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

Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Harriet Tubman Didn't Turn Themselves In, Why Should Edward Snowden?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

If there's one thing House tea party Republicans, liberal Senate Democrats, the White House and corrupt TV talking heads from Fox to MSNBC all agree on, it's that Edward Snowden is an ungrateful thief with an exaggerated sense of his own importance. The fact that Snowden is no heroic whistleblower, is proved they say, by his not going through legal channels, by his theft of government and proprietary secrets, by his wilfull violation of confidentiality oaths and federal laws, and most of all by Snowden's international flight, and his completely unreasonable refusal to turn himself in for possible life imprisonment and likely torture.

Federal cops and/or intelligence officials bringing secret requests under secret interpretations of law to harvest, store and data mine literally every phone call, every credit card transaction, every email, instant message, tweet, web search and digital brain fart of 310 million Americans to a secret court whose dockets and rulings are also secret, which doesn't matter much because the secret court never tells the government no ---- is either not a problem at all, or at worst something we should discuss and address through legal channels. The problem of course, is that if Snowden had not violated the law there would be insider confirmation of official crimes, and if he turned himself over to the tender mercies of the powerful criminals he exposed --- well that simply makes no sense.

A hundred sixty-some years ago Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass violated state and federal laws by stealing valuable property – their own persons – and fleeing north. While living quietly as a fugitive, Tubman armed herself and returned south again and again to steal an estimated 300 more pieces of human property. While also a fugitive Frederick Douglass became a public and highly illegal whistleblower. He lectured audiences on the evils of slavery, and eventually fled to Europe to avoid the long arm of the law. John Brown freed slaves in Missouri, led expeditions against pro-slavery death squads in Kansas and was a wanted fugitive for the remainder of his life.

The very idea of whistleblowers and dissidents needing to be “respectable” in the eyes of law and authority, and even turn themselves in is clearly nonsense. Back in the day, authorities cast aspersions on the characters of Brown and Douglass, and on any slave who rebelled, ran away or otherwise violated his legal obligation to serve. We should treat speculations on Snowden's motives, when they come from those being exposed, the same way we treat a slaveholder's opinion of Tubman, Douglass or Brown.

Every day that Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and John Brown walked the world as fugitives was a victory for real truth and freedom. Every day Edward Snowden remains free to speak and be heard is a hopeful day for all of us. He's no more obligated to turn himself in than the freedom fighters of sixteen decades ago.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com, or via this site's contact page.

Direct download: 20130626_bd_fugitives_from_justice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

The Obamas Do Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. is not in the business of fair and mutually beneficial trade – it’s about the business of imperialism.”

The President and his family are spending a week in sub-Saharan Africa, with Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa on the itinerary. The focus of the trip, if you believe the White House, is trade, an arena in which the United States has been eclipsed by China since 2009. China, by some measurements, now does nearly twice as much business with Africa as the U.S., and the gap is growing. It is now commonly accepted that the Chinese offer far better terms of trade and investment than the Americans, that they create more jobs for Africans, and their investments leave behind infrastructure that can enrich their African trading partners in the long haul.

No one expects Obama to offer anything on this trip that will reverse America’s declining share of the African market. That’s because the U.S. is not in the business of fair and mutually beneficial trade – it’s about the business of imperialism, which is another matter, entirely. The Americans ensure their access to African natural resources through the barrel of a gun.

So, while the Chinese and Indians and Brazilians and other economic powerhouses play by the rules of give and take, the U.S. tightens its military grip on the continent through its ever-expanding military command, AFRICOM.

To justify its rapid militarization of Africa, Washington plunges whole regions of the continent into chaos. U.S. policies, under presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, have utterly destroyed Somalia, made the Horn of Africa a theater of war, drawn the northern tier of the continent into America’s cauldron of terror, and killed six million people in the eastern Congo.

The Americans ensure their access to African natural resources through the barrel of a gun.”

