Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Latin America's Left Reacts to Brazil Coup
Ousted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 August 2016

For its part, Venezuela said it has decided “to freeze all political and diplomatic relations with a government that emerged from a parliamentary coup.”

The governments of Bolivia and Venezuela recalled their ambassadors and Ecuador recalled its representative to Brazil on Wednesday after the country's Senate voted to oust suspended President Dilma Rousseff from office in a move widely condemned as a coup.

In return, Brazil's Foreign Ministry said it will recall its ambassadors to both countries, according to a diplomatic source quoted by Reuters.

In a statement, the Ecuadorean government also condemned the Senate decision to oust Rousseff – who was elected president to a second term with a popular mandate of 54 million votes in 2014 – and announced plans to recall its representative in Brazil.

"Given these exceptional facts, the government of Ecuador has decided to call for consultations the charge d'affaires to the Republic of Brazil," the statement continues.

The statement dubbed Rousseff's removal from office a "spurious" process that failed to fulfill the constitutional requirement of proving that the president committed "crimes of responsibility" to justify impeachment. It also noted that Ecuador's government "cannot ignore the fact that many of the decision-makers in Rousseff's impeachment are being investigated for serious acts of corruption." Installed President Michel Temer, now-Foreign Minister Jose Serra, chief impeachment leader Eduardo Cunha and several other high-profile figures behind Rousseff's impeachment are embroiled in massive corruption scandals.

On his Twitter account, President Rafael Correa criticized the news of the coup immediately following the 61 to 20 vote to impeach Rousseff over charges of manipulating the budget and reiterated the country's condemnation of the decision.

For its part, Venezuela said it had decided “to freeze all political and diplomatic relations with a government that emerged from a parliamentary coup.”

"All solidarity with @dilma and the people of Brazil, we condemn the right-wing oligarchic coup, those who fight will prevail!"  said  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Twitter.

"Never again will we lend legitimacy to these practices, which remind us of the darkest hours of our America," he wrote. "All of our solidarity goes out to our comrade Dilma, with Lula, and all of the Brazilian people."

The Ecuadorean government statement also warned that the widely condemned "soft coup" signals a threat to regional integration amid the reconsolidation of the right-wing with underhanded tactics after the socialist "pink tide" swept South America over a decade ago.

"These unfortunate events, unacceptable in the 21st century, pose a serious risk to the stability of our region and constitute a grave setback in the consolidation of democracy."

Ahead of the final impeachment vote, Bolivian President Evo Morales wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday that the South American country would also recall its embassador to Brazil.

"If the parliamentary coup against the democratic government of Dilma Rousseff is successful, Bolivia will summon its embassador," he wrote. "We defend democracy and peace."

In the wake of the vote in the Senate in May to suspend Rousseff from office to make her stand trial on route to the impeachment, Ecuador, Venezuela and El Salvador summoned their ambassadors to Brazil for consultations in protest of what they called a coup, while several other Latin American countries criticized the impeachment bid and expressed support for the suspended president.
US State Department Announces Support for Ousting Rousseff
U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby (L) and Brazil's unelected president, Michel Temer |
Published 31 August 2016


The U.S. is confident that it will continue its strong bilateral relations with Brazil after the Senate's vote to oust Rousseff, a spokesperson said.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that Brazil's democratic institutions had acted within the country's constitutional framework, a defense of a process to remove the country's last elected president that critics have likened to a parliamentary coup.

Kirby said in a press release that the United States expects to continue having good relations with Brazil after today's vote installed former Vice President Michel Temer as president until Dec. 2018.

"We’ve seen reports that the Brazilian Senate in accordance with Brazil’s constitutional framework has voted to remove President Rousseff from office," Kirby said. "We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries as the two largest democracies and economies in the hemisphere."

Meanwhile, the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela recalled their ambassadors to Brazil, protesting the Senate’s decision and the imposed new government in the country.

Venezuela said it had decided “to freeze all political and diplomatic relations with a government that emerged from a parliamentary coup."

The Ecuadorean government condemned the Senate decision to oust Rousseff, who was elected president to a second term with a popular mandate of 54 million votes in 2014. Ecuador's government "cannot ignore the fact that many of the decision-makers in Rousseff's impeachment are being investigated for serious acts of corruption."

Installed President Michel Temer, now-Foreign Minister Jose Serra, chief impeachment leader Eduardo Cunha and several other high-profile figures behind Rousseff's impeachment are embroiled in massive corruption scandals.

"These unfortunate events, unacceptable in the 21st century, pose a serious risk to the stability of our region and constitute a grave setback in the consolidation of democracy," said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Twitter.
Majority of Senate That Impeached Rousseff Under Investigation
People walk next to an official photo of Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff, at a camp in support of Rousseff, in Brasilia, Brazil, August 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 August 2016

49 of 81 Brazilian senators who ousted the president for corruption charges are themselves the targets of criminal inquiries.

More than half of the Senate voting to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Wednesday are themselves facing legal proceedings on charges of corruption.

According to news reports and official sources, 49 of Brazil's 81 senators face crimes ranging from money laundering to illicit enrichment and electoral fraud.

By a margin of 61 to 20, the Senate voted Wednesday to remove the twice-elected Rousseff from office for doctoring the federal budget to influence voters in her successful 2014 election campaign. The contentious impeachment hearings had to be postponed following several altercations between senators, who each have accused each other of corruption and even drug use.

Rousseff is not accused of corruption or embezzlement. Instead, she was forced to step down over allegations that she cooked the federal budget books in the runup to her 2014 reelection to hide a government shortfall and woo voters. However, a June Senate report proved the allegations were false.

Conservative senators are trying to prove that she committed a “crime of responsibility,” the only charge for which a president can be impeached, but the president’s defenders consider that the predominantly opposition-held senate has no moral authority to judge her. Of the 13 Senators linked to Brazil's "Operation Car Wash" scandal involving the state-owned oil company, Petrobas, 10 voted to impeach Rousseff Wednesday.

Many of the 81 senators have already spoke, most of them against Rousseff. The trial was resumed on Wednesday morning for the final vote on removing her.

Testifying in her own defense, Rousseff recalled how she had endured torture as a dissident fighting the military dictatorship to articulate her belief in democracy. She had committed no impeachable offenses, she said, and urged the Senate to uphold their constitutional duty and vote against her impeachment.

She will be replaced by the interim President Michel Temer, who led the parliamentary coup and will continue to govern until 2018, despite his broad unpopularity with the electorate and pending corruption charges of his own.
Democracy Is Dead in Brazil
By Maria Luisa Mendonça

A protest sign during a rally against Rousseff's impeachment during the president's visit to New York, April 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 August 2016

The successful execution of this coup, which masqueraded as a legitimate impeachment trial, sets a dangerous precedent for Latin America.

The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff represents a parliamentary coup by right-wing politicians who face serious corruption charges and have not been able to win presidential elections since 2002.

The alleged basis for the impeachment was her use of a common financial mechanism of borrowing funds from public banks to cover social program expenses in the federal budget.

Recently, the federal prosecutor's office concluded that the budget deficit served to subsidize interests rates in governmental loans in order to provide credit for low-income housing and agriculture.

The federal prosecutor stated that this mechanism cannot be considered a crime.

Other national and local administrations have used this same mechanism, including her predecessors Lula da Silva and Fernando H. Cardoso, as well as 16 current state governors.

The senators who voted for the impeachment ignored the decision of the public prosecutor, who should be the main authority to determine if the accusations had legal basis. The main strategy of the interim government of Michel Temer, who is banned from running for office for eight years due to violating election laws, was to create a de facto situation, so the result of the trial against President Rousseff was a foregone conclusion, even before she presented her defense.

The impeachment votes in the Senate and in the Lower House were predictable, since most lawmakers expressed their opinions previously. Most House members declared that they were supporting the impeachment in the name of God, or their families. One member even praised a former military commander who tortured Rousseff during the military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 until 1985.

These are key facts to understand why Brazil is experiencing a parliamentary coup.

Several Congress members in favor of the impeachment face serious corruption charges. Former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who initiated and conducted the impeachment vote on April 17, has since been forced to step down on charges of corruption and maintaining illegal Swiss bank accounts. The Supreme Court had received evidence against Cunha at least six months before the vote in the Lower House, but conveniently let him orchestrate the impeachment approval.

