Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The New York Times:
"Biden Pressing for Democracy Closer to Home. President Biden took office with bold warnings for Russia and China about human rights as he pressed democracies around the world to stand up against autocracy. But this week, he is facing a string of similar challenges in America’s neighborhood."

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/us/politics/biden-cuba-haiti-latin-america.html


-->The NYT assumption that the United States is a force for democracy in Latin America is simply laughable. The CIA has spent decades overthrowing democratically elected presidents in the region, only to put in some of the worst dictators imaginable. The only real challenge to democracies south of the boarder is to choose their form of government without the intervention of CIA assassins, illegal trade embargoes and outright military invasions. 


In fact, after 30 years of involving itself in the Middle East, the US is closely allied with some of the most brutal of dictators in the world. Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two countries that get billions in US military aid, are among the most repressive. And then there is our top recipient of foreign aid, apartheid Israel, where fully half of the population lives in perpetual occupation and siege, all because they are the wrong religion. Our newspaper of record calls all of this involvement "pressing for democracy." Only in the dream world of the Pentagon. 


After a couple of paragraphs, the NYT gets down to the real reason why Biden is worried about Latin America: "But U.S. influence began waning in the region over the past decade, as it turned toward fighting terrorism in the Middle East and as Russia and especially China moved in to finance projects and offer political support and other incentives."


-->Russia and China are now important trade partners with many Latin American countries. The US is attempting to overthrow democratically elected leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to reverse these gains. First our national media will slander these countries with propaganda. Next, there will be special operations to train and arm insurgents. We have seen it all before. Calling for democracy is nothing but the fig leaf that hides US imperialism. Shame on the NYT to pollute the national discourse with these crude distortions. 


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FAIR:

"A wave of protests in Cuba became the somewhat unlikely focus of global attention earlier this week, the events becoming the worldwide No. 1 trend on Twitter for over 24 hours, as celebrities, politicians and even the president of the United States weighed in on the action. ... Media, too, were quick to focus on the story, giving the protests front and center coverage, something extremely unusual for demonstrations in Latin America. Far larger and more deadly movements in Chile and Ecuador were mostly ignored by the corporate press. ...


However, while giving the protests a great deal of coverage, the corporate press across the political spectrum consistently downplayed one of the primary causes of unrest: the increasingly punitive US blockade. ...


[It] is ironic indeed that a host of outlets resorted to using images of pro-government demonstrations to illustrate how large and impressive the anti-government movement was. The Guardian (7/12/21), Fox News (7/11/21), Boston Globe (7/11/21), Financial Times (7/12/21), Yahoo! News (7/11/21) and NBC’s Today program (7/13/21) were among that used an image of masses of government supporters gathering in central Havana to show the extent of the anti-Communist demonstrations."

https://fair.org/home/media-play-up-protests-play-down-effect-of-us-sanctions-in-cuba/


-->Cuba brings out the very worst in the US media, with distortions and outright lies being the norm. Sad that we still think of our media as "free" when it so slavishly parrots misconceptions about Cuba. All the news that Wall Street thinks is fit to print.


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Orinoco Tribune:

"Jorge Rodríguez, head of the National Assembly of Venezuela, has presented evidence that links the Colombian mercenaries implicated in the recent murder of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, with the 2018 assassination attempt on President Maduro.


Rodríguez reported that the security firm that had recruited the Colombian hitmen was also involved in a failed assassination attempt on the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, that occurred on August 4, 2018. On that occasion, Maduro had accused his Colombian counterpart, then President Juan Manuel Santos, of being behind the failed assassination attempt. 


Jorge Rodríguez referred to a report published on July 11 by the American newspaper Miami Herald to assert that the Colombians implicated in the murder of Haitian President Moïse, hired by the security firm CTU Security LLC, based in Miami, Florida, were also involved in the attack against the Venezuelan president."

https://orinocotribune.com/company-implicated-in-moise-assassination-was-involved-in-attack-against-maduro/


-->These are links that most of our well trained, mainstream media will never make for the public. US assassinations of Third World leaders is the dirty secret of the empire. 


