Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nigeria Information Minister Says UK Frustrating Closure of Radio Biafra
By Isiaka Wakili
Nigeria Daily Trust
Sep 20 2017 7:52PM

The Federal Government Wednesday vented its anger against the British Government for allegedly frustrating efforts towards closing down Radio Biafra sited in the United Kingdom.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed, during a news conference held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the Nigerian government had, to no avail, taken some diplomatic moves to contain activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Mohammed, however, decried that despite all the damages done by Radio Biafra, the British government was hiding under the right to freedom of expression.

"Who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK, all the damages it (Radio Biafra)  has done, but they don't see it that way, for them (the British government), it is about freedom of expression.

"If we've a person in Nigeria openly soliciting arms to come and fight the UK, what would you think of? Would you consider that freedom of expression? And this is a country that also has had a history, what did Iraq do to be labeled a terrorist organisation? They were planting bombs, they were fighting the British army.

"I don't want any diplomatic row, we know for a fact where the funding is coming from and we are going to stop them but it is difficult to stop them and we have been working on it and we will not stop," he said.
Nigeria Information Minister Says IPOB's Finance HQ in France
By Isiaka Wakili, Ismail Mudashir, John Chuks Azu & Clement A. Oloyede 
Nigeria Daily Trust
Sep 21 2017 2:00AM

South East lawmakers kick

The financial headquarters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is in France, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said yesterday.

He said records showed that the secessionist group is getting money both from home and overseas.

The Federal Government knows where the funding is coming from, the minister told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja,

He said: “We have the records, we know IPOB collects money from many people from Diaspora, they collect money from many people in Nigeria they collect money from some foreign countries, this is clear.

“Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know...You have to block the sources of finance that is what I said recently.

“It is incontrovertible that some people in Diaspora contribute money to IPOB, where does he get his money from.

“We know this as a fact again there are a few very knotty diplomatic issues which you need to skip.

Asked to name IPOB’s financiers, the minister responded: “I think this is not rocket science. Any treasury looter would do everything possible to distract government.

“If by any act, God forbid, Nigeria is today engulfed in war...what would be the first priority of government? It will be to quell that riot.

“So, it is a way of distraction to ensure that government is not focused.”

“I don’t want any diplomatic row, we know for a fact where the funding is coming from... we have been working on it and we will not stop,” he said.

UK govt refused to shut Biafra radio

The minister also pointed out that despite all the damages done by Radio Biafra, the British government was allowing it to continue to operate, hiding under to right freedom of expression.

“Who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK, all the damages it (Radio Biafra)  has done, but they don’t see it that way, for them (the British government), it is about freedom of expression.

“If we’ve a person in Nigeria openly soliciting arms to come and fight the UK, what would you think of? Would you consider that freedom of expression? And this is a country that also has had a history; what did Iraq do to be labelled a terrorist organisation?

Asked if President Muhammadu Buhari approved the proscription of IPOB activities, he said: “There is a procedure for proscription; the Attorney General will follow the procedure which he is doing. But for me, do you want the president to wait for this to be put into law before you take action and stop looting or killing? Where will Nigeria be today if there is conflagration in Lagos or Kano? Like the governor of Abia said yesterday (Tuesday), there are about 11 million Igbos living outside the southeast; that is not a small number, it’s not a joke.”

The minister said but for being very lucky last week, “there would have been massive bloodshed if reprisals had taken place outside the southeast.”

Mohammed said this was averted because traditional rulers, state governors and other leaders went out to “pacify people.”

He observed that the kind of stories trending on the social media had not helped things, saying “As a matter of fact, there was one stating that a major general had been killed, not knowing that it was a retired major that was killed in Benue State over land matters. That would have set the entire country ablaze.”

“We’re in a very dangerous situation and actually we’re sitting on a keg of gun powder. The peace that you are seeing is deceptive, we must continue to work on it and we must continue to counter this very untrue narrative.”

He said “As cosmopolitan as Abuja is, it took the FCT minister to mobilise all the 17 graded traditional chiefs and emirs in Abuja to really hold meetings with all the stakeholders to pacify the situation. You can imagine what would have happened if the people of Kano or Kaduna had started retaliation.”

‘IPOB petitions western nations, alleges genocide’

The Federal Government said IPOB has decided to externalise its campaign.

Lai Mohammed said the separatist group “has written to governments and parliaments in the West, alleging genocide in the southeast.”

The minister, however, stated that “Even a dictionary definition of ‘genocide’ does not support that claim.”

He said the IPOB had also engaged “in using highly-emotive videos of killings, which it harvested from other lands and were doctored, to hoodwink the international community.”

“Is there anybody here who can tell me which part of Nigeria genocide is taking place? it’s not true, but of course, we’re in the era of fake news and artificial intelligence where you can make a video of what is happening in Iraq, super impose pictures and voices in Nigeria and send it. People are gullible, including some foreign countries.”

He said despite calls from Nigeria’s expulsion from the United Nations on the basis of allegations of genocide, the government “will not stifle anybody’s freedom of expression, but when you cross the line we won’t allow you.”

He added: “I think anybody who has watched Nnamdi Kanu’s videos anywhere he goes to, he openly solicits for arms and for funds, I have a lot of quotations from him as to the violent intention of IPOB.

“In one of his videos he said if he is arrested, his boys should burn down the country. The same Kanu went on television a few days ago saying he was sleeping at about 4:30pm in his house in Umuahia and then some soldiers were making noises they were disturbing his sleep and his boys stopped them.

“I ask, which country in the world would tolerate this? Unfortunately, Nigerians we have short memories at times or we tend to be very mischievous because this thing is being turned into the north is persecuting the southeast or Muslims persecuting Christians.

“We have forgotten that in 1983, there was a group called Maitatsine in Kano, they were crushed by Shagari government. They were Muslims and northerners.

When they relocated to Bulunkutu (in Maiduguri), they were again crushed by Shagari. When Buhari became Head of State, the same Maitatsine raised their heads, he chased them far into the Chad republic as then the Head of State. “

“President Yar’adua in 2010 was on his way to the airport when he got a report about Boko Haram, he sent the army to go and destroy them.

“These were Muslims from the north dealing with essentially Islamic Muslim insurgencies. Anything about insurgence or terrorists act you don’t think about religion, you don’t think about ethnicity, you think about the unity of the country.”

Court Okays IPOB’s proscription

Meanwhile, Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday granted an order proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation.

The Acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdu Kafarati granted the order following an application by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) seeking a declaration that the activities of the IPOB in any part of Nigeria especially, the South East and South South zones amount to acts of ”terrorism and illegality.”

The AGF also sought an order of court proscribing IPOB in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South East and South South regions either in groups or as individuals.

The order is to be gazetted and published in two national dailies.

The court said it granted the order as sought after listening to the argument of the AGF who led four other senior officials of the Ministry of Justice and after reading through the affidavit in support of the motion sworn to by CPL Kolawole Matthew of the Nigerian Army.

Ex-Senate President asks UN to act

A former president of the Senate, Ameh Ebute, has called on the United Nations (UN) to commence the process of investigating the activities of leader of the Independent People of Biafra (lPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and members of the organisation.

In a letter to the UN dated September 18, 2017, Senator Ebute said this became necessary because IPOB had “constituted itself into a terrorist organisation and continued to act in ways that terrorise the Nigerian State with intent at plunging the West African country into war.”

He recalled that the Nigerian Defence headquarters had issued a proclamation which cited IPOB’s gross violation of Nigeria’s sovereignty, including the formation of a Biafra Secret Service (BSS); advanced stages in the formation of Biafra National Guard (BNG); militants’ possession/use of weapons; physical confrontations and attempts to snatch weapons from soldiers on patrol.

He explained that these activities by IPOB led to it’s been tagged a terrorist organisation by army, and therefore enough grounds for the UN to act in order to identity and do the needful.

He said, “It is therefore imperative for the UN through its organ of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to invoke suitable laws to intervene in an apparently smouldering crisis in Nigeria.

S/East lawmakers reject IPOB’s proscription

Senators and members of the House of Representatives, from the South East geopolitical zone, rejected the categorization of IPOB as a terrorist organization.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the lawmakers called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the perceived marginalisation of‎ Igbo in the country.

