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Will South Africa’s Downgraded Status Pull the Region Down?

Will South Africa’s Downgraded Status Pull the Region Down?

In April, Credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded South Africa’s rating to junk status [GCIS]

Concern about the health of the South African economy and its impact on the rest of the continent has been mounting in recent days.

 

Following the sacking of revered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in late March, South Africa’s markets went into a downward spiral as investor confidence took a beating.

A few days later, S&P Global Ratings cut South African foreign debt to sub-investment grade in April.

For its part, Fitch downgraded both the foreign and local currency debt to “junk” status.

Business experts believe that the downgrades will adversely impact the service sector in South Africa, already suffering from economic contraction of 0.3 per cent in Q4 2016.

Jessica Rees-Jones, executive director at civil society group Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, told Xinhua that about $10 billion will leave the country as investors search for more stable markets elsewhere.

Gordhan was well liked in the business community and his departure upset markets which saw his ouster as a threat to the strength of South Africa’s institutions.

He was replaced with 45-year-old Malusi Knowledge Nkanyezi Gigaba, who was previously the Minister of Home Affairs. He holds a Bachelor of Pedagogics in Education and a Master of Arts degree in Social Policy.

“The cabinet reshuffle [which included Gordhan’s firing] is an attack on the institution of the National Treasury (NT) and as such will trigger multiple downgrades,” warned Peter Attard Montalto, a prominent South African economist.

Such multiple downgrades will pressure South African companies, already reeling from a battered economy in the past three years, to decrease the level of investments they have in other countries in Africa.

Sectors such telecommunications service provision, retail, mining and real estate in neighboring countries are likely to suffer, experts warn.

For now, South African economists acknowledge that the country is in stagnation but are hoping to avoid a second quarter of contraction which technically would trigger a recession.

There are signs that the country will narrowly avoid a recession.

Official data showed that retail sales bounced back in March to 0.8 per cent year on year growth, beating forecasts of a 0.7 per cent contraction.

Better still, South Africa is emerging from one of its worst droughts and expects its maize harvest to jump 87 per cent this year.

The boost in maize output has pushed the International Monetary Fund to predict that South Africa’s GDP will grow by one per cent, not 0.8 as previously forecast, in 2017.

Source*

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Africa’s Auschwitz: The Concentration Camp the West Erased from History*

Africa’s Auschwitz: The Concentration Camp the West Erased from History*

 

By Johnny Liberty

 

 

Perhaps no atrocity has been more extensively covered than the Holocaust carried out by the Third Reich in Germany. Yet few Americans are aware that there was a holocaust committed by the Second Reich 40 years prior.

 

While Adolf Hitler is a household name, synonymous with evil, his predecessor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, is far less recognizable — although many of his crimes were just as bad, if not worse, than Hitler’s.

Wilhelm II was crowned in 1888 and launched a “New Course” in German foreign relations. His policies ultimately resulted in Germany’s involvement and eventual defeat in World War I. Despite his notable involvement in World War I, little else is taught about Wilhelm’s reign, in American schools.

 

The Beginning of the 1st German Holocaust:

Germany’s African reign of terror began in 1883, when they raised their flag in South West Africa, heralding the first conquest of the Second Reich’s African empire. Wilhelm II later used the land (now the country of Namibia) as a testing ground for his Lebensraum policy.

Wilhelm II’s Lebensraum, or “living space,” policy was advocated by 19th-century German geographer Friedrich Ratzel, who believed that a race’s survival was dependent on migration. Wilhelm II used this theory to advance a policy with the goal of creating a “New Germany” on African Soil.

The disastrous consequences of this policy led to the suffering of tens of thousands of indigenous African people. Similar to the Jew’s treatment during World War II, the native Herero and Nama people were labeled an “Inferior race” and watched as their human rights were repeatedly violated.

After two decades of mistreatment, the Herero people revolted. In 1904, Germany responded by dispatching 14,000 Soldiers to quell the insurgent colony. After the brutal campaign to defeat the Herero ended, German Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha announced a new disturbing policy, saying,

“I believe that the nation [the Herero] as such should be annihilated. Only following this cleansing can something new emerge, which will remain.”

Africa’s Auschwitz: Death Island, the ‘Original’ German Concentration Camp

“Death Island,” also known as Shark Island, served as an ideal location for a prison camp due to its low possibility of escape. General Trotha’s troops transported the defeated Herero and Nama people to the island and several other concentration camps within the German colony. Prisoners were transported in cattle cars and served as slave labour for the new colony’s railway system, along with a number of other construction and demolition projects.