De facto President Temer, along with seven ministers appointed by him, are also under investigation for corruption charges. Temer has been acting very fast to push neoliberal reforms and austerity cuts to social programs, including education, health care and retirement plans, which will create more economic and social instability. These austerity measures will increase economic inequality and unemployment. His Cabinet consists of the most conservative sectors of the political spectrum, representing an agenda that has been rejected by Brazilian voters in consecutive elections since 2002.

Mainstream media in Brazil has played a major role in the impeachment process by creating the idea that Rousseff's removal from office was needed to solve the economic crisis. For more than a year, the main television stations called for demonstrations against her government. At the same time, the demonstrations in defense of the democratic process that re-elected Rousseff in 2014 were mainly ignored by mainstream media.

The international community needs to support democracy in Brazil. Before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Brazil for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, 43 House Democrats sent him a letter expressing serious concerns about the U.S. role in undermining democracy in Brazil. At that time, Secretary Kerry avoided a meeting with Temer, but met with the interim minister of foreign relations, Jose Serra, who has been accused of receiving millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions.

Latin American countries have experienced traumatic regime change coups in recent years, in Honduras, Paraguay and now in Brazil. Acceptance of an illegitimate government sets a dangerous precedent for the whole region, and the risk of undermining democracy can have traumatic impacts for many years.

Maria Luisa Mendonça is co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil. She has a PhD in Philosophy and Social Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo (USP).
Temer Gets Furious Welcome by Brazilians Across the Country
Published 31 August 2016

The impeachment of Dilma Rousseff was an attack on democracy, said thousands of Brazilians marching against the coup government.

Brazil’s streets erupted in protest after Dilma Rousseff was deposed from the presidency with 61 votes on Wednesday.

Brazilians marched in dozens of cities across the country, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and Recife, among others. Police cracked down on the protests, using water cannons and pepper spray to disperse crowds. In Sao Paulo, protesters blocked off streets and highways with flaming barricades to show that their democracy is under attack.

Hundreds also gathered at the presidential palace to show their support for Dilma, holding balloons, flowers and handkerchiefs.

Those that took to social media quickly made the hashtag #ForaTemer a worldwide trend. The Twitter account Jornalistas Livres posted a photo of a broken camera, which they said was smashed by the governor of Sao Paulo.

The protests were a repetition of explosive marches Tuesday before the vote, where social movements shut down major roadways around Sao Paulo, and Monday, when military police cracked down with tear gas and flash bombs, local media reported.

At stake are the public welfare programs and educational programs created and expanded in the 13 years that the Workers' Party or PT, has governed the country.

The vote to remove the twice-elected Rousseff from office hearkens back to Brazil's dark history of oppressive military rule. In her testimony before the Senate Monday, Rousseff herself said her impeachment would represent the "death of democracy" in Brazil.
Dilma Rousseff Ousted, Temer Installed as Brazil's President
 Brazil's former Rousseff speaks at the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 August 2016

Brazil's right wing finally achieved what it couldn't for years at the ballot box, ending 13 years of left-wing governance.

Brazil's de facto president Michel Temer was been sworn in on Wednesday afternoon, after the country's Senate voted to impeach suspended President Dilma Rousseff, a a trial that many international critics have described as a farce and a parliamentary coup.

So sure ahead of time that Rousseff would be impeached, Temer had scheduled an address to the nation and meetings with officials, hoping to be officially sworn into office before 5 p.m. The ceremony was quick and Temer didn't wear a presidential band, as sworn presidents do. He is now set to fly out to China, where he will attend the G20 summit.

Temer, a right-wing member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party—loudly booed at the Olympic opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro—has been implicated in major corruption allegations, including bribery, and is barred from standing in another election.

"Today we inaugurate a new age (...). We have to leave here with the applause of the Brazilian people," the 75-year-odl said Wednesday.

The Senate voted 61 to 20 in favor of Rousseff's ousting, installing Temer in office until the 2018 election. There were were no abstentions among the 81 Senators, who easily passed the two-thirds majority threshold of 54 votes to confirm the impeachment.

In a separate vote on whether or not to ban Rousseff from office for the next eight years, Senators voted 42 in favor and 36 against, with three abstentions, falling short of the threshold required to pass. The ousted president will be permitted to continue to hold office, while the installed president, Michel Temer, has already been banned from running for office for eight years.

In the immediate leadup to the vote, Supreme Court President Ricardo Lewandowski ruled to separate the vote on whether to impeach Rousseff from a vote on whether to suspend her "political rights" to hold any public office. Lewandowski announced the decision after Rousseff's Workers Party requested the votes be split in two. The decision sparked a heated debating, further delaying the final vote.

Speaking from the Presidential Palace after the final decision, Rousseff reiterated her innocence in the face of baseless charges and vowed not to give up the political struggle against poverty and inequality to which she has dedicated herself during her first and partial second terms in office.

"I will fight tirelessly for a better Brazil," she said, thanking her supporters, particularly Brazilian women, for their support during the impeachment process that she slammed as a discriminatory and misogynistic coup. "We will be back. We will come back to continue our journey towards a Brazil in which the people are sovereign."

"I wouldn't want to be in the place of those who think they're the winners," she continued. "History will be relesentless with them, as has happened in the case of past decades."

Rousseff, suspended from office since May, is charged with spending money without congressional approval and using an accounting sleight of hand to make the government's budget appear better than it was ahead of her 2014 reelection — a technique used by many previous presidents that critics of the process have argued is not an impeachable offense as defined in the constitution.

Her allies both nationally and internationally point out that many of the lawmakers who have plotted the coup are implicated in corruption cases far more serious than accounting tricks. According to the public interest organization Tranparencia Brasil, some 60 percent of the 594 members of the Congress face major criminal charges, from corruption to electoral fraud.

Closing arguments in the week-long trial began Wednesday. Tuesday, 66 of the chamber's 81 senators took to the floor in a marathon session.

Rousseff and her supporters have, from the beginning, called her ouster a coup. Social movements, trade unions, campesinos, youth, Afro-Brazilian and youth groups have erupted in massive street protests across the country to support both Rousseff and democracy. The largest country in South America with a population of nearly 200 million, Brazil only at only rid itself of a military dictatorship 31 years ago.

"We are 54 million Dilmas," read signs at many of the protests, referring to the number of votes Brazil’s first woman president received in 2014. Police are trying to crack down on protesters ahead of Wednesday vote.

Rousseff's dismissal consolidates a political shift to the right and the end of 13 years of leftist Workers Party rule that helped lift some 30 million Brazilians out of poverty.

In testimony to the senate Monday, the 68-year-old leader denied any wrongdoing and said the impeachment process was aimed at protecting the interests of the economic elite in Latin America's largest country, comparing the trial to her persecution under Brazil's military dictatorship when she was tortured as a member of an urban guerrilla group.

According to a recent poll by Datafolha, 60 percent of Brazilians would want snap presidential elections if Rousseff is removed to vote in a new leader to the country's top office before the scheduled 2018 polls. Recent surveys have repeatedly shown that Rousseff's Workers Party predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the favored candidate in the next election.

In his few months in office, Temer has rolled back many of the social programs aimed at lifting marginalized communities out of poverty and isolation. Food subsidies, health care measures and education policies have been overturned and he has promised more austerity if he stays in office.

Workers' Party Senator Angela Portela said it was a sad day for Brazil's democratic system because an elected president was being unjustly impeached. "This is not a fair trial. It is a political lynching," she said.

A lead lawyer for the case to impeach Rousseff, Senator Janaina Paschoal, asked forgiveness for causing the president "suffering," but insisted it was the right thing to do.

Rousseff's counsel, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, retorted that the charges were trumped up to punish the president for her support of the huge corruption investigation into the national oil company Petrobras, known as Operation Car Wash, that has snared many of Brazil's elite.

"This is a farce," he said in a speech, "We should ask her forgiveness if she is convicted."

