Tuesday, February 24, 2015

American Presidents and their verbal diarrhea

Bush Talk; when obstetrician-gynecologist aren't allowed to love women.

Biden; for the love of an American barrack and its presidential aspirations

When Reagan learnt something new

Carter on when God exempted him from the Ten Commandments

Bush Talk; when a fool fools a fool

Gerald Ford on when a President gets buried alive

Bill Clinton and that Monica Levinsky dodge

Father Bush on the meaning of dementia

Al Gore; spots are to zebras as climate change are to humans!

Quayle; the man who saw tomorrow!

Eisenhower on where the past and present meet

Bill Clinton's experimentation without inhalation... suuuuure Bill, so true!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Al Gore, the man that created the internet!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Putin smiles as Ukraine unravels

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, McCain was telling reporters: “If we had provided Ukraine with weapons, they wouldn’t have had to use cluster bombs.”

[Darkmoon]When Ukrainian army officers came to the Ukrainian village of Velikaya Znamenka to tell the men to prepare to be drafted, they weren’t prepared for what happened next. As the commanding officer was speaking, a woman seized the microphone and proceeded to tell him off: “We’re sick of this war! Our husbands and sons aren’t going anywhere!”

She then launched into a passionate speech, denouncing the war, and the coup leaders in Kiev, to the cheers of the crowd.

What she did is now a crime in Ukraine: the only reason she wasn’t arrested on the spot is that the villagers wouldn’t have permitted it. But in Ukrainian Transcarpathia, well-known journalist for Ukrainian Channel 112 Ruslan Kotsaba has been arrested and charged with “treason” and “espionage” for making a video in which he declared: “I would rather sit in jail for three to five years than go to the east to kill my Ukrainian brothers. This fear-mongering must be stopped.” Kotsaba may sit in jail for twenty-three years, the prescribed term for the charges filed against him.

Kotsaba’s arrest is part of a desperate effort by the Ukrainian government to intimidate the growing antiwar and anti-draft movement, which threatens to upend Kiev’s dreams of conquering the rebellious eastern provinces.

Kotsaba’s particular crime, according to prosecutors, was in describing the conflict as a civil war rather than a Russian “invasion.” This is a point the authorities cannot tolerate: the same meme being relentlessly broadcast by the Western media – that an indigenous rebellion with substantial support is really a Russian plot to “subvert” Ukraine and reestablish the Warsaw Pact – now has the force of law in Ukraine.

Anyone who contradicts it is subject to arrest.

Also subject to arrest: the thousands who are fleeing the country in order to avoid being conscripted into the military.

In a Facebook post that was quickly deleted, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak wrote: “According to unofficial sources, hostels and motels in border regions of neighboring Romania are completely filled with draft dodgers.”

President Petro Poroshenko, the Chocolate Oligarch, is readying a decree imposing possible restrictions on foreign travel for those of draft age – which means anyone from age 25 to 60.

Ukrainians may soon be prisoners in their own country – but they aren’t taking it lying down.

Draft resistance is at an all-time high: a mere 6 percent of those called up have reported voluntarily.

This has forced the Kiev authorities to go knocking on doors – where they are met either with a mass of angry villagers, who refuse to let them take anyone, or else ghost towns where virtually everyone has fled.

In the Transcarpathia region of western Ukraine, entire villages have been emptied, the inhabitants fleeing to Russia to wait out the war – or the fall of the Kiev regime, whichever comes first.

“It may seem a paradox,” says Transcarpathia’s chief recruitment officer, “but from the western Ukrainian region of Ternopyl people have fled to Russia in order to escape army conscription.”

The frantic Ukrainian regime is now contemplating conscripting women over 20.

Poroshenko’s military mobilization is due not only to numerous setbacks in the east – Ukrainian troops are being pushed back on all fronts by highly motivated rebels defending their own towns and villages – but also because thousands are deserting, throwing down their arms and fleeing to Russia.

In response, the Ukrainian parliament has passed a law authorizing local commanders to shoot deserters on the spot.

With Poroshenko’s war looking like a major disaster, one that could easily topple his EU/US-installed regime, the War Party in the US is turning up the heat, demanding that Washington provide Kiev with arms.

Senator John McCain is – naturally – leading the charge, but prominent liberals are also in the front ranks, with leading scholars of the Brookings Institution recently calling for heavy weapons to be sent.