The communiqué jointly signed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) and Chukwuka Onyema called on IPOB to suspend all its activities.

“We affirm our support for the unity of Nigeria anchor on justice, equality and fair treatment on all parts of the country,” the communiqué reads.
Nigeria Supreme Court Proscribes IPOB, Declares it Terrorist Group
TVC Nigeria

The Federal High Court in Abuja has given judicial backing to the executive order by President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing the Indigenous People of Biafra, and its activities.

The Acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdu Kafarati, granted the order proscribing the group.

The court declared that the activities of IPOB in Nigeria, particularly in the South-East or South-South regions, constitute an act of terrorism.

The judge did not sit in open court to deliver the ruling, choosing to hear and grant the ex parte motion filed by Attorney-General, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami in his chambers.
Zimbabwe to Recruit 100 Specialist Doctors From Cuba
TVC Nigeria

Zimbabwe is reportedly set to recruit at least a hundred specialist doctors from Cuba to deal with what the Minister of Health and Child Care calls a serious shortage of specialist doctors.

David Pari-ren-yatwa said the country was hoping to deploy the doctors to mostly provincial hospitals with a plan that at least five specialists will be on call.

This is as opposition leader and former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he is responding well to what has been described as a routine medical procedure, after being airlifted to South Africa last week.

Reports last week indicated that the 65-year-old had fallen ill during an MDC Alliance strategic meeting on Thursday.

The report said he had returned to Harare, where his condition had worsened, leading to him being airlifted to SA in the early hours of Friday.
Zarif Meets Tillerson, P5+1 Representatives Over JCPOA
Thu Sep 21, 2017 02:40AM
presstv.ir

Representatives from Iran and the six world powers have come together to highlight the necessity of complying with Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement, despite threats by US President Donald Trump to scrap the deal.     

We raised the issue of Washington’s non-compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during the Wednesday meeting, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.   

All the representatives present at the meeting stressed “the necessity for the signatories to respect the JCPOA,” the Iranian foreign minister stated, adding that it was the second Joint Commission meeting of the JCPOA at the ministerial level on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Zarif went on to say that the meeting was held to show “consensus among the P5+1 group of countries” on remaining committed to the 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Referring to the US president's speech at the UN General Assembly, the Iranian foreign minister said Trump's anti-Iran rhetoric proves that “the US is detached from the realities of the international community.”

Trump told the General Assembly on Tuesday that the nuclear agreement is an “embarrassment” for Washington, accusing Tehran of violating the deal.

‘Good opportunity to meet’ Zarif

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for his part, said he had a “matter of fact” exchange with his Iranian counterpart, but he said that Washington still has "significant issues" with the nuclear deal.

"It was a good opportunity to meet, shake hands. The tone was very matter of fact. There was no yelling, we didn't throw shoes at one another," Tillerson said.

"It was not an angry tone at all. It was a very, very matter of fact exchange about how we see this agreement very differently."

EU: No need to renegotiate the JCPOA

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini confirmed Zarif's remarks, stressing that the nuclear agreement was "delivering" despite calls by Washington to renegotiate it.

"There is no need to renegotiate parts of the agreement, because the agreement is concerning a nuclear program and as such is delivering,"  Mogherini told reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday.

"We all agreed that all sides are fulfilling their commitments," she said, adding that the EU would exert all efforts to make sure the JCPOA stays in place.

The other signatories to the agreement -- the UK, Russia, Germany, China and France -- have reiterated their commitment to the deal on multiple occasions.

Trump reaches 'decision' over deal

Ahead of the meeting, Trump told reporters that he had reached a "decision" over the deal without further elaborating.

"I have decided. I'll let you know what the decision is," he said.

Since Trump took office, the US has repeatedly threatened to abandon the agreement.

Macron trying to change Trump's view

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he has still not given up on trying to change Trump’s view of the deal. 

"Is this agreement enough? No. It is not, given the evolution of the regional situation and increasing pressure that Iran is exerting on the region, and given... increased activity by Iran on the ballistic level since the accord," he said in apparent contrast to his Tuesday's remarks where he defended the JCPOA in his first UN speech.

Iran has repeatedly insisted that its military capabilities are solely aimed for defense purposes and they pose no threat to other countries. The country has also been assisting its allies, including Iraq and Syria, in their ongoing fight against terrorism.

In his first UNGA speech, the French president warns that not respecting the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran will be “irresponsible.”

“This is a good agreement, an agreement that’s essential to peace,” the French president said.
Merkel Slams Trump’s Threat to ‘Destroy’ North Korea
Wed Sep 20, 2017 07:56PM
presstv.ir

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses an election campaign rally of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Kappeln, northern Germany, on September 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea is wrong, citing economic pressure and diplomacy as the only "appropriate" ways to resolve the conflict.

“I am against such threats,” Merkel told the Deutsche Welle channel. “We consider any form of military solution as totally inappropriate and we insist on a diplomatic solution.”

“From my point of view sanctions and their implementation are the right answer. But I consider everything else concerning North Korea as wrong,” she added. “And that is why we clearly disagree with the US president."

The German chancellor made the remarks in reaction to Trump’s debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly, where he said Tuesday that the US was ready to destroy the North to resolve the ongoing standoff over the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," he said.

"It is time for North Korea to realize that its denuclearization is its only responsible future," he added.

The Trump administration has been pushing for greater international pressure on North Korea through the UN and by pressuring China, Pyongyang’s main trade ally.

The pressure peaked in early September, when the North announced that it had successfully exploded a hydrogen bomb, its sixth overall thermonuclear test.

The UN Security Council adopted new sanctions against the North as a result, a move that Pyongyang warned would not go unanswered.

Germany’s role

Merkel said in her interview that Germany’s strong ties China, Japan, South Korea and the United States puts it among the few countries that could actually help resolve the North Korea crisis.

"Even if this conflict is far away from Germany, it is one that also affects us," Merkel said. "That is why I am prepared, as is the foreign minister, [Sigmar Gabriel], to assume responsibility here."

Gabriel told Monday's edition of the Bild daily that the world had to wait for the sanctions against North Korea to work.

He also noted that military action was not going to succeed and "a security guarantee other than the nuclear bomb" was needed.
Negotiations With US On Any Issues Would Be ‘Waste of Time’: Rouhani
Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:27AM
presstv.ir

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a presser on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed prospects for engaging in negotiations with the United States, saying doing so would be a "waste of time" as Washington does not honor its commitments.

At a presser after his speech at the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York, Rouhani said there could be no future dialogue with the US at a time when Washington speaks of leaving the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries.

"We held negotiations for many years on [the nuclear] agreement..., but today the Americans talk of leaving the deal. So why should negotiations on other issues be held [with the US]?" Rouhani told reporters on Wednesday night. 

Given the current situation, holding talks with the US "would be a waste of time," the Iranian president added.

Rouhani further added that the country had "various options" such as "the removal of obstacles" if Washington pulls out of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"It means that our hand would be completely open to take any action that we see as beneficial to our country," he added.

Rouhani also said that US President Donald Trump should "apologize to the Iranian nation" for his UN speech, which he said was a violation of the JCPOA.

During his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump accused Iran of engaging in “destabilizing activities” in the region.

He also claimed that Iran's "support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing.”

Trump also denounced the nuclear agreement as “an embarrassment” that Washington may abandon. 

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Backed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the JCPOA is an international agreement, which makes it impossible for any party to the deal to withdraw from it.

Since Trump took office, the US has repeatedly threatened to abandon the agreement.

"We don't think Trump will walk out of the deal despite (his) rhetoric and propaganda," added Rouhani. "Either the nuclear deal remains as it is or it will collapse," he added.
Rouhani Censures Trump’s Anti-Iran Rhetoric
Wed Sep 20, 2017 03:26PM
Presstv.ir

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at US President Donald Trump for his “ignorant and spiteful” comments against the Iranian nation.

Delivering a speech at the 72nd UN General Assembly session in New York on Wednesday, President Rouhani said the “ignorant, ugly, spiteful literature of the US president, which was full of false information and groundless allegations, against the Iranian nation” were beneath the dignity of the United Nations.

During his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump accused Iran of engaging in “destabilizing activities” in the region.

He also claimed that Iran's "support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing.”

Trump also denounced the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, including the US, as “an embarrassment” that Washington may abandon. 

He said the Iran deal was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

In response, Rouhani said that the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was an international agreement backed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“The JCPOA does not belong to one or two countries. The JCPOA is a UNSC document, which belongs to the entire international community,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani also responded to the US threat to scrap the deal, saying Iran would respond to any breach of the JCPOA.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the JCPOA, but will firmly and appropriately respond to any breach,” he said.

He also warned about bids by “incompetent policymakers” to dismantle the JCPOA, but stressed that such attempts would fail to stop Iran from treading the path of progress.

“By reneging on its promises and violating international obligations, the new US administration will only discredit itself globally and lose the trust of governments and nations in any future negotiations and commitments,” said the Iranian chief executive.

Elsewhere in his speech, Rouhani talked about Iran’s defense power, including its missile program, reassuring the global community that Iran’s military might would be only deterrent and aimed at restoring regional peace and stability.

The Iranian president also lashed out at Israel, saying it was not acceptable that the Zionist regime of Israel, which is not committee to international law and whose nuclear weapons pose a threat to the region and the entire world, advises peace-loving nations.

Rouhani said Iran was in the forefront of the fight against extremism and terrorism, stressing the Islamic Republic sought a secure region and welcomed cooperation with other countries to that end. 

Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Iranian president arrived in New York on Sunday night to participate in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly and hold talks with senior officials of some other countries attending the meeting.

Rouhani has met and held talks with several leaders and heads of state on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Snowden’s EthiopiaLeaks: Reading Between the Lines
Edward Snowden’s politburo for secret documents has finally begun to
release NSA files on the highly classified (and not so highly
classified) activities of the USA in Ethiopia. In an article in The
Intercept by veteran Horn of Africa journalist Nick Turse we find the
latest chapter of another long awaited expose of the role of Pax
Americana in Ethiopia.

The NSA documents released show the US military was secretly running
an anti-terrorist intelligence gathering operation for many years in
Ethiopia. The lands surveilled include Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
Conspicuously absent from the documents is any mention of Eritrea,
Ethiopia’s neighbor and arch enemy.

When you read between the lines you find that  Eritrea is under UN
Security Council Sanctions for allegedly supporting terrorism in
Somalia in the form of Al Shabab. But no mention is made of Eritrea in
the top secret cables of the US Army’s Intelligence Division when it
comes to anything to do with terrorism in the Horn of Africa. If the
US Army is not concerned about any link between Eritrea and terrorism
then shouldn't this be a word to the wise on the matter?

This should be the final nail in the coffin of the decade old tall
tale of Eritrea as a supporter of terrorism (as Cuba was so slandered
for decades).

Snowden’s EthiopiaLeaks follows in the footsteps of  Wikileaks
Ethiopia File where we find now Acting Assistant Secretary of State
for Africa Donald Yamamoto way back in 2007 saying that Eritrea’s
involvement in Somalia was “insignificant” (“Wikileaks Exposes UN
Eritrean Sanction Lies”).

Later Wikileaks exposed how the UN Security Council Sanctions against
Eritrea passed on Christmas Eve, 2009 were crafted by, amongst others,
the US State Department’s Economic Sabotage office aimed as preventing
international funding for Eritrea’s mining industry start up gold mine
in Bisha and had nothing to do with any alleged support for terrorism
as in Al Shabab in Somalia.

Now we have Snowden’s EthiopiaLeaks showing that no matter the lies
told in public by the US State Department and their allies at HRW and
Amnesty International, the US military wasn't buying any of it and
didn't waste any time in wild goose chases concerning Eritrea and
support for terrorism ie Al Shabab.

End of Story? No…in Nick Turse’s article he interviews Felix Horne,
Horn of Africa specialist for HRW who along with Amnesty continues to
insist that once upon a time Eritrea was supporting the Al Queda
branch Al Shabab in Somalia. Never mind Wikileaks, never mind Snowden
Leaks once a lie is told never admit what you have claimed is not
real. This is so true of those who once surrounded Barack Obama and
Hillary the Terrible and of course, their minions in their incestous
relationship with Human Rights Watch. We are talking about Tom
Malinowski and his “special relationship” with Hillary Rodham Clinton
(HRC) and her Mafia, when he wasn't serving as Horn of Africa
specialist et al at HRW.

HRW to HRC to HRW to HRC, who could tell who he was working for. The
guy who was so blatantly pro-Pax Americana while switch hitting for
HRW that he caused numerous Nobel Peace Laureates to publicly protest
in an Open Letter to HRW?

One thing Nick Turse’s article didn’t mention is the not so secret
AFRICOM Drone Assassination and Surveillance Program long based in
Ethiopia. Hopefully Snowden's EthiopiaLeaks files will have something
on this for as recently as February 2015 an AFRICOM drone fired a
cruise missile from Ethiopian airspace that struck an arms depot in
the Eritrean town of Decamhare. Apparently wreckage from the drone was
found identifying it as a cruise missile of the type used mainly by
Predator drones in their assassination campaigns.

We find the hand of AFRICOM again in June of 2016 when Ethiopia sent a
couple of their army divisions across the border into Eritrea at
Tsorona where a major battle took place. AFRICOM’s role was so blatant
that the Eritrean government issued an all to rare public statement
condemning such.

So here’s to more juicy tidbits from Snowden’s EthiopiaFile, maybe
something that exposes a major crime or two will surface, we have
given up finding any senior criminals being named and shamed a la Phil
Agee. It has taken a while for EthiopiaLeaks to see the light of day
and hopefully there is much more to come.

Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and
reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook or
best reach him at thomascmountain@gmail.com .
Demonstrators Block Mining Operations in Guinea Bauxite Town
By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Unrest over wages and electricity cuts kept the Guinean bauxite mining hub of Boke partially blocked on Friday after a night of gunfire in which witnesses said youths set up roadblocks and burnt tyres.

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed on Thursday, his grandfather said. The West African state’s Security forces shot dead another man when they intervened to break up riots on Wednesday.

A hospital official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said over 50 people had been injured, including some police.

“What is happening in Boke is unfortunate,” government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said by telephone. “Our approach is to resume dialogue with the protesters and try to...restore calm.”

This week’s riots are the latest in a series that have gripped Boke this year, spurred by frustration at electricity cuts, pollution and a perceived failure of mining to raise living standards.

The situation remained tense on Friday, although violence appeared to be subsiding.

“There was a lot of shooting during the night. This morning the young people are still angry even if some of them are starting to listen to the envoys who came to sensitize them and get them to lift the barricades,” said Boke resident Mamadou Diallo.

“Of our three (mining) sites Katougouma, Malapouyah and Dapilong, only Katougouma is partly operational and the other two are blocked because of this difficult situation,” said Frederic Bouzigues, general manager of Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB).

SMB is owned by China’s Winning Shipping Ltd and Shandong Weiqiao, along with UMS International Ltd and the Guinean state. It is one of two mining companies in Boke that each produce about 15 million tonnes of the aluminium ore bauxite annually.

The other company, the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), did not respond to requests for comment. CBG is 49 percent owned by the Guinean state and the remainder by Alcoa , Rio Tinto Alcan and Dadco.

Bauxite is the principal ore used in the production of aluminium. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Nellie Peyton,; Editing by Joe Bavier and Ralph Boulton)
Business People Fret About Kenya's Economy
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2017

Kenya Private Sector Alliance chief executive officer Caroline Kariuki, and chairman Vimal Shah, addresses a press conference at Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, on September 7, 2017. She has said activities at the Mombasa port could be the most hit by the extended campaigns. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Kepsa and KAM said most businesses are witnessing a wait-and-see approach by both local and foreign investors.
Mr Onditi said the prolonged political uncertainty was scaring away local and foreign investors.

By SILAS APOLLO
& BARNABAS BII
Kenya Daily Nation

The business community has warned that the economy is in danger of total decline and urged politicians to strike a quick deal to end the stalemate over the repeat election.

On Monday, three business associations said the country was experiencing slow growth, a sharp dip in profits, drop in employment rates and markets taking a beating since campaigns began in June.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (Kam) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) warned that the political tension could lead to inflation and an unpredictable economy.

