White House Knew Of Al-Qaeda Link To Benghazi Consulate Attack‏

By: Jim Kouri

White House officials and State Department staff, contrary to original press statements, were informed about the suspected terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, just two hours after the assailants invaded the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and that a radical Islamist group claimed responsibility for the consulate invasion and murders of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, according to emails obtained by the news media on Wednesday.

The emails, obtained by the Fox News Channel’s national security correspondent Catherine Herridge from an anonymous government source, identified the terrorist group as Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attacks.

United States

The first short email revealed how U.S. diplomats, in the midst of the violent and deadly attack, described the attack to Washington.

A second email that was sent stated that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a ‘response team’ was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.

A third email sent carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”

The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on [the U.S. Embassy in] Tripoli.”

While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post, which means Obama national security team was informed.

Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source told Herridge.

So far it’s unknown if there were more messages sent and received in Washington to and from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.

While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al-Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.

According to Herridge’s news story, there were indications that extremists with al-Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.

By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al- Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.

However, throughout the following two seeks Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Press Secretary Jay Carney attributed the Benghazi attack to Muslim reaction to a YouTube anti-Islam video.

During Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely’s conversation with the Examiner, he said this very serious and sensitive information was relayed by a source who has become extremely frustrated with the continued dishonesty within the White House in trying to blame the intelligence community for the Libyan debacle in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave and dedicated Americans were murdered by an al-Qaeda affiliate.

In addition to Gen. Vallely, former CIA director Michael Hayden and Michael Chertoff, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security, slammed Biden for insisting that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi did not ask for more U.S. security personnel before it was attacked which is the opposite of what Obama’s minions told Congress and the American people.

“During the Vice Presidential debate, we were disappointed to see Vice President Biden blame the intelligence community for the inconsistent and shifting response of the Obama Administration to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,” they said in their statement.

“Given what has emerged publicly about the intelligence available before, during, and after the September 11 attack, it is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence. Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs,” they said.

According to Gen. Vallely — a familiar face on the Fox News Channel especially during the Iraq War –the frustration level is at a boiling point within government agencies (particularly State/DOD and CIA) with the actions and cover-ups of the President and his administration hierarchy.

About the author:

Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

Ethiopia: Let us not Instigate Confusion!

Mohammed Nassir

The era, which we live in now, requires more than ever, strong and genuine cooperation among countries of the world. We have been witnessing the fact that sustainable development could not be effectively attained at a country level unless it is supported by regional or international cooperation based on shared interests and benefits.

Since the world understood the fact that cooperation among countries is key to survive, the international community at large and the different continents of the world in particular, have been promoting the establishment of political and economic cooperation to realizing a sustainable development that benefits the entire humankind and to creating peace and stability.

In this regard, Ethiopia, a country which I know very well should be appreciated for she has been working diligently to create political and economic cooperation with in the international community in general, Africa and notably in the Horn of Africa in particular, by making development the center of its policies and strategies.

According to the country’s Foreign Affairs Policy and Strategy, which is under implementation since 2002, ensuring sustainable national development could be doubtful unless supported by the prevalence of regional peace and development.

And thus there must be a healthy relations and co-operations with the countries neighboring Ethiopia and other countries of the continent as well as the world.

The practical implementation of the Foreign Affairs Policy and Strategy helped Ethiopia to successfully gain a great deal of recognition, respect and trust by the international community.

Due to its policies, at present Ethiopia has been able to have stronger relations and cooperation with many countries and multilateral organizations in the world than it did have before.

The country, which was only identified by poverty among the outside world, has now attained substantial economic development in the last two decades. Currently, the country has also engaged itself in a number of huge development activities aimed at eradicating poverty and put the nation among one of the middle income countries of the world.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of these development projects. The construction of this dam over the river Nile was commenced with the above sprit of cooperation.

According to government officials the construction of the dam is being in progress as per the time set in the plan. So far 11 percent of its work has been finalized.

Ethiopia has been playing a very constructive role on issues related to the equitable utilization of the Nile Basin resources and to creating understanding and trust among the nations sharing the Nile River.

The country has repeatedly made known that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is not meant only to itself, but to ensure the benefits and interests of the other riparian countries.

I have also observed Ethiopia’s efforts to create a regional and international atmosphere suitable for the equitable utilization of the water of the Nile.

In my view, the initiative made by the government of Ethiopia for the establishment of an international inquiry committee composed of experts drawn from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, as well as four international experts to investigate whether the dam will affect the interests of Egypt and Sudan, manifests how Ethiopia is committed to creating cooperation in order to ensure shared interests and benefits.

Ethiopia initiated the establishment of this committee by its late Prime Minister Meles zenawi, just to build a sense of confidence and cooperation among Egypt and Sudan so as to allow them to engage in continued cooperation serving their interests.

And to show its conviction that the project would never affect the riparian states as well as to demonstrate its assurance that this dam would be beneficial not only to Ethiopia but to Egypt and Sudan also.

This should be taken as a manifestation to Ethiopia’s firm confidence in that the Renaissance Dam is intended for the benefit of the three countries and it will further strengthen the cooperation between these countries.

The joint tripartite international committee has begun its work and now is assessing the impacts of Ethiopia’s hydro-power dam project. For instance last week the committee has made a second visit to the construction site.

Though the committee is expected to present its findings in February to the governments of the three countries, according to some media recent reports, so far in its study it has indicated that the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will have no negative impact to Egypt and Sudan.

The various studies carried out by the government of Ethiopia have also clearly indicated that the project would make beneficial both Egypt and Sudan in a number of ways.

According to theses studies the project will have the benefit of preventing floods and silting in downstream countries for the flow of the water will be regulated throughout the year. It will also increase the amount of water resources available, reducing the wastage from evaporation which has been a serious problem for the downstream countries.