The Obama administration is under considerable pressure from within the President’s own party to start arming the Ukrainian army, but America’s European allies are reluctant to let this war go on much longer, especially now that their sock puppet Poroshenko is increasingly unpopular.

With protests erupting all over western Ukraine, Germany’s Angela Merkel is openly opposing escalation of the war. She made that clear at a recent conference in Munich, where Merkel spoke after returning from talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, McCain was telling reporters: “If we had provided Ukraine with weapons, they wouldn’t have had to use cluster bombs.”

They don’t call him “Mad John” for nothing

The United States is providing the Kiev regime with military training, and we already have American boots on the ground there, ostensibly to “strengthen the rule of law.” What that means in practice is that we are bolstering a government that has declared war on its own people, and is rapidly closing off all legal means of dissent – charging political opponents with “treason,” banning political parties, and unleashing ultra-nationalist mobs on anyone who dares dissent.

Ukraine is a tripwire that could easily set off World War III – and US provocations are edging closer to that by the day. The crisis was initiated by Washington’s regime-change campaign which succeeded in violently overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose electoral victory was made possible by the criminal incompetence and outright thievery of his predecessor, US-supported Viktor Yushchenko.

The so-called “Orange Revolution” led to economic chaos, rampant corruption, and the unleashing of a virulent nationalist current that has culminated in the rise of open neo-Nazis taking seats in the Ukrainian parliament. We are seeing its openly fascistic culmination in the current gang lording over Kiev.

All this was done in the name of sticking a finger in Vladimir Putin’s eye, whose great sin has been kicking out thieving oligarchs and opposing US pretensions to global hegemony.

Washington’s ultimate goal is regime-change in the Kremlin, and the reinstallation of a Yeltsin-like sock puppet who, when Washington says “Jump!”, will answer: “How high?”

That they’re willing to risk World War III in order to achieve their goal underscores the sheer craziness of US foreign policy.

The US has no business interfering in Ukraine’s civil war, and no legitimate security interest in the question of who gets to administer Crimea – which has been Russian since the days of Catherine the Great.

The idea that we are going to confront Russia over this issue is dangerous nonsense – and, unfortunately, it is just the sort of nonsense politicians of both parties find hard to resist.

The main danger to liberty and peace in the world isn’t in the Kremlin, or Peking, or North Korea – it’s right here in these United States of America, in the global epicenter of evil otherwise known as Washington, DC.

The Founding Fathers of this country are rolling in their graves as the usurpers in Washington sully the good name of America with the blood of innocents worldwide and defile the Constitution in the process.

True Americanism means opposing these monsters as they rampage over the earth and destroy our civil liberties at home, while engaging in endless wars of aggression in other countries.

CIA and Mossad are behind Boko Haram and ISIL, says Sudan president

“I said CIA and the Mossad stand behind these organisations. There is no Muslim who would carry out such acts.”~~President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir

[LiveLeak]The President of Sudan has warned that the fight against jihadist extremism must engage militants on an ideological level, and not solely concentrate on military action against them.

Omar al-Bashir was speaking exclusively to euronews in the week that ISIL released a video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian citizens – an act that spurred Egypt into launching airstrikes against ISIL targets in neighbouring Libya.

He warned that simply using violence against young radicals who fight with organisations like ISIL and al-Qaeda could lead to even more extremism.

“Our policy has been largely succesful, after we arrest these young people we bring a group of young scholars to engage in dialogue with them about their thoughts, and we succeed to bring a lot of them back from their radical ideas”.

Omar al-Bashir said that America’s CIA and Israel’s Mossad are behind group Boko Haram and ISIL.

“I said CIA and the Mossad stand behind these organisations. There is no Muslim who would carry out such acts.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Re-Colonization of Africa

GMO: Africa, the last frontier

"Colonialism is patronizing, patriarchal and violent, and to believe that AGRA's vision for Africa, Africa's people, its farmers, or the continent itself is anything other than a new colonialism designed to benefit corporate agribusiness and the partners of AGRA while it ultimately impoverishes the people and the culture of Africa is not just laughable, but unequivocally misguided and dangerous"~~Jim Goodman

By Jim Goodman

The Green Revolution never met expectations in Africa. This was for many reasons, including: civil wars, corrupt governments, governments that often could not work together, inaccessibility of water for irrigation, very diverse soil types, a lack of infrastructure and the sheer breadth of the continent. Perhaps Africa was lucky, while the Green Revolution was put forth as a solution to feed the hungry, it was also focused on permanently allowing Western governments to dominate politics and national economies—a new brand of colonialism.