Labor conditions on the island were extremely dangerous, resulting in a high number of fatalities. One German Technician noted that his 1,600-slave workforce had decreased to only 30-40 available labourers. By late 1906, at least seven slaves were dying daily due to the grisly working conditions.

Food and provisions on the island were also extremely scarce, as witnesses recalled, “prisoners fought like wild animals and killed each other to secure a share.” Conditions on the island continued to deteriorate and prisoners starved to death or committed suicide to escape the nightmarish conditions. Eventually, German soldiers began referring to it as a “Death Camp”.

One of the first civilians to visit the island briefly described the horrific scene he saw:

“A woman, who was so weak from illness that she could not stand, crawled to some of the other prisoners to beg for water. The overseer fired five shots at her. Two shots hit her: one in the thigh, the other smashing her forearm…in the night she died.”

 

During their imprisonment, captives were frequently whipped, forced into unsanitary living conditions where diseases such as typhoid rapidly spread, and received virtually no medical care. Herero women were photographed being raped and the images were sent back to Germany as “pornographic postcards.”

German scientists also used the island and its prisoners to conduct medical experiments. Shark Island camp physician, Dr. Bofinger injected prisoners with a toxic cocktail of arsenic and opium in attempts to determine if scurvy was a contagious disease.

As bodies continued to pile up, researchers began to perform autopsies on the dead to conduct further experiments. According to German medical statistics, 778 autopsies were conducted in just one year.

After they concluded their experiments, the Germans forced Herero women to boil the heads of their own people and clean them, so they could be sent back to Germany for further research. In all, Over 3,000 skulls of Herero people were sent to German Universities, which they used in an attempt to prove the similarity between the Herero people and apes.

The human cost of Germany’s African Holocaust.

In 1907, German officials finally relented to domestic and international pressure, and shut down “Death Island.” While there is no ‘official’ death toll of the prisoners held on Death Island, the German Imperial Colonial Office estimates 7,682 Herero and 2,000 Nama people died in colonial concentration camps in South West Africa. Historians estimate that, of these deaths, as many as 4,000 may have occurred at “Death Island.”

The consequences of German colonialization in Namibia are staggering. It is estimated that, in a matter of decades, the Herero population was reduced from 100,000 to less than 15,000, and the Nama population was cut in half.

A report released by the United Nations in 1985 listed the German holocaust in Africa as the first genocide of the 20th century.

While Germany’s outright murder of Africans in Namibia temporarily ceased, as any student of history can tell you, this would not be the last attempted genocide by a German ruler. In fact, many people would say Wilhelm II ‘perfected’ the development of concentration camps, a model later employed by Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

 

 

Source*

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Flint City Council Votes for Moratorium on Property Liens for Unpaid Water Bills*

Flint City Council Votes for Moratorium on Property Liens for Unpaid Water Bills*

Council president Kerry Nelson: “Enough is enough. I’ve made up my mind tonight to do what I need to do for the people who elected me.”

By Kenrya Rankin

A trash bag filled with empty water bottles and water filters outside of a house on March 17, 2016, in Flint, Michigan. Flint continues to work through the effects of water contamination. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

 

Last month, Flint, Michigan, officials informed more than 8,000 households that if they do not pay outstanding water bills, a lien will be placed on their property, setting them on a path that could lead to foreclosure. But on Wednesday (May 17), Flint City Council passed a resolution that, if approved by Mayor Karen Weaver, will institute a yearlong moratorium on the policy of issuing liens.

Many residents stopped paying their water bills when it was revealed that the water being delivered to their homes via the tap contained dangerous levels of lead. The state subsidized the city’s water costs from April 2014 through February of this year, but stopped after announcing that the water’s lead levels were within federal guidelines.

Michigan Radio reports that council members were moved to act after receiving calls from constituents. “Enough is enough. I’ve made up my mind tonight to do what I need to do for the people who elected me,” council president Kerry Nelson said.

The resolution says that properties with delinquent balances going back to April 2014—when the city began drawing its water from the Flint River—will not have liens placed on them. Eight council members voted for it, and one abstained, citing unanswered legal questions.

“The ordinance can’t go back retroactively, and pull liens off of houses that have already been lost. That was the main reason,” council member Eric Mays told Michigan Radio.

