Nelson Mandela, Obama and dictators


This video says about itself:

SABC TV Live Stream Coverage: Nelson Mandela‘s funeral in Qunu

15 Dec 2013

The funeral service of South Africa’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Top 5 Hypocrites at Mandela’s Funeral

12-16-2013

By Diana Sayed

At Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, President Obama delivered a speech in which he said “Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals” that “[t]here are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation… who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”

But some of those countries who sent representatives are top United States allies that persecute those who dissent:

1. Bahrain –Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed bin Hamad Al Ma’awda

Ever since Bahrain’s democratic uprising began in February 2011, the regime has brutally cracked down on activists. Many prominent human rights defenders have been targeted and imprisoned, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), currently serving a life sentence after being arrested in April 2011. Nabeel Rajab, current president of the BCHR, is serving the remainder of his 2-year sentence for Tweeting about the government’s prime minister and for participating in illegal gatherings. Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested for sitting on a highway in protest of her father’s detention. She was formally charged with disrupting traffic and insulting an officer and remains in prison today.

2. Pakistan – President Mamnoon Hussain

Many journalists that report on matters perceived as offensive or critical of the government are threatened, harassed, and intimidated by a host of actors, including members of Pakistan’s security and intelligence apparatus. One of the most notable cases was that of Umar Cheema, who was abducted in September 2010 by unknown assailants, stripped, beaten, and photographed in humiliating positions.

3. Saudi Arabia – Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia has no elections, parliament, or political parties. King Abdullah and his family exercise unchecked power, and the kingdom remains one of the most repressive countries in the world, particularly for its 9 million female citizens, who are prevented from holding many jobs or driving and are considered as chattel under oppressive guardianship laws. Practicing any religion other than Islam is banned. Mohammad al-Qahtani is co-founder of the Saudi Arabian human rights organization Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and, in 2011, its leader before he was sentenced to ten years in prison on several charges relating to his peaceful activism.

4. Ethiopia – His Excellency Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister

Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe has been Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2012 following the death of Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam was elected as the Chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party. Prior to his rule the 2010 election, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party won a remarkable 99.6 percent of the vote, he closed down space for political dissent and independent criticism. The crackdown included attacks and arrests of prominent opposition figures, the shutting down of newspapers and assaults on journalists critical of the government. Eskinder Nega, a prominent Ethiopian journalist, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on in July 2012 under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 for publishing an online column critical of the use of the terrorism law to silence dissent and calling for the Ethiopian government to respect freedom of expression and end torture in the country’s prisons.

5. Uganda – His Excellency Yoweri Kagota Museveni, President

Museveni abolished term limits before the 2006 elections after nearly three decades in office and proceeded to launch legal attacks on independent journalists and harass opposition parties. NGOs have also documented numerous cases of unlawful detention and torture by the country’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force. Uganda came under international condemnation in 2010 for a proposed law, still pending, that would punish homosexuality with harsh sentences including the death penalty. The country’s most prominent gay rights activist, David Kato, was beaten to death in January 2011 just weeks after a popular tabloid published his photo along with the caption, “Hang Them.”

These regimes and other dictatorships are key allies of the United States. President Obama is right to criticize those who suppress dissent but his words are undermined by his administration’s support for repressive regimes that do just that.

A comment to this blog post by Vanessa Blaylock says:

I certainly won’t defend the atrocities you call out, but why pick on nations from that region and imply that Obama/USA has some sort of moral high ground? What about Chelsea Manning, given a longer prison sentence than even Mandela for telling the truth? What about Edward Snowden living in exile in that freedom loving country Russia because the USA can’t handle the truth? Obama/USA have no monopoly on freedom and no love of truth. Let’s not even start on Senator Lieberman’s extra-legal persecution of the journalists at Wikileaks or the Bush v. Gore forged election.

6 Things Nelson Mandela believed that most people won’t talk about: here.

Peaceful Activists Face Inhumane Conditions in Bahrain’s Overcrowded Central Prison: here.