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Counterpunch:

"[Donald Rumsfeld and Bechtel]. On the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Bechtel, the gargantuan global construction firm based in San Francisco, issued its revenue numbers for 2004. While the situation continued to deteriorate for the US military forces in Iraq, Bechtel reported more fragrant news.


Although the privately-owned company doesn’t disclose its profits, Bechtel did announce that its income was soaring to new heights not seen since the 1960s when the company was damming some of the world’s most glorious canyons, building some of the most dangerous nuclear plants and constructing military bases for the staging of the war on Vietnam.


For the year 2004, Bechtel brought in more than $17.4 billion, a record haul for the company. That makes two record years in a row. Last year [2003] Bechtel earned more than $17 billion for the first time. Both peaks were all the more impressive given the senescent condition of the economy. Much of that robust income stream [came] from its operations in Iraq, where Bechtel is the king of contractors."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/07/04/straight-to-bechtel-when-donald-rumsfeld-laid-pipe/


-->While the major media focuses on Donald Rumsfeld's personality quirks, the rest of the story is carefully avoided. Much of that story involves Bechtel, one of the largest US war, nuclear and oil construction firms, as well as Rumsfeld's dirty dealings on its behalf over the last half century. One can't understand US disastrous wars abroad without looking at this country's war machine and how government officials are paid off to make it grow.


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Aljazeera:

"Israeli settlements amount to ‘war crime.’ ... A top UN rights expert has called for Israeli settlements to be classified as war crimes, urging the international community to demand accountability for a practice it has long deemed illegal.


Presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michael Lynk, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the settlements constitute a 'violation of the absolute prohibition against settler implantation'. ...


'I submit to you that this finding compels the international community … to make it clear to Israel that its illegal occupation, and its defiance of international law and international opinion, can and will no longer be cost-free,' Lynk told the Geneva rights forum."

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/9/israeli-settlements-amount-to-war-crime-un-rights-expert


-->Strangely enough, the NYT offered readers a story entitled "U.N. Rights Council Orders Inquiry Into Israel After Gaza Strife," but the newspaper is less forthcoming about news stories that actually state that Israel is committing war crimes against the Palestinians.  


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Black Alliance for Peace:

"The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) condemns the arrogance and illegality of United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti Helen La Lime’s July 8 statement that Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph will be the new president, just one day after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.


The decision was announced to the press after a closed-door UN Security Council meeting had been called on Haiti. But BAP asks: Who gave the United Nations special envoy the power to make that kind of determination for the people of Haiti? ...


BAP is concerned the political situation the United States created by supporting a dictatorship in Haiti is quickly replicating the moment when the United States swept in to colonize the predominantly African/Black country after the 1915 assassination of Haiti’s president, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam." 

https://blackallianceforpeace.com/bapstatements/haitiswhiterulers


-->Our mainstream media never questions the right of the US military to step back into Haiti, occupy the country and set up its next government. The history of US military invasions and occupations of this sovereign nation is never part of the story told to the US public.

 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

NPR Weekend Edition for Sunday July 4:

"NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and historian Marlene Daut discuss parallels between the Haitian Revolution and the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. for our series, 'We Hold These Truths.' "

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/04/1012978325/what-the-haitian-revolution-tells-us-about-the-u-s-movement-for-racial-equality


-->Some of the more important truths are, however, left out of this otherwise insightful segment about the Haitian Revolution. Yes, the Haitian founding documents treat all people as equals, in direct contrast to our own Constitution. Good point. But why leave this discussion to founding principals? The US has had a two hundred year history of trying to suppress Haitian equality and democracy. What happened to that part of the story?


It is not just the two recent CIA coups that overthrew Aristide, the democratically elected president. It is not just the slave wages that large US corporations pay to Haitian workers. It is not just the invasion and of Haiti in 1915, or the twenty year US military occupation that followed. 