Nelson said that both the city attorney and chief financial officer asked him not to pass the moratorium for the sake of the city’s finances.

“It’s time out for that,” Nelson said.

“The people of this city are suffering. They’re troubled, they’re at their wits’ end…. We’ve got to do what we can do. I’ve done what I can do.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund also lobbied for the moratorium, prompting a May 16 statement from Weaver. From that statement:

I welcome the support and input of the ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund as this difficult and unfortunate situation has brought another dark cloud over the city and the progress being made to recover from the water crisis. The City of Flint is legally obligated to comply with some city and state statutes that are not suitable or appropriate when you consider the extenuating circumstances we are still facing.

Source*

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The U.S. is Waging a Massive Shadow War in Africa, Exclusive Documents Reveal*

The U.S. is Waging a Massive Shadow War in Africa, Exclusive Documents Reveal*

By Nick Turse

Six years ago, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Special Operations Command gave a conservative estimate of 116 missions being carried out at any one time by Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operations forces across the globe.

Today, according to U.S. military documents obtained by VICE News, special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time — in Africa alone. It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe.

In 2006, just 1% of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. In 2010, it was 3%. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17%. In fact, according to data supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command, there are now more special operations personnel devoted to Africa than anywhere except the Middle East — 1,700 people spread out across 20 countries dedicated to assisting the U.S. military’s African partners in their fight against terrorism and extremism.

“At any given time, you will find SOCAFRICA conducting approximately 96 activities in 20 countries,” Donald Bolduc, the U.S. Army general who runs the special operations command in Africa (SOCAFRICA), wrote in an October 2016 strategic planning guidance report. (The report was obtained by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and is published in its entirety below.) VICE News reached out to SOCAFRICA and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) for clarification on these numbers; email return receipts show an AFRICOM spokesperson “read” three such requests, but the command did not offer a reply.

The October 2016 report offers insight into what the U.S. military’s most elite forces are currently doing in Africa and what they hope to achieve. In so doing, it paints a picture of reality on the ground in Africa today and what it could be 30 years from now.

That picture is bleak.

“Africa’s challenges could create a threat that surpasses the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” Bolduc warned.

He went on to cite a laundry list of challenges with which he and his personnel must contend: ever-expanding illicit networks, terrorist safe havens, attempts to subvert government authority, a steady stream of new recruits and resources.

Bolduc indicated his solution was the “acceleration of SOF [special operations forces] missions [filling] a strategic gap as the military adjusts force structure now and in the future.” Translation: U.S. commandos “in more places, doing more” in Africa going forward.

At the same time, Bolduc says the U.S. is not at war in Africa. But this assertion is challenged by the ongoing operations aimed at the militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia, which operates often in all-but-ungoverned and extraordinarily complex areas Bolduc calls “gray zones.”

In January, for example, U.S. advisers conducting a counterterrorism operation alongside local Somali forces and troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia “observed al-Shabaab fighters threatening their safety and security” and “conducted a self-defense strike to neutralize the threat,” according to a press release from AFRICOM.

A U.S. Army Green Beret patrols with Nigerian soldiers during a training exercise in February. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kulani Lakanaria)

 

Earlier this month, in what AFRICOM described as “an advise-and-assist operation alongside Somali National Army forces,” Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed and two other U.S. personnel were injured during a firefight with al-Shabaab militants about 40 miles west of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The battle occurred shortly after President Donald Trump loosened Obama-era restrictions on offensive operations in Somalia, thereby allowing U.S. forces more discretion and leeway in conducting missions and opening up the possibility of more frequent airstrikes and commando raids.

“It allows us to prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion,” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the AFRICOM commander, said of the change. In April, the U.S. military reportedly requested the locations of aid groups working in the country, an indication that yet a greater escalation in the war against al-Shabaab may be imminent.

“Looking at counterterrorism operations in Somalia, it’s clear the U.S. has been relying heavily on the remote-control form of warfare so favoured by President Obama,” said Jack Serle, who covers the subject for the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Recently, the U.S. has augmented this strategy, working alongside local Somali forces and African Union troops under the banner of “train, advise, and assist” missions and other types of “support” operations, according to Serle. “Now they partner with local security forces but don’t engage in actual combat, the Pentagon says. The truth of that is hard to divine.”

U.S. operations in Somalia are part of a larger continent-spanning counterterrorism campaign that saw special operations forces deploy to at least 32 African nations in 2016, according to open source data and information supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command. The cornerstone of this strategy involves training local proxies and allies — “building partner capacity” in the military lexicon.