In my understanding, Ethiopia would never initiate such project from the very beginning and propose the establishment of the International Committee to investigate its impact if it negatively affects Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Bahaa Eddin told Al-Masry Al-Youm, the final report on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be submitted to the governments of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in February. According to Al-Masry Al-Youm the report includes plans for action in case the dam is found to negatively affect any of the three countries.

The Minister also said that the four international experts on the panel evaluating the dam are focusing on its environmental effects on Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The final decision will be made by the experts committee. Even if the committee finds out that the project would negatively affect the interest of Egypt and Sudan, then in my belief, if there is genuine cooperation among these countries, they could be able to bring a practical solution in order to guarantee the common interests of each country.

However, the comments being given by some Media about the dam are very distressing as they try to instigate threat and confusion particularly among Egyptians by portraying the dam as a danger to the very survival of that country. But these comments and media reports are not substantiated by proper empirical evidences.

As far as I am concerned this assessment is not only incorrect but also very immoral as it tries to create misunderstanding and suspicion among the people of the riparian countries.

However, Ethiopia’s policy of cooperation has been successful. The practical commitment displayed by the Government to ensuring the interest of Egyptians regarding River Nile, have made the people of Egypt realize how Ethiopia is genuinely working to strengthen cooperation with their country.

According to information obtained from the government of Ethiopia, the exchange of views during the visit of top-level government officials of both countries to each other’s nations especially after the launch of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the Nile River has enabled to improve not only the diplomatic relations between the two countries but also minimize the wrongly perceived mistrust of the Egyptian people.

Thus, I kindly request the media and some so called intellectuals who are engaged in instigating confusion and misunderstanding, to instead focus on strengthening cooperation and dialogues as well as wait for the final rulings of the international committee, if they really are concerned to their country.

Leadership And The Geopolitics Of The Horn (Part-II)

Amanuel Hidrat
Our struggle, instead belting with reassuring chorus to the weight, is indeed ram-shackled and directed into all wrong targets as if we are thrown into an elbow-throwing arena of political punditry.  We lacked brotherhood and sisterhood that foster camaraderie and strengthen our labor of conviction. To be specific, I am talking about the labor exerted to our political conviction. Despite all the tones, cadences, and inflection of our political posture, we still are disorganized with no leadership to unite the labor to our conviction and the priority to the current struggle. The opposition’s cacophony of themes and messages has yet to cohere into a strong persuasive argument and competent leadership.

Watching at our current debate immersed into the role of individuals in our history (in the thirties and forties) is extremely sickening, and it can’t be anything other than to divert and weaken the current struggle. Those who are dragging us into this malicious or scandalous attack of our history are not serious about the current livelihood of the Eritrean people specifically about our young under the current regime. Nevertheless, it is the continuation of the pre-existing political feud – in that, their strike back has now turned out to be a real pleasure, spiked to its climax and aimed to attack the “Eritrean ascaris.” In fact their training wheel are off mark now, and its result become a “spectrum of revisionism” (a tragic tale of addiction) that bubbles in the grooves of “risk making” on the one hand and their attempts also resembles like searching a stairway to heaven working from another platform on the other. It is all an action of nudity and a political spectrum of revisionism. Indeed the barbs are usually partisan along our social divide.

Unfortunately, they have to be reminded that Isaias has arrested the course of our history being entangled into the nationalistic hegemony and his power projection in the region, all for the purpose of “regional power hubris”. Eritreans have welcomed his endeavor believing on the military might he was trying to built and aimed to thrust and provoke the countries in the region. Albeit, we have only come to understand after his failure, with all its consequences that we have to bear. We have never questioned his ambition and never questioned his project in the region. We were part of the “exaggerated pride” and “self-confidence” of the Yekaalo project “the all mighty” a term borrowed from the bible, that no one could challenge us to thrust his dagger.

Incidentally, I wasn’t from those who haven’t branched out their own narrow field of study. Always my contention was and is: all things are related, all subjects as well as life experience are inter-related, and as a result knowledge always percolate or trickle down to those who want to diversify and broaden their scope of understanding of this fast changing world. Myself I did oppose his project and I was blackmailed for my stand, but at the end vindicated. Now to a similar risk, I will venture on how to tackle the current impasse. I foresee that the Eritrean problem can be solved within the broader strategy of geo-politics and new regional political construct to liberate Eritrea from the despot and create peace and stability to the region. In part-I of my essay we have seen the importance of quantitative easing for peace and how to build regional citizenship to tackle the Eritrean problem. In part-II I will attempt to explain the importance of new regional political construct and its implication to our domestic political consumption and its virtue in solving our problem with our regional allies, and how contemporary mind will control the seismic change of our region.

New regional Geopolitical construct

The regional state actors (IGAD) must work for a new political construct that enables them to modify their own and each other’s political niches. Indeed political elites within the state-actors in the Horn of Africa must modify their understanding on the region to increase their power fitness not only to serve their nations but to the region as a whole. Since our region is of conflict of high strategic importance, the regional and international actors must work in collaboration for a new regional political construct to promote peace, security, and economic development within the region and beyond.

After the end of the cold war, there is a clear switch from geopolitical equilibrium (balance of power) of the two super powers to a new regional power structure that gives new abilities to the states to compete in the world economy collectively. The new regional power structure gives a new impetus for the formulation of a new context, content, and the practice of state-actors to create new reality which fits into the network of mutual benefits; and the new geopolitical construct must summon leaders of the regional state-actors to remind them that in this political space of our era, there is no political game where many players participate and each player plays independent of all the others, be it nationally or regionally. That is the new era we are in.