The face of America in Africa is war, not trade; extraction of minerals by military intimidation, not conventional commerce. Washington’s priority is to embed AFRICOM ever deeper into the militaries of African states – rather than configuring more favorable trade relationships on the continent. But you won’t learn that from the U.S. corporate media, which chooses to focus on the $100 million cost of Obama’s African trip, or to look for human interest angles on Obama’s decision not to touch down in his father’s homeland, Kenya. However, even that angle is too sinister for deeper exploration by the corporate press, because Kenya’s absence from the itinerary is meant as a threat.

The United States is angry because Washington wanted the Kenyan people to elect a different president, one more acceptable to U.S. policymakers. The Americans expected the whole of Kenyan civil society to bend to Washington’s will, and reject the candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta, simply to please the superpower. When that didn’t happen, it was decided that Kenya must be shunned, despite its past services to U.S. imperialism.

Skipping Kenya was a warning that more serious repercussions may lurk in the future – which is a potent threat, because the U.S. controls most of the guns of Africa. As the U.S.-backed warlord in Somalia said in Jeremy Scahill’s excellent film The Dirty War, “The Americans are masters of war.” War, and the threat of war, is the reality behind every U.S. presidential visit, to Africa and everywhere else. Whether the terms of trade are good or bad, the declining U.S. empire will get access to the resources it needs, or thousands – millions! – will die.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130626_gf_ObamaInAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am EDT

It Was Good That Blacks Expressed Frustration with Obama – But Don’t Call It “Direct Action”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Dr. Daniels said the demonstration was intended as a ‘wake up call’ for Obama.”

It’s taken four years and five months, but only this week did we witness the first White House demonstration by activists from the more traditional sector of Black politics – that is, those who have stood by Obama from the moment his candidacy was deemed “viable” but are now, well…somewhat upset. Led by Dr. Ron Daniels and his Institute of the Black World, and joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., several hundred African Americans gathered in Lafayette Park, in front of the executive mansion. In Dr. Daniels words, the demonstrators were “frustrated and angry at the President's reluctance to openly address what can only be considered a moral and political crisis in terms of depression levels of joblessness, horrific gun violence, fratricide and mass incarceration in urban inner-city Black communities.” In a commentary shortly before the event, Dr. Daniels wrote that, “For some, Obama is like a Black Nero fiddling while Black communities are imploding!”

I checked with journalists and activists in Washington to confirm that this was the first White House demonstration of Obama’s presidency by Blacks who had previously supported him. However, other Blacks have marched to the White House to protest and denounce The First Black President’s domestic and foreign policies. That distinction goes to the Black Is Back Coalition, which marched on the White House twice – the first time in November of 2009, and then again the next year. The Black Is Back Coalition predicted, early on, that Obama would be a servant of the rich and the Pentagon – and they were right. Black Is Back also said that knee-jerk, reflexive Black support for Obama would only encourage and legitimize his inherently anti-Black policies.

The demonstration was mislabeled.”

Monday’s demonstration comes two election seasons late – although late is better than never.

The demonstration was also mislabeled as a Day of Direct Action. Dr. Daniels and Rev. Jackson know full well that “direct action” has historically consisted of tactics of resistance such as sit-ins, strikes, blockades of traffic, property takeovers, and filling up jails. In Dr. Martin Luther King’s words:

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”

Dr. Daniels and Rev. Jackson don’t even pretend that they’re attempting to create a crisis that the Obama administration must confront. Daniel’s, himself, says the demonstration was intended as a “wake up call” for Obama – which is something quite different than a crisis purposely brought about by direct action. Plus, direct action is always accompanied by demands – not requests and suggestions, but demands – with the clear understanding that rejection of those demands will bring consequences that will heighten the state of crisis. None of that occurred on Monday.

With Obama now a lame duck, many in the Black political class will seek to rewrite the histories of their own behavior during this shameful period when Black folks rolled over en mass for a corporate shill with a brown face. There will be lots of play-acting and revisionism, along with, hopefully, some actual resistance. Let’s be clear about the difference between direct action and political theater.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130619_gf_WHdemo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56am EDT

Be Vigilant for Lynne Stewart – As She Was For All of Us

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

She is now at Stage Four, her condition deteriorating rapidly.”

