Caribbeans Demande Europeans for Reparation for slavery & Ethiopia and Ghana for citzenship

 

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 ‘Our aim is to open a dialogue with European states’• Wide range of support sought from former slaving countries

Heads of state of 15 Caribbean nations will gather in St Vincent on Monday to unveil a plan demanding reparations from Europe for the enduring suffering inflicted by the Atlantic slave trade.

Sir Hilary Beckles, who chairs the reparations task force charged with framing the 10 demands, said the plan would set out areas of dialogue with former slave-trading nations including the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He dismissed claims that the Caribbean nations were attempting to extract vast sums from European taxpayers, insisting that money was not the main objective.

“The British media has been obsessed with suggesting that we expect billions of dollars to be extracted from European states,” he said. “Contrary to the British media, we are not exclusively concerned with financial transactions, we are concerned more with justice for the people who continue to suffer harm at so many levels of social life.”

Beckles also tried to assuage fears that “this is opening up a can of worms leading to litigation”. “That is not our aim at all,” he said. “Our aim is to open up a dialogue with European states.”

The 10-point plan will be unveiled on Monday at the heads of government meeting of Caricom, the regional political and economic body. Given the head of steam behind the reparations movement in the Caribbean, the blueprint is expected to be approved. It will then go forward for discussion with European governments.

The claims are being channeled through the United Nations convention on the elimination of racial discrimination, and processed with the help of the London law firm Leigh Day.

Among the demands made on European former slave trade nations are that they:

• provide diplomatic help to persuade countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia to offer citizenship to the children of people from the Caribbean who “return” to Africa. Some 30,000 have made such a journey to Africa and have been offered generous settlement packages, but lack of citizenship rights for their children is causing difficulties;

• devise a development strategy to help improve the lives of poor communities in the Caribbean still devastated by the after-effects of slavery;

• 3 support cultural exchanges between the Caribbean and west Africa to help Caribbean people of African descent rebuild their sense of history and identity;

•   back literacy drives designed to improve education levels that are still dire in many Caribbean communities;

•  provide medical assistance to the region that is struggling from high levels of chronic diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes that the Caricom reparations commission links to the fallout from slavery.

One of the most important, and most contentious, demands will be for European countries to issue an unqualified apology for what they did in shipping millions of men, women and children from Africa to the Caribbean and America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Beckles was scathing of European leaders who have issued statements of regret about slavery, including Tony Blair who in 2007, as UK prime minister, said the slave trade was a matter of “deep sorrow and regret” .

“It was disgraceful to speak of regret rather than to apologise,” Beckles said. “That was a disrespectful act on Blair’s part as it implied that nothing can be done about it – ‘Take our expression of regret and go away’.”

The most positive response from any of the relevant European governments has come so far from Sweden, which said it has “respect for the process” on reparations emerging from the Caribbean. But the UK government has expressed scepticism, with the Foreign Office  “we do not see reparations as the answer. Instead, we should concentrate on identifying ways forward.”

For Beckles, a historian who is pro-vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies in Barbados, the reparations issue is personal. His great-great-grandparents were slaves on the Barbadian plantation owned by ancestors of the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Beckles’s great-great-grandmother was herself a Cumberbatch.

Cumberbatch, who plays a plantation owner in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave, has said he took on a previous role as the abolitionist William Pitt the Younger as a “sort of apology” for his family’s involvement in the trade.

12yearsaslave-diaalnews.com

Beckles said that 12 Years A Slave, which was directed by Steve McQueen, a Briton of Grenadian descent, and starred Chiwetel Ejiofor, a Briton of Nigerian descent, had made a “very important step in the right direction” in its unstinting portrayal of the brutality of slavery. He said he would like to see a similar treatment of the subject from the perspective of Britain rather than America.

