Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The U.S. war against Somalia expands outwards and "has now blown back to Uganda," the U.S. ally that, "along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa." Ethiopia and Kenya prepare to join Uganda in an offensive against the Somali resistance, to save America's puppet mini-state in Mogadishu.
 
U.S.-Backed War in Somalia Comes to Uganda, Threatens to Set Whole Region Aflame
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of the planned expansion of the war in Somalia."
The bombs that exploded in Kampala earlier this month, killing 76 people and unleashing a wave of arrests and deportations by the Ugandan regime, are chickens coming home to roost from the U.S.-sponsored war in Somalia. U.S. corporate media routinely fail to note that the Ugandan military and other U.S. African allies are all that prevent the farcical U.S.-backed mini-government in Somalia from being evicted from the few neighborhoods it still controls in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The rest of south and central Somalia belongs to the Shabab and another Islamist group, that earned their nationalist credentials in fighting Ethiopian troops that invaded Somalia with full U.S. backing in late 2006. The invasion interrupted a brief period of relative peace in Somalia  and plunged the country into what United Nations officials called the "worst humanitarian crisis in Africa - worse than Darfur."
The Shabab justified the Uganda bomb attacks on the grounds that Ugandan troops have been killing Somali civilians for years. Under the guise of African Union peacekeepers, the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers have been able keep open the road to Mogadishu's airport, the Somali regime's lifeline to U.S. arms and supplies. But the puppet state is a government in name only, without the popular support to field an army capable of defending itself. The rump faction has been reduced to recruiting child soldiers as young as 12, causing the United Nations Security Council to threaten sanctions. Of all the world's governments, only the United States and Somalia have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which outlaws the use of child soldiers.
"Washington's African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations."
Frustrated at the failure of massive U.S. arms and money in Somalia, Washington has encouraged its Ugandan, Kenyan, Ethiopian and other U.S. client states to launch their own offensive against the Somali resistance, in violation of United Nations resolutions. Washington's African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations. This would include the formal re-entrance of Ethiopian soldiers, some of whom never left Somalia, and thousands of troops from Kenya's large Somali minority and others from Somali refugee camps - a violation of international law.
The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of this planned expansion of the war in Somalia. The conflict has now blown back to Uganda, whose strongman, Yoweri Museveni, now uses the bombings to justify the already-planned Somali offensive. Along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, Uganda is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa. Both countries bear much of the responsibility for the death of millions in eastern Congo, following their invasions with the backing of the United States.
Kenya will certainly be further destabilized, as well, in the course of the Somalia offensive.
This is what passes for "soft power" in the Obama administration: arming and instigating Africans to fight each other. It will backfire on the United States, sooner rather than later - but not before many thousands more Africans have died. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100721_gf_HornOfAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The nation's oldest civil rights group claims it is ready to confront militarism and demand that  Obama supporters get the "change they voted for." So do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who is virtually an administration operative. Do does Big Labor. We'll believe it when we see it. But, the Tea Party is another story.
 
NAACP Confronts Tea Party, But Will It Challenge Obama?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"If racists were actually purged from the Tea Party, it would disappear."
The NAACP is a bundle of contradictions - but, by virtue of history, it is our bundle, to criticize when necessary and, when possible, to support. For the corporate media, which virtually invented the Tea Party, the NAACP's resolution demanding that the various Tea Party outfits disassociate themselves from racists, was the big news of the NAACP convention. Of course, if racists were actually purged from the Tea Party, it would disappear, since race is its reason-for-being as a white nationalist phenomenon. White American nationalism celebrates the fruits of genocide, slavery, aggressive war and empire, and is therefore inherently racist. Lots of non-Tea Partyers are also American empire worshippers, including the Black imperial commander-in-chief, himself, Barack Obama. But the NAACP limits the scope of its criticism to those Tea Partyers that use racist language and images in public - especially when that language is directed against the First Black President.
It is part of the Black man and woman's burden to confront racism wherever it rears its head - which, in the United States, is everywhere and often. But, in the case of the Tea Party, my question is this: at what point will Black folks be able to say, We beat them? Will it be when the the Tea Partyers go back to using racial code words instead of loud and rowdy redneck-talk? Is that all it would take to arrange a truce with racists, that they be more polite about it?
Direct download: 20100721_gf_NAACPTeaJobs.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:05pm EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
The bad new has come hot and heavy, lately: leniency for a killer cop, a draconian sentence for a people's lawyer, no parole for political prisoners, and death. "But this is the life to which we have been consigned by the dysfunction and disarray of the movements these women and men represent."
 