There is a vigil underway in front of the White House, a life and death watch for a heroic people’s lawyer. Lynne Stewart dedicated her professional life to building whatever barricades of law she could to prevent the rulers from running roughshod over the people. Today, with Lynne’s life perilously in the balance, she requires the people’s due diligence in demanding that she be allowed compassionate release from prison.

Lynne Stewart should have never been there in the first place, a victim of the National Security State’s wars against humanity, both foreign and domestic. Stewart, one of the nation’s best and most dedicated guardians of human rights, was sentenced to 28 months in prison for zealously defending her client, the so-called “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman, accused in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Stewart helped her client write a press release, and wound up being convicted of obstruction of justice and giving material support to terrorists. That was in 2006.

Human rights organizations warned that the sentence would have “a chilling effect on human rights defenders who stand between government agencies and potential victims of abuses.” But Lynne Stewart was not chilled. She remained free on bail during her appeal. Stewart had already undergone treatment for breast cancer. Her appeal was denied and she began serving her 28-month sentence in November 2009. But the judge resented the fact that Stewart’s spirit had not been broken. She had seen so many clients caught in the jaws of the rich man’s criminal injustice machinery, and was prepared to serve her time if she were ensnared by the system, as well. But the judge resentenced Lynne to ten years in prison. She was 70 years old, and the breast cancer had returned.

She requires the people’s due diligence.”

Stewart had been scheduled for cancer surgery the week she was sentenced, but was forced to wait another year and a half for treatment. By then, the cancer had metastasized. She is now at Stage Four, her condition deteriorating rapidly in a federal medical prison facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Many thousands of petitioners – and many notables of the human rights community – appealed for Stewart’s release on compassionate grounds, so that she might get treatment at the best cancer hospital in New York, and spend what time she has left with her family and friends. The prison warden has signed for her release, as has the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Her husband and fellow activist, Ralph Poynter, says Lynn’s post-prison housing has been approved by probation authorities. Yet, it appears that Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, himself, are allowing Lynne Stewart’s days of life to drain away.

Ralph Poynter has taken up the vigil in front of the White House, appealing to the sense of humanity of the man inside, and his Attorney General. They need to hear from you, too. Go to LynneStewart.org, sign the petition, make the calls, and if you can, join Ralph Poynter on his vigil in Washington, DC. That’s LynneStewart.org.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130619_gf_LynneVigil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am EDT

Detroit and America’s Racial “Exceptionalism”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen ford

The picture is of Diego Rivera's mural Detroit Industry, 1932-33, Detroit Institute of Arts.

Corporate solutions can justifiably be substituted for democracy, when it comes to Blacks.”

The great American dissolution of electoral democracy is playing out in Detroit, where last Monday the state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager explained to a crowd at Wayne State University how he would compassionately go about the business of breaking their city into buyable and sellable parts. The people and their elected representatives would have no say in the ultimate result.

The corporate media, and white folks in general, view the process as an inevitability – a kind of crude justice – not because they have rejected the principle of self-government, but because Detroit is overwhelmingly Black, and Blacks have always been the exception to the American rule. In fact, all of the Black population centers of Michigan have been divested of the right to govern themselves.

There has been no national outpouring of solidarity with Michigan’s Blacks over the loss of their citizenship rights, which can only mean that there exists an effective white consensus that African Americans are not fully deserving of those rights. Uncontrolled concentrations of Blacks are seen as pathological, by definition.

The same race-based exception was made to public education, for Blacks. In New Jersey and localities across the country, public schools in largely Black areas have for decades been under state control, denying Black parents any effective voice in their children’s education. By and large, white suburbanites supported the state in making Blacks an exception to the general American rule on local control over education. It is a right Blacks are not thought to be qualified to exercise.

Blacks were an exception to the Constitution.”