INVESTORS

Kepsa and KAM said most businesses are witnessing a wait-and-see approach by both local and foreign investors, a situation that could be worsened by the delayed decision-making process ahead of the election.

Kepsa chief executive officer Caroline Kariuki said activities at the Mombasa port, lending, foreign exchange, employment and international trade could be the most hit by the extended campaigns.

TRADING

Early this month, the shilling fell by as much as 0.32 percent, as trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was temporarily halted because of panicky transactions mostly by foreign investors, barely an hour after the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the presidential election.

The trading meltdown at the securities market extended to Monday with investors warning that the poor returns could spell a doom for markets.

“Today’s turnover at NSE is about Sh400 million. Definitely the election and its uncertainties is affecting our securities market,” investment banker Jimnah Mbaru said.

TOURISM

Ms Kariuki said: “With the prolonged electioneering period, the country is expected to witness slowdown in business in various sectors that can lead to economic decline and thus keeping with the set dates of elections is welcome.”

The country’s economy, billed as the biggest in East Africa, also relies on tourism.

The sector has however, suffered a beating in the past following disputes arising from elections including the 2007-8 post-poll violence.

PROFITS

Kam chief executive officer Phyllis Wakiaga said a survey done on industries showed at least 57 percent of the respondents said the months preceding the elections would be bleak in terms of new orders, profits, employment and volume output.

“Our economy has been flattening since the beginning of the year and this typically happens in any General Election,” she said.

“This means that we need to start visualising elections, not as a stand-alone occurrence that paralyses our lives and suspends the certainty of our livelihoods, but as part and parcel of our daily decision making.”

KNCCI national vice chairman Laban Onditi said the prolonged political uncertainty was scaring away local and foreign investors and called on the government and the Opposition to resolve contentious issues.
Nairobi is Fourth Most Expensive City in Africa
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2017

Nairobi has the most expensive furnished accommodation

This image taken on June 24, 2015 shows fully furnished apartments called Trident Heights, Nairobi. Nairobi has the most expensive furnished accommodation. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator, placed the Kenyan capital behind Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
The average monthly consumption per person stands at Sh19,625, more than twice the national average of Sh9,237.

By DOREEN WAINAINAH
Kenya Daily Nation

Nairobi is the fourth most expensive African city to live in, according to a recent study.

Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator, placed the Kenyan capital behind Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, Port Louis in Mauritius and Pretoria in South Africa.

The survey also found that Nairobi has the fourth cheapest domestic labour in the world and the lowest purchase price for a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI as well a pair of basic denim jeans.

FOOD

Expatistan, however, found that Nairobi has the most expensive furnished accommodation and fast food restaurant combo meals on the continent.

A combo meal in a fast food restaurant such as Big Mac meal costs an average Sh724, while a basic lunch time menu including a drink in the city centre goes for Sh914.

Monthly rent in a leafy Nairobi suburb averages Sh173,704 and the cost of internet per month at a speed of 8Mbps stands at Sh4,447, nearly half of what Harare residents pay.

A flat screen 40-inch TV costs Sh64,567 in Harare compared to Sh37,816 in Nairobi.

DISPOSABLE INCOME

Last year, domestic consumption analysis by Nation Newsplex and the Institute of Economic Affairs found that Nairobians had the highest spending power in the country.

The average monthly consumption per person stands at Sh19,625, more than twice the national average of Sh9,237.

In contrast, with a monthly spending per person of Sh2,705, the buying power of the average resident of Wajir — the lowest ranked county — is three times less than the national average and seven times less than the city one.

ECONOMY

Mombasa, with an average spending of Sh15,629 per person was second, followed by Kiambu (Sh13,898), Kisumu (Sh11,827), while Nakuru comes fifth at Sh10,720.

Kenya is East and Central Africa’s largest economy and Nairobi has been looking to cement its position as the region’s business hub.

The Kenyan capital, however, continues to grapple with poor roads, endless traffic jams, unstable electricity supply and garbage collection that have removed some shine off its appeal.
Floods Warning As Heavy Rains Expected in Kenya’s Coast
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 19 2017
Kenya Daily Nation

Motorists drive through the flooded Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa after heavy rains in May. Kenya Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rains that might cause flooding in various parts of the Coast region starting Tuesday, September 19, 2017. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
On Wednesday, the rains might spread to Lamu, the coastal parts of Tana River and southern parts of Taita Taveta counties.
Residents have been warned against walking in moving water or driving through it.
Mombasa Disaster Committee Chairman Nahid Musa said they have taken measures to avert any calamities from the expected rains.

By WINNIE ATIENO

The weatherman has warned of heavy rains that might cause flooding in various parts of the Coast region starting Tuesday.

The rains are expected to last for three days.

The weather advisory issued by the Kenya Meteorological Department stated that from Tuesday, Kwale, Mombasa and parts of Kilifi counties would experience heavy rains of around 30mm and above within 24 hours.

“The rains may start from southern Coast and spread into the northern areas by Wednesday and may continue to Thursday," stated an advisory from the Director of Kenya Meteorological Department.

"The rains are likely to cause flooding in low lying areas near the coastline, river lines, areas near dams and other water repositories.”

AREAS AFFECTED

On Wednesday, the rains might spread to Lamu, the coastal parts of Tana River and southern parts of Taita Taveta counties, the advisory said.

According to the alert, on Wednesday, flooding may worsen in some parts of the region due to water accumulation on the ground from the rains expected on Tuesday.

Residents have been warned against walking in moving water or driving through it.

They were also urged to move to safer grounds until the flooding subsides.

FLOOD WATER

“Flood water may suddenly appear in places where it hasn’t rained heavily and can be deeper and faster than it looks. Users of canoes and small boats should be cautious of the storms and large waves,” warned advisory.

In May, 14 people, among them three children, died following heavy rains.

Five died in Kwale and nine in Mombasa.

The advisory was dispatched to the Office of the President, Red Cross, county directors of meteorological services of Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River, the National Disaster Operations Centre and other disaster management committees.

Chairman of Mombasa Disaster Committee Nahid Musa said they have taken measures to avert any calamities from the expected rains.

“We are aware and we have received the alert. I urge residents living in flooding areas to be careful,” he told the Nation on phone.
Kenya Prepares to Postpone Repeat Presidential Vote
Polling data company says October 17 election date is ‘way too risky’

YESTERDAY by John Aglionby in Nairobi
Financial Times

Kenya’s electoral commission is set to postpone the repeat presidential election after the company providing the electronic voter list and results transmission system said it would not be ready by October 17, the planned date.

Andrew Limo, the commission spokesman, said: “We’re actively exploring changing the date and unlike the August 8 election, which was set in stone, this time we have some leeway.”

October 26 and 27 are dates being considered, Mr Limo said, adding that an announcement was expected by Wednesday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won the August 8 election against his long-time rival, Raila Odinga, by 54 per cent to 45 per cent, or some 1.4m votes. But the Supreme Court nullified the result — the first time in Africa — after Mr Odinga’s National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition appealed, citing widespread rigging, particularly in the counting and tallying of votes.

Under Kenyan law the repeat ballot has to be held by the end of October, 60 days after the judges’ initial ruling. The electoral commission set October 17 as polling day after the government said a vote in late October would interfere with school exams despite objections from Nasa, which argued the commission would need more preparation time.

But on Monday Mr Limo said it “should be possible” to hold the election during the exam period. “Most schools we use for polling stations are primary schools and they’re not doing exams,” he said. “It’s only secondary schools and they’ll find a way [to hold the exams].”

The about-turn comes after OT-Morpho, the French company supplying the tablets for the 40,883 polling stations and the system to transmit the results to the national tallying centre, told the commission it would be “way too risky” to hold the vote on October 17.

Frederic Beylier, OT-Morpho’s chief operating officer, told the Financial Times the company would “be able to fulfil our assignment by the end of October”, provided there are “no technical changes” beyond altering the number of candidates to only Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga from the eight on the August 8 ballot.

Oliver Charlanes, OT-Morpho’s Africa director, said the extensive time required was owing in large part to the need to preserve the data on the tablets’ memory cards because the company is facing legal action from Nasa and is expecting the electoral commission to conduct an external audit of the data.

“What we would have done in different circumstances is reuse [what we have],” he said. “But considering . . . the external audit, we need to keep the data.”