“Providing training and equipment to our partners helps us improve their ability to organize, sustain, and employ a counter violent extremist force against mutual threats,” the SOCAFRICA report says.

As part of its increasing involvement in the war against Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin — it spans parts of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad — for example, the U.S. provided $156 million to support regional proxies last year.

In addition to training, U.S. special operators, including members of SEAL Team 6, reportedly assist African allies in carrying out a half dozen or more raids every month. In April, a U.S. special operator reportedly killed a fighter from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army during an operation in the Central African Republic. U.S. forces also remain intimately involved in conflict in Libya after the U.S. ended an air campaign there against the Islamic State group in December.

“We’re going to keep a presence on the ground… and we’re going to develop intelligence and take out targets when they arise,” Waldhauser said in March.

Though Bolduc said special operators are carrying out about 96 missions on any given day, he didn’t specify how many total missions are being carried out per year. SOCAFRICA officials did not respond to several requests for that number.

The marked increase in U.S. activity tracks with the rising number of major terror groups in Africa. A 2012 version of SOCAFRICA’s strategic planning documents also obtained by VICE News lists five major terror groups. The October 2016 files list seven by name — al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Magreb, ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Murabitun, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and al-Shabaab — in addition to “other violent extremist organizations,” also known as VEOs. In 2015, Bolduc said that there are nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” operating on the African continent.

Terror attacks in sub-Saharan Africa have skyrocketed in the past decade. Between 2006 and 2015, the last year covered by data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, attacks jumped from about 100 per year to close to 2,000. “From 2010 to the present,” Bolduc says in the report, “VEOs in Africa have been some of the most lethal on the planet.”

“Many of Africa’s indicators are trending downward,” he writes.

“We believe the situation in Africa will get worse without our assistance.”

Colby Goodman, the director of the Washington, D.C.–based Security Assistance Monitor, pointed to some recent tactical gains against terror groups, but warned that progress might be short-lived and unsustainable. “My continuing concerns about U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Africa,” he said, “is an over-focus on tactical military support to partner countries at the expense of a more whole-government approach and a lack of quality assessments and evaluations of U.S. security aid to these countries.”

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Stop E.U. from Hijacking Africa’s Clean Energy Future*

Stop E.U. from Hijacking Africa’s Clean Energy Future*

By Mohamed Adow

The vision for an African-led clean energy revolution is in danger of being thrown off course because of attempts by the European Commission (EC) and France to hijack the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative.

French environment minister Ségolène Royal has been accused of undermining African leadership of a flagship clean energy programme (Pic: Flickr/COP Paris)

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was one of the greatest achievements to emerge from the COP 21 climate summit in Paris in 2015 and, as an African and climate activist, my proudest moment. It made headlines around the world. Attracting pledges totalling $10 billion of public support from the G7, E.U., Netherlands and Sweden, the scheme has ushered an exciting dawn of African leadership on climate change to see the continent harness it’s huge clean energy potential.

However, that vision is now in tatters after attempts by the EC to control and divert Africa’s renewable energy initiative to its own ends. It is imposing itself on the AREI Board and the initiative’s Independent Delivery Unit (IDU) and, together with France, forced through undue approval of a host of 19 energy projects, bypassing the AREI’s transparent procedures. 

The EC is recycling its old financing commitments to meet its new financial obligations and has co-opted what was previously an African-led process to adopt and legitimise this double counting to the detriment of Africans.

The EC claims that the 19 projects correspond to €4.8bn of new investments and 1.8 GW of new generation capacity. However, this appears to include projects that are already in the making, most of them already approved by the financiers and a whole lot of the financing being new loans. It is also notable that despite EU making big claims, they are only minor contributors in most of the projects, with the total stated EU contribution being a mere modest €300m. It seems clear that ‘approving’ the projects in the AREI Board in reality has no impact on whether or not the projects happen – it seems rather an attempt at rubber stamping to get the ‘African’ blessing, and public relations exercise for some parties.

Approving’ projects without carefully assessing them against the AREI criteria flouts the core principles of the initiative. Furthermore, the implication of existing, rather than new projects, being pushed through the AREI Board means that there will be less new and additional power provided to Africa’s people, thereby undermining AREI’s goal of ‘’10 gigawatts of new and additional energy’’ and leaving people who need it in darkness.