In these new operational, interactional, and contestational of globalized geopolitical discourse, the Eritrean elite must engage critically to change the problematic discourse of our isolationist leaders and the nationalistic hegemony that crushed the wellbeing of our people. The Eritrean regime is so arrogant to have a statecraft that will fit the new regional power structures with new political behaviors and collective policy choices that will ensure security and economic development for the state of Eritrea.

In biochemistry, receptors serve as sensors for cells, communicating from outside the cell to inside the cell, similar to the body’s sensors for light (eyes), smell (nose), taste (tongue), or sound (ears). Likewise geo-politicians are the sensors of regional politics and the routes of dispersion of international influences. The origin and routes of politico-dispersion are the key concept in tracing geopolitics of knowing, believing, and sensing as well as body politics of knowing and understanding. In a nutshell, geo-politicians are agents of knowledge who understand entities that are assumed to exist in some area of interest and the relationships that hold among them and with the developed nations. They understand the dichotomy of territorial and modern thinking – the relationship of political administration and economic interdependency of regional states.

How does the grammar of geopolitics work? First we have to understand the socio-genesis of our region and the matrix of power in order to respond to the logic, experience, and needs of the communities of the region, within the diversity of all the existing modern discipline and rule of engagement. Second the readiness for transformation of our thoughts to the concept of knowledge that always responds to the needs of the people for institutional demand and interdependent of economic development. Third the need for understanding the new global configurations into regional transformation of knowledge – a new path for sustainable regional economic development as part of the global designs.

This is the path to modernity the intellectuals of the third world should adapt for their regions (that includes the intellectuals of the Horn of Africa) in the emergence of global-political societies that are the necessary conditions for peace and stability in their respect regions. Indeed this will create the simultaneous and continuous process of interactions of the inside and outside actors to insure security and political stability.

The essence of my argument is not on the detail of the necessity of geo-politics but it is on the implication of geo-politics on global economy and the re-arrangement of regional states into regional blocs to ensure the merger of regional economy and labor mobility. Since economic integrity is not an isolated activity, the regional states (regional bloc) should cooperate in political and security that affect the region, knowing that the only constant in politics is change and it is changing quickly.

Seismic Shift And Contingency Plans

In a seismic shift of two nations in our regional politics, Ethiopia gained an international stature in the wink of our eyes and Eritrea like a jilted lover of non-state actors, has lost everything from the grasp of our hand. The larger-than-life mythology of political ruddiness and arrogance has excluded the regime from the regional and international community. So it is not surprising that much of our (the opposition) work must deal with the question of “unity of purpose” and the quest of peace within the structured geopolitics of the region to root out the despot of our nation.

Traditional politics such as slogans of our past revolutionary era that served narrow nationalism are turned upside down and should be viewed through the prism of experience of modern states. It is this central part of discovery of inter-connectedness that nations of the region must be guided by the rule of engagement of modern states. That discovery will continue probably redefining our causes and influences within the loop of regional identity and the parameter of modern states and rule of engagement – a new epistemic legitimacy. Episteme and paradigm are not alien to the contemporary political terrains of global equality, economic justice that promote revitalization and intellectual spirit of contemporary mind.

Therefore in a slight hitch of caustic political inter-reactions, diversionary practitioners do not follow in full slate on how modern states work. Our leaders are losing all the momentum to reinvent the necessary courage when opportunities present to them – they fail to act realistically.  The walking dead “Isaias” is searching a new lease for his life. We could see it and discover it by inhibiting the fear sounds that rings in our ears. What we need is pulling the loose threads of fear to liberate ourselves and join to the struggle of peace and justice.

This inward looking for regional arrangement is indeed palpable for renewed political commitment to the countries in the horn to promote economic, political, and security importance that transform the regional countries from simple cooperation to deep integration. But regional states should first agree to form intra-security arrangement that eventually extend to military pact to defend vulnerable states from rogue regimes as well as to protect peace and stability for economy activities in the region.

Counting On The Contemporary Mind

The Norwegian Noble Committee honored the EU for promoting “peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights” in Europe for the last six decades since the devastation of World War-II. The formation of EU came out from the conviction that “economic ties” would make sure that the century-old enemies such as Germany and France will never turn on each other again. The bloc which started in 1957 with six countries as EEC and later transformed to EU is now consisted of 27 countries with other nations lined up waiting to join. Even in this world of economic and financial crises, they are fighting to safe guard their unity, because the disintegration of their unity will obviously lead to a new cycle of nationalism and extremism – that reverse the new Europe to an old Europe we do know full of wars and catastrophes.

In light of that, the Norwegian politician Jagland has said that this year’s award “looks forward as well as backward” as such it recognizes the EU’s historical role in building peace, but it does so at time when nationalist forces that once tore the continent apart are again on the rises. In fact, the message of the award is to remind that EU members must keep their union – the New European national identity they got after World War-II; because economic interdependence have strengthened their peace and tranquility.

Now look what the regional identity (IGAD) could learn from the seminal work of EU and European project. I believe that the experience of EU could hold positive lessons for our region to create the devolution of political authority within the central institutional frame work, where external actors could treat it as a single geo-political entity. We need a great shape-shift of strategic alliance. We are living in a time of extraordinary transformation under the modern geo-political ship that will impact our region in particular and the entire world in general for years to come. The conception of state, its character, its duty, and its aim is evolving from time to time to fit to the challenges and endeavors of human Psycho-kinetic power for the common good, shaping attitudes and molding the institutions that educate and govern our activities. Therefore IGAD as a new identity to our region must be encouraged to undertake social, economic, and political reform that fits to the new geo-political construct.

The question is what will be our role as Eritreans (in the opposition camp) in this distinctive project of regional identity? Can the opposition represent Eritrea in this project, at this time when the regime is alienated from IGAD? Yes I believe so, if and only if the broad umbrella ENCDC manages to dissolve the archaic EDA organizations and constitute a formidable leadership that fits to the new regional geo-political construct. The Eritrean people are fed up with the unproductive EDA leadership for the last 20 years and have reached the last straw in a series of annoyances and disappointment. ENCDC has one last opportunity to make it or break it in order its institutional structure work in the upcoming regular session of the council. The reality of our country is changing drastically by the day. All the political diagnostics on the ground inside our nation are indicating that the regime is loosing its influence opening the door to forces of change from inside and outside to fill the vacuum. It is critical for ENCDC (not EDA) to look inward and show its legitimacy (by action) as a force of change that could bridge the inside and outside forces of democratic change to make a transitional power for peace and stability of our nation. At the same time to heighten its diplomatic Prowse in the region, ENCDC leadership must delegate the diplomatic mission to intellectual technocrats who have the full range of diplomatic tools to foster greater understanding within the region and beyond. The diplomatic team should include from inside and outside the organization to open a foundation to the new regional geo-political construct of IGAD. These diplomatic technocrats are the agents who are assigned for catering peace just like making dinnertime satisfying for everyone to the state actors of the region.

To be continued………

tebeges@yahoo.com

 

Ghana: Nana Konadu dances to her own tune

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings is in tatters and is a sight for sore eyes.

She is vigorously dancing the Azonto dance on the political scene to the tune that she herself has called. We are enjoying the spectacle but hope that she won’t dance herself lame before the actual dancing beginsh.

Does she deserve anybody’s pity? No, at least, not mine. She will cry all she wants to, fume all she wants to, and parade the corridors of the judiciary all she has the nerves to; but the end will not be any better than the beginning or middle for her political career. Or for her standing in the estimation of the Ghanaian citizenry. For her, the end won’t justify the means.

The overarching question is not about her disqualification by the Electoral Commission from contesting the Presidential elections but it is about why she thinks that she has what Ghanaians are looking for in their leaders and must pester state institutions to serve her purposes. I will return to this issue.

In all senses, Nana Konadu is reaping what she has sown and deserves nothing but concentrated contempt and extremely cold shoulders form the large majority who see her as a bugbear. And a bugbear she is!

Those who see her as a matriarch are free to join her staccato rhythm. After all, to them, she is the one to be obeyed without question. But thy are all leading themselves nowhere, causing more commotion than motion.

In her latest show of misplaced resilience or foolhardiness, she is in court to force a river to flow upstream. How pathetic doesn’t she come across, swimming against a current in the Roaring Forties!!

Here is the latest torn feather in her cap (or the beret of the 31st December Women’s Movement that sits jauntily on her bushy hair):

“The National Democratic Party has filed an application at the Human Rights division of the High Court seeking an order of mandamus to force the Electoral Commission to carry out its public duty to have their flag-bearer Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings registered as a presidential candidate for the December elections.

“The suit became necessary after the party handed the EC a 24-hour ultimatum to have Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings registered.

“As the ultimatum elapsed Wednesday morning, Deputy Communications Director of the NDP, Hilarious Abiu tells Joy News the party has no other choice than to seek legal action on the case and have their leader registered (Ghanaweb , October 24, 2012).

Dear reader, join me to hoot at the black sheep of Ghana politics as she roams the political landscape defecating on it in protest at what she considers a “human rights abuse,” forgetting that in the process, she is rather soiling her own backside.

She is heading to the Human Rights Court to seek redress, we are told. Human rights? Does Nana Konadu today know what constitutes a “human rights abuse”? Wonders will never end.

Many victims of the era in which she and her husband towered above all else and exerted their draconian selves on the Ghanaian political scene will definitely be turning in their graves or chafing at what is unfolding right in front of their eyes. They had no chance to seek redress because they had no human rights in the workings of the Rawlings regime where Nana Konadu was a force to reckon with.

Here is one woman whose looming presence on the Ghanaian political scene for almost 20 years has left in its trail a motley of bitter-sweet memories—but with more of the “bitter” part than the “sweet” one.

We can recall a few of those bitter ones just to point out why her persistence to contest the elections on the ticket of a political party carved out of the NDC by her (and her doting husband, Jerry Rawlings) is the logical conclusion of a hazardous political journey—which should have made her sober and not vitriolic and demoniacal as she is now and will continue to be till death lays its icy hands on her.

Even though she wasn’t found to be an accomplice in the dastardly abduction and murder of the three High Court judges on June 30, 1982, it came to light that the vehicle that was used by Cpl. Amedeka and his team for that act belonged to her. How it happened to be so is still a mystery.

Do you remember the Djentu guy who had the identification hair-cut characteristic of the military brutality under Rawlings? Yes, he was so treated for daring to have something to do with one of Nana Konadu’s daughters. His “impudence” gave him that identification hair-cut right at the Osu Castle.

Nana Konadu didn’t see anything wrong with that maltreatment nor did she consider it a human rights issue.

Many other excesses that occurred could have excited her compassion or, at least, an intervention to show the mother in her. Yet, she stood aloof with a bated interest while others’ rights were being abused.

Today that her political ambitions have been cut short by her own miscalculation, she is out, throwing temper tantrums for public attention or sympathy.

Have we so soon forgotten the negative impressions that she and her husband have created about the Ghanaian judiciary, telling the whole world that they didn’t trust the judiciary enough to seek redress from it against those making all manner of damaging allegations against them? What has happened now to make them repose so much confidence in that same judiciary in the hope that her disqualification by the EC would be overturned by the Human Rights Court?

I expect the case to be thrown out and Nana Konadu further bruised because that is what she deserves. Was it the EC’s fault that she couldn’t have her nomination form properly filled and endorsed unlike what the other qualified candidates did to meet the EC’s deadline?