Nasa has alleged that OT-Morpho was party to the rigging and has asked the French government to take action against the company.

But Mr Charlanes insisted the company was innocent and that there had been “no hacking, no intrusions or deletion of any data” on the systems OT-Morpho was responsible for. “What we don’t want is to be a scapegoat of this election,” he said.

Mr Beylier said OT-Morpho has initiated legal proceedings over the “false allegations” but declined to say against whom. He also said his staff in Kenya were facing “very serious” threats, mostly via social media.

Mr Odinga has threatened to boycott the repeat election unless a dozen senior members of the electoral commission Nasa believes perpetrated the rigging are fired and prosecuted.

Wafula Chebukati, the commission chairman, has said he will make changes to “personal and processes” but only after the supreme court delivers its full verdict explaining the “illegalities and irregularities” in the conduct of the election. By law, the judges must publish this by September 22. 
William Ruto Urges Nasa to Follow Law in Quest for Reforms
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2017

Deputy president William Ruto arrives to address a public rally at Maji Mazuri grounds in Kasarani, Nairobi County on September 17, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
The Deputy President, said that while it was within the right of Nasa to participate or withdraw from the October 17 elections, issuing threats of chaos and violence in the guise of pushing for electoral reforms in the country is unacceptable.
He accused Nasa of hypocrisy, saying their opposition to the October 17 date, was against the decision given by the Supreme Court, where they sought help to annul the August win by Jubilee.
Mr Sonko said Kenyans will not accept a government formed from boardroom negotiations.

By SILAS APOLLO
Kenya Daily Nation

Jubilee leaders Sunday asked the opposition to use constitutional means in their quest to push for changes at the electoral commission.

Deputy President William Ruto warned the Nasa leadership against calls for street protests to agitate for the sacking of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials and said the move by the opposition was an elaborate plan to push the country into chaos.

Speaking during a Jubilee party rally in Kasarani constituency in Nairobi a few hours after Mr Odinga led other Nasa principals in announcing the countrywide campaigns against the IEBC, Mr Ruto said Nasa leaders are aware that they will lose the October elections and were in panic.

The Deputy President, said that while it was within the right of Nasa to participate or withdraw from the October 17 elections, issuing threats of chaos and violence in the guise of pushing for electoral reforms in the country was unacceptable.

RULE OF LAW

“One person cannot dictate to us that there will be no elections in Kenya. As Jubilee, we are ready for the elections, same as the 19 million registered voters,” he said at the Maji Mazuri grounds rally organised by Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.

“This is a country which is governed by the Constitution and the rule of law. Nobody, even my boss the President, is above the law. And nobody can dare threaten Kenyans. Any other unconstitutional means are unacceptable,” added the DP.

Leaders present at the rally included Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale, Governor Sonko, Nairobi Senator Johnstone Sakaja, MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Millicent Omanga (nominated), Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South).

Nasa has called for the sacking of at least 12 officers of the IEBC, including Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba and two returning officers, who they say were responsible for irregularities that marred the August election.

ACCUSED IEBC

The opposition has also accused the IEBC of going to bed with the Jubilee government and failing to publish responses given by Mr Chiloba demanded by the commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati who was seeking clarification on alleged malpractices within the commission during the polls.

Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula, during a press conference in Nairobi on Sunday, also took issue with an audit that IT firm, OT-Morpho, internally conducted and gave itself a clean bill of health over hacking claims, as only serving to cover up the rigging that took place within the commission.

But DP said the IEBC was the only constitutional body mandated by law to hold the elections, and as such, the boycott threats by Nasa were an indication of a coalition fearing defeat.

“In accordance with our Constitution, IEBC will prepare and oversee elections in October,” said the DP.

HYPOCRISY

He accused Nasa of hypocrisy, saying their opposition to the October 17 date, was against the decision given by the Supreme Court, where they sought help to annul the August win by Jubilee.

“Because we respect the rule of law and believe in God, we will go for the repeat polls in October. Those who are complaining and telling us they are not ready for the elections are the same people that went to the courts to annul our win,” said Mr Ruto.

Mr Sonko said Kenyans will not accept a government formed from boardroom negotiations.

“I want to tell them early enough that they should stop dreaming of a coalition government. Kenyans decided on August 8 and will decide again in October 17,” said Mr Sonko.

Mr Duale said Jubilee was ready to swear in President Kenyatta for a second term if the opposition boycotts the polls.
Conflict Around Fresh Presidential Elections in Kenya
Monday 18 September 2017 20:20
Sarah Kimani

Kenya's electoral officials are battling to resolve sticky issues around fresh presidential elections slated for 17 October. This is amid reports that the date may now be changed.

French biometrics firm, Safran Morpho, which provided the technology used in the August polls is also asking the electoral commission to push the polls ahead by a week, to allow the company time to set up proper systems.

Opposition parties want the company removed before the fresh elections.

According to the law, the commission has until 31 October to hold new elections.

Kenya's Supreme Court is expected to give its full ruling on the annulment of the 8 August general elections on Tuesday, meanwhile on the campaign trail both sides are digging in.

None is willing to cede ground.

"These people are not ready for an election. That is why they have a quarrel with everybody. They have a quarrel with the commissioners of IEBC. They want IEBC commissioners removed; they want the secretariat to be removed; they do not want the printer of ballot papers; they do not want the supplier of technology and yet they want to pretend that they want to participate in an election," says Deputy President William Ruto.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga says they are ready for elections.

“But we will not go to an election with an compromised IEBC. The company called Safran Morpho from France which colluded in trying to subvert the will of Kenyans must go. The company called Al Ghurair of Dubai must go. Then we are ready to meet Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in a level playing field."

This weekend, it emerged that Safran Morpho, the technology company that designed the elections transmission kits, needs more time to reconfigure the equipment specifically for the repeat polls.

That's another reason the fresh presidential elections may be delayed.

The electoral commission has called President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga for a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of a date change and other emerging issues.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Assessing Our Role in the Struggle to Defeat Corporate Racism in Detroit
Events in the city reflect a mood intolerant of national oppression and economic exploitation

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Saturday September 16, 2017

Note: This address was delivered at a Workers World Party (WWP) Detroit branch public meeting held on Saturday September 16, 2017. The gathering was entitled “Topple White Supremacy Do It Like Durham.” There was a report via Facebook video from the Durham WWP Branch where 14 leading comrades and allies in North Carolina are facing felony and misdemeanor charges for demolishing a monument to the Confederacy on August 15. Other presentations were given by Comrades Jamie Smedley, Mond Jones and Martha Grevatt of WWP Detroit branch who recently traveled to Durham to support the party members facing prosecution in the city. The meeting was chaired by WWP Comrade Kelly Carmichael of Detroit, another member of the delegation to Durham the previous week. Two guest speakers from the Detroit Black Youth Project 100, Lynx and Arthur Bowman III, also spoke at the forum.
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Congratulations to the Detroit comrades for their mission to Durham last weekend. Our party must be thoroughly committed to the elimination of racism and national oppression in the United States.

Institutionalized racism and national oppression grew out of the rise of global capitalism and world imperialism. Today the U.S. is the leading imperialist state in the world. Consequently, the role we play here in the citadel of hegemony by finance capital will be critical in transforming this country and the entire planet.

In Detroit we have been attempting to keep up with the rapidly developing situation. The attacks by the ruling class are intensifying on a multi-faceted level. We can safely say that all of the gains of the African American and Labor movements of the 20th century have been reversed.

Nonetheless, more people are coming out into the streets ready to struggle against racism, class exploitation and police terror. From Durham and St. Louis to Detroit there is a burning hunger for justice, genuine equality and self-determination.

A representative aspect of this emerging mood is the anger surrounding the expulsion of San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a free agent in professional football. This young talented athlete sought to express the mass sentiment in response to the systematic killings of African Americans and other oppressed people by the police across the country.

On Sunday September 10, two members of the party and other friends were able to attend one of the demonstrations against the National Football League (NFL) and its racist policies held outside of Ford Field downtown. The Detroit Lions fans were entering the area in the thousands while people wanting to protest gathered at Grand Circus Park.

As we approached the crowd of about 50 people in the Park the private security guards were telling them that they could not gather there because it was private property. Both of us immediately began to refute the guards who were African Americans.