Uganda: Former national football team coach arrested for allegedly having gay sex with player: here.

Nelson Mandela, eulogy by Barack Obama


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Right Wing Vs Nelson Mandela

6 Dec 2013

“The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela as a selfless visionary who led his country out of the grips of apartheid into democracy and freedom. But some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause and portray the African National Congress he lead as pawns of the Soviet Union.

In fact, American conservatives have long been willing to overlook South Africa’s racist apartheid government in service of fighting communism abroad…”.* The timeline of efforts and propaganda against Mandela is broken down by Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola (host, TYT University and Common Room) and comedian Jimmy Dore on The Young Turks.

*Read more here.

Today, the big commemoration for Nelson Mandela in Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa.

Though the rain poured down mercilessly, ten thousands of people in the stadium kept singing and dancing to celebrate the life of, and to honour this deceased freedom fighter.

There were various speeches by politicians. Namibia was the only African country apart from South Africa with its own speaker.

One of the speeches was by Barack Obama, president of the United States. Before speaking, he shook hands with Raul Castro, president of Cuba; also an orator today, announced as “a speaker from a tiny island which helped to liberate us”.

This video, recorded in Soweto today, is called Raul Castro Speech at Nelson Mandela Memorial.

After Castro had finished his speech, he got a special thank you, again for Cuban help in the anti-Apartheid struggle, and for Cuban help today, in health care and other areas.

The Secret History of How Cuba Helped End Apartheid in South Africa: here.

Oops – John McCain Blasts Obama-Raul Castro Handshake, Forgets He Met With Al-Qaeda Fighters: here.

John McCain admits Castro-Hitler comparison was “gross exaggeration”: here.

This video, recorded in South Africa, says about itself:

Obama’s Complete Nelson Mandela Memorial Speech

10 Dec 2013

President Barack Obama‘s full speech at memorial service today for Nelson Mandela.

Let us take a closer look at the eulogy for Mandela by Obama. We know he is a very good orator. Now, from form to content. What were the strong points and the weak points in his speech? What did he say; what did he not say?

A strong point was comparing Nelson Mandela to other famous freedom fighters: Mahatma Gandhi; Dr Martin Luther King; and Abraham Lincoln. Three individuals, when they were still alive, loved by millions all over the world. But also with bitter enemies among powerful privileged people. Three individuals with an extreme Right fringe still hating them today. Like with Mandela.

Obama, deservedly, got much applause when he mentioned Mandela‘s fellow fighters against Apartheid: Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu. People, who, together with Nelson Mandela, had been put on a list of “terrorists” by previous United States governments. Oliver Tambo died in 1993; still on the US government list of “terrorists”. Walter Sisulu died in 2003; still on the US government list of “terrorists”.

Here, Obama might have said: “Nelson Mandela was only removed from the United States list of terrorists in 2011. What a shame that he was ever put on it. And what a shame that Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and others died while still being on that hateful list. I apologize”. Obama did not say that. Maybe, he looked at the stadium bleachers, and saw George W Bush sitting there. And Obama did not want to dissociate himself too much from his predecessor’s policies. What a pity.

Dutch NOS TV, reporting on the Mandela farewell ceremony, mentioned briefly that in 1962, the Apartheid regime probably had been able to arrest Mandela because the United States CIA had tipped the racist South African government off.

A point which Raul Castro did mention briefly was Nelson Mandela’s pro-peace views. Obama might have said: “Mandela was a strong opponent of the Iraq war. I opposed that war then as well. So, I have no trouble admitting that Nelson Mandela was right in this”. Obama did not say that. A missed chance. Oh yes, briefly, in passing, Obama mentioned the word “peace”. Without connecting it to any speech or action by Nelson Mandela. Without connecting it to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or elsewhere where United Stsates armed forces recently, or still today, waged or still wage war.