“America has made efforts to reflect on their own history, but Britain has made no such effort to do so. If the British public were shown slavery in their own society seen through the eyes of the enslaved, they would get a much better understanding,” he sai

Dianne Feinstein “CIA Spied on Intelligence Committee”

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REUTERS, 12/03 00:18 CET

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 A bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open on Tuesday when the committee chairwoman accused the agency of spying on Congress and possibly breaking the law.
Veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when researching the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and its use of harsh interrogation methods such as simulated drowning or “waterboarding.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Feinstein condemned how the CIA had handled the committee’s investigation into the agency’s detention and interrogation program started under President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Human rights advocates condemn the interrogation practices as torture.
“I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search (of committee computers) may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the Constitution,” said Feinstein, who is normally a strong ally of U.S. intelligence agencies.
She disclosed that the Justice Department had been asked by two different CIA offices to investigate whether committee officials or the agency itself might have violated the law.
Her accusations of CIA-led computer searches were denied by CIA Director John Brennan. They brought into the open a simmering row between the committee and the agency that had been brewing for months and disrupted the committee’s work.
The committee investigation, which resulted in 6,000 pages of findings which remain highly classified, was meant to comprehensively document what the agency did and assess the effectiveness of its methods.
Sources familiar with the findings say they condemn the CIA’s aggressive interrogations and question whether they produced significant intelligence information. The CIA has given the committee a classified rebuttal to the report.
Feinstein said that in January, the CIA’s Brennan requested an emergency meeting with her and the committee’s top Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss.
She said he informed them that agency personnel, without notifying the committee or seeking its approval, had conducted a “search” of computers that committee investigators were using to review documents related to theCIA program.
CIA SEARCHES
She charged that the search may have violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and an executive order that prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.
Brennan denied any charge of computer hacking. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that,” he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
He said the agency was not trying to thwart the release of the panel’s report. “We are not trying at all to prevent its release,” he said.
Feinstein has been pushing to make the report’s findings public but infighting with the CIA had meant the formal process to declassify the document had not even begun. Feinstein said she hoped declassification could begin before the end of March.
A key dispute is over how the committee acquired what Feinstein and others describe as the CIA’s own internal review of its interrogation tactics and secret prisons, and its use of “rendition,” a practice in which prisoners are transferred between countries without formal judicial process.
Feinstein and committee sources say they had found the review in the computer system the CIA set up for their use and at some point their staff printed out a copy and took it to their offices on Capitol Hill.
In a letter Brennan wrote to Feinstein in January, which was obtained by Reuters, he acknowledged the data had been deposited in the part of the CIA computer network to which Senate investigators had access but said he did not know how this happened.
Feinstein said the review mirrored key concerns outlined in her staff’s report and differed sharply from the official CIA response to the committee’s investigation.
INTIMIDATION
Partly as a result of the committee accessing the internal review, security sources said, the CIA’s acting general counsel sent what is called a “crimes report” to the Justice Department complaining about the actions of committee staff.
Feinstein condemned this action on Tuesday as an attempt to intimidate committee staff. She bristled at suggestions her staff had gotten information improperly and said the CIA itself provided her committee with more than 6.2 million documents.
“The committee clearly did not hack into CIA computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press,” the California Democrat said.
Brennan said he had also asked the CIA’s in-house inspector general to investigate. That led to another “crimes report” being filed by that office with the Justice Department related to committee complaints that the agency had violated the law by searching the computer system its investigators had used.
Brennan, who took the helm of the CIA a year ago, said the agency was eager to relegate the rendition, detention and interrogation program to history.
The dispute heightened concerns about the effectiveness of congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies. Concern had already been raised by revelations by fugitive U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about sweeping electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Brennan vigorously defended the CIA’s commitment to working with Congress. “We are a far better organization because of congressional oversight,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Will Dunham; Editing by David Storey and Cynthia Osterman)

Mammoth Dams such us Ethiopian Nile renaissance are Not Viable Oxford dam-busters

Oxford dam-busters

Oxford dam-busters image

Large-scale hydroelectric dams are not economically viable in a vast majority of cases and can seriously damage emerging economies, according to new research.