Or does she think that her arm-bending tactics will work any magic for her? The odds are heavily stacked against her and she is just wasting her time and everybody’s, pursuing this lost cause at court. I don’t expect anything beneficial from this litigation. In effect, Nana Konadu has no grounds to bother the EC or to threaten it the way she and her lackeys have begun doing.

Does she think that the Human Rights Court will single her out to be given the kind of preferential treatment that will throw the electoral process into disarray and disrepute? Or that the Court will order the EC to go back and undo the harm that she has inflicted on herself?

Can’t Nana Konadu zip up and come to terms with the bigger reality—that she is just not destined to be part of the team to seek the voters’ mandate? And why does she think that she is the only disqualified candidate whose “human rights” have been abused by the EC?

You see, when the gods want to kill people like this black sheep of Ghanaian politics, they don’t first make them mad but they also send them off on suicidal missions. That’s where Nana Konadu is now.

In truth, she is like a wounded tigress; but she has no claws to cause any harm. She doesn’t have any fang either. All she has are active tear glands that will produce bucketfuls of tears as her political fortunes evaporate at her realization that the once waxing Nana Konadu has virtually waned off and been reduced to a pale shadow of her former self. Such is the fate of those who are blinded by raw greed for power and vindictiveness.

Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor

Will Akufo-Addo bring down the moon too for Ghanaians?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

We can now say with all certainty—and be brazen about it too—that the NPP’s Akufo-Addo is on an electioneering campaign of sorts to outrun himself. Or to outdo his running mate.

The promises are flying all over the place, making his campaign nothing but a Las Vegas type of casino game of chance. The game plan is simple: Keep promising Ghanaians everything in one breath, vigorously tossing the dice to see if Lady Luck will smile on him!

One promise here, another one there makes his campaign for the upcoming elections more ridiculous than the jamboree and kangaroo dance that precipitated his defeat in the 2008 polls.

It seems the NPP’s political campaign is based on nothing but mere promises, which isn’t inspiring enough. Too much of everything being promised Ghanaians is becoming really bad now as its flagbearer remains fixated on nothing but promise-making and hollow claims to outdo the incumbent. Akufo-Addo has indeed seen the moon and will soon offer it to Ghanaians.

I am reminded of a statement by the late Forces Sergeant-Major Isaac Frimpong (alias “Red Light) when he told a group of soldiers:

“Some of us have travelled ooh… I, for instance, I have travelled outside the world!”

Akufo-Addo seems to have travelled outside the world too. Unless anything happens to jolt him, he will definitely promise Ghanaians everything, including the moon that he has set his eyes on.

Probably, in his huge dream of becoming Ghana’s President at all costs—all die being dying—he knows no bounds; hence, this promise-making spree as a means to win voter confidence. Probably, in his overzealousness, he may end up overshooting the target. Such a politician scares me stiff!!

He is indeed over-speeding to create a Messianic air around himself, which is dangerous in politics. But he is unfazed because he has a precedent and is emboldened by the fact that Ghanaians haven’t yet been able to punish those who have already made huge promises to be in office only to end up fooling them.

By this time in his electioneering campaigns toward the December elections, he has made promises with scary implications. Anyone who knows the economic history of the country should rebuff such vain promises as nothing but a mere ploy to curry favour from the gullible segments of the electorate.

To make matters worse, he is just gushing out those promises without backing them with any policy initiative to tell us where funding of those promised projects and programmes would come from without any further harming of the economy.

Doubtless, our economy is no economy at all. It isn’t strong enough to support such ventures nor is there any indication that even if the NPP wins the elections, an Akufo-Addo government can revamp it within the period that those promises are to be fulfilled—if ever!

So, what is the justification for all these unprecedented promises that will lead to a further draining of the economy?

Economic growth doesn’t happen overnight nor is there any guarantee that the grand economic theories and designs on paper that the so-called intellectuals or economic gurus boast of will materialize to raise productivity under an Akufo-Addo government that will convert the Ghanaian economy into a tiger to support such ventures. And the NPP boasts of a host of such “intellectuals” and “economic gurus” whose only forte is their ability to preside over property-grabbing.

I am being snide here to say that Akufo-Addo is embarking on a whimsical rhetorical project in nothing but a desperate attempt to win voter sympathy. Take away these promises from his campaign, and it flops, BAM!

It is true that Ghanaians aren’t satisfied with the performance of the incumbent government at several levels, but they deserve better than all these promises coming from Akufo-Addo and his NPP team of hot air blowers.

If for nothing at all, they should pause to reconsider the value of promise-making and be guarded. Will they claim not to know how the current government is suffering the negative backlash of the promises that its members had made toward the 2008 elections but which can’t be fulfilled, not because they lacked the moral or political will to do so but because the funds are just not available for that purpose?

What hasn’t been done to source funds all to no avail? Or, at least, not to have depended on this weak economy to carry out all those projects promised the electorate?

Nothing has happened to boost our economy despite all measures taken by the various governments. Ghana has been an exporter of primary commodities over the years and hasn’t gained as much as is needed from those exports to stand on its feet. It has been at the mercy of the international donor community all these years, having not succeeded in implementing successfully the policies or conditionalities imposed on it by such foreign financial institutions as the International Monetary Funbd and its affiliate, the World Bank.

Our own so-called economists and development experts haven’t contributed anything concrete to solve the problem. Added to this lapse is the persistent flaws in our management of national affairs that places more emphasis on consumption than production.