"History will treat her fairly. History will absolve Dilma Rousseff if you convict her," he added.
Statement about the Coup d'État in Brazil

August 31, 2016 will be forever marked as a day of shame against the Constitution of the Republic of Brazil. This day the sovereign will of 54 million Brazilians, who only 2 years ago endorsed with their vote the re-election of the legitimate President Dilma Rousseff, was fraudulently mocked.

This is not just a blow to the Government of Dilma it is also a direct attack on the democracy of Brazil and the stability and unity of the region. It follows the same script of the "soft coups" already in practice in Honduras and Paraguay and aims to be implemented in Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela.

The current approach of imperialism against the progressive governments of the region is not one that needs to resort to unpopular military dictatorships. In its place the strategy now is to overthrow the legitimate representatives of the people, using the complicity of judges, corrupt politicians and traitorous parliamentarians under arguments that have no legal or constitutional validity.

This is also the coup of O´Globo and the other large media conglomerates that never ceased attacking Dilma, Lula and the Workers Party with malice for the crime of taking 35 million Brazilians out of poverty. They were also guilty of having positioned Brazil with its huge economic potential and extending the greatest natural resources in Latin America to the service of those who before were always excluded. Their vision of foreign policy was one forging mutually beneficial alliances outside the domination of the Empire.

From the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, we strongly oppose this coup d'état orchestrated by the Brazilian oligarchy in partnership with imperialism. We express our absolute solidarity with President Dilma Rousseff.

We will fight for the legitimate return to power of Dilma Rousseff. We will never recognize the illegitimate government of the coup promoter Michel Temer.

We extend our solidarity to the Brazilian people, to the Workers, to the Landless and the Homeless, the Social Movements and the Workers Party.

Be Strong President Dilma! The People are with you!

International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

August 31, 2016
Protesters Disrupt Second Dakota Access Pipeline Worksite

The area of the protest closed North Dakota Highway 6 at mile marker 50 south of St. Anthony. Eight people were arrested for interrupting work on the Dakota Access Pipeline project. For a gallery of photos, go to .

ST. ANTHONY — A Sioux Falls, S.D., man spent more than six hours attached to a digger at an active Dakota Access Pipeline worksite along Highway 6 on Wednesday.

Dale "Happy" American Horse Jr. was one of eight arrested at the protest, which drew about 50 people and at least as many law enforcement officers.

During the past several weeks, people have traveled from all over the country to rally against the oil pipeline that's intended to cross below the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which many worry could contaminate the community's water supply. Protests were staged in mid-August at a different worksite near the river, where construction has been temporarily halted.

Highway 6 was closed at the junctions of Morton County Road 138A and Highway 21 for several hours because of Wednesday's events. Highway 1806 was briefly reopened as an alternative route for the first time in nearly two weeks.

A long process

American Horse stood on the digger with his arms secured in a curved PVC pipe contraption known as a lock box, which encircled the equipment. Wearing a red bandanna, he was silent at times, then chanted "Mni wiconi," meaning "water is life."

Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier later said at a news conference that the pipe was secured with tar, grease and chicken wire.

Officers spent hours removing the protester. First, they secured him with a harness and tried to take apart the equipment. When that didn't work, they steadied him on a ladder and sawed the pipe off his hands.

During the process, officers gave him drinks of water and a person identified by highway patrol as a family member was permitted to climb up the ladder and visit.

"All this for clean water," American Horse said as he was arrested and escorted to the transport van. "Why does it have to come down to this?"

A protest organizer, Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said today's act by members of the Red Warrior Camp to attach themselves to company equipment fits with the theme of protest by nonviolent action.

“This was well-thought-out and fully planned. The whole purpose is to delay construction and stop the pipeline. We are committed to nonviolent direction action, and that’s what we have been using with our demonstration on the bridge and our marches," he said.

Goldtooth said the Red Warrior Camp is made up of Dakota and Lakota people residing within the original Sacred Stone Spirit Camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Kirchmeier said a second man — a 25-year-old from Cannon Ball — attached himself to the frame of a dirt truck. Officers had an easier time removing him, because he was on the ground. A 47-year-old Missouri woman also was arrested for standing on equipment.

Early in the day, supporters -- many with scarves or sweatshirts over their faces -- stood directly by the equipment and watched as deputies tried to secure American Horse. Many people, including law enforcement, held up cellphone cameras to document the scene.

Around 11:15 a.m., officers toting zip-ties ordered the protesters to move away from the site or they would be arrested. At least two were taken into custody.

"Let's move or you're going to jail," one officer said to the crowd.

"No worries, our legal team is all over this," a protester called back.

The group moved several hundred feet away after a few of their fellow protesters called on them to retreat.

Kirchmeier said protesters were asked to move from private property where the equipment stood “because they were hindering legal work at that point, and any law enforcement efforts.”

Holding signs that said "#NODAPL" and "For all generations," demonstrators cheered, sang and beat drums just a few feet from a line of officers.

Protesters threw taunts and called officers names, but there was no violence. Kirchmeier said no weapons were seen.

After American Horse was removed, the protesters began to disperse. One of them, Warrior Wanbli Wicasa, said he thought the protest was a success.

"We cost them money; we cost the state money," he said.

Though he believed officers should have allowed protesters to stay near the construction site, he said they had been "cooperative" overall and "just doing their job."

Officers from the Morton County Sheriff's Department, Burleigh County Sheriff's Department, Mandan Police, Bismarck Police, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Parole and Probation, State Parks, Mercer County Sheriff's Department and Beulah Police were on scene at the protest.

Since mid-August, 37 people have been arrested in connection with the pipeline protests.

Highway 6 was reopened after Wednesday's protest and Highway 1806 was closed again, though Kirchmeier said he is in talks with tribal leaders to remove the blockade on that road.

Tribune reporters Lauren Donovan and Blair Emerson contributed to this story.

Reach Caroline Grueskin at 701-250-8225 or at
Homeland Security Cuts Water Supply To Native People Protesting Pipeline
Homeland Security head Greg Wilz, claimed the removal of the water tanks was based on alleged unlawful activity.

By TeleSUR
August 23, 2016

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota.

North Dakota’s homeland security removed water tanks and state-owned trailers from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest campsite Monday afternoon, taking away the camp’s main drinking water supply as the sun heated up, bringing temperatures to around 90 degrees.

“I feel like I just got shot down,” said Johnelle Leingang, executive secretary to Standing Rock Sioux Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II and the nation’s emergency response coordinator. “It’s very hurtful,” she added, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

The protests have temporarily halted the building of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline. The Bakken pipeline, as it is also known, is almost as long as the previously proposed Keystone XL and will run through wildlife areas, sacred Native American sites and the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, prompting its critics to assert that the pipeline poses a major threat to Indigenous life as well as ecosystems.

Right before noon, a pickup truck backed up to the water tanks and hauled them away, along with two air-conditioned trailers and a command center vehicle that had all been delivered last week by the North Dakota Department of Health at the request of the Standing Rock.

Homeland Security Division Director Greg Wilz, claimed the removal was based on alleged unlawful activity, “Based on the scenario down there, we don’t believe that equipment is secure.”

Protesters believe that it is meant as further punishment for the growing protests. The campsite’s numbers have grown to about 4,000, with members from across North America sending delegations, including the Kickapoo Nation in Mexico, according to the Censored News blog.

Standing Rock spokesperson Steven Sitting Bear said, “I’ve been getting notifications from tribes all over the country that have caravans in route, so it’s continuing to grow.”

Over 87 letters and resolutions from other nations have come in from North America in support of the protest, including the Tlingit and Haida nations in Alaska and groups as far away as Japan.

After issuing an emergency declaration on Friday, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple called on federal aid to help quell the protests Monday—highway patrol, police and private security have already been deployed.

A North Dakota federal court issued a restraining order on Aug. 18 against the protesters’ at the request of the developer of the pipeline, Dakota Access, citing that worker and law enforcement safety was at risk.

Dakota Access is a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, and its pipeline will carry about 570,000 barrels of sweet crude oil daily, fracked from North Dakota’s oil-rich Bakken Formation.

In an interview on Monday, the governor reiterated that the land actually belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has forced the protesters to request a permit to carry out any further actions on what is historically their own land.

