John Pilger - johnpilger.com
A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.
The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide communist conspiracy.
Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.
It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged".
A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.
The Irish Anti-War Movement strongly opposes the military intervention by France and other countries in Mali. Neither France nor any of the other nations directly involved or supporting France (eg the UK) have any right whatsoever to intervene in this way. The fact that France is the former colonial power in Mali, as in much of north western Africa, and therefore doubtless has ‘connections’ and ‘interests’ in the area in no way justifies their action, on the contrary it is merely a further reason why they should cease interfering in the affairs of Mali and African people as a whole.
We reject completely the notion that former colonial powers have some special responsibility for the areas they once ruled (eg France for Cote D’Ivoire, Algeria etc., Britain for Zimbabwe, Kenya etc) except in the sense that the whole historical epoch of European imperialist conquest and exploitation of Africa is the root cause of that continents desperate poverty and plight to today.
The pretext for this latest intervention – the alleged threat of an ‘Al Qaeda terrorist state’ on the doorstep of Europe – would be laughable were it not underwritten by the general climate of Islamophobia cultivated by politicians and the media. Mali is in no sense on Europe’s doorstep and, given its location south of the Sahara and its extreme underdevelopment and poverty, is completely unable to pose any threat to Europe. This pretext has even less credibility than George Bush’s and Tony Blair’s infamous ‘weapons of mass destruction’ claim for Iraq.
'This is where we take our stand', playing at the IFI, Friday 25th-Sunday 28th January. 7.30pm Fri, 6.30pm sat, 7.30pm sun.
“This is Where We Take Our Stand” is the story of hundreds of veterans who risked everything to publicly tell their accounts of the horrors they witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March of 2008, two hundred and fifty veterans and active-duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed it. Against tremendous odds, they brought the voices of the veterans themselves into the debate. “This is Where We Take Our Stand” is the inside story of those three days and the courageous men and women who testified — a story that’s as important to tell today as ever. These brave soldiers and veterans are challenging a public silence that runs very deep, underscoring a willingness to accept unspeakable horrors — as long as we don't know about them.
Winter Soldier, playing at the IFI Friday 1st-3rd February. Details and trailer: http://www.stoneyroadfilms.com/Distribution%20pages/Winter%20Soldier.html
Troop Flights Through Shannon Down in 2012 but on the Increase Again
Shannonwatch, 3 January 2013
The number of US troop carriers using Shannon Airport was down in 2012 compared to previous years. In 2011 there was an average of over 80 troop flights a month but in 2012 the numbers recorded by Shannonwatch ranged from a low of 13 in July to a high of 72 in April.
But while all the summer months saw relatively low numbers of troop carriers at Shannon, their frequency began to increase again towards the end of the year.
Even though the number of civilian aircraft carrying US troop was down, the number of US military aircraft landing at Shannon did not change in 2012. On average 24 of these used Shannon every month, including Hercules c-130's and mid-air refueling tankers.
The following graph shows the number of US military related flights recorded by Shannonwatch in 2012.
IPSC EVENT - [Dublin] New Year’s Eve vigil to commemorate 4th anniversary of the attack on Gaza
To commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Israeli ‘Cast Lead’ attack on Gaza, in Dublin the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is calling on people to gather at 2pm at the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin on New Year’s Eve. Please bring Palestinian flags if you have them.
Please spare an hour of your time to remember the victims of the attack and the ongoing illegal Israeli siege of Gaza.
IAWM PRESS RELEASE ON SANDY HOOK KILLINGS, 20 DECEMBER 2012
The Irish Anti-war Movement (IAWM) issued a statement today expressing sincere sympathy with the victims, survivors and families affected by the horrific killings at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut earlier this week but noted that the massacre must be seen in a wider context of a culture of violence perpetuated by successive US Governments.
The statement noted:
“America is the only country in the world perpetually at war: in 2011-2012 alone, the US military was killing people in nine different countries, from Afghanistan to Yemen. Since World War II, the US has engaged in over fifty military operations abroad (72 according to investigative journalist John Pilger) killing some four million people. If you consider the total massacres by proxies and surrogates (think Indonesia, Chile, Israel etc.) the number is closer to five million. There are approximately 400,000 Americans currently stationed in almost 1,000 overseas military bases.”
The statement continued: