BlackState.com - Foreign Affairs - The Department of Foreign Affairs primarily deals with International Relations
as it relates to BlackState. This agency formulates the foreign affairs goals
and policies, works with allies in developing trade and an affiliated eNetwork. This department features news and interest stories relating to international
relations as it relates to the black world. Issues featured include exclusives on the Carrribbean, Brazil, Africa, Free trade, poverty and world debt.
BlackState.com's Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs primarily deals with International Relations
as it relates to BlackState. This agency formulates the foreign affairs goals
and policies, works with allies in developing trade and an affiliated eNetwork.
This department features news and interest stories relating to international
relations as it relates to the black world. Issues featured include exclusives
on the Carribbean, Brazil, Africa, Free trade, poverty and world debt.
Dispatches from the Diaspora. In the West African nations of Nigeria and Guinea the health of its leaders who both
came to power in different ways dominate the news. In Nigeria President Musa Yar'Adua' the democratically elected
President of 151 million people has been in a Saudi hospital since the middle of November for acute pericarditis, inflammation of the heart's lining. Many in Nigeria fear a power vacuum due to his absence. Nigeria has experienced many military coups since independence. The last of which was the brutal military regime of Sani Abacha which ended in 1998.
The focus and uncertainty on the leaders health underlines the fragility of Africa's largest democratic state. Properly named, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, would succeed the President if he is unable to resume his official duties.
The nations and peoples of the African Diaspora too must come to the aid of Haiti in the wake of the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck the capital Port-au-Prince. According to reports it seems a city of 2 million people has been destroyed. There has been no estimates on the death toll but its expected to be in the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. Throughout the blogosphere the use of social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr has brought the most up to date news and images.
Haters gonna hate the saying goes so of course the right wing is up and arms over President Obama's handshake and greeting with twice elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. To the right wing Obama can do nothing right. Former Speaker of the House and so-called historian Newt Gingrich appeared on the Today Show and proceeded to rip Obama for shaking the leaders hand. Repeatedly stating without interruption from Meredith Viera that Chavez hates America. A statement that for some reason went unchallenged by the interviewer leaving the impression to the uninformed that Obama happily greets those who are anti-American.
A natural follow up question for Newt Gingrich would have been something to the effect of do you think that Chavez is anti-American or anti the previous American administration? Given the fact that the U.S. supported the coup by oil executives that almost toppled him.
Piracy Is Not Terrorism: It's Something Else by Figaro Joseph
Pirates have seized more than two dozens ships off the Horn of Africa this year. However, piracy off the Horn of Africa did not make much national and international news until this October when pirates seized an Ukranian ship, Faina, carrying weapons bought by the Kenyan government. The Faina was carrying 33 tanks and tons of other heavy weaponry. Why did the Kenyan government buy these weapons? Let's rephrase the question: Against whom is the Kenyan government planning to use these weapons? This is a question worth asking and it certainly deserves an answer. This piece, however, will not answer it. Instead, this piece focuses on distinguishing between piracy and terrorism.
Who asked Figaro for this distinction? Answer: No one; but I want to respond to some of the so-called experts who keep conflating the two issues.
This commentary could be about neo-colonialism. How the violent colonial racist regime of Rhodesia, founded upon racism, and greed, and enforced through apartheid and white racist terror produced what is happening in Zimbabwe. This coud be about Cecil Rhodes, the arrogance of white colonizers and settlers, about how the white colonizers took all the good agricultural land for themselves and with guns and bibles defeated an ancient culture and one time empire. for themselves, how the British government worked to limit any real land
redistribution post colonialism. This commentary could be about how Zimbabwe has only been a free and independent country since 1980! How in the first 28 years of the United States there were essentially two constituions, the threat of civil war, wars with Native Americans, Slavery, and British invasions. But no.
This commentary is about Robert Mugabe's personal quest to hold onto power, for powers sake, his own sake. Not for the people to whom he is
alleged to represent. His own sake. An 85 year old man's desire to hold onto power. The old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely
rings true in Zimbabwe. CONTINUE
The Trickle Down Iraq Effect: Crisis in Myanmar, Darfur and Other Global Hotspots
The repercussions of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, will go beyond that of Iraq itself. The U.S. involvement in Iraq and the moral ambiguity
leading up the invasion has left the U.S. ineffective in putting pressure on other real evil doers.
For instance the U.S. can apply little pressure on China and its support of the genocidal regime in Sudan or its support for the military
government in Burma or in other global hot spots.
Ghana: We're Rich
In case you missed it this summer while you were at an amusement park, at barbeques or at the beach the West African nation of Ghana found large deposits of oil of its coast. So much for peak oil. This is extraordinary news for Ghana which is celebrating 50 years of independence.
What Can Brown Do For You: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy
What can brown do for you? Apparently according to recent remarks by Barack Obama, brown can bomb the hell out of you. Obama’s recent
comments about going after evil doers in Pakistan and expressing willingness to meet with those who our “enemies” does not illustrate political
naiveté as the Clinton campaign suggest but truly a foreign policy that can be expressed different than the Bush-Cheney administration. Given that the
Republican nominees all support to degrees George W’s policies and Hillary voted for the war and has not been completely clear on where she stands
in the war on terror, Obama and to some extent John Edwards are the “mainstream” candidates who express a different direction. This is not to demean
the positions of Dennis Kucinich whose progressive positions on many issues should be given more weight.
Kofi Annan: The Worlds Most Influential Black Man by Matthew Lynch
Kofi Annan for those of you, who do not know, is the Secretary General of the UN (United Nations). A native of Ghana, Annan is the first man of African Descent to hold this distinction. Originally appointed in late 1996, Koffi is serving his second term, which expires on December 13, 2006. As Secretary-General, he has begun to revitalize the UN through a series of comprehensive reforms. His reforms have been aimed at strengthening the UN?s work in the areas of development, international, peace, human rights, and the premise that all men are created equal. He is also working to restore public confidence in the UN by weeding out corruption within the organization.
Mr. Annan worked diligently to attain his current status. In 1990, following the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Annan was asked by then Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Gal, to coordinate the evacuation of over 900 international staff and citizens of Western Countries. He consequently was also asked to lead the negotiations for the first ?Oil for Food? program. As Secretary-General, his first major initiative was his push for a reformation and restructuring of the UN. He also created a viable plan of sustaining peace in Africa, the world?s most disadvantaged continent. He also sought to improve the plight of the world?s women.
U.S. Supports Iran in Rejecting Gay Rights Organization at the UN
by Gene C. Gerard
Given the Bush administration’s rhetoric regarding the Iranian government you wouldn’t think the two
have much, if anything, in common. In his 2002 State of the Union address President Bush referred to Iran as part of an “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” And he criticized the Iranian government’s efforts to “repress the Iranian people’s hope of freedom.” This week,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the Senate regarding the administration’s request for $75 million to help further democracy in Iran, in which she stated that Iran was under the control of a “radical regime.” Yet the Bush administration recently went out of its way to support an Iranian initiative to deny acce ss to gay and lesbian organizations within the United Nations.
Both the U.S. and Iranian governments serve on the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Two international gay and lesbian rights organizations recently applied to the council for consultative
status. Holding this status is the only way for non-governmental organizations to participate in
discussions among member states in the United Nations (UN). Approximately 3,000 non-governmental
organizations presently hold this status. CONTINUE
Pax Africana by Chris Ngwodo
Continental integration has been seized upon as a key to reviving Africa. In this light, the revitalization of the African Union and initiatives such as the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), ECOWAS and SADC are timely measures but if they are to be effective, they cannot remain vague concepts understood only at the macroeconomic and macropolitical levels. The idea of African integration has to be articulated as a broad, sweeping vision of a renascent Africa. Pax Africana is a socio-spiritual ethic for rebuilding Africa that will harvest from the continent's fertile cultural acreage to create a pan African philosophy of development.