This from-hand-to-mouth existence won’t grow our economy. It is troubling that our leaders are hamstrung and can’t change the situation for the better. That is why there is no silver lining on the horizon. I don’t expect this deplorable situation to change in the foreseeable future because there is no firm indication that anybody is prepared to do anything drastic (as the Malaysians and Singaporeans are known to have done) to effect any drastic change. The parameters are fixed.

Against this background, what is the justification for all these sweeping promises being made by Akufo-Addo and all others following suit (especially those in the incumbent government who are desperately trying to counteract Akufo-Addo’s version with their own)?

Promise-making cannot be ruled out of politics, especially in the Ghanaian context when there is so much emphasis on patronage as a political gimmick. But it is not the best political tool. At best, it is only a double-edged sword waiting to slash its maker’s throat.

Promise-making is akin to a Messianic posture, which is exactly what Akufo-Addo is portraying. Scary, isn’t it?

Even before the controversy surrounding his free education for senior high school students subsides, he has added another one on free health care for all Ghanaian children under 18 years.

Supporting him, Mahamudu Bawumia is also abroad, promising that an NPP government would establish 350 senior secondary schools and many more.

Just today, the horse in Akufo-Addo ran away. He has made yet another promise to build 200,000 houses every year for the benefit of Ghanaians. He said so at a meeting with members of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA).

Eih, Akufo-Addo!! Have you that much gut to tempt Ghanaians?

Indeed, I can infer from what is happening that unless someone reins in the run-away horse, Akufo-Addo and his team of NPP campaigners will bring heaven down to earth for Ghanaians to live in. I am highly skeptical of this manipulation of the situation and wish to tell Akufo-Addo that even though he has challenged Ghanaians to “take him to the cleaners” if he fails to make good those promises, he is taking matters to dizzying heights.

Unfortunately for him, it seems the Ghanaian voters will be guided by hindsight, having  learned bitter lessons after the 2008 elections. The inability of ex-President Mills’s government to fulfill the electioneering campaign promises has taught them those lessons and they will be cautious in responding to any more promises being made toward the December elections.

More importantly, the Ghanaian has matured politically enough to sift the chaff from the grain. They know that just as excuses are for losers, so also are effusive promises to desperate politicians seeking their mandate to be in power for purposes other than serving their interests. Such people won’t easily budge to entreaties borne out by this kind of dog respect and sham humility.

Even Santa Claus (Father Christmas) is circumspect in how much he “promises” and delivers. The days of Messiahs are over. So also should those promising manna be shoved away without any hesitation.

 

Eritrean Community Members in Houston City Express Readiness to Back Up National Development Drive

Eritrean community members residing in Houston City, USA, voiced readiness to demonstrate staunch resistance against anti-Eritrea agendas and back up the national development drive. They made the pledge at a meeting they conducted recently.

The citizens conducted extensive discussion as regards the nation’s ongoing development programs, with more emphasis to the economic, educational and health systems. They also stated that the unjust sanctions against Eritrea would all end up in fiasco thanks to the Eritrean people’s perseverance.

The participants of the meeting lauded the development accomplishments being registered in the Homeland.

Imperialists prepare for war in Mali

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Western imperialist states, with the support of the United Nations Security Council, are preparing for a full-scale military intervention in the West African state of Mali. Since March, the country has been in a severe political crisis after a military coup and its effective partitioning into north and south.

The French government of Francois Hollande has moved surveillance drones to West Africa and is holding secret talks with U.S. officials in Paris. Mali was colonized by France in the 19th century but won independence in 1960.

Before a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure in March, the U.S. Africa Command had established training programs and joint operations with the Malian army.

This planned imperialist intervention is being carried out under the guise of fighting in North and West Africa.

The Tuareg people in northern Mali have been at odds with the central government in Bamako in the south for many years. After the U.S.-NATO engineered war of regime change in Libya, many Tuaregs who had worked in Libya relocated back to northern Mali, where Tuaregs have lived for many centuries. The Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is reported to have led the campaign that seized several major cities in the north earlier this year and declared a separate state of Azawad.

The MNLA is viewed as a secular organization concerned with addressing grievances between the Tuareg and the central government. Organizations of an Islamic orientation also have a formidable presence in northern Mali. The imperialists are using the presence of groups such as Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb to justify intervention and occupation.

France has been turning more attention to the entire Sahel region as it accelerates its withdrawal from Afghanistan. It plans to move two surveillance drones to western Africa from Afghanistan. (AP, Oct. 22)

Imperialists want to use African troops

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson was involved in the Paris talks on Mali. On Oct. 12, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the deployment of 3,000 troops under the ostensible authority of the West African regional organization. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was given 45 days to put forward “detailed and actionable recommendations.”

In Brussels on Oct. 19, the European Union resolved to “speed up planning of a possible (EU) military operation to help reorganize and train the Malian defense forces. The EU will maintain the option to adopt targeted restrictive measures against those involved in the armed groups in northern Mali and those hindering the return to constitutional order.” (skynews.com.au, Oct. 22)

Once the imperialists made their plans, they held a meeting in Bamako, Mali’s capital, on Oct. 20-21 with regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the recently installed African Union Commission chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

France’s special envoy to the Sahel, Jean Felix-Paganon, told the international press during his visit to Mali that “we are at their disposal.” (telegraph.co.uk, Oct. 22)

Tuaregs deny influx of Islamist fighters

The rationale for imminent military action in northern Mali, according to a wave of news articles, is the claim that fighters from various Islamist groups have been pouring into the region. Voice of America put out an inflammatory report on Oct. 22: “Hundreds of additional Islamist fighters have deployed in northern Mali, as neighboring countries make plans to send troops to the troubled nation.” It claimed, “Residents report seeing hundreds of Tunisian and Egyptian militants in the city of Gao, while many other militants went to the central town of Douentza, close to Malian army positions in Mopti. The al-Qaida linked militants in the region have carried out public executions, amputations and floggings in an effort to enforce their strict version of Islamic law.”