Correctly, Obama implied that some of the politicians now joining in the mourning for Mandela are insincere, as, contrary to the spirit of the African liberation fighter, they oppress their people. However, he did not mention that so many of these hypocritical politicians are close allies of the United States government: like the British Conservatives and the Spanish Partido Popular. And Obama did not mention how often United States government policies; in Guantanamo Bay torture prison, which Obama promised to close but which is still open; in CIA secret prisons in many countries; in drone attacks killing civilians; in NSA spying on billions of people all over the world; are at variance with Mandela’s ideals of democracy.

When President Obama denounced world leaders who praised Nelson Mandela while crushing dissent and resisting reform in their own countries, he should have had a look in the mirror: here.

Mandela’s fight against nuclear weapons – by @VincentIntondi: here.

Nelson Mandela, Feminist: here.

The Nelson Mandela of the 21st century is right here, right now. We just can’t see it. We’re too busy spitting on him and calling him a terrorist: here.

South African protests as Obama visits


This video says about itself:

June 25, 2013

Patrick Bond: South Africans plan protests over Obama administration’s funding of African dictators, revelations of NSA spying and economic agenda.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Protesters tell Obama: You’re not welcome

Friday 28 June 2013

by Our Foreign Desk

Hundreds of people marched to the US embassy in South Africa today protesting against President Barack Obama’s visit to the country.

The nearly 1,000 communists, trade unionists and students had a litany of complaints, from US policy on Cuba and Palestine to Mr Obama’s continued support for imperialist wars and failure to improve the lot of black people in the US.

“I celebrated with my friends and comrades when Obama won the elections in 2008,” Young Communist League national secretary Buti Manamela told the rally.

We were all happy and merry. We thought that US global domination and military might have reached its end.

“But no. We had yet again a president who was more loyal to those who put the Benjamins in his election funds than those who put the ballot in his name.”

Protesters carried signs reading: “No, You Can’t Obama,” a reference to the misleading “Yes We Can” campaign of his first election.

Mr Obama got a jot of good news on Wednesday as a court ruled that he wouldn’t be arrested for war crimes.

The North Gauteng High Court decided that the Muslim Lawyers Association request to have him arrested wasn’t urgent, so it will be heard in an ordinary court in a few months’ time.

The association pointed out that the allegations of war crimes relating to the US drone programme and Guantanamo Bay prison camp remain untested.

Mr Obama said early today in Senegal that ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was a “personal hero” whose “legacy will linger through the ages.”

But protesters were shocked at the president’s arrogance.

“Mandela valued human life. Mandela would condemn drone attacks and civilian deaths, Mandela cannot be his hero, he cannot be on that list,” protester Yousha Tayob told Reuters.

Mr Obama’s African trip, intended to shore up US interests in a region increasingly turning to China, was overshadowed by the ill health of the former president affectionately known as Madiba.

His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said the national hero had made “a great improvement” in recent days.

But she said he was “clinically” still unwell.

See also here. And here.

ORIGINAL NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: I Saw The Order To Wiretap Barack Obama In 2004


petrel41:

Who is Big Brother NOT watching?! Very few people, it seems … Time to stop this spying on millions of people!

Originally posted on JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba:

Obama 25Russ Tice worked as an offensive National Security Agency (NSA) agent from 2002 to 2005, before becoming a source for this Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article exposing NSA domestic spying.

This week he appeared on the Boiling Frogs Show and detailed how he had his hands “in the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts” during his 20 years as a U.S. intelligence analyst.

Tice claimed that he held NSA wiretap orders targeting numerous members of the U.S.

View original 81 more words

Free Bahraini political prisoners, petition for Obama


This video from the USA says about itself:

Nabeel Rajab of Bahrain Center for Human Rights on His Possible Military Trial for Publishing Photo.

By Brian Dooley, Human Rights Defenders Program:

Tell President Obama: Demand Bahrain to Free Jailed Dissidents [Petition]

2-20-2013

In Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, a government crackdown on dissent and increasingly violent protests have led to mounting civilian and police casualties. Bahrain desperately needs an end to this crisis.