After dragging its feet on international climate diplomacy in recent years, the E.U. now seems to be using its former colonies in Africa to cover up its low carbon failures and greenwash its credentials on climate change.

With the help of some African heads of state, the E.U. and France pushed through the “AREI Approval’’ of the 19 energy projects, claiming the AREI screening process was not required. Such strong arm tactics by the E.U. and France discredit the Africa-led values underpinning the AREI and go against the bottom-up, globally diversified, principles enshrined in the Paris Agreement.  One would have thought the French would be keen to protect those. It’s also understood that EC and France pushed hard to place their technical experts inside the Independent Delivery Unit to directly influence the core activities of the initiative.

Questions also arise as to why the former and incoming chairs of the African Union are championing the interests of France and the E.U. over the concerns the African countries they are appointed to represent. If other African countries have just lost the opportunity (God forbid!) for billions in genuinely new and additional finance and projects that would deliver the 10GW of clean energy, we need to ask what have these leaders gained?

The appointment of both the European Commission and France to the board would furthermore displace a member from the global south, which flies in the face of the principle that there be both a developed and developing country on the board. The contradiction of the EC displacing a southern partner such as China on the board, just as they are supporting “trilateral’’ cooperation with China and Africa, is unlikely to go unnoticed by the Chinese, and undermines potential for South-South cooperation on climate change that would benefit Africa.

In the face of these events, the head of the AREI Independent Delivery Unit, the brilliant Dr. Youba Sokona, who has been at the core of conceiving, developing and leading the initiative, has felt forced to declare his resignation. Sokona, from Mali, is a leading figure with more than 40 years of experience in global energy, climate change and sustainable development. A vice-chair of the IPCC, among other high profile posts, he is the perfect person to pioneer this work.  The fact that he declared he cannot continue under current conditions shows the scale of the crisis.

African politics has historically been tainted with accusations of corruption. The last thing it needs is its flagship energy initiative of the future to be mired in scandal and outside interference. To avoid this, it is crucial that transparent processes are followed and good governance is upheld.  Instead, what we’ve seen with this current debacle is the opposite.

It is vital that the E.U. attempts to control and divert Africa’s renewable energy initiative to its own ends are opposed. It is now up to African countries to rescue it, and ensure its original vision and integrity are restored, and make it possible for Dr Sokona to resume his leadership.

Africa’s future requires it to build transparent and accountable institutions capable of addressing the needs of its people. Developed countries should be assisting this, while meeting their own obligations, particularly when genuinely African-led and African-owned initiatives arise such as AREI.

Each of the African heads of state who endorsed AREI must now fulfil their obligation to protect and advance AREI, with citizens in developed and developing countries doing the same. Strong, bold action is needed to save the initiative, revert the sad recent course of events, and regain the African-led spirit to enable AREI to achieve its goal of bringing clean and renewable energy to all Africans.

Source*

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Europe and U.S. Dodging Demands for Slavery Reparations*

Europe and U.S. Dodging Demands for Slavery Reparations*

European Slavery lasted over 400 years on estates in the Caribbean and The Americas. Now the descendants of African slaves are demanding not just apologies but also atonement for the greatest crime against humanity ever known to mankind

 

By Earl Bousquet

The recent furore in Grenada over whether slave history has a role in tourism promotion is an important development that fits smack in the middle of the ongoing Caribbean discussion on reparations from Europe for slavery and native genocide.

Today, over 180 years after abolition, descendants of African slaves in the Caribbean, North and South America are demanding reparations for slavery from Europe – and the United States.

In the Caribbean, the demands include apology and atonement for 400 years of both slavery and native genocide; in the USA it’s about compensation for African American descendants of slaves; and in South America, today’s descendants of Africans (who arrived both as shipwrecked mariners and slaves) are demanding their fair share of recognition, equality and atonement.

Africa and the Caribbean experienced the brunt of the brutal slave trade that saw Europeans sail to West Africa, kidnap millions of men and women and ship them like animal cargo to the newly colonized ‘West Indies’ captured through wars of extermination against the original native ‘Caribs’ and ‘Arawaks’.

While the focus of British and French slavery was mainly concentrated on the Antillean (Caribbean) islands and mainland territories (including Haiti) that they claimed to own, the Portuguese and Spanish concentrated on South American mainland territories such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, as well as the larger islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

In the case of the USA and South America (except in Brazil), African descendants form small minorities, unlike the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-states, where they form an absolute majority, in each case.

