front of tribal militia will enter the war which the call “The War for the Liberation of Northern Africa”. According to the same sources this alliance of tribes is backed by a unified North African Front, including Moroccan Tribes as well as Polisario who is fighting against the Moroccan administration of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Many members of Sahrawi´s provisional government and Polisario fighters are living in exile in Algeria. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was officially recognized by Libya in 1980, and is recognized by a wide range of countries, non of which is a NATO member state.

Khamis Ghadafi
Ever since international military support against the NATO led aggression began to manifest and the subsequent adaptation of strategy and tactics by Khamis Ghadafi and the military leadership of the Libyan Armed Forces the situation on the ground has, in spite of heaviest fighting and losses on both sides yielded so positive results that an estimated 95 % of Southern Libya are under the legitimate Libyan Governments control, enjoying overwhelming popular support.
An overview over last nights military situation up to the morning today. In Derna a large contingent of TNC fighters fled the city taking heavy casualties when being heavily pursued by Libyan Military, Tribal and Popular Resistance. Heavy fighting in Al-Baida resulted early this morning in about 50% of the city being liberated. At six o clock this morning we received reports of heavy street to street, house to house and room to room fighting in Bengazi with heavy casualties on both sides. An estimated 50% of the city is reported to be liberated.  The main resistance from TNC forces is entrenched in the center of Bengazi. A contingent of TNC fighters from Tobruk that was detached to relief the encircled TNC fighters in Bengazi City was literally wiped out when intelligence from inside TNC cadres in Tobruk made it possible to prepare an ambush by Libyan Forces.

Izzat Ibrahim
The utter chaos in military planning among TNC strategists becomes obvious when considering that a detachment of TNC fighters had left Bengazi earlier the same night to prepare an attack on Ghat, which was met with heavy resistance, resulting in 30 TNC casualties. In Zawiah the green flag is hoisted over a liberated city. After meetings of representatives from cities and villages around Zliten, yesterday and tonight, the representatives of the TNC in Zliten were this morning approached by representatives of Zliten delivering the ultimatum that the local TNC representatives, together with their foreign mercenaries should leave by Friday, or face a situation of “being thrown out” by the people.
Even though the psychological strategists of Pentagon and NATO had succeeded in deceiving a substantial part of the Libyan population into believing that they needed a breath of fresh air and reforms, after the brute awakening to what the Anglo American Empires represents, and how it is represented by imported Al Qaeda, Afghan and other opportunistic mercenaries, an estimated 97 % of the Libyan population stands firmly behind Muammar Ghadafi and the legitimate government of Libya. 97 % should tell any military expert that the situation is considerably worse for US ambitions than it was in Vietnam.

How the US controls "civil society" throughout Africa Enemy-sponsored organisations threaten nation