The same racial exception to the rule led to massive privatization of inner city education, through wholesale imposition of charter schools and private school vouchers. When education secretary Arne Duncan declared that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to public schools in New Orleans because it allowed most of the city’s schools to be converted to charters, there was no national condemnation of his remarks – since it is accepted that Blacks cannot run their own school systems. They are the great exceptions to the American rule. Corporate solutions can justifiably be substituted for democracy, when it comes to Blacks.

The problems of drugs and crime were framed as Black phenomena, requiring a more flexible interpretation of civil liberties and the creation of a vast police state. Just as the Founding Fathers actually intended, Blacks were an exception to the Constitution.

Blacks, and their alleged “pathologies,” were considered the nexus of poverty and social disintegration in America. Therefore, the social safety net was kept at the absolute minimum.

And now, all these exceptions that have been made for Blacks, are to become models for America as a whole, in the age of austerity, corporatized education, undemocratic governance, and the National Security State. In places like Detroit and New Orleans, America has been busily creating the pilot programs for the rule of the rich, by systematically undermining social democracy for Blacks.

The great exception, is becoming the rule.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130612_gf_Detroit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT

What To Think of Whenever You Hear “The Worst of the Worst”?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

There are some phrases, mostly referring or belonging to government which frequently mean the opposite of what they say, or which are shorthand for entire libraries of lies promoted by the powerful to turn reality on its head. Terms like “military intelligence,” “public charter school,” “public-private partnership,” “extraordinary rendition,” “congressional oversight” and “humanitarian intervention” are among those that come readily to mind. We take this moment to focus on a current favorite phrase oft deployed by our masters of deceit to conceal their official crimes.

That phrase is “the worst of the worst.” Official spokespeople and corporate media apply this term to those unjustly confined for torture and indefinite sentences with no trial or formal charges, like those at Guantanamo, Bahgram, Diego Garcia and an archipelago of known and unknown prisons and surrogate facilities. It's been shown again and again that the so-called “worst of the worst” in such places are often completely innocent, and sometimes include children.

No matter. The “worst of the worst” label is an open invitation to invent even more lies, to dismiss their lives, their families and the rules of international law and human decency in their cases. One of the signal policy innovations of the Obama administration over the Bush-Cheney regime is said to be the simple murder of such persons with drones rather than locking them up.

The “worst of the worst” phrase is deployed by domestic officials as well, usually to refer to the United States' world-leading total of more than 70,000 in solitary confinement in thousands of federal, state and local jails and prisons. It has become standard procedure across the country to put prisoners in solitary confinement for years for such offenses as refusing to confess an alleged gang affiliation, engaging in anything that looks like unsanctioned self-help or self-improvement organizing, the possession of books that one's jailers disapprove of, having a history of political activism on the outside, or experiencing an awakening of political consciousness while a prisoner.

The assertion of jailers that the 70,000 in solitary confinement on any day in the United States are “the worst of the worst” is nothing less than cynical doublespeak to conceal their own crimes. Solitary confinement, when prolonged for more than a few days is recognized under international law as torture, and crimes always are doubly diabolical when committed anyone on a public payroll.

Hence whenever we hear media spokespeople, military or civilian officials on any level refer to those in their dungeons and their gunsights at home and abroad as “the worst of the worst” we should not let that stand. We should know, and let everyone in our reach know we and they are hearing the worst kind of calumny, designed to conceal official wrongs committed in all our names. It's our jailers and their official enablers, not our prisoners here and around the world who are truly “the worst of the worst.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

Direct download: 20130612_bd_worst_of_the_worst.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:23pm EDT

Rep. Clyburn: Putting Obama First – Civil Liberties, Peace Justice and Reality Last

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Congressman Clyburn has but one priority: to protect the image and legacy of Barack Obama.”

If one good thing has come out of Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House, it is that his rise has exposed the appalling backwardness of the Black Misleadership Class – a petty and puny-minded cohort whose worldview is so narrow, it can accommodate only one issue: the political fortunes of the First Black President. Nothing else matters to these incredibly parochial political midgets – not issues of war and peace, nor the precarious state of planetary ecology, not even the economic well-being of the masses of Black Americans. Certainly, not civil liberties. Only Obama.