State law enforcement, working with the corps, could now begin to ticket and remove what they label unauthorized campers, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Native Americans and environmentalists have been fighting the pipeline since January when it was approved for construction, successfully halting its construction by blocking a major highway on Aug. 17.

A federal lawsuit has also been filed to stop its construction, and a judge will rule on the request for a temporary injunction on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Over the past two weeks, authorities have arrested 29 protesters, including the Standing Rock chairman, Dave Archambault II, and have used aircraft to disrupt cell phone reception, among other tactics, according to protesters.

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Native Americans Unite Against Dakota Oil Pipeline to Protect Sacred Sites
24 Aug, 2016 16:14

Cherokee Nation joined Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Tuesday, standing up for the sacred sites and natural resources under threat.

The tribe's Principal Chief Bill John Baker said he would stand in “solidarity” with his Sioux cousins.

“The Standing Rock people have an inherent right to protect their homelands, their historic and sacred sites, their natural resources, their drinking water and their families from this potentially dangerous pipeline,”Baker said.

He also urged “safe and responsible energy development” that would respect the rights of tribal governments over the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run from western North Dakota to Illinois.

In a lawsuit against the pipeline, construction of the planned project has been delayed.

The case highlights the violation of the National Historic Preservation Act, which was implemented to protect such sites as the Standing Rock Reservation.

The $3.8 billion pipeline would disturb sacred burial grounds and sites by crossing Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, contaminating water supplies for neighboring communities on the Standing Rock Reservation.

“As Indian people, we have a right to protect our lands and protect our water rights,” Baker added.

“That’s our responsibility to the next seven generations. The Standing Rock Sioux should be allowed a place at the table to express their legitimate concerns on a pipeline plan that could be detrimental to their tribe for many future generations.”

Indigenous lands have frequently been exploited and polluted by the US government and corporations.

Most recently, the Navajo Nation sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over spilling 3 million gallons of toxic waste into the Animas River in Colorado and New Mexico.

The environmental disaster was so severe, that it turned the river water yellow and hit community members and farmers hard.

Developers who stand to profit from the pipeline maintain their construction is safe but time and time again environmental activists have pointed out the dangers of such projects.

The Keystone 1 Pipeline leak in South Dakota, for example, contaminated 300 sq ft of farmland in April, but the company said there was no evidence of a threat to the environment or public safety.

In the XL phase of the pipeline, which was vetoed by President Barack Obama in November 2015, the initial plan was to develop the project from southern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, which crossed through the lands of numerous tribes and posed a detrimental hazard to water supplies and the environment.

Former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Winona LaDuke, who has been demonstrating against the pipeline, said the state of North Dakota has been “bending over backwards for the oil companies.”

“North Dakota’s regulators are, I would suggest, in bed with the oil industry and they have looked the other way,” the half-Ojibwe, half-Russian Jewish LaDuke told Democracy Now on Tuesday. “And so, they have pushed these pipelines through really fast without any tribal consultation and without a full environmental impact statement.”
Calm Seas, Libya's Lawless State Open Door for Migrant Flows
Migrants wait to disembark from the Italian Navy vessel Sfinge in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo, southern Italy

August 31, 2016. REUTERS/ Antonio Parrinello
By Steve Scherer and Ahmed Elumami | ROME/TRIPOLI

Calmer seas and Libya's lawlessness have opened the way for smugglers to ship thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean this week, in a striking reminder of how far Europe is from ending the migrant crisis.

In just four days, Italy's coastguard and European vessels pulled 13,000 migrants from packed wooden boats and rubber dinghies crossing from Libya's coast through the Strait of Sicily, one of the shortest routes from North Africa.

Images from rescue vessels showed migrants crammed into fragile boats, some in orange life jackets, others jumping into the water to swim as rescuers shouted for them to stop. Many were women and children, most of them Subsaharan Africans.

Some 1,800 migrants were saved in 12 rescue missions on Wednesday, 3,000 migrants on Tuesday, 6,600 on Monday, 1,600 on Sunday and 500 on Saturday, according to Italy's coastguard, which coordinates sea rescues between Libya and Italy.

Aid agencies and Libyan officials say calm waters after rough winds in July may have prompted smugglers to dispatch more boats for migrants who can wait weeks for a chance to sail.

"It's not like people were not coming out, but on Monday they came out by the thousands," Nicholas Papachrysostomou, coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres on board the Dignity 1 rescue ship, told Reuters.

"In the 10 days before this weekend, we didn't rescue anyone, or very few. It wasn't bad weather, but there were 1 meter to 1-1/2 meter waves. The rubber boats won't come out in those conditions."

In Tripoli, naval authorities say they are undermanned and ill-equipped. Years of conflict and chaos have left their naval and coastguard services in tatters.

Since the 2011 NATO-backed revolution toppled Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has descended into chaos, with rival governments and armed factions battling for control, leaving both migrant smugglers and Islamist militants space to expand.

"This is the season for illegal migrants. The calm seas have helped them take advantage," said Ayoub Qassem, a spokesman for Libya's naval forces in Tripoli. "Also our vessels are in severe need of maintenance and spare parts to operate again."


Still, this week's rescues were on a huge scale. On Monday, when some 6,500 were rescued, the Dignity 1 responded to a distress call for a large wooden boat in the morning.

After pulling more than 600 migrants off that boat, MSF's Papachysostomou suddenly realized that many more were on their way. "These boats just appeared on the horizon. At about noon you could see rubber boats everywhere, in 360 degrees," he said.

The International Organization for Migration said around 105,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat in 2016. An estimated 2,726 men, women and children died trying to make the journey. Three more bodies were retrieved on Wednesday.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the immigration crisis at a meeting in northern Italy on Wednesday, saying more must be done to improve living standards in Africa.

"Italy will continue to save lives, but there are limits," Renzi told reporters. Merkel said it was important that migrants who had no right to claim asylum should be repatriated, adding that they needed incentives to stay at home.

"That’s a very big challenge, but there is no reasonable alternative than to cooperate with these countries and give their citizens the outlook for a better future," she said.

This week's surge in new arrivals might also be due to the situation in Libya, with smugglers perhaps trying to avoid armed rivals or police by shipping as many people as possible, said Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Italy.

"There are moments in which no one leaves from Libya, and then there are moments in which there's a surprising peak in departures...It's like a roller coaster."

A new U.N.-backed government has been in place in Tripoli since March, but it is struggling to end factional fighting and impose its authority over hardliners.

With EU naval vessels patrolling international waters, smugglers elude authorities by launching their boats from varied locations.

Remote beaches along some parts of Libya's coast are sometimes littered with clothing, bottles and shoes migrants have left behind; or the wooden bases of inflatable rafts.

"Most of our patrol vessels do not work at the moment," Tripoli naval officer Qassem said. "So we can not patrol in the western region of Tripoli where most of the boats of illegal migrants set off."

(Additional reporting by Antonella Cinelli and Crispian Balmer in Rome, Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay in Geneva and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Ralph Boulton)
Obama Extends Libya Bombing Mission
By Lucas Tomlinson
August 31, 2016

President Obama has extended the U.S. military’s combat mission in Libya for another month at the request of senior military leaders, two defense officials with knowledge of the order told Fox News.

The decision keeps two U.S. Navy warships off the coast of Libya to continue striking ISIS and assist Libyan ground forces fighting the terror group in the coastal city of Sirte.

One of the U.S. warships had been scheduled to go to the Persian Gulf in September to begin airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and keep an eye on Iran, a week after four provocations between Iranian gunboats and U.S. Navy ships -- one of which resulted in warning shots being fired by a U.S. warship. The other, a U.S. Navy destroyer, was supposed to head to the Black Sea near Russia next month. But both plans will be put on hold, according to one defense official.

USS Wasp, a large amphibious assault ship loaded with over 1,000 Marines as well as Harrier jets and Cobra attack helicopters, will remain off the coast of Libya – as will her escort ship, USS Carney, a guided-missile destroyer.

“The destroyer is close enough to be seen from shore,” one defense official said.

U.S. Marine Corps jets and attack helicopters from USS Wasp have conducted 92 airstrikes against ISIS in Libya as of Monday, according to statistics provided from the U.S. military’s Africa Command.