The MNLA has denied these reports. Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, a spokesperson for the organization, said reports of “the arrival of convoys of jihadists from Sudan and the Western Sahara are totally false. We categorically deny it.” (iol.co.za, Oct. 22)

Even a Malian security source told the French Press Agency that while “new terrorists” had arrived in the north of Mali, claims of several hundred were “exaggerated.” (Sapa-AFP, Oct. 22)

The aims and objectives of the E.U., U.S. and U.N. Security Council are related to the overall imperialist strategy for the African continent, which has oil and other minerals indispensable to the world capitalist market.

Western intervention, even if masked by thousands of regional troops from ECOWAS, cannot resolve the problems of underdevelopment and lack of empowerment among the African masses. Africa and its people have no other choice but to take control of their resources and to develop mechanisms for ensuring the security, stability and development of the continent.

The rise and fall of al-Shabab

Al-Shabab Bars 3 UN Agencies From Somalia

By Nasser Mussa

rom remote villages in Somalia to the U.S. Federal Court in Minneapolis, al-Shabab has garnered attention throughout the world as a terrorist group from the Horn of Africa.

rom remote villages in Somalia to the U.S. Federal Court in Minneapolis, al-Shabab has garnered attention throughout the world as a terrorist group from the Horn of Africa.

Al-Shabab seized power in the summer of 2006 after driving warlords out of Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, which has remained a warzone despite efforts to form a stable government. Following its victory, the group organized itself as an Islamist government following strict Sharia law. Within a few months, al-Shabab mobilized a considerable number of fighters, including American citizens who travelled to Somalia and joined the group to fight.

As al-Shabab fighters advanced in Somalia, the U.S. government was concerned that Somalia would become a haven for terrorist groups and began aiding the Ethiopian government via financial support and military training. In winter 2006, the Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia with U.S. support.

However, this effort failed due to historical animosities between Somalia and Ethiopia. The Ethiopian invasion became a showdown for al-Shabab, which gave the group popular support among Somali populations to fight against Ethiopian troops. I remember Somalis protesting in Minneapolis calling on Ethiopian troops to withdraw from Somalia. It was during this time that Americans began traveling to Somalia to join al-Shabab in 2007.

Following these departures Minneapolis was the site of an FBI investigation. According to the U.S. Justice Department, “federal agents have been conducting a long-running, international investigation into a pipeline that supplies men from Minneapolis to Somalia.” The federal government indicted several individuals and convicted Mahamud Said Omar in the first case related to al-Shabab. Recently, the group was widely driven out of its Somali strongholds. Though the group continues to train new members in south Somalia, al-Shabab fortunately appears to be on a decline of public support and under intense pressure from the U.S. and African governments.

Grieving widow stalls Ethiopia’s smooth transition

Meles Zenawi’s widow become quite fond of the prime minister’s official residence during the 21 years she spent there. But she’s not the first lady any more, and Ethiopia’s new leader and his family are waiting to move in. Only one problem: the widow won’t budge.     By SIMON ALLISON, dailymaverick

It is has been a little more than two months since the death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Since then, the country that he ruled over for 21 years has effected a remarkably smooth transition. His deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, has taken over as both party leader and prime minister. There have been no major reshuffles. Policy changes, where they have happened, have been encouraging. Any threats to Desalegn’s succession were muted and, evidently, unsuccessful. Even the country’s restive Muslim population has been quiet, waiting to see what the new leadership is all about before pressing on with their campaign for a greater say in the country’s (and their own) affairs.

There is one problem, however. It’s minor in the grand scheme of things, perhaps, but raises a few nagging questions that Meles’ successor could do without. It’s also rather tricky to handle, even with the best of intentions.

Journalist Argaw Ashine explained the sensitive situation for Daily Nation: “The powerful widow of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is reportedly stalling on vacating Ethiopia’s national palace for the country’s new leader and his family. According to government sources, Mrs Azeb Mesfin has ignored instructions to move to a new residence that would also be accorded full security detail. The government has given Mrs Azeb and her children the option of three residential villas in Addis Ababa but she is said to have refused to even visit any out of her own security concerns.”

Meanwhile, Desalegn and his family remain in their relatively small villa in a suburban area in the west of the capital. This is not particularly convenient for Ethiopia’s new head of state, although it does reveal his considerate side; he leaves for work very early in the morning and returns late at night in order to spare the already jam-packed Addis Ababa streets the further chaos that accompanies the passage of his convoy.

At a human level, it is easy to sympathise with the widow. Meles Zenawi was just 57 when he died, and her grief is real; the pair had been married for a quarter of a century. For most of that time, the couple lived in the prime minister’s residence in the national palace, as was their right. With Meles showing no signs of relinquishing power before his death, Azeb Mesfin would have envisaged many more years in what had become, in effect, their personal home. But losing her husband also means losing her home, a double blow which Azeb is probably not yet ready to face.

“For Azeb to leave a house she lived in for 21 years takes a lot longer than one might possibly imagine. Especially the properties of her late husband including his memorabilia, books, several of his precious possessions and other things might require time to be arranged and moved out of the house,” said Seble Teweldebirhan, an Addis Ababa-based reporter.

At a political level, things are a little more complicated (as they always are). Azeb Mesfin was no mere ornament to her husband’s immense power. She is a successful politician in her own right, and chairs an influential multi-billion dollar government fund for the rehabilitation of the Tigray region. Not coincidentally, most of Ethiopia’s political power is concentrated in the hands of people from this region (although not the new prime minister, it should be noted; he is from a southern province).