In 1893, Frederick Douglass described US relations with Haiti more accurately than what listeners heard on NPR last Sunday. In a speech on white racism Douglass said that, "Haiti is black, and we have not yet forgiven Haiti for being black…After Haiti had shaken off the fetters of bondage, and long after her freedom and independence had been recognized by all other civilized nations, we continued to refuse to acknowledge the fact….and treated her as outside the sisterhood of nations."


So NPR leaves out the important stuff, as usual. The role of US imperialism didn't make the cut on this Fourth of July. Our citizens are perpetually kept in the dark about US military and economic interventions in the Third World. It is like a program on the Holocaust that doesn't mention the Nazis. Why don't you take a look the real history of Haiti.

https://origins.osu.edu/article/pact-devil-united-states-and-fate-modern-haiti/page/0/1


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FAIR:

"A key witness in the Department of Justice’s case against Julian Assange has admitted that his entire testimony is false, a revelation that could be the death knell for US attempts to prosecute the Wikileaks founder.


Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, often known as 'Siggi the Hacker,' made the confession to Icelandic outlet Stundin (6/26/21) last weekend. The article details how Thordarson, a convicted felon, pedophile and diagnosed sociopath, used his position to steal money from Wikileaks, and received immunity from prosecution from the FBI in a quid pro quo.


Such a blatant and juicy piece of important news should have made worldwide headlines. But, instead, as of Friday, July 2, there has been literally zero coverage of it in corporate media; not one word in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, Fox News or NPR. A search online for either 'Assange' or 'Thordarson' will elicit zero relevant articles from establishment sources, either US or elsewhere in the Anglosphere, even in tech-focused platforms like the Verge, Wired or Gizmodo."

https://fair.org/home/key-assange-witness-recants-with-zero-corporate-media-coverage


-->The empire has put all news about Assange on hold. This is because the US hopes to convict and imprison an Australian news reporter for revealing America's various war crimes in Iraq. 


=====


The Onion:

"Weapon Of Mass Destruction Found Dead At 88"


-->And the twenty year occupation and destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan were all Rumsfeld's fault. That is not what the Onion had to say, but what the major US media is now reporting to its gullible public. Blame one man, not a colonial superpower that has been invading and obliterating Third World countries since the end of WWII. 


We did the same thing with McNamara and the Vietnam War. Let Rumsfeld take the blame, rather than the Pentagon, the weapons makers and the oil companies that dictate such a blood-soaked foreign policy in the Middle East. And of course, it wasn't just Hitler and the Nazis who invaded Poland. It was the German people, so enamored of their newfound glory that all thoughts of a moral universe were left behind. What us left of our moral universe on this Fourth of July, 2021?


Thursday, July 01, 2021

 Common Dreams:

"The Biden administration has reportedly granted Boeing an export license for the sale of $735 million in advanced weaponry to the Israeli government, news that came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday pledged $5.5 million in emergency aid to help Gaza recover from the latest Israeli bombing campaign.


Citing an unnamed congressional staffer, Alex Kane of Jewish Currents reported Tuesday that the U.S. State Department approved the export license on May 21, a necessary step in the planned delivery of Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bombs to Israel.


As Kane pointed out, the "two kinds of laser-guided munitions... were reportedly used by Israel in the 11-day attack on the Gaza Strip that ended on Friday with a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/26/appalling-biden-state-department-quietly-grants-boeing-export-license-735-million


-->The NYT didn't carry this story. Nor did any other major US media. Shameful acts of war, shamefully covered up. 


=====


Common Dreams:

"If you get your foreign policy news today from CNN or MSNBC or NPR or similar outlets, then you’re bombarded hour after hour with the idea that the United States has the absolute right to impose sanctions on country after country overseas if they violate human rights or are not democratic.