African statesmen of yore like Zik, Nkrumah, Senghor and Nyerere had identified this as a basis for Africa's progress. Pax Africana, in essence, recovers their vision. Traditional African values that are now alien to us have been recovered to create this pan African philosophy. A philosophical basis is important; Africa is not integrating simply because Europe and North America are doing so or because it is the latest global fad. In the twenty-first century, we have to avoid making the same mistake that we made in the twentieth when we adopted western democracy wholesale without crafting a homegrown philosophy for it in our own societies. Popular representation isn't alien to African societies (pre-colonial Igbo and Tiv societies, for instance, were democratic confederations) but democracy has struggled here because we failed to take into consideration our peculiar socio-cultural situation. A pan African philosophy conceptualizes continental integration as a necessary aspect of fulfilling Africa's manifest destiny.
Africa To Receive "Debt" Relief
Although saddling the continent with slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism which continues to this day.
The finance ministers of the G8, the world's eight richest countries, after years of pressure from wide coalitions of human rights campaigners,
such as the Committee for the abolition of third world debt (CADTM), have agreed to a deal to relieve the debts of 18 of the poorest countries in the world, but have not yet published the full details.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and the African Development Fund will write off all of the money owed to them by the selected countries. However, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) will not cancel debts owed to them by heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guyana, Vietnam, and Laos.
The countries to receive debt cancellation from the IMF, WB and the African Development Fund are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The deal, devised by the United Kingdom, could potentially free up government revenue for domestic spending on things such as education and health services.
Togo: Deconstructing A Failed State
Togo is an example of a failed neo-colonial nation-state that had the
natural course of political development occurred would likely be no state at all.
Togo formed part of the Slave Coast where Europeans enslaved millions to force labor in the Western hemisphere. The tiny nation of 5 million was colonized by Germany and later controlled by Britain and France after World War I, the western part became part of Ghana after independence and the eastern became the nation of Togo in 1960. After overthrowing the elected President of Togo Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power. Eyadema was recently “re-elected” through an election widely recognized as being rigged. He ruled until he died in office. The military soon installed his son as the new leader of Togo although the Togo constitution called for the parliament speaker to become President.
The Chavez Revolution: Venezuela Must Be A Black State Part II
The tumultuous Presidency of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came to a head
when the people of Venezuela again voted to keep President Chavez in office
after a recall attempt led by right wing elites. Chavez has been a thorn in the
side of the right wing government of the United States and has thus drawn
widespread support amongst social justice activists, including Jesse Jackson,
Howard Zinn and Dennis Kucinich. He is disliked by the elites primarily
because he uses Venezuela’s oil wealth to guess what…take care of the poor
people in Venezuela. What if other leaders decided to take care of their poor?
This notion goes against every IMF World Bank, liberal economic theorists belief on how economics should work,
although these economists have never seen or experienced poverty.
In the eyes of his critics the problem with Chavez is that he is not playing ball. He has the audacity to claim that he wants to use the oil revenues to help the overwhelming poor who by the way happens to be black, he invests the money into education and job training and health care.
Chavez himself proudly claims to be the first non-white President, he is more
black and Indian than white and a great deal of his opposition seems to stem
from this fact.
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Devastation in Darfur, The African Union Must Step Up
The 20 plus year War in Sudan has cost the lives of millions over the course of the conflict. So destructive the war between the north “Arab” Sudanese and south “African” allegations of slavery in Sudan surfaced. Now when it seems that peace may be at hand armed Arab militias have attacked, raped and killed thousands of African Sudanese in the Darfur region of Western Sudan, putting that tenuous peace in jeopardy. International outrage and thoughts of the Rwanda genocide have brought international attention to the conflict and the region. There are estimates that over a million refugees who fled there homes because of the Sudanese Arab invaders. The refugees are on the brink of starvation and desperately need humanitarian assistance and protection from further attacks from the Arab militias. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan visited the region and refugee camps but not the hardest hit. The Sudanese government shielded the officials from some of the worst areas. The government also agreed to take measures to disarm the militias.
Assurances from the government of Sudan are not enough to protect the refugees.
The newly formed African Union, made up African nations to create a more united secure Africa in an effort to overcome the structural weakness that made the Organization of African Union inept, must now step up and protect the native Sudanese in Darfur. The Charter of the African Union gives member states the right to intervene in conflicts in cases such as Darfur. The African Union has thus far only recommended sending 300 troops. This is not enough the African Union should send at least 5000 to 10000 troops to protect the people of western Sudan from further attacks even if this involes engaging the Arab militias. This is the opportunity for the African Union to prove it is not a mirror of its former self but truly an organization that will protect the people of African from governments that at times seeks to destroy some of its people.