Two years ago, President Barack Obama told the Bahraini government “the only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.”

The regime restarted its dialogue with some opposition groups last week. This is an encouraging step, but real progress will only happen if the regime releases its prominent dissidents in jail and allows them to join the dialogue.

Urge President Obama to demand that the Bahraini Kingdom release dissidents jailed on politically motivated charges.

As the dialogue continues, medics who were detained after treating wounded protesters and telling the international media the truth about the abuses remain in jail. Opposition and human rights leaders who called for democratic reforms remain in jail. And human rights defenders and civil society leaders continue to face threats, arrests, and prosecutions for peaceful human rights activities.

Two years after the democracy movement filled the streets of Bahrain, human rights defenders continue to look to the United States for support—despite its muted criticisms of the violations committed by the ruling family. It’s past time that the United States supports—through word and deed—human rights and civil society groups fighting for democratic reforms in the country.

Urge President Obama to demand that the Bahraini Kingdom release dissidents jailed on politically motivated charges.

VOICES: Forced into Hiding in Bahrain But Speaking Out: here.

33 new trapdoor spiders discovered, named after Obama, Jolie


Afer United States President Obama had a long-extinct lizard named after him, now he has also inspired the naming of a still living newly discovered animal species.

Female specimen of Aptostichus barackobamai. Photo credit Jason Bond

From Wildlife Extra:

33 new trapdoor spider species discovered in the American southwest

Barak Obama & Angelina Jolie get spiders named after them
December 2012. A researcher at the Auburn University Museum of Natural History and Department of Biological Sciences has reported the discovery 33 new trapdoor spider species from the American Southwest. These newly described species all belong to the genus Aptostichus which now contains 40 species, two of which are already famous – Aptostichus stephencolberti and Aptostichus angelinajolieae.

Barack-Obama-i

The genus now includes other such notable species as Aptostichus barackobamai, named for Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, and reputed fan of Spiderman comics; Aptostichus edwardabbeyi, named for environmentalist and author Edward Abbey (1927-1989); Aptostichus bonoi from Joshua Tree National Park, named for the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2; Aptostichus pennjillettei named for illusionist and intellectual Penn Jillette; Aptostichus chavezi, named for Mexican American and civil rights and labor activist César Chávez (1927-1993).

Other notable new species names include Aptostichus anzaborrego, known only from the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southern California; and Aptostichus sarlacc from the Mojave Desert, named for George Lucas’ Star Wars creature, the Sarlacc from the fictional desert planet Tatooine.

The researcher, Prof. Jason Bond, who is a trapdoor spider expert and the director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History was excited at the prospect of such a remarkable and large find of new species here in the United States and particularly California.

Biodiversity hotspot

“California is known as what is characterized as a biodiversity hotspot. Although this designation is primarily based on plant diversity, the region is clearly very rich in its animal diversity as well. While it is absolutely remarkable that a large number of species from such a heavily populated area have gone unnoticed, it clearly speaks volumes to how little we know of the biodiversity around us and that many more species on the planet await discovery ” Bond said.

Like other trapdoor spider species, individuals are rarely seen because they live their lives in below-ground burrows that are covered by trapdoors, made by the spider using mixtures of soil, sand, and/or plant material, and silk. The trapdoor serves to hide the spider when it forages for meals at the burrow entrance, usually at night.

Aptostichus species are found in an amazing number of Californian habitats to include coastal sand dunes, chaparral, desert, oak woodland forests, and at high altitudes in the alpine habitats of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Bond said, “This particular group of trapdoor spiders are among some of the most beautiful with which I have worked; species often have gorgeous tiger-striping on their abdomens. Aptostichus to my mind represents a true adaptive radiation – a classical situation in evolutionary biology where diversification, or speciation, has occurred such that a large number of species occupy a wide range of different habitats”.