To give just one example: On Sunday, CNN anchor Dana Bash grilled Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on why the White House is not imposing yet more sanctions on Russia (and China) and why Team Biden was 'giving in to Russia' on the gas pipeline to Western Europe. Sullivan was emphatic in insisting that sanctions had been imposed and more were on the way—boasting that Biden had grabbed even more presidential power to sanction Russia through an executive order.


I’m old enough to remember the superiority complex behind the liberal media propaganda during the Cold War with the Soviet Union—while U.S. foreign policy, in the name of democracy, massacred millions of people of color, mostly civilians, across the globe—from Asia to Southern Africa to Latin America."

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/06/21/msnbc-npr-corporate-liberal-media-propaganda-tells-world-america-first


-->A moment of truth in a sea of lies. This is Jeff Cohen on Corporate "liberal" media propaganda. 


=====


Common Dreams:

"New research released Monday shows the post-9/11 wars launched by the U.S. military since 2001 have resulted in over 30,000 suicides by active duty American solders and veterans—over four times the number killed in combat operations.


According to Brown University's Costs of War Project—established in 2010 to account for the loss of lives and taxpayer dollars spent on U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—an estimated 30,177 veterans and service members have killed themselves over the last nearly two decades, compared with 7,057 members of the military who have been killed in combat. The findings were compiled from interviews, government data, and secondary literature.


'The sheer length of the war has kept service members in the fight longer, providing more opportunities for traumatic exposure.' —Costs of War Project


The report 'reveals an increasingly severe crisis,' the authors wrote, with the veteran suicide rate per 100,000 people in the U.S. outpacing that of the public."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/21/over-30000-us-veterans-post-911-wars-have-killed-themselves-2001


-->Our compliant media, including the NYT left this story out. It might have resulted in bad publicity for the empire.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Democracy Now!
"The Intercept reports a top official in the outgoing Bolivian government plotted to deploy hundreds of mercenaries from a U.S. military base near Miami to overturn the results of Bolivia’s election in October of 2020. Though the coup plot was never carried out, documents and recorded phone calls reveal the former Bolivian minister of defense, Luis Fernando López, discussed the plan with Joe Pereira, a former civilian administrator with the U.S. Army. Pereira, who has boasted of links to U.S. Special Forces, promised López he could mobilize thousands of foreign mercenaries to join elite Bolivian military units, renegade police squadrons and vigilante mobs to prevent Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism party from retaking power.


Joe Pereira: 'I can get up to 10,000 men with no problem. I don’t think we need 10,000. … All Special Forces. I can also bring about 350 what we call LEPs, law enforcement professionals, to guide the police.'


Socialist candidate Luis Arce went on to win the Bolivian presidency in the first round of voting last October, putting an end to the far-right government which ousted President Evo Morales in a U.S.-backed coup in November 2019."

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/6/18/headlines/bolivian_ex_defense_minister_plotted_to_use_us_mercenaries_to_launch_coup_in_2020


-->It is the same old story: the US involved in plots to overthrow democratically elected leaders in Central America. Of course, our "newspaper of record" wasn't interested in this story.


=====


Common Dreams:

"The European Commission is under pressure to end caged animal farming in the next six years after policymakers in the European Union overwhelmingly voted to stop the practice to protect animal welfare as well as human and planetary health, responding to widespread public demand for the ban.

 

Critics of industrial farming practices hailed the "landmark victory," with 558 members of European Parliament (MEPs) voting in favor of the ban, just 37 opposing, and 85 abstaining from the vote. ...


An End the Cage Age petition was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe, with the support of more than 170 organizations campaigning for environmental protections as well as public health."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/15/eu-parliament-overwhelmingly-votes-end-caged-animal-farming


-->The NYT is no friend of animal rights activists or sustainable animal farming. It didn't cover this story, probably because it represents a challenge to the power of Big Ag in this country.


=====


Common Dreams:

"As Brazil's Covid-19 death toll surpassed 500,000 on Saturday, at least hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of more than 400 cities across the nation and around the world to blame President Jair Bolsonaro for the grim pandemic milestone and demand his ouster.