Now, as global agribusiness interests look to expand their profits with the financial backing of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), various “charitable” foundations and the political backing of the more "developed" countries of the world (the G-8), Africa is the obvious target to be saved and developed. Corporations profit, Western governments gain control.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) seems to have all the answers. Started by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations and fronted by African dignitaries, their goals for Africa appear to be remarkably similar to those of the first Green Revolution, increasing agricultural production through increased inputs, monoculture farming, production of grain crops for the global market and little in the way of societal change to empower small scale farmers, women or the poor.

In a new twist to the old Green revolution, AGRA is focusing on private control rather than public—more profit, less oversight. A prime example, private seed companies will produce and sell their "improved" seed varieties to farmers, rather than giving farmers access to publicly developed seeds.

While most countries in Africa have no commercial plantings of Genetically Modified (GM or GMO) crops, many are conducting trials, aided by and politically pushed by Western governments. While AGRA claims their partners are not currently selling GM seeds in Africa, the push is clearly there.

The Gates Foundation would like their association with AGRA to appear as a strictly philanthropic venture, but, it appears that as Monsanto stands to profit so does the Gates Foundation's endowment.

AGRA states that "only about one quarter of Africa's small-holder farmers have access to good seeds"—and good seeds, in the eyes of AGRA funders and partners, are GM seeds, seeds that must be purchased every year, not farmer-saved seeds. Traditional seed laws that allow saving and exchange between farmers are "outdated" according to AGRA and they continue to push for changes in seed laws that would protect patented seed.

In Ghana, the national parliament has given full support to the Plant Breeders Bill, which would restrict seed saving and swapping. According to the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen, "This system aims to compel farmers to purchase seeds for every planting season." This bill, being pushed by AGRA, the G-8, USAID and corporate agribusiness, will make it difficult to find any seed other than GM seed. For bio-technology companies like Monsanto, Africa is the new frontier. Lots of land, lots of people, lots of foreign investment money, and governments willing to push their agenda. It all adds up to lots of profit.

AGRA may think they have all the answers, but the problem is, they never asked the questions, they never asked the people of Africa or the farmers what they wanted. This is colonialism, not democracy.

As Mariann Bassey Orovwuje of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) noted at a Town Hall Forum in Seattle last October, "if you are helping me, ask me the kind of help I need."

Mercia Andrews, of the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) in South Africa, sees AGRA and the Green Revolution as "another phase of colonialism."

"What we need," she stated, "is not more charity and more investment of the kind that's being imposed on us, we need solidarity, we need learning together from you, from the peasant farmers, from the food movement, all these small markets that exist here, from the community to community movement. People to people solidarity, not corporate takeover."

Mariam Mayet, director of the African Centre for Biosafety (Acbio), felt that "peasant farming systems have become reviled by the like of Gates as backwards and responsible for poverty and starvation in Africa. It's almost as if there is a concerted effort to make these systems obsolete, to do away with them, they are ugly, they are backward they have to go and they have to go now." She noted that "I want you take home the message that there are African farmer organizations that are outraged, we are angry because these decisions have been made—imposed on us in a very patronizing, patriarchal, violent way, like we are children, that they have designed a solution for us as to how they can fix up what is broken."

In his address to the Triennial Forum for Research in Africa General Assembly on July 18, 2013, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), stated that "Africa can feed Africa. Africa should feed Africa. And I believe that Africa will feed Africa." And, interestingly enough, he didn’t once mention GMOs.

Just as AGRA would force its program on Africa, Nwanze felt that the decline of African agriculture, in large part, was due to structural adjustment programs forced on many of the continent’s nations by the World Bank. And cutting to the heart of the Green Revolution he noted that "if we set our sights only on improving productivity, there is a very real danger that we will grow more food in Africa without feeding more people."

He stressed that "results must be measured NOT by higher yields alone, but by reduced poverty, improved nutrition, cohesive societies and healthy ecosystems. And, agricultural development must involve women who are too often... the most disadvantaged members of rural societies."

While IFAD has not always been on the right side of agricultural change in Africa, Nwanze clearly articulated a vision much different than that of the original Green Revolution or of AGRA's idea of progress in Africa. We can only hope he is sincere, it is important to acknowledge that Africans can exploit Africans, just as Western governments and corporations can. Democracy and food sovereignty should determine the future of Africa, not rich Africans or Western corporations.