We told them to go call the police because they had no authority to tell us to leave a public park in downtown Detroit. A young police officer later appeared also saying that Grand Circus Park was private property.

By this time most of the crowd had gone to Brush Street, the area leading into the entrance of Ford Field. Several African American police officers approached the person speaking into a bullhorn apparently telling him that the demonstration would have to be moved to another location. Here again the notion of private property in public spaces that are funded by the people continues to arise as an impediment for the expression of the views of the oppressed and working class.

Finally, the demonstration settled at the corner of Madison and Brush in front of 36th District Court. People knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick and the African American people being oppressed today in the U.S.

What was interesting was the response of the ticketholders which largely consisted of white suburbanites sprinkled with a small minority of African Americans, some of whom were local politicians. Most of the fans acted as if they were indifferent to the demonstration. A small number of people expressed solidarity with the protests although they continued to stream into the stadium. Most strikingly there were a number of whites who conveyed open hostility to the anti-racist demonstration.

This hostility is part and parcel of the overall atmosphere existing downtown along Woodward Avenue and in particular the eastern section of the area. We noticed at a bar on East Adams and John R they were playing a record by Lynyrd Skynyrd entitled “Sweet Home Alabama”, saying that the “southern man don’t want you around.” Clearly such attitudes being blasted in Detroit is an affront to the majority African American population and all people of goodwill and conscience.

Later it was revealed that two African Americans attending the Lions game sat during the playing of the national anthem. A photo was taken of them and posted on social media with derogatory racial epithets attached.

We are in full solidarity with those who are calling these demonstrations against the NFL for its institutional racism and exploitation of players. Are African people in the U.S. still slaves? Obviously, this is a rhetorical question that reveals that over 150 years since the conclusion of the Civil War, African people are routinely attacked if they speak out against their own oppression.

We are encouraging sports fans and all anti-racist forces to continue these demonstrations along with a boycott of the NFL and their corporate sponsors. Most of the profits accrued by the team owners come from advertising. Tickets and merchandise sales also make a significant contribution to the firms’ economic viability. We can no longer continue to pay for our own exploitation and degradation. Kaepernick and any other professional athlete should have a guaranteed right to condemn racism in all of its forms.

District Detroit and Corporate Racism

As it relates to the resurgent private property claims by security and law-enforcement agents deployed downtown, we are currently consulting with the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers about the illegal removal of demonstrators from public spaces. These arbitrary decisions three years ago during the bankruptcy prompted legal action by Moratorium NOW! Coalition and other groups which we successfully settled outside of the courts for an undisclosed amount in damages. The City of Detroit even drafted a new ordinance ostensibly clarifying the rights of the people to protest.

These developments are not taking place within a vacuum. With the consolidation of corporate rule over the city these infringements on the civil rights of the majority African American population will become even more pronounced.

All of the existing stadia, arenas and casino hotels are subsidized by taxpayer funds. These prestige projects were sold to the people and local politicians as mechanisms to create employment and tax money for the improvement of the municipality. Nonetheless, all three of the casino hotels have undergone bankruptcy. The much-championed tax revenues from the casinos opened 18 years ago became a source of legal contention during the bankruptcy when it was revealed that taxes from the casino firms were not going directly into the city coffers and instead being captured by a bond insurer in order to pay the usurious interests to the financial institutions.

The conditions of the present configuration of the District Detroit complex are even more enormous. Little Caesar’s arena was not even voted on in a referendum by the people of the city. There was no debate except within the City Council whose majority of members are bought and sold by the capitalist entities that effectively run Detroit. Several court actions attempting to gain a seat at the table for the people were ineffective due to the lack of a mass movement specifically targeting the corporate racism that dominates the city.

According to an article published by the Detroit Free Press: “The initial estimate was $450 million for the arena. But as the scope of the project increased to accommodate the Pistons' move back downtown, the cost of the arena swelled to $863 million, including the four-story mixed-used buildings facing Woodward and Cass as well as the Via, or internal concourse, the new Chevrolet Plaza, and parking. Various public financing will pay for $324 million of that, with the Ilitch family responsible for finding the rest of the financing.” (Sept. 4)

The stated aims of the District Detroit project are to link Midtown and Downtown with shops, restaurants, apartments and bars. These construction deals and financing are being carried out absent of any consultation with the communities being impacted. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being earmarked for this development while the neighborhoods, schools, water services, environmental safety of the residents of Detroit are being consistently eradicated.

There were two demonstrations against Kid Rock as the opening act at Little Caesar’s on September 12. The first organized by the Michigan National Action Network (NAN) marched in the street up to the arena and then circling back around to head back to Grand Circus Park where it began.

Another group of activists from the initial demonstration wanted to make a direct challenge to the corporate magnates of Illitch Holdings, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the politicians whom carry out their bidding. A crowd of 200 youth and community people marched on the sidewalk back up to the arena to set up a picket of the Kid Rock event.

Thousands of right-wing Trump supporters attended the event. A group of 200 bikers drove up the streets on the opposite side during the initial march and set up camp in front of the arena along Woodward Avenue.  These bikers were relocated to the rear of the arena after the second march set out from Grand Circus Park to directly confront the corporate racists and their supporters in District Detroit.

Just one day later on September 13, the opening of Crain’s so-called “homecoming” was held at the long-closed Detroit train station on Michigan Avenue. The purpose of the annual event as promoted by the corporate media is to bring back wealthy former residents to assist in the revitalization of the city.

Several organizations including the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Charlevoix Village Association announced they would protest this event as well. This “homecoming” for the rich and famous was well publicized by the local business media. Early on that morning, Fox News Detroit gleefully reported on the gathering with the caveat that it is an invitation only affair, as an announcer said: “if you don’t have an invitation you cannot get in.” Such an outrageous news report is typical of the role of corporate media in the city. The television and newspaper outlets routinely treat the masses with contempt, promoting the notions that the billionaire ruling class will be the salvation of Detroit.

The demonstrators outside the train station chanted slogans saying: “Detroit Needs Water, Not Champagne.” This slogan points to the tens of thousands of water shut-offs in Detroit since the advent of emergency management, municipal bankruptcy, the Duggan administration and the Financial Review Commission oversight board composed of representatives of capital and the comprador political functionaries from City Hall.

Those in attendance at the event could hear the chanting and speeches outside. Many left the party long before it was over. However, others stayed while a few came out in an attempt to talk with the demonstrators.

Issues related to property tax foreclosures, corporate tax captures, police terrorism, the dictatorship of capital and the role of the subservient political operatives were addressed by the speakers. Our position is that there can be no genuine revival of Detroit without addressing the needs of the people for a moratorium on property tax foreclosures, the rebuilding of the public school system, quality housing for African Americans and working people, cleaning up of the environment and effective political empowerment of the masses.

Forward to the World Conference of Mayors

It is imperative that we continue to answer the corporate racists who are spending millions of dollars for public relations consultants every month in an attempt to foster a false perception of the actual conditions in Detroit. We must bring an anti-capitalist position to these debates taking place in the city and its environs.

Our message cannot be muddled like some who are saying that they are not opposed to Dan Gilbert and the Illitch family, only the appearance of Kid Rock. They also eschew posters that portray the people of Detroit, who are 80 plus percent African American, as white. The disempowerment of the Black majority is a precondition for the escalation of the super-exploitative conditions under which we live. The dissolution of bourgeois democratic practice is being enacted in order to maximize profitability for the banks and multi-national corporations such as Bedrock, Quicken Loans and Illitch Holdings.

Therefore, the upcoming World Conference of Mayors scheduled for late October should be viewed as a terrain of ideological and political struggle over the future of the city and its working and poor people. Detroit is by no means a viable model for urban revitalization in the 21st century. The real agenda of the ruling class is the further displacement, disenfranchisement and repression of the African American majority in Detroit.