A team at Oxford University said countries pursuing projects – including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Pakistan – risk saddling themselves with “serious debt owing to ill-advised construction”.

The Saїd Business School based its study on data from 245 large dams in 65 countries. The findings show the construction costs are on average 90%-plus higher than their budgets at the time of approval, in real terms.

This is before accounting for “negative impacts on human society and environment and without including the effects of inflation and debt servicing”, the researchers added.

The study also found that the magnitude of cost overruns has not declined over time and “dam budgets today are as wrong as at any time during the 70 years for which data exists”.

In the case of Brazil’s Itaipu dam, built in the 1970s, there was a 240%-plus cost overrun that impaired the nation’s public finances for three decades. Itaipu will most likely never pay back the costs incurred to build it.

Nevertheless, Brazil is currently building the Belo Monte hydro project, which “has proved non-viable even before opening”. The researchers also warn that “China, Indonesia, Pakistan and other nations show similar amnesic behaviour regarding the building of dams”.

Costs aside, mega-dams also take an inordinately long time to build, some 8.2 years on average and often more than 10 years.

Report co-author Dr Atif Ansar said:  ‘Proponents of mega-dams tend to focus on rare stories of success in order to get their pet projects approved. The purported success of the Hoover dam in the USA, for example, is an often-heard argument in favour of building new large dams.

“Instead of relying on the outcome of just one project, decision makers should consider evidence for the entire population. In the case of large dams, the probability of failure dominates.

“If leaders of emerging economies are truly interested in the welfare of their citizens, they are better off laying grand visions of mega-dams aside.”

Image: the Hoover project in the US is often touted as an argument for hydroelectric dam development (Wikimedia Commons)

The Victory of Adwa against colonization 118th Anniversary

 

The battle of Adwa of  the 1st of March,  1896 a great victory and pride for Africans at home and Diaspora. The victory assured that Ethiopia successfully resists European colonization.

A prehistoric stale in the birth place of Menilik

A prehistoric stale in the birth place of Menelik II

Italy the late comer to the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century   was allocated to Ethiopia but just needed to take control. The Italians and the rest of the European powers present at the Berlin Conference 1880’s wrongly assumed that Ethiopia was made up of rival tribes fighting one another and thought it would be a quick promenade for their 20,000 strong highly trained invasion forces. They never thought  what they call “tribal back word sa

vages” could be united raising a much larger patriotic people’s army to defend their country and even to

Map of the Battle of Adowa, between the forces of General Oreste Baratieri, Italian governor of Eritrea and Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia.

win an all out war.

 

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Adwa118

The main cause of the Battle being the European colonial ambition it manifested through the deferent treaty the colonial powers used to cheat the Africans. This was highly manifested by Italo Ethiopian Treaty known as the Wechale Treaty.   The colonial manipulation started when Menelik II came to the throne in 1889 the Italians thought that he would surrender sovereignty to them since they had been supplying him with ammunitions. They succeeded to manipulate the king on  May 2, 1889, to make him  sign  the Treaty  of Uccialli in the province of Wello, with which Menelik accorded for the  Italians some land in Tigre to the already concession he has made by letting them to take Eritrea. In this famous once sided treaty, they   tricked Menelik by having two different versions- one in Italian and other in Amharic. The secret of the Italian plan was manifested on   article 17 which read in one in Amharic and other in Italian.   Thus the Italian version read: –

The Emperor consents to use the Italian government for all the business he does with all the other Powers or Governments“.
The Amharic version reads:-
The Emperor has the option to communicate with the help of the Italian government for all matters that he wants with the kings of Europe.”

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When Menelik realized that he had been cheated he immediately rejected the treaty and refused all further offers of gifts from the Italians. Turkey, Russia and France stood to the Ethiopian version of the story.  Finally Menelik decided to confront the advancing Italian Army which has already occupied Tigre Provence without his contentment.