By Tafataona Mahoso

24 th of July 2011

The "great democracies" of the West have been the most consistent and most persistent enemy of the African: during slavery, during the scramble for Africa after the Berlin Conference, during colonialism, during apartheid and now during the current effort to recolonise Africa, which we see in Libya and Cote d'Ivoire and the current illegal sanctions against Simbabwe. 
  • Americans, the British and their European cousins have discouraged and even outlawed as dangerous to their own people are the very same qualities and habits they seek to impose, promote, fund and otherwise reward among our children and within our societies in Africa. 
  • "We tend to look to (those we think are) the experts, the well-educated, thoroughly trained and richly resourced Western journalists for a lead. When they dismiss African leadership with a few worn-out clichés, we follow suit. In the process we reduce our own politics, economics and situation in history into the juvenile language of (Western) tabloids." 
  • Running parallel to the "civil society" network or superstructure is the series of military and intelligence co-operation programmes which Africom is supposed to consolidate. Once Africom is in place, the recolonisation process will have been completed. 
July 17, 2011 "Bulawayo24" -- Pan African thinkers may wish to ask themselves this question: "If South Africa were at war with Canada and in the process of bombing Canadian cities back to the Stone Age, would US President Barack Obama allow Mrs Zuma (the wife of the South African President) to come and have tea and talk charity with Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter (former US Presidents) in Washington DC?" 
For anyone who knows what North Americans call the "American creed" or the Monroe Doctrine (which became the "Reagan Doctrine" in the 1980s), both US citizens and politicians would never allow such an affront. The first lady of a country at war with Canada would never be welcomed to tea by a former US President in Washington DC while the bombing was going on. 
So, why was it that two weeks ago, while the US and Nato were bombing Libya and ridiculing African Union resolutions on the same war, Barack Obama had the temerity to send his wife to South Africa and the wife had expectations to meet both the President and First Lady of South Africa and felt snubbed when she was welcomed by President Jacob Zuma's wife and by former South African President Cde Nelson Mandela?
Tutored in governance matters by our enemies 
Readers should not get me wrong. The problem is not with the North Americans and Nato as such.
The problem is with us Africans and how we have allowed ourselves to be tutored in governance matters by people who are our declared enemies or by organisations and individuals funded and managed by our declared enemies. Now, how did Africans respond when Michelle Obama was welcomed by the third wife of President Zuma and allowed to meet Cde Nelson Mandela? Too many Africans felt that it was Africa (and South Africa in particular) who had snubbed and insulted the US. Too many papers in South Africa and in our region even complained on behalf of the very same imperialists bombing Libya and recolonising Cote d'Ivoire. 
Now, this willingness to apologise against our own dignity and interests while upholding the arrogance of the enemy is not natural. It has been cultivated over several centuries. 
In 1957 a US citizen called Russell Kirk published a book called The American Cause in response to how the US had fared in the Korean War and how the rest of US society had responded to the war. 
The book identified general as well as specific weaknesses among US soldiers and US citizens in the face of their "enemies" who were identified as the Chinese "communists".
So, although the war was fought over Korea, the "enemy" was identified as Chinese "communists". 
The first general weakness the book identified was elaborated by John Dos Passos, who wrote the foreword to the book: 
"Neglect of history has long been an American failing. When that blind spot is coupled with ignorance of the special nature of our own institutions the result is a sort of vacuum in the political part of the brain. 
"Any high-sounding (alien) notion fashionable at the moment is (therefore) accepted without question. The victim is ready to be herded along any path of delusion the opinion-moulders choose."
This observation is most interesting because the US has literally turned its own problems inside-out and up-side-down. The US sponsors political parties, NGOs and religious organisations to create among societies they wish to destabilise the very same problems, the very same weaknesses which Russell Kirk and John Dos Passos identified and sought to overcome among their own security forces and within their own society. 
Almost all the political parties and NGOs sponsored in Simbabwe by the US, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are engaged in activities and teachings which seek to erase or confuse the history of the African's struggle for freedom, independence, self-determination and autonomy. 
The whole doctrine of human rights and democracy is intended to make Africans feel and believe that they are only thankful receivers of freedom and human rights conceived, programmed, taught and funded by the West. 
Our history, dangerous to imperialists 