Congressman James Clyburn is supposed to represent the interests of more than half a million South Carolinians, the majority of them Black. One might expect a Black congressman to have more than a passing interest in the Bill of Rights and protection of civil liberties. The revelation that Uncle Sam is building up a dossier on everyone with a telephone and a computer connection should be at least mildly upsetting to anyone that calls himself a Black leader. But Congressman Clyburn has but one priority: to protect the image and legacy of Barack Obama.

Rather than thank whistleblower Edward Snowden for revealing the massive scope of government spying under Obama, Congressman Clyburn sees a conspiracy against the president. Otherwise, how could a 30-year-old white boy who dropped out of high school get in a position to blow the whistle on the Obama administration. “I haven’t gotten to where I am in politics without relying on my gut,” said Clyburn. “And my gut tells me this is an effort to embarrass the president.”

No doubt, white privilege did play a role.”

Clyburn’s gut isn’t a bit queasy about the dramatic expansion of the National Security State, as long as Big Brother is Black. What gives Clyburn angry bowels is the idea that a white guy with a GED had a secret security clearance. “Where did he get the intellectual capacity to be allowed access to all this data?” fumed Clyburn. The better question is, Where did Snowden get the moral courage to go up against rapidly growing fascism with a Black face?

Julianne Malveaux is considered quite gifted, intellectually. She’s an economist, author, political commentator and former president of historically Black Bennett College, in North Carolina. But she, too, seems more upset about young Snowden’s fat salary at a law firm in Hawaii, than about threats to everyone’s civil liberties. Malveaux sounded like Congressman Clyburn’s echo. “I am still trying to figure out,” she said, “how a young white man with a GED was able to infiltrate both the respected firm Booz Allen and also the CIA, to earn a wage of more than $200,000 a year, and to know enough to whistle-blow.”

Snowden learned computers at a community college and got his security clearance while training to be a Green Beret. He left the military after breaking both legs, but kept his clearance – and the rest is history, right up there with Wikileaks and the Pentagon Papers. No doubt, white privilege did play a role in Snowden’s gaining access to Big Brother’s secrets. There have also been lots of times when white privilege was put to good use for the Black Liberation Movement, and in the cause of peace. What makes certain Black folks mad at Edward Snowden, is that he embarrassed their president – which, for the Black Misleadership Class, is the greatest crime imaginable.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130612_gf_ClyburnVsSnowden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

Ben Jealous’ Obscene “Truth and Reconciliation” Proposal

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Ben Jealous wants reconciliation without emancipation of those who sacrificed their youth for our people.”

NAACP chief Ben Jealous hasn’t taken a position on Assata Shakur, the exiled former Black Panther who President Obama’s FBI has elevated to Domestic Terrorist Number One – despite the fact that the grandmother has spent the last 29 years living peacefully in Cuba. Yes, Jealous knows that Shakur was a political prisoner before her escape, charged in the 1973 death of a New Jersey policeman. He told Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman that he thinks the NAACP will have to take a position on Shakur’s case at some point, and that he also feels for the families of the cops who died in New Jersey and in the Brinks robbery, in New York, in 1981. Jealous says he’s most interested in healing the nation from the effects of what he calls “politically motivated violence, on both sides.” What’s needed, he claims, is a kind of “truth and reconciliation commission.”

Ben Jealous’s clear reference is to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, convened in Cape Town, in 1996, by a multiracial cast of notables led by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Commission’s powers were limited to granting amnesty to perpetrators, or offering rehabilitation and reparations to victims. The hearings were quite controversial from the very start, and ultimately produced no political consensus among the races that justice was served.

What is there to conciliate about?”

It is most important to bear in mind that, at that time, an African National Congress government under Nelson Mandela had been in office for two years. The ANC’s political prisoners, including Mandela, himself, had been freed. The Commission could grant amnesty, but not administer punishment – which seemed far from fair to many members of the non-white majority who had been abused in every imaginable way for generations.

