Condoleezza vs Schwarzenegger for Governor
Africa's "Right to Health"
Turks: "Stick it up your backside"





Condoleezza Rice has told California Republicans she is "very much open" to running for Governor of the state in 2006. The California GOP had been wooing Rice to challenge Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer but, according to unidentified sources quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle, "She's said no on the Senate race, but is very much open on '06."

If true, the Republican primary race might pit Rice against actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has muscled himself into contention. Like Rice, the Austrian-born actor has never been elected to office.

Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama but served as Provost of Stanford University, where she was "discovered" by President Bush Senior. She has also fantasized about becoming Commissioner of the National Football League.

Hard Right Republicans love Rice in much the same way that they are fiercely defensive of Clarence Thomas. Fans of the National Security Advisor publish online Condoleezza for President sites and hawk Condoleezza presidential campaign fashion gear. Last year, New California Media reported that "Europeans" were all abuzz about a Rice run for Vice President in 2004. "According to European observers," said the news service, "Rice is the quintessential product of the American Dream, and of the African-American civil rights movement."

MLK: a legion of assassins

The law of uneven development that governs societies, forcing us to confront emergent phenomenon while unfinished business still entangles our feet, was dramatically at work in Mississippi, last week. It took only a few hours for a federal jury to convict a 72-year-old former Klansmen of blowing the top of a Black field hand's head off so that the body could be used as bait to lure Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Klan country, in 1966. The three assailants, two of whom have died, hoped to assassinate King on their own, bloody turf.

It was the first federal murder trial for a Sixties racial killing; previous federal homicide prosecutions had been based on denial of the victim's civil rights. The three Klansmen won a mistrial in Mississippi state court in 1967. However, federal prosecutors discovered a witness to testify that the body of the victim, Ben Chester White, was found on federal land, opening the way for new charges under a different jurisdiction.

Much philosophizing accompanied the verdict, concerning the "old" Mississippi and the "new" version. Jesse White, the 65-year-old son of the murdered man, told the Washington Post, "It proves that our American justice system is very much alive and well. It shows the world."

Substitute schoolteacher Sawandi Olugbala looked back over his 49 years in Mississippi and concluded differently. Of the stroke-crippled Klansman, Olugbala said: "That man has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. If somebody commits a murder, or a crime, and gets away with it for almost 40 years... that's not justice."

DC attempts jump to front

The majority Black city-state District of Columbia will be the first venue of the upcoming primary season, unless the courts or the national Democratic apparatus thwarts the will of the City Council, the Mayor, and the local Democratic and Republican parties. The City Council unanimously passed a bill to hold Washington's primary on Tuesday, January 13, in hopes of snatching national attention from overwhelmingly white New Hampshire's contest, the next week.

"The reason DC is going first in the Presidential primary season is because DC lacks voting rights in the House and the Senate," said Councilman Jack Evans, who introduced the legislation. "DC labors under second class citizenship."

The "First in the Nation" campaign is spearheaded by the DC Democracy Fund. Executive Director Sean Tenner made the case for the early primary in his February 6 commentary, "... And the Last Shall Be First."

Tenner called the Council action "one of the boldest steps the DC Council has ever taken to dramatize our lack of voting rights and autonomy. In the face of huge pressure from some party operatives, the Council stuck to their guns and did the right thing for the people of Washington, DC and the nation."

The corporate style of war

The U.S. rush to "Shock and Awe" confronts a world of rising resistance and crumbling "Coalitions of the Coerced," the shorthand title of an Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) report on American efforts to sign up camp followers. Most of these "partners," says the IPS, "were recruited through coercion, bullying, and bribery."

It is difficult to imagine the temptations placed before the elites of the African members of the United Nations Security Council: Guinea, Angola and Cameroon. So long neglected save for relentless exploitation, they are now feted and wooed by the power that has, in Angola's case, destroyed their nation many times over through dollar-financed insurgency. Guinea assumes the rotating presidency of the Security Council, this week. What American devilment must be afoot in the hotel lobbies of Conakry and restaurants of Manhattan!

