Malian military dictator interviewed

French soldier in Mali with skull mask

This photo of a French Foreign Legion soldier, part of the invasion of Mali, shows the real face of that war.

That war is not “against Al Qaeda terrorism” (supported by the French government in Libya, and still in Syria). It is not for women’s rights, human rights or secularism.

It is in support of a military dictatorship.

It brings death, mainly to Malian civilians.

This war is a neo-colonial war.

The military dictator of Mali now spouts his propaganda, in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel. He fails as a war propagandist. Maybe, now he will want to hire Tony Blair, or Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell, for damage control. These guys really like dictators. Though only if these dictators pay them very much money. However, as dictator Sanogo of Mali now gets lots of British and French taxpayers’ money, that probably won’t be a problem for him.

From Der Spiegel:

Malian Coup Leader Sanogo: ‘I Saved the Country’

Many believe that Mali’s de facto leader Amadou Sanogo thrust the country into a deep crisis when he staged a coup a year ago. But that’s not how he sees it. …

Captain Amadou Sanogo says he is just a simple soldier. But unofficially, the 40-year-old has been Mali’s strongman since he led a coup in late March last year, toppling the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. Sanogo went on to suspend the constitution, and then put power in the hands of a transitional government in response to international pressure, though he remains Mali’s de facto leader.

In the weeks that followed, Islamists took over northern Mali. Now, the formerly unstable yet democratic country is in danger of becoming the next Somalia. Despite the troubles that have followed the coup, Sonogo tells SPIEGEL that he rescued the country.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Sanogo, do you regret plunging your country into chaos with the coup you staged a year ago?

Sanogo: What are you talking about? I saved the country! We were on the verge of ruin at the time.

SPIEGEL: But it was only after you assumed power that the Islamists established a reign of terror in the north and introduced Sharia law. That couldn’t have been your objective, could it?

Sanogo: The Malian army had already been overrun by rebellious Tuareg fighters before that, which is why I intervened.

The Tuareg rebels are not Islamist.

SPIEGEL: You yourself were trained in the United States.

Sanogo: I attended an infantry school, completed various military courses and worked as an interpreter. America is great country with a fantastic army. I tried to put all the things I learned there into practice here.

SPIEGEL: How does your coup fit into that?

Sanogo: Coup isn’t a nice word. I prefer to say that I performed a necessary medical operation. …

SPIEGEL: Still, you didn’t manage to liberate the north from the Islamists. For that reason, French troops have been in the country for the last two-and-a-half months, and now the German military is also going to train Malian soldiers.

Sanogo: The French are welcome, and so are the Germans.

SPIEGEL: That hasn’t always been your position.

Sanogo: You shouldn’t believe the media. I’m pleased about the foreign soldiers, and it doesn’t bother me that they are from the former colonial power. …

Sanogo: The conflict is far from over, which is why the foreign troops must remain in the country. …

SPIEGEL: The north has been a trouble spot for decades.

Sanogo: It’s true that the Tuareg are constantly rebelling. They did in the 1960s, in 1990 and in 2007.

From Associated Press:

Mali media outlets go silent over editor’s arrest

March 13, 2013

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The airwaves in Mali’s capital fell silent on Tuesday and newspapers didn’t print a morning edition in protest over the arrest last week of an editor who published an open letter challenging the salary of the country’s coup leader.

Boukary Daou, editor-in-chief of The Republican newspaper, was taken away by agents from Mali’s intelligence service on March 6, soon after his newspaper published a letter from an army officer denouncing Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo’s recently-decreed salary of $8,000 per month, an incredibly high salary in the impoverished country. The letter argues that the salary — as much as 26 times what Sanogo earned before last year’s coup — is in fact an incentive for future coups.

Sanogo seized power a year ago last March. Faced with international sanctions, he was forced to relinquish control just weeks later, but succeeded in negotiating a golden parachute for himself, including the salary of an ex-head of state. Despite officially stepping down, country watchers say Sanogo remains the power behind the throne, as Daou’s arrest seven days ago underscores.

The media strike began on Tuesday and “will continue until Boukary Daou is freed,” according to a statement from the country’s press association.

President Dioncounda Traore defended the decision to arrest Daou and said that if he is innocent, he will be freed. Speaking to reporters during a stop in the capital of neighboring Senegal, Traore said the letter published in The Republican was subversive, and aimed to demoralize the nation’s troops at a time of war.

Kassim Traore, the president of the Young Journalists’ Organization of Mali said that Daou has refused to disclose the identity of the officer, who penned the letter under the name Capt. Toure.

“The security agents demanded that Daou give the name of his source and Daou refused, which is his duty as a journalist,” said Traore. “It’s because he would not disclose the name of his source that they are still detaining him, which is why the leaders of the Malian press have organized this No Press Day in order to free our colleague,” he said.

… The letter published in The Republican threatened that if Sanogo’s salary is not reduced, soldiers deployed in Mali’s north will refuse to fight. The average salary of a rank-and-file soldier is just $100 per month, 80 times less than what Sanogo is now earning.

The incendiary letter began: “Mr. President, we have learned that while we are dying in the great desert (in northern Mali), Capt. Sanogo, in return for leading a coup that plunged the country into the current situation, enjoys a salary of 4 million francs ($8,000). And the others in his group, in his clan, who are refusing to come fight are enjoying the same treatment,” wrote Capt. Toure. “If this decision (to accord him this salary) is not reversed within the next two weeks, we will cease … fighting.”

France pulls first troops out of Mali: here.

6 thoughts on “Malian military dictator interviewed

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