Why is our history dangerous to the Rhodies, the British, the US, and the European Union?
That history defines the perennial enemy of Africa and Africans. The "great democracies" of the West have been the most consistent and most persistent enemy of the African: during slavery, during the scramble for Africa after the Berlin Conference, during colonialism, during apartheid and now during the current effort to recolonise Africa, which we see in Libya and Cote d'Ivoire and the current illegal sanctions against Simbabwe.
The following books, for instance, reveal the truth that the Western democracies have been the most consistent and persistent enemies of the African: Race and the construction of the disposable other, by Professor Bernard Magubane; The United States and the war against Simbabwe, 1965-1980, by Professor Gerald Horne; Automating Apartheid: US Computer Exports to South Africa and the Arms Embargo, by the American Friends Service Committee; Apartheid Terrorism, by Phylis Johnson and David Martin; Destructive Engagement, by David Martin and Phylis Johnson; and Red Rubber, by E. D. Morel. 
These books represent a tiny sample of the evidence which presents white Western governments as enemies of the African. 
But what are the values and qualities which Western governments despise if exhibited by their own citizens but which the same governments teach, promote, sponsor and finance among the Africans through sponsored political parties, sponsored NGOs, sponsored churches and other agencies?
According to the American Cause, the following were the qualities or characteristics which the US government should have discouraged especially among those citizens who joined the security and defence forces to protect "US interests": 
  • Weak loyalties to family and community; 
  • Weak loyalties to country, religion and colleagues; 
  • A hazy concept of right and wrong; 
  • Opportunism; 
  • and Underrating or under-estimation of one's own worth and so on. 
Kirk quoted a Chinese military intelligence report on the Korean War which said " . . . even among United States university graduates" there was little knowledge or understanding "of American political history or philosophy .  ."
The university graduate "is exceedingly insular and provincial, with little or no idea of the problems and aims of what he contemptuously describes as foreigners and their countries".
Above all, Russel Kirk felt that the generation of the late 1950s in the US had moved away from what he considered to be the best of North American "pragmatism", by which he meant the ability to integrate abstract concepts with practical applications and solutions in real-life situations. Kirk wanted to avoid raising a generation which could easily get lost in the world and die: 
"In the prison camps (of the war in Korea), our men died by the thousands — not from physical mistreatment, except in a few instances, but principally from despair, bewilderment, and lack of faith." 
He then turned to what he believed were the best characteristics of the founders of his country which he wanted adapted for the education and grooming of new generations. 
"Even the more radical among the founders . . . looked steadily to the past for guidance . . . They were not closet-philosophers, vainly pursuing the vision of a perfect society independent of (day-to-day) human experience . . . "
They knew political philosophy as well as history and law. They had read, many of them, Plato and Aristotle, Cicero and Seneca, St Augustine and Dante, Sir Edward Coke and Richard Hooker, John Locke and Edmund Burke . . . But they were not bookish . . . They did not divorce theory from practice. In their own careers they had united the authority of social custom with the authority of great books. They respected the wisdom of their ancestors." 
"Democratic reforms" inolving reinstalling white Rhodesians in strategic positions.
But these are the qualities the West and its stooges among us denounce daily here. What they have sponsored here as "democratic reforms" instead involves reinstalling white Rhodesians in strategic positions and institutions for the purpose of overthrowing our liberation heroes and ethos as well as reversing the gains of our independence. 
On 24 September 2009 the one major question CNN's Christiane Amanpor asked President Mugabe was why the President had not appointed Roy Leslie Bennett Deputy Minister of Agriculture as demanded by the Rhodesian lobby. 
And after MDC-T's spokesperson Nelson Chamisa described Bennett as their party's angel, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made a major statement in which he made the following claims on behalf of Mr Bennett: 
"Mr Mugabe has gone back on his word [to appoint Bennett]. He confirmed to me and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on Monday that he has no intention of ever swearing in Roy. The matter of Roy Bennett has now become a personal vendetta and part of a racist agenda." 
This means Anglo-American imperialism has sponsored its Rhodesian kith and kin to retake the Simbabwe economy and the MDC formations have gladly taken up the cause in the name of democratic reform! 