AGRA believes progress is large scale farming, mono-cultures, "improved" GM seed, and a further industrialized agricultural system. However, none of these have ended hunger. This style of agriculture thas not and will not feed the world, though this is what we are constantly told to believe.

In his book, Farmageddon, Brewster Kneen notes that "In the name of progress, these new powers would like us to believe that there is no alternative to their biotechnological project. They are simply the agents of destiny. We should adjust to their rule with gratitude for their leadership and their efforts on our behalf, whether we asked for it or not."

Colonialism is patronizing, patriarchal and violent, and to believe that AGRA's vision for Africa, Africa's people, its farmers, or the continent itself is anything other than a new colonialism designed to benefit corporate agribusiness and the partners of AGRA while it ultimately impoverishes the people and the culture of Africa is not just laughable, but unequivocally misguided and dangerous.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Meet The Billionaires Buying Tons Of Land In Africa

Oakland Institute (OI) just completed the most thorough investigative report on who's buying land in Africa we've seen yet:

Bruce Rastetter

Who's buying: Bruce Rastetter (CEO of Pharos Ag, co-founder of AgriSol Energy, CEO of Summit Farms, and a donor to the Iowa State University), the Iowa-based Summit Group and Global Agriculture Fund of the Pharos Financial Group, in partnership with AgriSol Energy LLC and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, and Serengeti Advisers Limited, a Tanzanian investment and consulting firm led by Iddi Simba (non-executive director and the former Tanzanian Trade and Industry minister) and Bertram Eyakuze (partner and co-founder)

The land they're buying: Three “abandoned refugee camps”– Lugufu in Kigoma province (25,000 ha), Katumba (80,317 ha), and Mishamo (219,800 ha), both in Rukwa province in Tanzania.

The future development: Large-scale crop cultivation, beef, and poultry production, and biofuel production. The Tanzanian government is expected to approve the title of occupancy within 3 months, which will result in the evacuation of the current inhabitants: refugees. Also, the Tanzanian government is expected to create a regulatory framework for the use of genetically modified crops.

The scandal: Some refugees apparently received citizenship in 2010, but were told that their certificates were being withheld until they re-located to other areas of Tanzania. AgriSol claims that it's looking to hire local farm project managers to work on the project, however AgriSol told the Oakland Institute that they were bringing in white South African farm managers.

David Neiman, President Nile Trading Development

Who's buying: Nile Trading and Development (NTD is an affiliate of Kinyeti Development); Mukaya Payam Cooperative; NTD's Chairman, Leonard Henry Thatcher; Howard Eugene Douglas, Kinyeti's Managing Director, a former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and a Director at Orbis Associates; Kinyeti's Secretary, Christopher Weikert Douglas, who in 2008 worked at the United States Consulate in Dusseldorf, Germany and is a Director at Orbis Associates; and NTD's president, David Neiman.

The land they're buying: 600,000 hectares (with a possibility of 400,000 additional hectares) for 75,000 Sudanese Pounds (equivalent to approximately USD 25,000) in South Sudan.

The future development: NTD's plans are unknown, according to the Oakland Institute. But they have the rights to do whatever they want. Two clues: 1. A letter NTD's president, David Neiman, wrote to the governor of the Central Equatoria State says that he intends to develop the land's timber resources. 2. Neimann entered into a “contractual alliance” with Tony Paris of Paris Broadcasting Cable 7 in June 2008 for algal agrofuel production in South Sudan.

The scandal: The company that leased the land to NTD is described as an influential group of natives who leased the land out behind the backs of the entire community by Sudan’s Agency for Independent Media (AIM). AIM also says "In reality, the cooperative does not exist on the ground... [Some communities are in favor of the deal but] what is common among all of them is that they are not all well informed about the advantages and disadvantages of the deal."

Jean Claude Gandur

Who's buying: Addax Bioenergy and its Chairman, billionaire Jean Claude Gandur

The land they're buying: 20,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations in Sierra Leone.

The future development: Sugarcane farming for ethanol production for export to Europe

The scandal: To convince local communities to accept the project, the company promised community members that their loland rice-growing areas would not be used. Addaz has reneged on their pledges. The land has been dried out, large and deep channels were dug to drain them, and Addax is cultivating the lower lying swamp land previously used for rice production. Addax also promised land development in the form of schools, health facilities, a community center, and water wells. But to date, none of those promises have been fulfilled.

Amateur racing driver, Count MIguel Pais do Amaral

Who's buying: Quifel Agribusiness, a Lisbon-based personal holding of the businessman, Count, and amateur race car driver Miguel Pais do Amaral

The land they're buying: 126 hectares of land in the Port Loko District in Sierra Leone

The future development: OI says the company's future plans are unclear. It claims it's producing food crops for local consumption. In its lease, it says the company to produce palm oil for agrofuel. Now it's testing cassava, pineapples, and rice. The land is also rich in minerals – particularly bauxite, gold, diamonds and iron ore. (An Australian mining company, Cape Lambert, currently holds an exploration lease on parts of the area for which Quifel holds surface rights.)

The scandal: The company promised social and educational projects would be developed in the area. At this point, those are still plans. None of the landowners nor chiefs were given copies of the leases (the company arranged for an Attorney to negotiate and sign on their behalf). The rent that the company now pays the landowners doesn't cover the amount that they're now unable to make from farming.


Who's buying: Sepahan Afrique, an Iranian company that produces food and non-food items as diverse as plasticwares, construction materials, ice chests, safe boxes, aluminum items, household appliances, and exports minerals, ginger, pepper, iron scrap, cocoa, and coffee. The only person we can find who is affiliated with this company is Ismaeil Mofidi, who is said to be the company's commercial manager.

The land they're buying: A "significant" amount of land (at least 10,117 hectares) in the Marampa and Buya Romende chiefdoms of the Port Loko region of Sierra Leone.

The future development: The company plans rice and palm oil production, and to build factory for the processing of palm oil and other edible oils. Their lease gives them rights to the land's surface and any minerals that law below it. The area is reportedly rich in iron ore and bauxite.

The scandal:
Landowners have not been paid rental fees and development plans have not materialized. Also, landowners and Sepahan Afrique signed the agreement under reportedly strange circumstances. They say they were summoned to the the Iranian embassy for an urgent meeting in 2007 in the final days of the former SLPP government. When they arrived close to midnight, they say they were forced to sign the agreement "under duress" after being informed that the Iranian investors were leaving the next morning and that they had to sign before reading the agreement. They say they signed because they "could not violate the authorities."

Susan Payne and Co

Who's buying: EmVest Asset Management, a joint venture between Emergent Asset Management and Grainvest, a subsidiary of the RussellStone Group. Susan Payne, the CEO of Emergent Asset Management and Frans van den Bergh, a former trader at Voersentrale, a cooperative involved in the domestic and international trade of commodities for animal feed, who is now the Chairman of RussellStone, Agri-Invest, and Freecka Landgoed Ltd, a mixed farming operation.

The land they're buying: 2,000 hectares in Matuba, Mozambique.

The future development: The company aims to develop arable land to produce food crops by building irrigation. The latest quarterly update says that the irrigation system is 98% complete.

The scandal: Government authorities allegedly forced landowners to sign papers releasing 1,000 hectares of land. Emergent says it has 1,000 hectares and is in the process of obtaining rights for the second 1,000. The company says in its verbal communication to investors that it already owns the second 1,000 hectares. The company also claims to have a strong relationship with the local community (which their Facebook group seems to verify). Community members however speak of a conflict that is "because EmVest wants land where people live and farm, but we need this land for our children and to feed ourselves."

Who's buying: Petrotech-ffn Agro Mali, a subsidiary of Petrotech-ffn in Egypt; William Brown, the chairman of Petrotech (he was formerly a United States Ambassador and was also former principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard.); and Ed Rosenberg, the president of Global Wealth Management Corp.

The land they're buying: 10,000 hectares in the hydraulic system of Kareri

The future development: Agrofuel. The principle crop will be oil-producing plants, specifically jatropha oil, which 9,500 hectacres of the land will be dedicated to farming, according to the company's promotional presentation.

The scandal: The project will displace an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people, who are living off the land currently. The lease describes the fertile land as "brownfield." And the company's presentation on the project says it will benefit the local population, but on its website, it says it "will initially sell its feedstock to the EU countries, the U.S. and to support the Biodiesel facility in Egypt," according to the OI.

Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Who's buying: Saudi Star Agriculture Development; Mohammed Al-Amoudi, who owns the company (Forbes ranks him the 64th richest person in the world) and reportedly is suspected of having deep connections to the local government, the EPRDF.

The land they're buying: 10,000 hectares near Abobo in Gambella in Ethiopia, and they're looking to buy 500,000 hectares more.

The future development: Plans include building 30 km of cement-lined canals to move water from the Awero river to the fields, and building a second dam on the river to increase the amount of water available. The company hopes the additional 500,000 hectacres will produce 1 million tons of rice. They also hope to grow maize, teff, sugarcane, and oilseeds.

The scandal: The company isn't paying rent on the 10,000 hectacres, which used to be maize fields farmed by local villages. And the river Saudi Star hopes to use is currently used for fishing, transportation, and as a water source for several small villages, which have been relocated across the river. The communities were not consulted before the relocation. When they asked government officials why bulldozers were clearing the area, they reportedly replied, "You don't have any land, only the government has land."

Kevin Godlington

Who's buying: Kevin Godlington, the CEO of Crad-l and Director of SLA, the Sierra Leone Agriculture (SLA) and its parent company, the UK-based CAPARO Renewable Agriculture Developments (Crad-I), and CAPARO's founder, the British Industrialist Lord Paul of Marylebone. Also, local people in the SLA lease area are under the impression that Tony Blair is linked with the project and with SLA. Godlington says he works “closely” with Hon Angad Paul, the Office of Tony Blair and other investors and sponsors to run this “African development company specializing in former conflict nations” and to lead “investment teams in setting up large scale agricultural, resource and extractive business’s [sic].”

The land they're buying: 43,000 hectares in the Port Loko region of Sierra Leone

The future development: Godlington says it's to establish palm oil plantations on the lease to produce palm oil for the local market, and the project will involve mills and processing plants. In 2010, SLA cleared 5 hectares of forest bush to plant palm oil seedlings. It aims to have palm oil plantations in over 40,000 hectares within 7 years.

The scandal: Godlington hasn't made his plans public in the country, nor is there any documentation that verifies his claims, according to OI. The chief who granted him the lease says that he insisted SLA build schools, health centers, and resettle any villagers the development displaces. However the chief also says that the lease has to be renewed every 7 years, whereas the SLA director says the lease is not up not for renewal, but for rate re-negotiation every 7 years.

Nigerian War Against Boko Haram Sabotaged by United States Imperialism

“Twenty-four hours after U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry met President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, pledging his country’s determination to work with Nigeria and other countries to end activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, the Israeli media, yesterday, revealed that the U.S. stopped Nigeria’s purchase of Chinook military helicopters from Israel to fight Boko Haram. The sale/transfer of such aircraft required a review by the U.S., to determine its ‘consistency with U.S. policy interests,’ Obama administration officials told The Jerusalem Post.”

by Abayomi Azikiwe

Secretary of State John Kerry visited the West African state of Nigeria on Jan. 25 saying that the United States would impose sanctions on any terrorists based in the country.

This visit and statement came nearly three weeks prior to the national elections scheduled for Feb. 14. The two leading contenders, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Ret. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, of the All-Progressive Congress (APC), held talks with Kerry during his brief stopover.

The top U.S. envoy stressed that the national elections must be held on time and conducted in a peaceful manner. Such a statement came amid a worsening security situation in the northeast of the country prompting fears among many Nigerians that under such circumstances open, free and fair elections cannot be held.

Kerry told the international media on Jan. 25 that “The fact is that one of the best ways to fight back against Boko Haram and similar groups is by protecting the peaceful, credible and transparent elections that are essential to any thriving democracy, and certainly essential to the largest democracy in Africa. It’s imperative that these elections happen on time, on schedule. And that they are an improvement over past elections. They need to set a new standard for this democracy. That means Nigerians have to not only reject violence, but they have to actually promote peace.”

The Role of the U.S. in the War Against Boko Haram

Boko Haram, an armed group fighting the Federal Republic of Nigeria largely in the northeast region of the country since 2009, has caused havoc resulting in the deaths and displacement of thousands of civilians. The war with Boko Haram has impacted the neighboring states of Cameron and Chad, where many Nigerians fleeing the fighting have taken refuge.

Yet recent reports in a leading Nigerian newspaper indicated that Washington is not cooperating in the war against Boko Haram but is actually sabotaging the government. The U.S. has refused to provide arms to Nigeria and has blocked a recent sale of helicopters from the State of Israel.