We need to provide an alternative program which challenges private capital and its control over our lives. We are for self-determination and social justice. Capitalism in its present modern-day form cannot grant these demands. Consequently, our ultimate objective is the realization of a socialist society which is controlled by the working class and the oppressed.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. Sept. 16, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Sat. Sept. 16, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this episode just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2017/09/17/pan-african-journal-worldwide-radio-broadcast

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) who greeted a delegation of voluntary teachers in the capital of Pyongyang; the South African Communist Party Central Committee has issued a statement in the aftermath of the conclusion of the 14th National Congress; in Zimbabwe the ruling ZANU-PF party is making preparations for the upcoming annual National People's Congress; and finally the North African state of Egypt is conducting military maneuvers with Saudi Arabia as well as strengthening ties with Japan.

In the second hour we focus on the literary contributions of African Americans with a rare archival broadcast interview with Langston Hughes during 1963.

Finally we listen to a lecture from Elizabeth Alexander discussing the intellectual history of Black Women in the United States.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Detroit Struggles Intensify Over Corporate Racism, Police Terror and Housing Rights
African American majority city protests the publicly subsidized white elephant
Death by law-enforcement of Damon Grimes
Moratorium on property tax foreclosures
Correct methodology needed for genuine growth and development

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Wednesday September 13, 2017

Over the last five years the city of Detroit has been under relentless attack by corporate interests seeking to both drive out the majority African American population and to force them to pay for their own national oppression and economic exploitation.

On September 12, the new Little Caesar’s arena located on Woodward Avenue opened with much fanfare. The project was forced upon the city during the illegal imposition of emergency management and bankruptcy during 2013-2014.

The so-called District Detroit project is technically owned by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), a purported quasi-public entity which has no accountability to the people that live inside the city limits. The total cost of the construction of this arena for the Red Wings and Pistons organizations is being subsidized up to the tune of $750 million of tax payer funds.

Nonetheless, the decision to create this prestige project never went before the people in a public referendum. Instead the deal was crafted behind closed doors involving Illitch Holdings, the owners of the Red Wings, the Tigers and Little Caesar’s, along with a host of other businesses and properties around the downtown area and beyond.

Adding more insult to an already injurious situation, the executives at Olympic Entertainment, a subsidiary of Illitch Holdings, invited the confederate flag-waving Kid Rock to open up the establishment on September 12. In addition to performing six concerts at the arena, Rock has also been given a restaurant in the District Detroit complex right on Woodward Avenue.

In recent weeks Rock responded to charges that he is a racist by insulting his critics. People in Detroit are deeply offended that such a figure would be allowed to serve as the inaugural act at the venue downtown.

Rock has been quoted making disparaging remarks in opposition to ousted NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. When the announcement was made that people in the city intended to march on the arena during the opening night, biker clubs and militia groups pledged to show up in defense of Rock and the arena.

Anti-Racist Demonstrations on Opening Night

The National Action Network Michigan chapter called for a rally and march against the Kid Rock concert. 400-500 people gathered at Grand Circus Park beginning at 5:30pm.

By 6:00, people were marching in the streets toward the District Detroit buildings. When the march reached the arena, some of the activists at the front of the demonstration kneltdown in the same manner as Colin Kaepernick when he worked for the San Francisco 49ers.

The crowd circled around in front of the complex and headed back to Grand Circus Park, ending with closing remarks and a prayer. After many of the NAN leaders and members had left, a more youthful and secular crowd of 200 people took to the streets on West Adams saying they wanted to march back to the arena location to confront the business owners and patrons directly.

As the crowd began to march on the sidewalk north on Woodward, some young white men wearing “Make America Great Again” caps were confronted by the protesters. People began chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!”

By the time the demonstration reached the area known as “hockey town” the momentum was accelerating as others began to join the march. When the activists reached the Fisher Freeway Service Drive overpass police officers from the Tactical Squad halted them saying they wanted to avoid a confrontation with the patrons at the arena.

The demonstrators were held at this corner for over ten minutes by police. Nonetheless, the march continued taking this anti-racist manifestation right to the front of the arena passing by the Kid Rock restaurant and other businesses. People began to chant against Kid Rock and the Illitch family.

This march went right up to the entrance which was guarded by private security agents and police officers. All of the patrons had to pass through a metal detector to get inside the arena.

The rally at the entrance lasted for at least another two hours. Most of the patrons who were overwhelmingly white suburbanites tried to look indifferent while a minority of them projected open hostility to the demonstrators.

Several hundred white bikers drove their vehicles north on Woodward Avenue while the NAN-led march was taking place. The bikers set up camp at the rear of the arena in support of Kid Rock and the District Detroit project.

Michigan State Police Kill 15-year-old Damon Grimes

Leading up to the demonstrations on September 12, a series of events occurred which have clearly illustrated the worsening conditions for African Americans and other oppressed peoples in the city. On August 26, African American youth Damon Grimes, 15, was driving an ATV on the city’s east side when he was approached by state trooper Mark Bessner. The officer fired a taser gun out of his moving car striking Grimes causing him to crash into the back of a pick-up truck. Grimes later died at the scene.

The response of the ruling elites to this police killing has been quite instructive. Immediately the officer was placed on paid leave. Later the City of Detroit police department announced that it was conducting its own investigation of the incident. Michigan State police through its spokesperson said that the firing of the taser from a moving law-enforcement vehicle violates its own policies. However, this white police officer,sued twice for misconduct, has not been arrested or indicted for the crimes committed.

A vigil for Grimes was held along Gratiot Avenue on August 29. Dozens of youth driving their ATVs came to the location in defiance of the police. When the police moved in some of the youth jumped on top of the cop cars. Eventually the tense situation was diffused resulting in no arrests.

In response to the killing of Grimes, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Workers World Party Detroit branch, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), and other groups, held a demonstration on September 2 at the corner of Woodward and Congress in the heart of downtown during the annual Detroit Jazz Festival.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition demonstration called for the arrest and prosecution of the officer who killed Grimes. This protest also demanded that tasers, promoted as a non-lethal weapon, should be banned once again in the city of Detroit. Other demands included the rejection by the City of Detroit of military hardware from the Pentagon and the condemnation of the pardon granted by President Donald Trump toMaricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio convicted of violating federal laws.

This reckless killing of Grimes follows a pattern of police use of lethal force against African Americans. The Trump administration through its Attorney General Jeff Sessions has suspended the implementation of federal consent decrees designed to institute reforms within law-enforcement agencies investigated for brutality and various forms of misconduct.

These policy decisions by the Trump White House is sending a clear signal to the police and other racist entities that they have full reign to abuse African Americans and other oppressed groups nationally. There will be no doubt that the systematic killing by law-enforcement will continue at an accelerated pace.

Housing Is a Human Right: Moratorium on All Property Tax Foreclosures

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition has continued its struggle against the ethnic cleansing of the city of Detroit facilitated by the corporate imposed white mayor, Mike Duggan, who is implementing the agenda of Wall Street. Just over the last five years, tens of thousands of homes throughout Detroit have been put into property tax foreclosure subjecting households to public auctions and evictions.

This crisis in housing exists as a direct result of the predatory lending policies of the banks during the 1990s and early 2000s. Detroit had been the largest per capita home ownership city in the United States. Many African Americans owned their own homes prior to the last decade.

The city was hit hard by the great recession of 2007-2010 with tens of thousands of mortgage foreclosures. Rather than institute a moratorium on foreclosures, the state and municipal governments allowed the banks to seize homes contributing to the further decline of the city.

Extending its struggle against foreclosures, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition on September 5 staged an action against the Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree at his offices located downtown at 400 Monroe in Greek Town. Moratorium NOW! Coalition has waged a campaign to demand that the city exercise its right to first refusal in order to save all occupied homes from the auction block.

A commitment from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to accept and forward such a proposal utilizing the Federal Hardest Hit Funds to pay illegally assessed property taxes to the Department of Treasury, was won in a recent meeting with MSHDA. However, it will remain to be seen if this purely rational policy is implemented.

Many in the city feel that the overall objective of the corporate-oriented administration and ruling elite is to drive even more African Americans, Latinos and working class people in general from Detroit in order to turn over larger amounts of land and resources to the billionaires. Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert and Illitch Holdings are the recipients of billions of dollars in tax captures, funds which should rightfully go towards rebuilding the public school system, restoring municipal services and creating jobs for the people.

World Conference of Mayors to Meet in Detroit

During the final week of October, the World Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet in the city of Detroit at the MGM Casino Hotel. The setting of the conference is designed to promote Detroit as a model for “urban revitalization.”