We can add that these founders of North America did not rely on donors or donor-funded NGOs for guidance. We can add that the qualities and habits which the North Americans, the British and their European cousins have discouraged and even outlawed as dangerous to their own people are the very same qualities and habits they seek to impose, promote, fund and otherwise reward among our children and within our societies in Africa.
If one looks at the donor-funded advertisements preceding the launch of the Medium Term Plan (MTP) on July 7 2011, the whole thing has become even more removed from the economic conditions of the people and even more abstract than the IMF-World Bank-imposed Economic Structural Adjustment Programme ever was. 
The jargon, the clichés and sound bites are all culled from glossy donor-funded brochures and project proposals whose purpose is to hide the realities of the devastation of people's lives by illegal sanctions imposed only by white governments. The same governments are sponsoring the adverts. As the February 1998 issue of African Business pointed out, African teachers and opinion makers have to become original in order to stop selling out.
"Leaders who have grown up from their native soils cannot be put in the same category (as foreign-sponsored puppets). Many of them suffered great tribulations and made enormous sacrifices for (and with) their people . . . The challenges they faced (and continue to face) have been far more daunting than anything any Western leader has to confront since the World War . . . The issue of African leadership is a complex one and it needs substantial study." 
Unfortunately, most of us in Africa, particularly poorly qualified and badly paid journalists, just do not have the analytical tools to work through leadership issues. 
"We tend to look to (those we think are) the experts, the well-educated, thoroughly trained and richly resourced Western journalists for a lead. When they dismiss African leadership with a few worn-out clichés, we follow suit. In the process we reduce our own politics, economics and situation in history into the juvenile language of (Western) tabloids."
The problem which the editor of African Business referred to here is the removal of history and context from media stories. 
It is no coincidence that the Pastoral Letter of the Simbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference issued January 2011 focused on ownership of Simbabwe's liberation history. 
The bishops' conference is part of a long lineage of intercessors, interveners and mediators between African leaders and African communities, between African nations and white imperialism.
This long lineage to which the Catholic Church belongs is responsible for the stubbornness of the white template through which even the mass media owned by Africans themselves continue to misrepresent African leadership. 
How the US controls "civil society" throughout Africa 
Because of the disastrous effects of neoliberal economic structural adjustment and (in Simbabwe) because of the effects of illegal sanctions as well, the number of foreign-funded NGOs has increased more than 10 times since the late 1980s. 
Moreover, this aid is not limited to the civilian NGO sector. It is also military and strategic.
Africa is opening itself to much worse manipulations if it allows the US Africom project to grow and spread on African soil. 
The Anglo-Saxon powers, led by the US, already control a continental network and superstructure of "civil society" throughout Africa. It ranges from individual activists and NGOs at the village level to national headquarters of the same NGOs operating on a nation-wide basis; it ranges from donor-funded, quasi-judicial human rights commissions to regional bodies such as the Sadc Tribunal, all the way to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR.) 
Running parallel to the "civil society" network or superstructure is the series of military and intelligence co-operation programmes which Africom is supposed to consolidate. Once Africom is in place, the recolonisation process will have been completed. Newman Chiadzwa and Farai Muguwu would then have their military counterparts right in our midst. 
And there would be no end to co-ordinated manipulations such as what was recently attempted against Simbabwe in Tel Aviv during the fourth week of June 2010 at the Kimberley Process Certification meeting. 
In a recent paper, Professor Issa Shivji of the University of Dar es Salaam's School of Law quoted Amilcar Cabral, Archie Mafeje and Frantz Fanon to demonstrate that African leaders must rise in a world and context where the ground has been undercut and paved over by imperialism.
They therefore have to reclaim African ground by unpaving the Cape to Cairo tarmac left by Cecil Rhodes and his descendants.
According to Professor Shivji: "Cabral also makes the point that ‘so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent'. 
These are profound insights. "First (African) nationalism is constituted by the struggle of the people against imperialism, thus anti-imperialism defines African nationalism. 
"Second, nationalism, as an expression of (African) struggle, continues so long as imperialism exists. 
"Third, the (African) National Question in Africa, whose expression is nationalism (and which makes African leadership necessary), remains unresolved as long as there is imperialist domination." 
This nationalism and Pan-Africanism is what the white empire and its sponsored stooges and mouthpieces attack every day here. 
You can find the original article here.

Libyan rebels have conceded ground since bombing began

von Kim Sengupta

vom 27th of July 2011

Fresh diplomatic efforts are under way to try to end Libya's bloody civil war, with the UN special envoy flying to Tripoli to hold talks after Britain followed France in accepting that Muammar Gaddafi cannot be bombed into exile. The change of stance by the two most active countries in the international coalition is an acceptance of realities on the ground. Despite more than four months of sustained air strikes by Nato, the rebels have failed to secure any military advantage. Colonel Gaddafi has survived what observers perceive as attempts to eliminate him and, despite the defection of a number of senior commanders, there is no sign that he will be dethroned in a palace coup. The regime controls around 20 per cent more territory than it did in the immediate aftermath of the uprising on 17 February. Related articles The main obstacle to a ceasefire, so far, has been the insistence of the opposition and their Western backers that Colonel Gaddafi and his family must leave Libya. But earlier this month Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the leader of the Transitional National Council, stated that the dictator can remain in the country if he gives up the reins of power. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, had wanted to declare victory in a Bastille Day speech on 14 July. Soon after this date, the country's Defence and Foreign Ministers pressed the case for a negotiated settlement. The UK, which appeared to have been taken by surprise at the French volte-face, tried to maintain a tough line. But that has also changed in the last 48 hours, with first Downing Street and then the Foreign Secretary William Hague saying that Colonel Gaddafi may after all be allowed to remain in his homeland. Mr Hague said the UK would support whatever agreement was reached by the two sides in Libya. Many senior British military officers have been less than enthusiastic about the Libyan mission, questioning its direction, and privately complaining that it is a distraction from unfinished business in Afghanistan. David Cameron's attempts to censure commanders who have raised concerns about fighting two wars while resources are being cut back has also led to growing dissatisfaction. The UN envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah al-Khatib, had met opposition leaders in Benghazi before flying to Tripoli. Meanwhile, the Libyan regime, which had offered an unconditional ceasefire a month ago, with senior members indicating that Colonel Gaddafi would be eased out, appears to have hardened its position, with officials maintaining that Nato bombing must stop before any talks can be held and demanding the release of Libyan assets frozen by the international community. It remains unclear how a peace deal would be policed. Nato countries are adamant that they do not want to put boots on the ground, while Alain Le Roy, the UN's head of peacekeeping operations, has stated that the organisation only has limited manpower. The rebel administration is wary of involving African Union forces, holding that many of the governments of member states were clients of the Gaddafi regime.
* The Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was released from prison in Scotland almost two years ago in the expectation that he would die within three months, has attended a pro-Gaddafi rally in Libya. Megrahi was seen in a wheelchair in Libyan state television footage said to have been broadcast live. A presenter introduced him and said the conviction for blowing Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie in 1988 was a "conspiracy". He served eight years of a 27-year sentence for the attack, which killed 270 people.

am 29. Juli 2011 eingesellt
Das Original im Independent findet sich hier.

Crocodile Tears As Food Aid Blockade Continues In Horn of Africa

This article is written 2011-07-19 by Thomas C. Mountain based in Eritrea, the only Western non-embedded journalist:

map of Ethiopia with Ogaden; Omaria lies around
Dolo Odo

As predicted crocodile tears have begun to run down the faces of the likes of Anthony Lake, CIA director nominee turned Executive Director of UNICEF, as some 15 million people starve in the Horn of Africa. Tony Lake appeals to the world for tens, no, hundreds of millions of dollars to save the starving people of Ethiopia and Somalia, never once telling you that the majority, some 10 million, are in the Ogaden and Oromia regions and being subjected to a western funded food aid blockade by the Ethiopian military.

Another five million people, maybe more, are starving in Somalia. The heads of the western food agencies are loath to admit that a million or more of those starving are refugees created by the UN funded Ethiopian and AU armies invading and occupying Somali since 2006. The very same refugees who had their minimum survival rations cut by 70% by the likes of Tony Lake due to “funding shortfalls” before all the crocodile tears began to flow.

Refugee camp

Since 2008 and the defeat and withdrawal of the Ethiopian army which invaded Somalia in 2006, the UN and its military wing in the African Union have intervened directly in the “war on terror” in Somalia in the form of some 10,000 troops, mostly from Uganda.

In the past 3 years the UN/AU army has laid waste to over half of Somalia’s former capital of Mogadishu. Some 30 square miles of Mogadishu have been pretty much obliterated by heavy artillery, mortars, tanks and helicopter gun ships operated by the Ugandan army. In the last 3 years some 500,000 or more Somali residents of Mogadishu have had to flee for their lives due to the relentless UN/AU offensive, joining the half a million refugees created by the Ethiopian invasion.

destruction in Mogadishu

The drought ravaging the Horn of Africa is already four years old and has developed into the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years. With the onset of drought in 2007 came the onset of a major counterinsurgency in the Ogaden region by the Ethiopian military, marked paid in full by the western aid and financial institutions. And with the counterinsurgency came the need to cover up this crime and so the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders were expelled. Out of sight, out of mind is the slogan today for most of the international media with no camera crews, no journalists, no news at all if they can help it about the 10 million facing forced starvation in south east and south west Ethiopia, the Ogaden and Oromia.