Marine Harrier jets have conducted 124 missions over Libya against ISIS since airstrikes began on Aug. 1. Marine Cobra attack helicopters have flown 31 missions as of Tuesday, according to statistics provided by one defense official who requested anonymity.

Another defense official told Fox News he expected U.S. airstrikes to be ending soon because ground forces loyal to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli which the U.S. military is supporting is now in control of 90 percent of Sirte. The Libyan city is located roughly halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi on the Mediterranean coast.

Earlier this week, Libyan forces suffered heavy casualties while fighting ISIS, according to reports. According to the BBC, 34 Libyan soldiers were killed and 150 wounded in recent fighting.

Estimates about the ISIS presence in Libya vary. In June, CIA Director John Brennan said there were 5,000 to 8,000 fighters in Libya. Recently, U.S. military officials said only “hundreds” remained in the ISIS-stronghold of Sirte, but did not have estimates for the rest of the country.

Neither the White House nor the Pentagon has officially disclosed the extension for the two U.S. Navy warships and airstrikes against ISIS there. The president's initial authorization was for 30 days.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews
Over 100 US Airstrikes in Libya During August
In an Aug. 24, 2016 file photo, an AV-8B Harrier from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. The 22nd MEU is conducting precision air strikes in support of the Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces against Islamic State targets in Sirte, Libya, as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning. Michael Molina/U.S. Navy

Published: August 31, 2016

STUTTGART, Germany — In the past month, the U.S. military has launched more than 100 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya. On Monday, U.S. Africa Command conducted five strikes against various militant fighting positions in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, bringing the number of strikes in August to 104, AFRICOM said in a statement.

The campaign, dubbed Operating Odyssey Lighting, aims to assist forces aligned with the Libyan Government of National Accord, who are in the midst of an offensive to push Islamic State fighters from their stronghold in Sirte.

“U.S. precision airstrikes have enabled GNA-aligned forces to advance and retake key areas of the city from the grasp of the Islamic State,” Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, an AFRICOM spokesman, said Wednesday.

As a result, the U.S. airstrikes working in tandem with Libyan ground forces have curtailed the Islamic State group’s ability to use heavy weapons and vehicle-born roadside bombs, Falvo said.

AFRICOM declined to speculate on how long the campaign might continue.

On Aug. 1, AFRICOM began its operation, which has mainly involved airstrikes by jets operating from the USS Wasp positioned off the Libyan coast, as well as occasional assaults from Marine attack helicopters providing close air support to Libyan ground forces.

For months, the U.S. had been weighing whether to assume a more aggressive role in Libya, a failed state where during the past year Islamic State fighters have sought to stake out a foothold.

Since the fall of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya has been roiled by fighting among rival rebel groups and government forces, all vying for control of the country. The Islamic State group has sought to take advantage of the chaos and resulting security vacuum.

The decision to conduct airstrikes comes in response to a request from Libya’s Government of National Accord, a fragile coalition struggling to assert control in Sirte and other parts of the country.

Last week, in a sign of the closer partnership between Libya and AFRICOM, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj visited the command’s headquarters in Stuttgart for talks with AFRICOM chief Gen. Thomas Waldhauser on counterterrorism operations and the government’s “desire for U.S. assistance with future enhanced military capabilities and defense capacity building.” Even before the latest U.S. operations, Libya forces had been making steady progress against Islamic State forces.

In July, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said during a stop in Stuttgart that only several hundred fighters remained in Sirte, though it is unclear what the current status of the Islamic State force is in that city. Earlier this year, recently retired Gen. David Rodriguez, former AFRICOM boss, said the total number operating in all of Libya was about 5,000. More recent estimates have put the number at perhaps 2,000.
Danish Team Removes 500 Tons of Chemical Weapons From Libya
AUG. 31, 2016, 2:58 P.M. E.D.T.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Danish-led international operation to rid Libya of its chemical weapons has removed 500 tons of chemicals from the North African country, Denmark said Wednesday.

The government said the chemicals were picked up Saturday at the Libyan port of Misrata and are now on their way out of the Mediterranean Sea toward Germany.

"We have now removed the chemical remnants from Libya and have ensured that they will not fall into the wrong hands," Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said.

Britain and Finland assisted with the maritime operation.

Denmark said Libya's U.N.-brokered National Unity government in July handed over a formal request for international assistance to have the chemical weapons removed.

In a statement, Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, expressed his confidence that the ultimate objective of verifiably eliminating the Libyan chemicals will be achieved in a safe, secure and timely way.

"This OPCW-coordinated international effort has achieved a major milestone in guaranteeing that these chemicals will not fall into the wrong hands," he said.
Former U.S. Commanders Take Increasingly Dim View of War on ISIS
Mark Thompson @MarkThompson_DC  5:56 PM ET

As conflict enters its third year, endgame still elusive

It’s a most peculiar war: rarely has the U.S. been killing so many while risking so few. The U.S. is beating ISIS handily, judging by Vietnam’s body-count metric. The total number of ISIS battlefield deaths claimed by U.S. officials has jumped, from 6,000 in January 2015 to 45,000 last month—a bloodbath for an enemy force estimated to number about 30,000. Three U.S. troops have died. That’s an eye-watering U.S.-to-ISIS “kill ratio” of 15,000-to-1. “We’ve got good momentum going,” General Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command, who is overseeing the war, said Tuesday. “We are really into the heart of the caliphate.”

But some of his predecessors disagree. James Mattis, a retired Marine general who commanded Central Command from 2010 to 2013, says the war on ISIS is “unguided by a sustained policy or sound strategy [and is] replete with half-measures.” Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine four-star who held the same post from 1997 to 2000, says he doesn’t think he could do so today. “I don’t want to be part of a strategy that in my heart of hearts I know is going to fail,” he says. “It’s a bad strategy, it’s the wrong strategy, and maybe I would tell the President that he would be better served to find somebody who believes in it, whoever that idiot may be.”

Day after day, American warplanes, sometimes joined by allies, have been attacking individual ISIS targets, down to backhoes and foxholes. ISIS has lost 40% of its Iraqi territory, the Pentagon says, and 5% in Syria. It doesn’t seem to have lost any of the terrain it has staked out on the internet. That’s slow progress by a 27-state military alliance against a two-year-old rump state.

The U.S.-led war against the Islamic State is entering its third year (eclipsing the time the U.S. spent fighting World War I). In part, that’s because it’s a small-bore campaign: the U.S. is spending $4 billion a year, equal to a third the cost of a single aircraft carrier (planes not included). “Employing an anemic application of force relative to previous air campaigns has yielded the Islamic State time to export their message, garner followers, and spread their message,” says David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who planned the 1991 bombing campaign that all-but-drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. “A comprehensive strategy to rapidly decompose the Islamic State is still lacking.”

On the ground—the only way to retake territory—the hapless Iraqi army, Kurdish forces, and a motley medley of Syrian rebels are spear-heading the fight. U.S. troops alongside them (about 5,000 in Iraq, and 300 in Syria), serve primarily as advisers, in another unfortunate echo of Vietnam. ISIS continues to hold on to its key centers of gravity: its self-declared capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa, and Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, 300 miles away. “I’ve talked to some U.S. generals who are really frustrated—they could be in Raqqa in a week,” Zinni says. The U.S. is “losing credibility and they’re actually encouraging the enemy because they’re able to hold the ground for years now.”

But bombs or ground troops, by themselves, can’t cure ISIS or whatever radical group springs up to replace it. “Proposals to escalate or accelerate the campaign in Iraq and Syria in order to hasten the Islamic State group’s defeat would accomplish a lot less than commonly supposed,” says Stephen Biddle, a military analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations who advised then-general David Petraeus on Iraq from 2007 to 2009. “The problem isn’t taking Mosul or Raqqa—it’s what would come afterward. Stabilization is unlikely without an investment vastly larger than most Americans will support.” The U.S. has spent $3 trillion and nearly 7,000 lives trying to bring stability to Afghanistan and Iraq, with little to show for it. (For his part, Petraeus, who ran Central Command from 2008 to 2010, only acknowledges that “we’re waging war in a way that is somewhat unique.”)