Haiti is where Christopher Columbus landed. It is where the Native Arawak and Taino were killed by the violence and diseases Europeans brought with them.
Haiti is where slavery began in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is where slaves first rebelled, resisted and overthrew their slave masters thereby establishing the first black republic.
Haiti is where France forced the new Haitian government to pay France today’s equivalent of $21 billion for property loss in the Haitian revolution. Unheard of previously imagine a repressive slave regime demanding payment for being overthrown. This ‘payment’ kept Haiti in debt for most of the 19th century.
The U.S. invaded in 1915 and changed the Haitian constitution. The most significant was allowing foreign ownership of land and property. When the U.S. left in 1934 they left behind a series of repressive neo-colonial dictators who would do the bidding for the imperialist. This formula would be later followed in Africa.
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Department of Foreign Affairs:
Rwanda court convicts 100 in genocide trial
At the end of a two-year mass trial, a court has convicted 100 people on various charges relating to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and sentenced 11 to death, a state prosecutor said on Monday.
JM Ntete, prosecutor for Butare province, said charges against the 139 accused ranged from rape to torture and murder to crimes against humanity, all committed during the 100-day slaughter in mid-1994 during which at least half a million people were killed, most of them members of Rwanda's Tutsi minority. Political moderates from the Hutu majority were also victims.
The three-judge tribunal, which conducted the country's largest mass trial in a temporary courtroom built in the settlement where the crimes were committed, sentenced 71 of the accused to life in prison and 18 others to terms ranging from 25 years to one year. It acquitted 39 in a sentencing hearing that ended August 1.
Those who received the death penalty were convicted of being planners and masterminds of the slaughter and included influential people in Mugusa settlement like former deputy mayor Sylvestre Karekezi.
Since Rwanda began trying those accused in connection with the genocide, more than 400 people have received the death sentence, but only 26 have been executed, 24 of them in April 1998.
In neighbouring Tanzania, a United Nations tribunal is also trying people indicted on major genocide charges. The maximum sentence that tribunal can hand down is life in prison.
Some 120 000 prisoners in Rwanda await trial on genocide charges in overcrowded jails.
In an attempt to clear up the backlog, authorities have released a number of prisoners facing lesser charges to their home areas where they are facing trial in traditional courts known as gacaca. - Sapa-AP Mail & Guardian SA
Another Blowback: U.S. Gave Birth To Iraq Weapons
Iraq's bioweapons program that President Bush seeks to destroy got its start with help from the U.S. government in the 1980’s, according to government records getting new scrutiny in light of the discussion of war against Iraq. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent samples directly to several Iraqi sites that U.N. weapons inspectors determined were part of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program, CDC and congressional records from the early 1990s show. Iraq had ordered the samples, claiming it needed them for legitimate medical research.
The CDC and a biological sample company, the American Type Culture Collection, sent strains of all the germs Iraq used to make weapons, including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin and the germs that cause gas gangrene, the records show. Iraq also got samples of other deadly pathogens, including the West Nile virus.
The transfers came in the 1980s, when the United States supported Iraq in its war against Iran. They were detailed in a 1994 Senate Banking Committee report and a 1995 follow-up letter from the CDC to the Senate. The exports were legal at the time and approved under a program administered by the Commerce Department.
The disclosures put the United States in the uncomfortable position of possibly having provided the key ingredients of the weapons America is considering waging war to destroy, said Sen. Robert Byrd D-W.Va. Byrd entered the documents into the Congressional Record this month.
Byrd asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the germ transfers at a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Byrd noted that Rumsfeld met Saddam in 1983, when Rumsfeld was President Reagan's Middle East envoy.
"Are we, in fact, now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?" Byrd asked Rumsfeld after reading parts of a Newsweek article on the transfers.
"I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it," Rumsfeld said. He later said he would ask the Defense Department and other government agencies to search their records for evidence of the transfers.