CARICOM governments have thus easily and collectively agreed to a joint approach to the European Union (E.U.) member-states that benefited from slavery, inviting them to discuss reparations by way of acknowledgement and atonement.

The E.U. countries have so far resisted engaging the Caribbean in any discussions whatsoever on reparations, the likes of former British PM David Cameron saying during an official visit to Jamaica that traditional aid and assistance given by Britain since independence to the former colonies has sufficed.

But the response by the Britain, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, thus far, (or lack thereof) is very much unlike when France demanded reparations after the first African slaves in the Caribbean – and the world — successfully revolted.

Haitian slaves, led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, rebelled in 1791 and declared their independence in 1804. Not even in Africa had a free nation yet been born and the humiliated slave masters enlisted the support of the French government to make the former slaves pay dearly for their freedom.

In 1825, France demanded 90 million gold francs to recognize Haiti’s independence — the same amount demanded in compensation by the former slave masters.

Historians and economists agree that this high cost paid by Haiti to France over 122 years (payments continued until 1947) is largely responsible for the country having been almost eternally anchored in poverty.

In 2003, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide called on Paris to return the 90 million gold francs, by then estimated at U.S. $21 billion. Soon after, however, he was swiftly and secretly taken hostage by U.S. and French forces and exiled to South Africa.

French President Francois Hollande, in May 2015, ahead of a visit to Port au Prince, said Paris “will repay its debt” to Haiti – only to later retract, saying he only meant repaying France’s “moral debt”.

The Hollande disappointment notwithstanding, no other concerned E.U. member-state has even mentioned the possibility of considering paying reparations for slavery – in the Caribbean or North or South America.

Same in the USA, where not even President Barack Obama accommodated calls to initiate reparations moves and to pay to survivors the wages of the slaves who built the White House.

In 1865, Union General William Sherman set aside thousands of acres of land for newly-freed American slaves, by way of a special field order. But President Andrew Johnson soon returned the titles to the original white owners. Freed slaves were also each promised “40 acres and mule” to start their own lives. But here too they were disappointed.

The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus has for the past 28 years backed a bill called HR-40, submitted annually by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, calling for a commission to study “the Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act”. Designed to examine the negative effects of slavery, it also seeks to “recommend appropriate remedies”. But HR-40 has long been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it has since remained…

U.S. blacks are somewhat divided over what mechanism to use to assess the real costs and value of slave wages and related rates of conversion over the centuries slavery lasted.

Likewise, white Americans largely reject calls by blacks for reparations, some seriously arguing that ‘slaves were freed by the Civil War’ and ‘blacks benefited from affirmative action’ government policies over the years.

The reparations movement is however gaining traction across the hemispheric horizon.

The momentum has just begun in South America, with an International Reparations Conference held in Cali, Colombia in March 2017, essentially to outline a road map for the movement for recognition and inclusion of the African-descended minority across the continent.

The African Americans are encouraged by a 2016 report by the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent, urging U.S. lawmakers to implement reparations, citing “a legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”

Also, according to an exclusive poll released in March 2017 in conjunction with a new PBS Series ‘Point Taken’, 40% of US ‘millennials’ think there should be reparations for African American descendants of enslaved people.

Indeed, some of the leaders of the revived reparations movement in the USA are confident enough of the momentum gained thus far to conclude that ‘this could be reparations’ best chance since 1865.’

In the Caribbean, the governments’ approach is naturally quite different from North and South America – more diplomatic than agitational, seeking dialogue over confrontation.

In March 2014, the CARICOM governments unanimously adopted the ten-point plan to demand “Reparatory Justice for the victims of Crimes against Humanity in the forms of genocide, slavery, slave trading and racial apartheid.” The E.U. member-states that built their imperial wealth on slavery were also duly informed.

A CARICOM Regional Reparations Commission was also appointed (chaired by the vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles), with national reparations committees also established in member-states.

The Caribbean hasn’t put a price tag on slavery, even though a sum of US $17 trillion is often mentioned. Instead, it’s seeking a mutually agreed CARICOM-E.U. approach to what forms the atonement will take, to the common and mutual benefit of all the CARICOM states and peoples.

Failing this negotiated approach, the Caribbean countries reserve the right to file formal criminal charges against the culprit E.U. member-states at the International Criminal Court (ICC)).