It is curious that Ben Jealous thinks this rather ineffective South African medicine can heal America’s racial wounds – especially since, unlike South Africa, and Barack Obama notwithstanding, whites are still firmly in control, here. Our political prisoners remain behind bars – scores of them, many incarcerated for more than 40 years, and some of them still in solitary confinement. What is there to conciliate about? The only decent demand is that they be set free, to enjoy what years they have left among family and comrades on the outside. Ben Jealous wants reconciliation without emancipation of those who sacrificed their youth for our people. In that light, his talk of reconciliation is an obscene diversion from the reality of still-living human beings trapped in perpetuity in America’s dungeons.

Ben Jealous wants peace much more than justice – forgetting that without some semblance of justice, there can be no peace. That’s why he stakes out a position on some fantasized truth and reconciliation scheme before taking a stand on the actual plight of Assata Shakur, on whose head his favorite president has placed a $2 million bounty. Why doesn’t Ben Jealous work his conciliatory charms on Obama, whose assault on human civilization is making conciliation with America more and more impossible for huge segments of the world’s population?

Clearly, the truth is that Ben Jealous has already reconciled himself with evil, and wants the rest of us to “turn the page” while evil is still on the throne. Sounds more like a Reconciliation and Capitulation Commission.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130605_gf_Reconciliation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EDT

The African Union: Still Subservient After All These Years

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The African Union’s little rebellion against the International Criminal Court simply shows that African leaders understand that the Americans have no loyalties.”

Developments at the recent African Union conference highlight the abject subservience to the West of the vast majority of states on the continent – and African leaders’ occasional attempts to contest their subordinate status. On an independent-minded note, the African Union rebuked the International Criminal Court for its fixation on indicting only Africans for crimes against humanity. Ethiopia’s prime minister, who was also chairman of the AU meeting, said the court’s “process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting rather than the objective of taking care of crimes and impunities.” To drive home the point, the AU voted almost unanimously to ask the court to refer its case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice president back to Kenyan courts, saying Kenya had the capacity to adjudicate the matter on its own. Only Botswana objected to the proposal.

The ICC is known to eagerly indict just about anyone – any African, that is – who falls out of favor with the United States. The U.S. clearly favored Uhuru Kenyatta’s opponent in the presidential race, Raila Odinga – which may have been one reason that Kenyans voted the other way. Yet, the AU’s slap in the face of the court and, indirectly, its U.S. backers, is much less than it seems. Kenya remains an unwavering puppet of U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa, having joined in the invasion of neighboring Somalia at Washington’s behest. And Ethiopia and Uganda provide the bulk of the troops occupying Somalia under U.S. direction. On paper, the war in Somalia is an African Union and United Nations mission, but the war is run by the CIA and largely financed by the Europeans. The African Union’s little rebellion against the International Criminal Court simply shows that African leaders understand that the Americans have no loyalties and are capable of turning on any one them when it suits their purposes, and having them tossed into prison by the International Criminal Court. The African heads of state were simply looking out for their own heads.

A continental standing army?”

There was a lot of bluster in Addis Ababa about creating an independent African force to maintain order on the continent. The leaders voted to create an “intervening” military unit to rapidly deal with crises and coup d’etats. That would be followed by creation of a full-fledged African Standby Force – a kind of continental standing army – as early as 2015. AU spokesmen speculated that the force “could be 100 percent” African, in terms of men on the ground. However, it would still need logistical support from the so-called “international community” – a euphemism for the United States and Europe – who are, of course, the sworn enemies of African independence.

The truth is, virtually all the armies of Africa, except for Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan, have become integrated into either U.S. or French military structures, and cannot act independently. African leaders claim they will try to break free by raising taxes on things like airline flights and hotel rooms – but that’s nonsense for home consumption. The African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, spoke of the “historic nature and scope” of the AU’s tentative moves towards military independence. But they are parakeets in a cage, trying to sound like eagles, fifty years after the formation of the Organization of African Unity.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130605_AU_Force.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am EDT