Such a premise is grossly misleading. The majority African American, working class and poor residents of the city are being totally left out of the so-called “rebirth of Detroit. In fact the public revenues generated through the process of taxation are being funneled to the capitalist corporations.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is organizing for an alternative summit. This gathering can fully expose the role of the banks, multi-national corporations, the business media and political comprador elites in perpetuating the super-exploitation of the people.

Major decisions related to economic issues and the rights to governance are being made by bankers, corporate magnates and their political operatives in the city administration and the City Council. Even though Detroit emerged from the illegal bankruptcy which robbed $7 billion from the retiree pension funds and other public institutions in late 2014, the affairs of the municipality are actually governed by a state-appointed Financial Review Commission.

Mike Duggan and the City Council work exclusively on behalf of corporate interests. Duggan’s response to criticism of the Kid Rock concert at the opening of the arena was to suggest that if people did not like this entertainer to not attend his concerts.

Nevertheless, this is by no means the major issue facing the people. The question is why should people in Detroit pay for an arena and other so-called “developments” when they are not benefitting at all? Duggan has refused to release the Hardest Hit Funds to help people remain in their homes.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been turned over to the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) for the purpose of property seizure, auctions and demolitions. Such is the high degree of corruption within the DLBA that a federal grand jury has been impaneled which could hand down indictments for bid rigging and obstruction of justice.

Real development in Detroit would focus on the rehabilitation of neighborhoods, the guaranteeing of jobs, housing, water services, heating and quality education for all. Those who have contributed to the underdevelopment of the city should be held accountable through criminal prosecution and the payment of reparations.

The funds utilized for the construction and operations of District Detroit should be halted and redirected to the communities most impacted by racism, national oppression and economic exploitation. Sports stadiums, arenas, bars, expensive restaurants and shops have never fostered genuine growth and development.

These approaches to municipal affairs represent the decline of the capitalist system. People must continue to build a movement that can guarantee the economic transition from capitalism and imperialism to socialism, the only solution to the crises of human society in the 21st century.
Struggles Challenging Neo-Colonial Regime Prompts Postponement of Israel-Africa Summit in Togo
Millions oppose the continuation of successive Gnassingbe administrations after five decades

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday September 12, 2017

A controversial gathering which was scheduled to be held in the West African state of Togo has been called off amid a burgeoning movement aimed at the removal of a French-backed political dynasty.

Called the Israel-Africa Summit, the event was obviously designed to enhance the political and economic role of Tel Aviv on the continent.

Absent of any serious attempts to resolve the Palestinian question related their right to self-determination and nationhood along with the ongoing occupation of the Golan Heights in Syria, the state of Israel is seeking to undermine any appearance of anti-imperialist sentiments among African leaders. Reversing developments in years pass when progressive and moderate African governments gave diplomatic and material support to the anti-Zionist movement in Palestine and surrounding countries, Israel is making a bold offensive to strengthen relations with African Union (AU) member-states.

The summit was to have taken place in October in Lome the capital. Several leaders in Africa had already objected to the meeting and said they would not attend.

News of the postponement came from the Israeli Foreign Ministry which noted that the President of Togo would not be in a position to hold the summit at this time. Mass demonstrations have erupted in Togo demanding the removal of the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe who has ruled the country since his father’s death, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005. The elder Gnassingbe seized power in a military coup in 1967. Therefore, the country has been ruled by one family for 50 years.

According to an article published by the Associated Press on September 11, it conveys: “In a statement Monday (Sept. 11), the ministry said the decision had come at the request of Togo’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, after consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It said talks would continue ‘to guarantee the full success of the summit.’ The statement gave no reason for the decision. But Togo has been experiencing unrest in recent days, with thousands of protesters demanding presidential term limits amid anger over the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.”

This announcement represents a setback in Israeli foreign policy towards Africa. The convening of such a summit on the continent would represent a major departure from the traditions of solidarity with the struggling peoples of the world particularly in the Middle East.

Largely stemming from the failed British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 in the aftermath of the nationalization of the Suez Canal by the-then President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the newly-emerging African states began to look critically at Tel Aviv. Just over a decade later during the so-called “Six Day War”of June 1967 between Egypt, Syria and Jordan against the Israeli state, where Tel Aviv more than doubled its size by seizing control of the Sanai in Egypt right up to the Suez Canal, while at the same time occupying the Golan Heights of Syria and the taking of the West Bank previously under Jordanian authority, most African states severed diplomatic relations with Israel.

Six years later in 1973, Egypt under President Anwar Sadat launched an offensive taking back vast stretches of the Sinai from Israeli control, lead to the escalation of tensions even further. Two years later in 1975, the United Nations General Assembly voted to declare that “Zionism is racism”, intensifying the isolation of Tel Aviv. Eventually in 1991, the resolution against Israel was revoked by the same UN General Assembly.

The London-based Independent newspaper noted that in the current situation: “A number of African countries were reportedly threatening to boycott the October 23-27 event, in protest at Israel’s conduct in the Palestinian conflict. Morocco’s King Mohamed VI stayed away from a summit of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS in Liberia in June, because Netanyahu was invited. “

Togolese Masses Take to the Streets in Early September

Perhaps the most significant factor in the decision to postpone the summit was the unrelenting mobilizations by opposition parties and coalitions in Togo aimed at the resignation of the current administration of Gnassingbe. During August 19-20, tens of thousands marched and rallied in defiance of the national government.

Reports indicated that as many as 7 people were killed by police and military forces inside the country. Many others were arrested and 15 members of a leading opposition group, the Pan-African National Party (PNP), were sentenced to prison terms.

A new round of mass demonstrations against the Gnassingbe administration erupted on September 6-7. The government in response reportedly shutdown internet connectivity preventingthe various opposition groups from communicating among themselves as well as limiting access to information related to developments inside the country and internationally.

Thousands of Togolese marched into the central area of Lome on September 7 facing down the security forces. Later police fired teargas to disperse the crowd arresting some 80 people.

Al Jazeera described the September 7 demonstrations emphasizing that: “The scale of this week's protests, which the opposition said were attended by hundreds of thousands of people, represented the biggest challenge to Gnassingbe's rule since the aftermath of his ascension to power in 2005.US-based company Dyn, which monitors the internet, said traffic dropped off at 09:00 GMT in what critics saidwas a move by the government to suppress protests as other African governments have done. Residents said that text messages had also been blocked. The communications minister could not immediately be reached for comment on the cuts.”

Those seeking to remain informed about the mass demonstrations of September 6-7 were forced to travel to the border between Togo and Ghana in order to have access to internet services. Officials within the Gnassingbe regime admitted that internet services were blocked citing concerns of threats to national security.

Demonstrators told members of the press they wanted a return to the reform constitution enacted in 1992. This document limits the existing administrations from remaining in office for more than two terms.

Nonetheless, after the ascendancy of the current president, amendments were made which allowed the perpetuation of the Gnassingbe family rule. Efforts aimed at reform have been met with fierce repression from the government.

Understanding the mounting mass pressure, members of parliament have announced the need for a bill to institute reforms. Nonetheless, opposition figures are quite skeptical of such a move at this time.

Coalition Broadens Through the Emergence of PNP

These recent demonstrations have reached a critical point with the emergence of the Pan African National Party (PNP) leader Tikpi Atchadam, 50, as a central figure in the mass mobilizations over the last month. The party has reached out to form a broader alliance with the Combat for Political Change (CAP 2015) which brought together opposition groups in over the last few years.

PNP was formed in 2014 and has no representation in parliament. Atchadam is from the northern region of Togo as is the Gnassingbe family. The willingness of the various opposition parties to work together has created a dynamic movement committed to the toppling of the existing administration.

Atchadam has never before run for president. Parliamentary opposition leader of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), Jean-Pierre Fabre, 65, has also formed a coalition with the PNP in the interests of political transformation.

Fabre has run unsuccessfully for president on several occasions. The ANC leader repeatedly charged that the elections were rigged and not representative of the Togolese political will.

In response to the growing demonstration against President Gnassingbe, members of his ruling Rally for the Togolese People (RPT) have also staged demonstrations in support of the government. At present President Gnassingbe is chair of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) therefore hampering the capacity of the organization to effectively address the current political impasse inside the country.