ISIS’s tenacity is the oxygen that gives life to would-be jihadists around the globe, pumping violence into places like Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. The significance of Tuesday’s killing of ISIS strategist Abu Muhammad Adnani, apparently in a U.S. drone strike, marks a clear blow to the jihadists. But there are others, waiting in the wings, eager to replace him, U.S. officials say.

Current U.S. commanders say their progress is limited by the lack of local ground forces to retake territory from ISIS. They estimated from the start that the fight could take at least three years, winning credit for candor that was MIA when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. U.S. officials say the anti-ISIS forces are making slow, but steady, gains, and an offensive to retake Mosul may begin by year’s end (originally, the Pentagon had penciled in April 2015 for the effort to retake northern Iraq’s largest city).

Part of the challenge is the Gordian knot that the Iraq-Syrian theater has become. ISIS sprang from the now-five-year-old Syrian civil war, which has killed 400,000 and displaced 10 million. Nearly half have fled the country, fomenting unrest across Europe. Iran and Russian back the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad—a fight the U.S. has resolutely refused to enter (even after Assad, despite a warning of a “red line” by President Obama, used chemical weapons on his own people in 2013). “At the end of the day, our current U.S. policy in the region has failed expensively and shredded our credibility,” says Barry McCaffrey, a retired Army general says retired Army general Barry McCaffrey, who led an Army division into Iraq in 1991’s Gulf War.

With more than a dozen air forces overhead, and about 1,000 armed factions on the ground, the risk of crossfires and mistaken shoot downs is ever present. Don’t think that doesn’t pre-occupy U.S. military planners. Given the death-by-fire of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh at ISIS hands last year after his F-16 crash-landed inside the self-declared caliphate, the U.S. is going to great lengths to keep its ISIS-fighting troops safe. U.S. domestic political pressure to smash ISIS would surge following any such capture and torture of a U.S. pilot or commando. That’s why robust combat-search and rescue teams are on alert whenever U.S. warplanes fly in harm’s way, and why the U.S. military is training its forces to elude capture and escape from “a typical remote Iraqi/Syrian village.”

The U.S. has big goals for a small-scale war. Washington sees its mission as destroying ISIS, helping negotiate an end to the Syrian civil war, and keeping the lid on the historic rivalry between Islam’s Sunni and Shiite branches. Iran and Russia back Syria’s Assad. Saudi Arabia and Turkey want him gone. But Turkey is a problematic NATO ally that views Kurdish separatists, a key U.S. ally in the ISIS fight, as a bigger threat than ISIS. The U.S. is backing four major rebel groups with air strikes: the Iraqi army, moderate Syrian rebels, and separate Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. But crushing ISIS helps Assad, fueling the civil war, and bolstering Kurdish fighters angers Turkey, which believes some are allied with a Turkish Kurdish group responsible for terror attacks inside that country.

All this, rightly or wrongly, has tied U.S. hands. “There is no political will in the White House to even listen to serious recommendations from military commands,” says Derek Harvey, a retired Army military-intelligence colonel who spent much of his career in Iraq. “The original strategy explained by the President was barely adequate and even that was not resourced or executed well.” While Obama’s go-slow approach loses its lease in January, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has detailed a replacement. “First and foremost are we going to be decisive and have some balls, or just continue to try to manage conflict to unacceptable ends,” Harvey adds. “If not the former, then we should not play in the sandbox.”

As the long-awaited showdown to retake Mosul looms, cracks are appearing in the allied front. Iraq’s parliament voted to oust Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi on corruption charges Aug 25. In recent days, it has become clear that the Qayara air base south of Mosul that is supposed to be a major launching pad for the assault was almost completed destroyed by retreating ISIS fighters in July. And Kurdish forces—long lauded as the best fighters in the region—are hungry. “The Peshmerga are not getting enough calories to keep them in the field,” Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said Aug. 10 as he wrapped up his 11 months in charge of the ISIS fight. “We’re very interested in making sure that they have enough food just to carry on the fight.” Such news could well delay the Mosul fight into 2017.

“Doing nothing would be far preferable to this mess,” says Daniel Bolger, a retired Army three-star who commanded troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq before retiring in 2013. He plucks a quote from the military history he teaches at North Carolina State University, when asked about current U.S. strategy. It comes from a French general after he witnessed the doomed charge of the British Light Brigade against the Russians in the Crimean War in 1854: “It is magnificent, but it is not war,” Pierre Bosquet said. “It is madness.”
SADC to Establish Technological University
President Mugabe and his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma share a joke while posing for a group photograph with other regional leaders at the 36th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit at Lozitha Palace, Swaziland, yesterday. — (Picture by Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)

Morris Mkwate at Lozitha Palace, Swaziland
Zimbabwe Herald

Sadc could soon establish a fund to drive its major development programmes and open a technical vocational education university to bolster its industrialisation trajectory. At the 36th sadc Heads of State and Government Summit here yesterday, newly-appointed sadc Chair King Mswati III of Swaziland said numerous regional initiatives were stalling due to funding incapacity.King Mswati III, who took over the rotational sadc Chairmanship from Botswana President Lieutenant-General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, said his “energies are focused towards raising these funds”, and implored Member States to commit resources.

He also spoke on the imperatives of favourable investment conditions and regional unity.

The Summit is themed “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive sadc Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region”.

It builds on the regional industrialisation agenda set by President Mugabe during his tenure as sadc Chair (August 2014-August 2015).

Present at the Summit were Presidents Mugabe, Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Khama, Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique) and Hage Geingop (Namibia), Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili (Lesotho), African Union Commission Chair Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma and sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.

King Mswati III said, “This (Summit) theme is derived out of the desire to see the numerous initiatives launched by sadc over the years becoming a reality for the benefit of our peoples.

“We have reached a juncture where, as Member States, we need to show commitment to our objectives by contributing to a fund that will serve as start-up capital for our programmes and projects.

“This fund can be used as collateral as we seek to raise funding from external resources to implement infrastructure projects in the region.

“During our tenure, we intend to focus our energies towards raising the funds, which, we hope, will not only come from Member States, but also from our international partners.”

The sadc Chair said Southern Africa should target sustainable energy to expand manufacturing capacity and guarantee inclusive industrialisation.

sadc, he said, has immense potential and should thus continue creating favourable investment conditions.

“As Heads of State and Government, we should aim to develop the region into one that offers the world a conducive investment climate that is ready to host any investor in any country of his/her choice.

“We need to attract industries in research, education and training, tourism and finance, among others, which can provide the much-needed job-creation, especially for our youth.

“. . .Africans were not born to be poor. We are very capable of becoming innovative and creating First World status for our nations. We must, however, discard the tendency of failing to support one another.”

King Mswati III also said: “The Kingdom of Swaziland wishes to dedicate the establishment of a sadc University of Transformation which will be the next milestone in our journey which started in 1990.

“The University of Transformation will deliver, in education and training terms, using the technical vocational educational training model of delivery.

“This initiative will give new hope and opportunity to youth and women. The intention is to have the first intake of students prior to the 37th Summit in 2017.”

President Khama said though sadc faced several challenges such as drought and constipated economic growth, industrialisation was gaining momentum.

He attributed the region’s poor economic performance in 2015 to drought and falling global oil prices, among other factors.

“It is encouraging to note that efforts towards the region’s new process of industrialisation continue to gain momentum, and work on the preparation of the Industrialisation Action Plan is at an advanced stage.

“I hope that with the adoption by Council (of sadc Ministers) at its next meeting in March 2017 with specific action towards implementation of agreed interventions will accelerate industrialisation of the region as well as prosperity and welfare of our people.”

Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr Joey Bimha told Zimbabwean journalists that the Summit was focusing on regional industrialisation, and attempts by the Elders Group comprising Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and Graca Machel to get sadc leaders to “support an inclusive transition in Zimbabwe” on the back of violent opposition demonstrations were inconsequential.

Mr Bimha said: “This is not an issue we should be dealing with, really. The agenda of Sadc is decided well before the Summit by the Secretariat in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chair of Sadc.