Citing the will of the Western world to proudly acknowledge and atone for the Jewish Holocaust, reparations paid by the U.S. government to Japanese interned during World War II, reparations made to U.S. native peoples and Britain recently being ordered by its own courts to pay reparations to tribal Kenyan ‘Mau -Mau’ independence fighters, CARICOM feels it has a very good case.

Those demanding reparations for slavery everywhere are also buoyed by the U.N.’s declaration of 2015 to 2024 as the Decade for People of African Descent.

The CARICOM Prime Ministerial Subcommittee on Reparations (led by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart) met in late April 2017 to review European responses to their request for a negotiated settlement.

In the meantime, the 15 member-states, including Haiti, are preparing their individual legal cases for collective submission to the ICC, should the culprit E.U. member-states continue to dodge and dither to duck their individual and collective responsibilities for the greatest ‘crime against humanity’ known to mankind.

The reparations demands by African descendants in CARICOM, U.S. and South American states do have the backing of regional and international entities, including similar non-governmental Europe-based movements and an increasing level of interest and support from African states and entities, including the African Union (A.U.) and the Pan African Congress (PAC).

The European and American governments today may continue to duck their responsibilities. But the results of the strong reparations demands on them, whether achieved today or tomorrow, also offer added hope to the likes of the Australian Aborigines and New Zealand’s Maori first peoples, who may have received formal apologies, but continue to feel treated less than equal in the lands they first inhabited.

Meanwhile, the Grenada ‘slavery and tourism’ discussion is an interesting starting point to revive earlier discussions on the establishment of a national reparations committee (NRC) for Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

That will not only be in line with the reality of the vast majority of CARICOM member-states (where NRCs exist), but will also facilitate ongoing discussion across the three-island state on reparations and related issues during the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent, which continues until December 31, 2024.

Source*

Related Topics:

French Presidential Favorite Macron sparks firestorm for Speaking the Truth about Colonization*

Slavery: The Anniversary of the Official Ending of a System that Bankrolled and Civilized Cameron’s British Empire*

Call for UK to Pay India Reparations for Colonial-era Damage*

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

The Case for Reparations to Africa: Britain Apology is Cheap*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

Fourteen Caribbean Nations Demand Reparation from Colonial Britain*

An Ancient Kingdom Demands Reparation from the Queen of England

At the World Economic Forum-Africa Germany Pitched a Dubious New G20 Corporate Strategy*

Chicago Pays $5.5mn in Reparations to 57 Black Men Tortured by Police Decades Ago*

Call for UK to Pay India Reparations for Colonial-era Damage*

Germany, where’s the Reparation for Greece?*

 

 

Nestlé Sinks Teeth into Jamaica and Nigeria Hosting ‘Health Events’ While Products are Toxic*

Nestlé Sinks Teeth into Jamaica and Nigeria Hosting ‘Health Events’ While Products are Toxic*

Nestlé has been experiencing terrible loss. As we noted in an article a few months ago titled “Processed Food is Dying: Nestlé Takes Worst Hit in 20 Years as Public Opinion Shifts”:

“This “Q4” as the corporate world calls it, Swiss processed food giant Nestlé took a harder hit than they have in 20 years. Even mainstream business articles are sporting headlines such as “Nestlé Drops Targets as Consumer Giants Struggle,” from the Wall Street Journal. Could it be that consumer giants are actually struggling because of a shift in public opinion?”

They are despised, and rightfully so. They are known for producing generally unhealthy processed food products, and have the audacity to hold events focusing on nutrition in the wake of the mother of all PR problems.

PR problems grew enormous in 2013 when Nestlé’s CEO said water is not a human right. Then it got worse when they were found to be collecting water from California springs while the state was in a severe drought, as nearby people had to abide by water usage restrictions.

In 2015 a classic article by Claire Bernish exploded, titled “The Privatization of Water: Nestlé Pays Only $524 to Extract 27,000,000 Gallons of California Drinking Water.” Reading from it:

“Nestle has found itself more and more frequently in the glare of the California drought-shame spotlight than it would arguably care to be — though not frequently enough, apparently, for the megacorporation to have spontaneously sprouted a conscience.

Drought-shaming worked sufficiently enough for Starbucks to stop bottling water in the now-arid state entirely, uprooting its operations all the way to Pennsylvania. But Nestle simply shrugged off public outrage and then upped the ante by increasing its draw from natural springs — most notoriously in the San Bernardino National Forest — with an absurdly expired permit.”