As a result in September of 1895, Menelik, King of Kings of Ethiopia mobilized the population of Ethiopia to arms. Over 100,000 Ethiopians gathered under his rank to liberate his occupy province by the Italian forces.

 

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“God, in his bounty, has struck down my enemies and enlarged my empire and preserved me to this day. I have reigned by the grace of God….Enemies have come who would ruin our country and change our religion. They have passed beyond the sea which God gave us as our frontier….These enemies have advanced, burrowing into the country like moles. With God’s help I will get rid of them.”

Menelik divided his Army under three leaders:-

  1. Emperor Menelik II, The King of Kings of Ethiopia
  2. Empress Taytu Betul, The Wife of Menlik II
  3. Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma ,
  4. Ras Welle Betul ;
  5. RasMengesha Atikem ;
  6. Ras Mengesha Yohannes ;
  7. Ras Alula Engida ;
  8. Ras Mikael of Wollo;
  9. Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael;
  10. FitawrariGebeyyehu,

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DYdEifBqlcvI img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/YdEifBqlcvI/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=340 height=260 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /]

 

On the night of 29 February and the early morning of 1 March three Italian brigades advanced separately towards Adwa over narrow mountain tracks, while a fourth remained camped.  The Italiano Forces were led by:-

  1. General Oreste Baratieri ;
  2. Brgdaire Matteo Albertone,
  3. Giuseppe Arimondi,
  4. Giuseppe Ellena  and
  5. Vittorio Dabormida.
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These invading Italian forces were made up of 18,000 infantry and 56 artillery guns, and with many thousands of   Eritrean militias were prepared to fight against Menelik II on the battle field.

At 6:00 on the 1st of March 1896 the Italian Gen.  Albertone used the Eritrean askari peasant fighters to face their brother Ethiopian as is always the game to make the enemy to kill one another at a place called Kidane Meret. This was the hill where the Ethiopians had managed to set up their mountain out front.  On the hill side though outnumbered by the Eritrean askaris, the Ethiopian fighters were able to hold their position for two hours which they broke the rank of the Italians and able to capture General Albertone’s.  At such heroic fight the Italian and their remaining askaris dispersed leaving the wounded and the dead.  Seeing the capture of the Albertone Gen  Arimondi’s brigade joined the fight at the last minute and start punching the Ethiopians to liberate the captured Italians. The Ethiopians fought courageously  and battled the colonizers three  hours while Menelik himself joined the combat with his  25,000 strong  Shewans people’s army and  broke their back bones once for good. Brigadier Dabormida now made a fatal error as he retreated from Menelik’s push, he was cornered  into a narrow hill where he  was ransacked  by Ras Mikael ‘s Oromo Army . They wiped him  out, his body was never recovered. The last blow came at noon the next day   when Negus Tekle Haymonot led his  Gojjam forces  break the back bone of  the remaining  Italian brigade.  This happened when Negus  was attacked by the last of the invading army which he  destroyed and by one o’clock the battle was finished with victory to the African Army.

The battle was bloody over 8,000 Italians died and 1500 wounded many captured fighting hard to save the pride of European colonizers, but  with no avail. Almost the same amount of Ethiopians perished in this decisive war of history in the African heartland after the war of the Zulu in South Africa  and Mhadist victory against the Britons in Khartoum led by Mahadi.

“In Ethiopia, the military genius of Menelik II was in the best tradition of Piankhi, the great ruler of ancient Egypt and Nubia or ancient Ethiopia, who drove out the Italians in 1896 and maintained the liberties of that ancient free empire of Black men.” Huggins and Jackson analyzed the victory not only in terms of its significance to the postcolonial African world, but also in terms of its linkage to the tradition of ancient African glories and victories.  An Introduction to African Civilizations, Huggins and Jackson write

 

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