“And according to my knowledge, no such issue was ever brought before the Troika to have Zimbabwe on the agenda. It was never an issue at all.”
President Arrives in Swaziland for SADC Summit
August 30, 2016
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe talks to Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko at Harare International Airport before departing for Mbabane, Swaziland, to attend the 36th Sadc Summit. Looking on is Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo

Morris Mkwate in Ezulwini, Swaziland

President Mugabe arrived here last night to attend the 36th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit which opens at Lozitha Royal Palace today. He was received at King Mswati III International Airport in Sikhuphe by Swazi Education Minister Phineas Magagula, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Mozambique, Major-General Nicholas Dube, and Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance) and Mike Bimha (Industry and Commerce) who had travelled ahead of the President.He is travelling with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials and was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Ministers Ignatious Chombo, Christopher Mushohwe and Kembo Mohadi, and Chief Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda and service chiefs.

VP Mnangagwa is Acting President.

Themed “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive Sadc Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region”, the summit will discuss regional integration, industrialisation, food security and Lesotho’s constitutional reform.

The Sadc Energy Sector Plan tops the agenda, targeting to increase electricity generation from 56 000 megawatts to more than 96 000MW.

It identifies 73 projects which regional leaders believe will spur industrialisation.

In 2015 alone, new projects fed 1 864MW into the Southern African Power Pool, with an additional 3 932MW projected this year.

South Africa will contribute 1 624MW to the 2016 target; supported by Angola (930MW), the DRC (458MW), Mozambique (360MW), Zambia (310MW) and Zimbabwe (200MW).

Summit will also consider the monetised action plan for the region’s industrialisation strategy steered through by President Mugabe during his tenure as Sadc Chair (August 2014–August 2015).

Foreign ministers have already discussed the budget, and want it finalised at an extraordinary summit in February/March 2017.

The Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) has three pillars – industrialisation, enhanced competitiveness and deeper regional integration.

Its strategic interventions involve refining policies, increasing public and private sector investment volumes, creating regional value chains and boosting value addition.

Sadc also plans to develop and operationalise an industry protocol by 2020, leading to member states adopting national industrialisation policies and strategies.

Further, states will be required to develop national Industrialisation Upgrading and Modernisation Programmes by 2018 and implement them by 2020.

The overarching Sadc IUMP focuses on upgrading existing manufacturing capacities, modernising productive facilities, reinforcing institutional support infrastructure and bolstering research and innovation capacity.

A committee appointed by the Sadc Double Troika in June 2016 to oversee constitutional and security sector reforms in Lesotho will also table its report to Summit.

King Mswati III of Swaziland is scheduled to take over the bloc’s rotational chairmanship from Botswana President Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Zimbabwe Opposition Forces: MDC-T, ZimPF Ups Terror Campaign
August 31, 2016
Felex Share : Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First and their proxies have scaled up their terrorism acts and continue circulating subversive messages on social media in their bid to foment anarchy and despondency in the country, it has emerged. The dissident messages, analysts said, vindicate the notion that the opposition elements were terrorists who should face the full wrath of the law.This comes as Government yesterday said the law would soon descend on opposition leaders using “juveniles as fodders for jail.”

MDC-T, through shadowy elements using the hashtags “Tajamuka”, “Thisflag” and “ThisCountry” have continued sending guerilla messages on social media, threatening to burn businesses, buses, police stations and service stations.

The insurgent activities, which were supposed to start on Monday, have been largely ignored by Zimbabweans who have come to the realisation that the terror groups are on a mission to loot and vandalise property.

Police have made their mission impossible, deploying adequate officers on the ground to deal with any nuisance. Government ministries in charge of security have also issued a stern warning that malcontents would be cracked down on.

Reads one of the messages sent by the shadowy elements: “There will be serious attacks on Government properties and those owned by Zanu-PF bigwigs and supporters. Businesses are advised not to open for business on Monday and Tuesday. Zimbabwe will be on serious fire and guns will be blazing everywhere and police stations and roadblocks will be attacked. The State has declared war to its citizens and as concerned citizens, we are declaring war to the Government now. Be warned. Don’t be found wanting on Monday and Tuesday. Musamire pamaservice stations maZimbabweans.”

Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba yesterday said the synergy between the shadowy groups and opposition elements, principally MDC-T and Zimbabwe People First, was visible.

As such, Government’s security sectors would deal with both the youths and their leaders who are using and inciting them.

“There is fast convergence between the rhetoric of violence on social media and actual violence of opposition goons on the streets of Harare and one would be a fool to think the symbiosis remains invisible,” he said.

“The next level of convergence will be one linking the law of the land and so-called leaders of the opposition who cannot continue to use impressionable youths as fodder for jails.”

Added Mr Charamba: “There are elders behind the juvenile violence and the response cannot concentrate on terrorist minors only. It won’t be long. The adverb “peacefully” on Section 59 of the Constitution is not stylistic.”

Section 59 of the Constitution stipulates that every person has the right to demonstrate and present petitions peacefully.

However, most of the demonstrations carried out by opposition elements have been characterised by vandalism, looting, burning of cars and attacking of innocent people.

Police officers going about their duties have also been attacked.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu yesterday tried to distance his party from the shadowy elements causing chaos in the city.

“We do not control social media and we cannot be held responsible for people who disseminate whatever they disseminate,” he said.

“We cannot be responsible for anyone who decides to open their own chat groups and do what they want. All our associations with other political parties, civic organisation and all other stakeholders are benchmarked on constitutionality, lawfulness and respect for the rule of law.”

Mr Charamba responded: “It is not the social media which is at fault. It is the content put on it and Government does not control content. The issue is not the platform but content put on the platform by their people.”

Lawyer, Mr Terrence Hussein said the terror groups should be prosecuted for their seditious messages.

“Trying to undermine or remove Government by unconstitutional means is a crime,” he said.

“You can threaten someone at a rally that at elections, I will beat you. But you cannot threaten to use violence to remove that person. It’s a chargeable offence.”

Another legal expert Mr Tendai Toto said even if they had sense, the demonstrations had become irrelevant because of their violent nature.

“We denounce violent conduct and destruction of private and public infrastructure and damage to property belonging to innocent third parties,” he said.

“In the current circumstances of our country, it remains a major setback to count losses and putting up reconstruction and recovery of the damaged property. Stakeholders in these demonstrations should concentrate their messaging to recipient targets of their causes and justifications not unsuspecting innocent third parties.”

South Africa based political analyst Mr Tinashe Tiki said: “These opposition elements have had their days and I think it is high time the police deal with those sending them because they are accomplices also.

“What should also be commended as Zimbabweans who have remained resolute and realised that they are being taken for a ride by these looters. I do not see the looters having another field day because people now know their other side. That, they are champions in looting.”

Observers said the MDC-T hawks had resorted to civil disobedience because of irrelevance and donor fatigue.
Zimbabwe Government in Control, Says Sekeramayi
August 31, 2016
Lloyd Gumbo
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Government is completely in control of the country with the police having managed to deal with MDC-T-led illegal demonstrations in Harare, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said yesterday. He said this while trashing claims in South African media that the country’ security forces had joined the illegal protests.It is understood the intention of the sponsored stories was to create an impression that the country had become ungovernable.

A number of South African media organisations on Monday picked a story from a dubious website that claimed that the country’s security forces had joined the illegal demonstrations.

“There is absolutely no truth in those fabrications that soldiers have joined anti-Government protests,” said Minister Sekeramayi.

“All the armed forces are standing solidly behind the Government. They will not take part in illegal activities that seek to remove a constitutionally elected Government.”

The Zimbabwe Republic Police on Monday revealed that the MDC-T and its affiliate political parties and civic groupings were sourcing replicas of police and Zimbabwe National Army uniforms from an African country (name withheld) with the intention of using them to destabilise the country.

Indications are that they want to give the replica uniforms to their activists so that they wear them during their illegal demonstrations with the intention of deceiving Zimbabweans that the country’s security forces were part of the protests.

In fact, the party’s youth chairperson Happymore Chidziva, wore the replica ZNA uniform on Wednesday last week when he addressed party activists before leading a violent demonstration that resulted in destruction of property, stoning and burning of vehicles.