In an article published by the Nigerian Vanguard on Jan. 28 it said that

“Twenty-four hours after U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry met President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, pledging his country’s determination to work with Nigeria and other countries to end activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, the Israeli media, yesterday, revealed that the U.S. stopped Nigeria’s purchase of Chinook military helicopters from Israel to fight Boko Haram. The sale/transfer of such aircraft required a review by the U.S., to determine its ‘consistency with U.S. policy interests,’ Obama administration officials told The Jerusalem Post.”

This article went on to note

“Nigeria’s largest arms purchase ever reported was from Israel in 2007, in a deal with Aeronautics Systems worth $260 million. That company is Israeli, however, not American. A single Chinook costs roughly $40 million to produce.”

The same publication then reported

“the Nigerian military in the past has said that the country also resorted to training its security personnel on terrorist encounters in Russia and China because of the refusal of the U.S. administration to sell arms to the government following ‘unfounded allegations of human rights violations by our troops,’ among others.”

In addition to these revelations, military sources in Nigeria say that the U.S. intelligence agencies have collected data on Boko Haram but will not share it with Abuja. During 2014, Washington pledged to enhance its aerial surveillance of Boko Haram areas of operation in the northeast and provide information about their movements and capabilities to the Jonathan government.

However, the Vanguard noted

“It was not just in the area of arms procurement that the U.S. has been most unhelpful, adding that contrary to its public stance that it was assisting in the rescue operations of the abducted Chibok secondary school girls it has done nothing significant to help Nigeria in this regard. Other intelligence sources also cited the fact that the U.S. has refused to share intelligence with Nigerian security forces in a timely manner.”

A Nigerian government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity was quoted as saying “When we complained, they started sharing some intelligence, but days after such intelligence is of little value”. Conflicting statements from U.S. diplomats add further to the confusion.

Allegedly these acts of duplicity stem from the Obama administration’s concerns over human rights violations committed by the Nigerian military. Officials in Abuja have denied the allegations stressing that U.S. pronouncements related to its priorities in the so-called “war against terrorism”, are not consistent with its deeds.

Kerry in response to such reports in the Nigerian press told reporters during his Jan. 25 visit that “We are engaging with the Nigerian government at all levels to identify areas of counter-terrorism cooperation.” (Nigerian Vanguard, Jan. 28)

The Nigerian Vanguard however pointed out that “This was contrary to what the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle told reporters last October while speaking on the refusal by his country to sell high caliber weapons to Nigeria. Entwistle told reporters that "the kind of question that we have to ask is, let’s say we give certain kinds of equipment to the Nigerian military and that is then used in a way that affects the human situation, if I approve that, I’m responsible for that. We take that responsibility very seriously.”

Collapse in Oil Trading With the U.S. and the Burgeoning Economic Crisis

The escalation of hostilities by Boko Haram coincides with the decline of the economy due to the collapse of the U.S. trade in oil with Nigeria. In previous years, Nigeria was the largest exporter of oil to the U.S. on the African continent.

Nonetheless, due to the oil glut on international markets stemming in part from the rapidly increasing domestic production inside the U.S., India is now the largest purchaser of crude from the West African state. These developments have created a financial crisis inside the country designated last year by the western imperialist states as having the largest economy on the continent surpassing the Republic of South Africa.

An article published on Jan. 31 reported that China is increasing its trade in oil with Nigeria. The two states have enhanced their economic relations over the last few years in the areas of railway rehabilitation as well as hydropower development at Zungeru in Niger state.

Naij.com wrote in this regard that “Reports just coming in inform that China has stepped forward to buy more oil from the Nigerian Federal Government. Making this cheery announcement on Thursday was China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Zhang Bin. According to the diplomat, the Chinese government is looking forward to importing more of Nigeria’s oil following the loss of America’s market.” (Jan. 31)

This same publication says

“It would be recalled that since the slump in the price of crude oil in the global market coupled with the reduction of the amount of crude oil exported to the United States, the amount of revenues Nigeria generates from crude oil has reduced significantly. This situation has led to the devaluation of the Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

These recent events involving national security and economic relations reveal that Africa, despite claims of rapid growth, is still vulnerable to the shifts in U.S. political and economic policies. Consequently, leading governments on the continent must create alternative trade agreements coupled with the consolidation of cooperation among continental states designed to foster genuine qualitative growth and development.