In her own way, she was just as powerful as her late husband. “She not just Meles Zenawi’s wife, but practically second-in-command of her husband’s tyranny. In fact, those who know her well say that she is very mean and more dictatorial than her husband,” wrote Abebe Gellaw, an analyst on an anti-government website. His view is jaundiced, but it contains an element of truth: Azeb and Meles were a team.

In fact, right after Meles’ death speculation began that his widow would manoeuvre herself into power. If true, she obviously failed, but perhaps this explains the strange delays in confirming Desalegn, the official successor, to the position. It also explains why she’s so reluctant to leave the official residence, the last vestige of executive power remaining to her.

For Desalegn, the issue is fraught. If he pushes too hard to get her out of the palace, he risks coming across as uncaring, potentially losing the support of Meles’ supporters. If he does nothing, however, he might come across as soft, and not in control – qualities that Ethiopians have not seen a leader for many decades.

This, perhaps, is no bad thing. Meles Zenawi’s obituaries were divided in their praise for his economic development policies and criticism for his repressive governance. If Desalegn can combine steady economic growth with a more enlightened, less restrictive government, he can really consolidate Ethiopia’s progress. And if can do that, then it doesn’t really matter how long it takes to get Azeb Mesfin out of the palace. DM

Eritrean Nighisti Semret, mother of 4, Stabbed to death in Cabbagetown, Toronto

Nighisti Mehari Semret, 55, was stabbed to death in Cabbagetown early Tuesday morning.

Nighisti Semret arrived in Canada two years ago, an Eritrean refugee determined to raise enough money to eventually reunite with her four children still in Africa.

On the overnight shift at the downtown Delta Chelsea hotel, she worked tirelessly cleaning floors and kitchens, and eventually asking and being tapped for a supervisor position. Semret was private, but feisty and ambitious. And always the first to get to work and the last to leave, shaken colleagues said Wednesday.

Police release video of suspect and victim in Cabbagetown stabbing death

“She was like a lot of our workers, she came to start a life,” said Frida De Paz, who worked with Semret at Andorra Building Maintenance, the company that contracts out to the hotel.

After staying past her 6:30 a.m. shift Tuesday to clean up the storeroom, then leaving after one worker encouraged her to go home and rest, Semret, 55, headed north up Yonge St. in the rain to her nearby Cabbagetown rooming house. She was just 100 metres shy of home when she was stabbed to death in an alleyway — a popular neighbourhood shortcut near Ontario and Winchester Sts.

Disturbing security camera footage released by police Tuesday shows Semret passing through the laneway holding an umbrella, trailed by a man with his right hand tucked into a dark coat, clutching what police believe to be the kitchen knife that killed her.

Witnesses, alerted by Semret’s screams at about 7 a.m. Tuesday, rushed to her aid and saw her attacker stab her no less than 10 times. One eventually intervened, using an umbrella to knock the knife out of the man’s hand, causing him to flee.

Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux said Wednesday the fatal blows had been delivered by then. Semret was the 43rd homicide victim of 2012 in Toronto.

Semret, who went by the nickname Nicki, lived alone at the socially-assisted women’s home, in a cramped room big enough to fit a few belongings. She shared a kitchen and bathroom with another tenant.

While she kept to herself, she would occasionally joke with the other women and fill the kitchen with fragrant smells from traditional African dishes.

“Nicki would give you the shirt off her back if she could,” said longtime tenant Joan Bell, 59. “She didn’t deserve this.”

Friend Saba Belay, 35, said Wednesday that Semret, a proud woman, often avoided inviting visitors to her rooming house. She didn’t have an easy life, said Belay. Her parents died when she was young. While it’s unclear why she fled Eritrea, the small country in the horn of Africa is ruled by one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

While members of Toronto’s close-knit Eritrean community said Semret was not well-known because she hadn’t been in Canada long, a local Eritrean church offered to pay for her funeral with funds from the community.

“It’s really sad, especially an innocent woman who was just working so hard to bring her family here,” said Berhane Kidane, a youth mentor at St. Michael’s Eritrean Orthodox Church. On Wednesday night he was making posters to put up in local restaurants, urging people who knew Semret to offer information.

A former co-worker at Andorra said he believed Semret had lived in Uganda for several years before coming to Canada, and local Eritreans said Wednesday they thought at least one teenage child remained in the country and were working to contact family. Belay, however, said that Semret, who didn’t talk much about her husband, didn’t know where her kids were.

Police made the rare move Wednesday morning of identifying Semret, after fruitless attempts to find her next of kin, despite having contacted her employer and immigration officials.

Giroux said police believe Semret’s killer “lives, frequents and is known to the Cabbagetown and Regent Park area.” He said the same person may have panhandled or snatched purses in the area because it is unlikely the suspect would escalate to stabbing without prior incidents.

“Someone in that particular area knows who this person is,” said Giroux, who added that police are talking to local homeless shelters like Seaton House.

Giroux said it was possible the attack was random and there wasn’t any evidence to suggest the suspect and victim knew each other.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, 150 to 200 pounds with a medium build.

He was wearing a dark, long coat with buttons and a white scarf or garment around his neck, along with a dark hat, pants and shoes.

Officers at 51 Division set up a community vehicle near the scene of the crime, where anyone with information could speak with investigators. And police beefed up their presence in the area while the suspect remained at-large.

“Everybody feels very disconcerted,” said Sonja Scharf, 51, who has lived in Cabbagetown for a decade and walks her dog through the alleyway where Semret was killed everyday. “I’m trying to stay out in the open.”

Wednesday night, a group of Eritrean women, who didn’t know Semret personally, gathered at the site of the stabbing, weeping as they prayed for her.

Above the vigil, written in chalk on the brick wall, a message read: “Justice for who are victims of violence.”

With a file from Alex Consiglio