In 2016, they had the audacity to pursue collecting even more massive amounts of water from Michigan’s White Pine Springs operation, angering many because nearby Flint, Michigan residents have to deal with water poisoned by lead and other toxins. Even in the 1990’s, outrage was sparked by their decision to take water from Michigan.

Headlines were recently made about how Flint residents are being forced to pay for the poisoned water, or face foreclosure. Meanwhile, a legal decision will be made soon deciding whether or not Nestlé can increase their water theft to 400 gallons per minute at the nearby White Pine Springs operation.

With all this bad press, Nestlé is truly taking a hit. Even in Australia their profits are down: they are getting desperate.

The corporation’s situation is demonstrating the power of public opinion and negative press, and in response they are launching PR efforts from Jamaica to Nigeria, going so far as to host workshops and events with “health care professionals,” as if they care about health.

A headline about the Nigerian PR from Vanguard reads “Nestle partners with media to enhance biz relationship.”

A Jamaica Observer article is titled “Nestlé Jamaica hosts health care professionals: Symposium reinforces importance of iron for health and development in infants.” Reading from it:

“Nestlé says it has reformulated its Nestum infant cereal portfolio to include additional iron in response to the needs of children for this important nutrient. The revelation was made at a symposium for health care professionals at the Knutsford Court Hotel on May 10. The symposium was entitled ‘Rationale for Feeding Normal Infants from Birth to One Year’.

The keynote speaker, Dr Jatinder Bhatia, a professor of paediatrics at Augusta University, Atlanta, Georgia, highlighted iron requirements as a specific need for infants in his presentation. The right nutrition during the first 1,000 days can have an important impact on a child’s ability to grow and learn, and iron deficiency remains a public health concern for Jamaica.”

This sounds like a poor effort at pretending to care about nutrition. Iron is something the company can easily put in its products: where is their concern for vaccine damaged children, or consumers of toxic chemicals such as aspartame?

Aspartame literally turns into formaldehyde and methanol in the body, and is responsible for an array of health problems, but Nestlé doesn’t mind promoting it. This webpage from Nestlé India promotes aspartame as a healthy alternative to sugar.

These PR efforts are also occurring in PakistanIndia, Nigeria, and probably many more countries.

According to an article titled “Nestle Urges Nigerians to Lead Healthier Lives”:

“Nestlé Nigeria has embarked on a nutrition education campaign with various programmes to help individuals and families, parents and children live healthier.

In a statement made available to THISDAY over the weekend, Nestlé stated that “it will continue to inspire people to lead healthier lives, raising awareness and deeper understanding about nutrition, and promoting healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles through education programmes on various channels in line with its conviction that healthier lives are happier lives.”

It doesn’t get more fake than this: giant corporations with track records of not caring about people promoting nutrition. In this world, it isn’t easy to know what health is. We live in a time where vaccines containing toxic metals are lauded as miracles of science, and food containing cancer causing, endocrine disrupting chemicals is consumed without a second thought.

The building blocks of our bodies, vitamins and minerals, are ignored by “health care professionals.” Nestlé will strategically promote iron because it’s easy to put in their products, but won’t say a damn thing about how sugar depletes magnesium in the body. They won’t say anything about essential components of health such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin c, vitamin e, or anything of the like.

If they do put a vitamin or mineral in their products, best believe it’s an inferior, profitable version of it. They’ll load products with calcium carbonate and claim it has beneficial calcium, but that’s not a nutritious form of it: it’s a harmful form of calcium that no one would benefit from consuming.

Their form of calcium actually inhibits the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium carbonate is also known as chalk.

In conclusion, hopefully this can be considered good news: this is a demonstration of the power of public opinion. Nestlé is having a hard time because people are outraged

Source*

Related Topics:

Neuroscience Shows Breastfeeding is not Just Milk*

Nestle Being Sued for $100 Million Dollars over Hazardous Lead in Food*

Nestle ‘Liberating’ Water from Drought Stricken Indian Reservation*

Nestlé Loses more Than $500 Million for Poisoning Maggi Noodles with Lead*

Nestlé to Control Canadian Water Supply that Effect 6 Indigenous Tribes*

Nestlé Gets to Control a Town’s Entire Groundwater for up to 45 Years*

Nestlé’s Bid To Squash a Child Slavery Suit Rejected*

Nestlé Removes GMOs from South African Baby Foods not U.S. Baby Foods*

Fear and Dejected Riddled Chocolate Brought to you By the Company that Believes Water is not a Human Right!

Nestlé’s Selling You Your Water!