The last journalists who tried to get into the Ogaden, two Swedes, were sold out by the Somali Puntland warlords, ambushed by the Ethiopian para-militaries, their escorts slaughtered, with both journalists wounded and thrown into an Ethiopian dungeon, a message to all and wide to mind your own business when it comes to genocide in the Horn of Africa.

So the crocodile tears will flow and hundreds of millions of dollars supposedly meant to feed millions of starving people in the Horn of Africa will once again end up paying for the Ethiopian military’s latest arms purchase or in the western bank accounts of Ethiopian P.M. Meles Zenawi and his cohorts. And for a while the international media will churn out stories filled with heartbreaking images of starving children in the Horn of Africa and never once tell you how some 10 million of these people are suffering from a western funded food aid blockade.
The original link is here. 
Thomas C. Mountain can be reached under 
thomascmountain at yahoo dot com

A Libyan Girl's Message to Obama and NATO on Their Aggression on Libya

20th of July 2011

5 Million Demonstrated so Far Against NATO and its Rebels attacks, Killing Thousands of Libyan Men, Women & Children, and Still Intent on Stealing Their Free Spirit and Wealth. The Libyan People Are the Only Legitimate People to Decide Who Represents Them and to Determine Their Own Future.

The original  link is here.

Comments on Petras/Abayas harsh critic on the US/EU war against Libya

First of all I would like to strongly recommend this article by James Petras and Robin E. Abaya The Euro-US War on Libya: Official Lies and Misconceptions of Critics. The link is here.

I want to make two supplementary  points:

1) Oil is also a 'military' weapon. Some days ago I reminded the Tlaxcala community of the fact that it was the USA that de facto declared war on Japan by cutting all oil support lines. So Pearl Harbor was only an answer which the Japanese were in their full right to give. But it's not often spoken about.
Naturally the US don't and can't use all the oil they control for themselves. If they now get the Libyan oil too the Yankees get an even more stronger grip at the throat of the Europeans. So they will oblige even more rapidly than usual. This those stupid guys like Sarkozy, Camaron etc. from their point of view in the ass of the beast can't see. 

So the US-strategy has been now for a long time to control the oil from the well over the pipelines, the shipping routes to the port of destiny and the consumer. Naturally this makes sense for a superpower.

2) The authors give as the main reason for attacking Libya that Gaddafi
was not fighting with them side by side. This is quite a weak argument I would say. Some squads from a little country like Libya will not make a big difference. I think there is another point jumping in the eye and maybe therefore it's not seen. Look - the US was in trouble; their fantastic CIA, FBI and all the rest fed with billions of dollars had not the slightest idea of what was going on in the Arab world - so the US was taken by surprise. In a hurry they tried to fence in the fires but it didn't really work - the fire spread to the Gulf, to Jemen, even to Saudi Arabia. Now God send a sign - some guys in Libya also tried an uprising (certainly there were some sincere democrats but they were a far cry from the movements in Tunisia, Egypt etc) and the full power of the media was brought in - supported by - surprise, surprise - Al Jazeera and the 'LEFT'. A real gift from above. Now the focus shifted nearly 100% to Libya and all the rest was forgotton.
And the Yankees loved it - they love when the 'Left', the 'Humanitarians' cry for help. Now the could show that they are really the good guys. And so it went as it went.
It's exactly the same thing that Jan Myrdal describes in his new book 'RED STAR OVER INDIA'. The Indians were fighting the Naxalites for forty years without a mayor success. So they begged the Americans to come and help against the 'terrorists'. Oh, with pleasure. If the biggest 'Democracy on Earth' is begging for help then we are on the right side. And as Jan Myrdal points out the Indians will get help from the Western 'Left' too. The Indian Government has only to tell them: "We want to develop the country! We want to bring progress to the backward Adivasis and Dalits (the indigines and untouchables), development, education, but they don't know their own best. And the Maoists - those terrorists you know - are agitating them against us." So naturally the 'Left' will take the side of the 'progressive' Indian democracy. And to hell with these indigenes, these barbarians who kill innocent people (=soldiers) and burn schools (which the government rarely built).
But in the end the Americans will prevail. The Indians believe they are making a good deal. They are stupid because of their racism. They don't know what the Americans are thinking of them - the same what they themselves think about their people - mofussil. pack, idiots, blackies.