A Roller Coaster Week in the Anti-Amusement Park of Radical Politics
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"The release of one political prisoner, is horribly balanced against the exchange for another and the further entrenchment of suffering for two more amidst the loss of a father, activist and frontline progressive."
I received an email the other day from a veteran political activist.  It read, "Cynthia's pops died today, Marilyn Buck was released, Lynne Stewart got 10 years and so did Sundiata Acoli.  Herman Bell was denied parole again.  What a roller coaster."  "Cynthia's pop," is James Edwards "Billy" McKinney, a former member of the Georgia State legislature and Atlanta policeman.  McKinney, as Bruce Dixon has explained, was a cop in Atlanta "when Black police officers couldn't arrest white people."  And, of course, he was the father of former Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.  Marilyn Buck, a white supporter of the Black Liberation Movement who was convicted for (among other things) having aided in the escape of Assata Shakur, was released after more than 25 years in prison.  But people's lawyer Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 10 years for her defense of an accused "terrorist" which some say is a death sentence given her age and health.  Black Panther and Black Liberation Movement veterans Sundiata Acoli and Herman Bell were both given 10 more years in prison and denied parole respectively.  And this is that "roller coaster."  The tiniest of good news, the release of one political prisoner, is horribly balanced against the exchange for another and the further entrenchment of suffering for two more amidst the loss of a father, activist and frontline progressive.
But this is the life to which we have been consigned by the dysfunction and disarray of the movements these women and men represent. We have said many times before that the very existence of these prisoners is proof of the incompleteness of these movements.  The mere image or thought of the politics represented by these people is deemed threatening and worthy of the worst forms of punishment, up to and including death.  Remember, it was reported that Lynne Stewart, for example, was likely given such a harsh sentence not because of her particular alleged "crime," but because she was seen by the judge as insufficiently repentant.  reporter following the case said that the judge felt compelled to his act because of comments Stewart made publicly regarding her case which he took "as evidence that she was not as remorseful as she should be and that [therefore] he should increase the sentence."
"Not any alleged act but the acknowledged ideas they represent has these and others paying such a heavy toll."
Of course many other political prisoners have had their political views be the anchor to which they are tethered behind prison walls more so than any "crime" for which they have been convicted.  In the trials of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier their involvement with the Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement respectively was introduced as a reason for their incarceration.  Jalil Muntaqim was told by the sitting judge that he and his co-defendants were seen as "prisoners of war."  Even the victim's statement given by the son of the police officer they were convicted of killing says that he forgives them for "the positions they took back then" and that Herman Bell and Muntaqim were, "both victims as well of a much larger scheme which got them incarcerated to this day."  Not any alleged act but the acknowledged ideas they represent has these and others paying such a heavy toll.
As another veteran activist tells me all the time:  "We must remember that desiring and working to be free is illegal."  This was again made obvious this past week.  And remember the condemnation to death of Stanley "Tookie" Williams by the Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.  In it the governor was clear.  Williams was not being denied clemency because of any prior crime and certainly not as a result of his stellar behavior as a model prisoner. Schwarzenegger made clear that it was his public appreciation for other political prisoners, members of the Black Liberation Movement and, in particular, George Jackson.  The governor wrote, "But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems."
In other words, it was an affinity for unsanctioned ideas that secured his murder by the state.  So as we continue to support the people themselves we must also fight for the right to think without sanction of the state.  Perhaps Funkadelic was already too late when warning us to, "Think! It ain't illegal yet."
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100721_jb_Prisoners.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 10:01pm EDT