That's a question to ask the National Security Agency (NSA), the huge American super-surveillance organization (far larger than the CIA) that monitors world communications. The mega-microphones and sensors are now arrayed in a "'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favor of war against Iraq," the London Observer reported. The newspaper says it was fed a "leak" from within the NSA.

The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.

When questioned about the Observer report, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer blandly replied that it was against policy to comment on intelligence gathering matters.

Turks: "Stick it up your backside"

So confident was Washington that Turkey would allow its territory to serve as a staging area for the invasion of northern Iraq, the U.S unloaded one thousand vehicles at a Turkish airport without waiting for approval of the Turkish Parliament. In a shocking rebuff to Washington and Turkey's ruling party, the legislature narrowly rejected an agreement to accept around $30 billion in grants, loans and guarantees to join the "coalition."

As goes to press, it is still unclear if the American "fix" can be reinserted into the Turkish body politic. The Parliament could return for another vote. However, as the March 2 New York Times reported:

"The relationship is spoiled," said Murat Mercan, a Member of Parliament from the majority party. "The Americans dictated to us. It became a business negotiation, not something between friends. It disgusted me."

For the Turkish man and woman in the street, the final insult arrived in the form of American political cartoons depicting Turks as shakedown artists, "a money-grabbing belly dancer, or a prostitute bargaining for the price of its favors," according to a British press report titled, "Serves rude America right."

"I can't tell you how awful I felt when I saw the cartoons," Ayse Akin, a student, said. "They were so deeply insulting. America can stick its money and its troops up its backside."

Bush: The Ugly American

According to the recently released results of a European Union poll, fewer than a third of Europeans believe that the U.S. is a force for world peace, and only 20 percent think America actively fights world poverty. The survey was taken last October and November, before Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's barrage of insults against the French, Germans and other denizens of "old Europe."

Bush's ideological ally, rightwing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, told the Wall Street Journal "we need a lot of Colin Powell and very little of Rumsfeld." Two million Spaniards demonstrated against the U.S. and their government, February 15, contributing to Aznar's sour attitude.

A poll of British citizens, last week, showed President Bush head to head with Saddam Hussein as "the greatest threat to world peace" - tied at 45 percent, each.

"Africa's Right to Health"

It comes as no surprise, then, that those who know him best - African Americans - have little confidence in Bush's State of the Union promises to lend decisive assistance in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Many of the nation's most prominent Black ministers joined Africa Action, a Washington-based advocacy group, to demand substantive action to advance "Africa's Right to Health."

"The President's recently announced plan for AIDS in Africa will not provide any significant increase in funding until 2005, despite its promise to contribute $15 billion as a matter of 'emergency,'" said the Africa Action statement. "Over 5 million Africans will die of AIDS before then without access to treatment that such funding could provide."

The ministerial letter to Bush charged that U.S. foreign policy fosters social disintegration and disease in Africa:

We call upon you today to support the full cancellation of the debts owed by African countries to the World Bank and the IMF, as a crucial first step toward reducing the outward flow of financial resources desperately needed within Africa. The reasons this must be done are more than sufficient to make the case. They include the illegitimacy of most debts incurred by unrepresentative regimes of the past that received loans for geopolitical and not developmental reasons during the Cold War; the liability of creditors themselves for failures of the economic policies that they imposed; and the fact that paying these illegitimate debts deprives Africa of investment in health, education and physical infrastructure at a time when the continent faces the worst health crisis in human history.

Imperial end game

The Pirates in charge of the U.S. machinery of state are determined that, within weeks, all of the appeals, proposals and dreams for a more just world order will be mooted, superceded by a global American hegemony, born in fire. By declaring war on international structures and rules of behavior that are largely the creation of the U.S. and Europeans, the Bush regime has surrounded itself with enemies of its own making.

In the American Century envisioned by the Pirates, the U.S. will be the arbiter of relations among nations. The scope of other nation's sovereignty will be measured against and determined by the perceived interests of the United States. To paraphrase the infamous Dred Scott Decision, no nation will have sovereignty that the United States is bound to respect.

The major players of the European Union have gotten the whiff of what is in store, and are arranging themselves, defensively. Donald Rumsfeld speaks derisively of France and Germany as representing the "old" Europe, but behind the sneer is hysteria at the prospect of the "new" euro as an alternative world currency.