Bond also noted that while a number of the species have rather fanciful names, his favourite is the one named for his daughter Elisabeth. “Elisabeth’s spider is from an incredibly extreme desert environment out near Barstow, California that is the site of a relatively young volcanic cinder cone. The spiders make their burrows among the lava tubes that extend out from the cone – it is a spectacular place to visit but the species is very difficult to collect because the spiders build rather deep burrow among the rocks”.

Obama lizard became extinct with dinosaurs


Obamodon, Cretaceous lizards, snakes and dinosaurs

From e! Science News:

Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs also wiped out the ‘Obamadon’

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 – 17:06 in Paleontology & Archaeology

The asteroid collision widely thought to have killed the dinosaurs also led to extreme devastation among snake and lizard species, according to new research — including the extinction of a newly identified lizard Yale and Harvard scientists have named Obamadon gracilis. “The asteroid event is typically thought of as affecting the dinosaurs primarily,” said Nicholas R. Longrich, a postdoctoral associate with Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and lead author of the study. “But it basically cut this broad swath across the entire ecosystem, taking out everything. Snakes and lizards were hit extremely hard.”

The study was scheduled for online publication the week of Dec. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Earlier studies have suggested that some snake and lizard species (as well as many mammals, birds, insects and plants) became extinct after the asteroid struck Earth 65.5 million years ago, on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. But the new research argues that the collision’s consequences were far more serious for snakes and lizards than previously understood. As many as 83 percent of all snake and lizard species died off, the researchers said — and the bigger the creature, the more likely it was to become extinct, with no species larger than one pound surviving.

The results are based on a detailed examination of previously collected snake and lizard fossils covering a territory in western North America stretching from New Mexico in the southwestern United States to Alberta, Canada. The authors examined 21 previously known species and also identified nine new lizards and snakes.

They found that a remarkable range of reptile species lived in the last days of the dinosaurs. Some were tiny lizards. One snake was the size of a boa constrictor, large enough to take the eggs and young of many dinosaur species. Iguana-like plant-eating lizards inhabited the southwest, while carnivorous lizards hunted through the swamps and flood plains of what is now Montana, some of them up to six feet long.

“Lizards and snakes rivaled the dinosaurs in terms of diversity, making it just as much an ‘Age of Lizards’ as an ‘Age of Dinosaurs,’” Longrich said.

The scientists then conducted a detailed analysis of the relationships of these reptiles, showing that many represented archaic lizard and snake families that disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous, following the asteroid strike.

One of the most diverse lizard branches wiped out was the Polyglyphanodontia. This broad category of lizards included up to 40 percent of all lizards then living in North America, according to the researchers. In reassessing previously collected fossils, they came across an unnamed species and called it Obamadon gracilis. In Latin, odon means “tooth” and gracilis means “slender.”

“It is a small polyglyphanodontian distinguished by tall, slender teeth with large central cusps separated from small accessory cusps by lingual grooves,” the researchers write of Obamadon, which is known primarily from the jaw bones of two specimens. Longrich said the creature likely measured less than one foot long and probably ate insects.

He said no one should impute any political significance to the decision to name the extinct lizard after the recently re-elected U.S. president: “We’re just having fun with taxonomy.”

The mass (but not total) extinction of snakes and lizards paved the way for the evolution and diversification of the survivors by eliminating competitors, the researchers said. There are about 9,000 species of lizard and snake alive today. “They didn’t win because they were better adapted, they basically won by default, because all their competitors were eliminated,” Longrich said.

Co-author Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar, a doctoral student in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, said: “One of the most important innovations in this work is that we were able to precisely reconstruct the relationships of extinct reptiles from very fragmentary jaw material. This had tacitly been thought impossible for creatures other than mammals. Our study then becomes the pilot for a wave of inquiry using neglected fossils and underscores the importance of museums like the Yale Peabody as archives of primary data on evolution — data that yield richer insights with each new era of scientific investigation.”

Jacques A. Gauthier, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale and curator of vertebrate paleontology and vertebrate zoology, is also an author.

The paper is titled “Mass Extinction of Lizards and Snakes at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary.” The National Science Foundation and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies supported the research.