“But we also know that there will be so many people posing as soldiers. The opposition has been trying their best to get what will appear as camouflage of the Defence Forces in order to confuse people that they have teamed up. But the soldiers are not part of that. Government is in control because there is the police and the Central Intelligence organisation. They will expose this. There is no breakdown of law in Zimbabwe. The police have managed to contain the situation,” said Minister Sekeramayi.

He also dismissed claims in some local private media organisations that soldiers were last Friday night deployed to crash opposition elements who were spearheading the violent demonstrations.

“When soldiers are deployed everyone can see it. You don’t have to imagine. There is a wrong impression that is being created and purveyed through hostile media that things are very bad in Zimbabwe. But the truth is that the police have managed to control the situation,” said Minister Sekeramayi.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, Mr George Charamba, on Monday wrote to one of the media organisations in South African, the Guptas’s Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) television station expressing Government’s disgust at the station’s broadcasting of a story that they picked from CAJ News without seeking confirmation from Zimbabwe.

The story claimed that unnamed soldiers and police officers had indicated that they were joining the demonstrations because they had not been paid yet they were paid.
US, Canada, Oz: The Hypocrisy
August 31, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Tichaona  Zindoga : Political  Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

In the wake of the destruction caused by the opposition sponsored orgies of violence disguised as demonstrations for electoral reforms in Harare, the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada and the United States released a scandalous statement backing the violence and rapping Government for alleged human rights abuses. In the following article we detail their own harsh crowd control measures, that include the use of banned weapons.“Isn’t it in the US they shoot to kill, sometimes pumping black guys 30 bullets or more for failing to take just instructions from their cops? How would MDC-T take it if one of their protesters got shot to death and the officer gets suspension on full salary?”

These are the sentiments of an expatriate Zimbabwe security expert who is working in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

He spat out as he commented on the reactions of some western countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia, who last week appeared to condemn the Zimbabwe Republic Police for putting down riots by opposition thugs who went on a rampage, looting shops, destroying property and disturbing the peace in Harare’s central business district.

A police car and a van belonging to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation were burnt to shells while many businesses were left counting their losses.

Observers have noted that the contrived condemnation of authorities and an apparent relish in the activities of the opposition smack of hypocrisy especially when these countries have harsher and often more lethal crowd methods that Zimbabwe can muster.

In fact, experts note, the police in these countries use more military style tactics with the US relying on the “Disturbance Operations” manual developed by the Army in April 2005.

United States

The United States has the dubious distinction of notorious killings especially of black protesters and suspected criminals.

Last year, the Guardian noted that “US police kill more in days than other countries do in years”.

According to Ben Piven of Al Jazeera America, “Riot control police — wearing helmets, visors, body armour and gas masks — are called in for disturbances ranging from rowdy soccer matches and merchandise looting to anti-war protests. Civil disorder, whatever the source, can be quelled with a variety of methods, increasingly taken from the military arsenal”.

These methods include teargas which is one of the most commonly used riot control agents around the world.

“Known as a ‘lachrymatory’ substance for the irritation that generates teary eyes and difficulty breathing, the chemical is usually discharged from a canister that is fired from a grenade launcher towards a crowd . . . The active ingredient, capsaicin, is sprayed directly onto people — as at a 2011 tuition-hike protest at the University of California, Davis.

“In Ferguson, MO, police have attempted to disperse protesters using smoke bombs — fireworks that generate smoke after ignition. A similar projectile can be used by police to break up crowds: stun grenades. Also known as flashbang, these non-lethal explosive devices create a blinding light and loud noise to disorient people.”

The police use baton rounds, that is, rubber bullets, plastic bullets, wooden bullets and bean-bag rounds.

Rubber bullets are rubber-coated steel bullets, fired from normal firearms or dedicated riot-control weapons and are dangerous when fired from close range and when aimed at people’s heads, they can cause fatal damage.

Plastic and wooden cause bruises and have been banned in Oakland since 2004, while “Bean bag round” or “flexible baton rounds,” have often cause muscle spasm, temporarily disabling the subject.

This method has caused deaths among victims.

Liquid fire, or water cannon, is also used by American police departments and when standard police vehicles are not sufficient for forcefully deploying riot officers, bus-loads of additional policemen and armoured vehicles, such as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) jeeps are deployed to issue out high-velocity stream.

US authorities also use stink bombs or liquids causing a foul odour that can immobilise rioters while police can mount physical barriers and trap protesters.

The security forces also beat up protesters in “baton charges” using clubs and riot shields, “forcing people away from the scene due to the actual impact or just the fear of being struck”.

There is a range of weapons known as “wave weapons” and these include stun guns and Tasers that use electro-shock pulses to incapacitate people and this led to the deaths of more than 100 between 2000 and 2005.

The police use what are known as Long Range Acoustic Devices the low-frequency sonic weapons emit pain-inducing tones which face protesters in Wall Street protesters.

The Active Denial System (ADS), known informally as a heat ray, a weapon once used in Afghanistan has been acquired by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, according to Al Jazeera.

“With a directed-energy blast, the weapon increases skin temperature with a burning sensation, using similar radiation technology to a microwave.”


A few years ago, Canada hosted the G8 and G20 summits and prepared its most austere crowd-control arsenal, which drew criticism.

Broadcaster CBC noted that: “Officials have bulked up their security arsenal with sound and water canons, teargas canisters and rubber bullets.

“Protesters have complained that some of these security measures are too drastic and pose the potential to cause permanent physical damage.”

In an expose titled, “A closer look at riot control methods from rubber bullets to teargas” CBC gave a rundown of the police methods and arsenal.

It featured the Anti-riot weapon Enfield (ARWEN 37) developed in 1977 to address crowd control turmoil in Northern Ireland, which can fire teargas canisters and plastic bullets to a distance of up to 100 metres.

ARWEN 37 bullets are said to travel at speeds of up to 74 metres per second and the weapon has been used by law enforcement agencies in the US, Singapore and in Canadian cities including Vancouver, Ottawa and Victoria.

Canadian authorities also find teargas handy, which is used to drive back crowds and typically composed of chemical compounds chloroacetophenone (CN) and chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile (CS).

“The gas irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth and can cause tearing, blurred vision, runny noses, redness, rashes, nausea and vomiting,” explains CBC.

During the G20 summit, anti-riot police deployed the Long-range acoustic device, also known as the sound cannon.

Health experts condemn the use of LRAD which has been used by the US army in Iraq and on American warships.

The devices are said to emit noise of up to 143 decibels and according to CBC, health officials suggest noise at up to 85 decibels can cause hearing damage.

“Protesters have complained that using these devices is too drastic but police have countered that they plan on using the LRADS primarily as a ‘communication tool’ to broadcast messages to large crowds of people.”

Canada also deploys water cannons, pepper spray and batons.

The Guardian notes that police in Canada have an average of 25 fatal shootings a year.


In Australia, police are systematically brutal to not only rioters, but also minorities such as the aborigines and foreigners.

They have been seen punching, kicking, grabbing and dragging protesters, which, according to information readily available, which “left shared the broader public sense of shock at the brutality of officers using what they perceived to be excessive force”.

“In Australia,” states the Marxist Left Review, “the state has a long history of clamping down on dissent and attempting to quash public protest and industrial militancy.”

“The state will always define when and where violence and coercion are legitimate.

“At times this may mean changing the law, redefining police powers or targeting particular groups.”

The journal explains that the Australian authorities have designed more specialised military-style units and increased police powers.

Explains the journal: “These powers deliberately extend the capacity of police to prevent protest and intimidate political activists.

“The doctrine of counter-terrorism, along with the idea that police are needed to keep the public safe, has been used as justification for attacks on civil liberties, protests and workers in industrial disputes.

“The number of people imprisoned in Australia has significantly increased in the last decade, with both Labour and Liberal governments imposing the same law and order agenda.”

Aboriginal people are “disproportionately affected by increases in police power and changes”, it is noted.

“In order to justify state violence, Australian governments continue to push the idea that the Indigenous population and potentially criminal immigrants need to be controlled,” notes the Marxist Left Review.

The Australian government, through the actions of police, is often accused of “State crime” as institutions “. . . do regularly commit and instigate crimes . . . (as they) hold both the power and the capacity to kill, injure, exploit, repress, incarcerate and create untold amounts of human misery.”