The impending war against Iraq is an oil currency war, a preemptive strike against the euro's potential to challenge the U.S. dollar as the sole denominator of petroleum purchases. By seizing the Iraqi oil fields and positioning itself to do the same in Saudi Arabia, Iran and throughout the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and South Asia, the U.S. can stop the euro cold and rule as its own OPEC, awesomely armed and dreadfully dangerous. The dollar will remain supreme, backed by the oil reserves of the globe.

None of the Bush men can explain why Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat to the United States because the Iraqi dictator is not a threat. Rather, he is welcomed as a godsend, the perfect straw man to be knocked down on the road to hegemony.

Our colleague Dr. Sonja Ebron's February 20 analysis, "Why African Americans Should Oppose the War" is a brilliant explication of the currency crisis propelling the American blitzkrieg. Throughout the world, thinkers and planners in government, banking, commerce, popular organizations and anti-imperialist groupings - the universe of the Pirate's potential "subjects" - grapple with the stark choices posed by America's grab for domination. believes - and Dr. Ebron agrees - that the journal "Aspects of India's Economy" has produced the most incisive and exhaustive analysis to date of the forces driving the U.S. to make war in the Middle East.

[I]f other imperialist powers were able to displace US dominance in the region, the dollar would be dealt a severe blow. The pressure for switching to the euro would become irresistible and would ring the death knell of dollar supremacy. On the other hand, complete US control of oil would preserve the rule of the dollar (not only would oil producers continue to use the dollar for their international trade, but the dollar's international standing would rise) and hurt the credibility of the euro....

The thrust is clear: Once it has seized the oil wells of west Asia, the US will determine not only which firms would bag the deals, not only the currency in which oil trade would be denominated, not only the price of oil on the international market, but even the destination of the oil.

The book length special issue, "Behind the Invasion of Iraq," is available online. We urge all proponents of peace and social justice to spend time with this document, an invaluable resource for understanding the events that have led us to the gates of Armageddon.

UN's secret plan for Iraq

Bowing to the inevitability of a U.S. takeover of Iraq, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has for the past month been at work on a plan to pry America out of the country within three months of the crushing of Saddam Hussein. Britain's TimesOnline reports it has obtained a copy of the plan, which would reestablish the world body's authority following a U.S. invasion while avoiding total UN responsibility for Iraq.

"The preferred option for the UN is a UN assistance mission that would provide political facilitation, consensus-building, national reconciliation and the promotion of democratic governance and the rule of law," the plan says. "Full Iraqi ownership is the desired end-state whereby a heavy UN involvement is unnecessary. The people of Iraq, rather than the international community, should determine national government structures, a legal framework and governance arrangements."

TimesOnline reports the plan "envisages the UN stepping in about three months after a successful conquest of Iraq, and steering the country towards self-government, as in Afghanistan." The UN would "avoid taking direct control of Iraqi oil or becoming involved in vetting Iraqi officials for links to the President or staging elections under US military occupation."

France, Germany, Russia and possibly China will seek to influence post-war Iraq through various UN proposals.

As at the Berlin Conference of 1885, when colonial powers and the U.S. drew lines on the map of not only Africa but also Europe, the carving knives have been raised. However, Bush is determined to decide who sits at the table - if anyone. And the feast will be a dollars-only affair.

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Issue Number 32
March 6, 2003

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Other commentaries in this issue:

All About Clarence:Self-loathing on the High Court

The disappearing 2004 election... Delousing the Democrats... TV’s "Meet the Prejudiced" and "Face the Fool"

Persistent Peril: Why African American babies have the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world By Ziba Kashef, ColorLines RaceWire

Commentaries in Issue 31 February 27, 2003:

Commentary 1
Al Sharpton’s Battle to Transform the Democrats

Commentary 2
In the Time of Disappeared People - Patriot II means Permanent National Emergency

The Issues
Clarence Thomas and his Latino clone... The dollar's global death-grip... Bush must co-sign for Turkey money

Dying for the almighty dollar... The "new" Colin Powell... The Moseley-Braun - Sharpton debate

Guest Commentary
Fear, Loathing and Laura Bush: Reflections on the Functions of Mass Panic - By Tim Wise

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.