Chanting and holding signs with slogans including 'Bolsonaro Out,' '500,000 Deaths, It's His Fault,' and 'Vaccines Now,' protesters called for the resignation or impeachment of the far-right president. Demonstrators also implored the government to ramp up vaccination efforts. ...


Bolsonaro—a former army captain who has waxed nostalgic for the country's former U.S.-backed military dictatorship—has been beset by political, public health, and environmental crises amid an emerging progressive consensus for his impeachment."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/20/bolsonaro-out-massive-protests-brazils-covid-19-death-toll-tops-500000


-->The NYT headline for this story reads "Brazil, Besieged by Covid, Now Faces a Severe Drought." Not much about the movement to get rid of Bolsonaro, a staunch US ally. Why can't the NYT break away from reporting the news according to the US empire?


Friday, June 18, 2021

 Common Dreams:

"Progressive pro-democracy forces worldwide 'sounded the alarm' Friday as backers of right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate and former dictator's daughter Keiko Fujimori alleged election fraud—despite lack of evidence—as she challenged an apparent win by leftist Pedro Castillo, who ran on a platform to lift up the poor and redistribute the nation's wealth.


Fujimori, the daughter ex-President Alberto Fujimori—currently in jail for his role in civil massacres and corruption—has made what critics and experts warn are baseless allegations of electoral fraud, especially as independent observers have reported no irregularities. As of Friday, with nearly all votes in, Castillo a former school teacher, had 50.2% to Fujimori's 49.8%, a difference of about 63,000 votes. ...


'On the one hand you had the extremely well-funded campaign of Fujimori, which benefited from enormous private sector support and nearly uniformly favorable coverage in all of Peru's major media,' [said Alexander Main, director of international policy for the D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research]. 'On the other hand you had Castillo's campaign, carried out on a shoestring budget and subject to constant attacks and fear-mongering in the media.' "

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/11/we-are-sounding-alarm-global-left-warns-right-wing-fujimori-trying-steal-election


-->To the NYT, the Peruvian election is "still undecided" and the outcome "pushes a Democracy to its Brink." There is little said about the big money support of Fujimori or the one sidedness of their corporate controlled media. Much of the US media has not covered the election at all.


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The Nation:

"In a letter to the US Congress seen by the Sunday Nation, President Biden said that he had approved sending special operations troops to Kenya, which is expected to collaborate with the Kenyan military in combating Al-Shabaab. The number of troops is not indicated.


The US deployment is expected to be a security boost for Kenya, which has in recent years suffered deadly gun and bomb attacks from Al-Shabaab. The Somalia-based group is known to have sympathisers in Kenya." 

https://nation.africa/kenya/news/biden-to-send-troops-to-kenya-in-war-on-shabaab-3435462


-->Biden is sending more US troops to Africa, but the US media hardly notices. Where is the reporting abut another continent overrun by neoliberal corporate interests? It's all about guaranteeing US access to Africa's resources, done at the point of a gun. As Mark Twain said of his country: "Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home.”


=====


Common Dreams:

"Wall Street has been making huge investments — not in businesses or stocks, but in the American political process. At nearly $3 billion, the financial sector spent record sums on campaign contributions and lobbying during the 2019-2020 election cycle.


Wall Street has one goal: to maximize profits. By using wealth as leverage, Wall Street wields immense power over the electoral and legislative processes, to the detriment of ordinary people and American democracy. One part of the answer to this problem is pending legislation to reinvigorate the laws that underpin our self-governance.


The financial sector’s political spending skyrocketed by 50 percent between the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 election cycles, culminating in $2.9 billion spent in the past year, according to a recently released report from Americans for Financial Reform."

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/06/12/wall-streets-3-billion-bargain-basement-purchase-us-political-process


-->This report lays it all out, how the very rich run the country. The NYT, the voice of the plutocracy, didn't think this story was newsworthy.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Intercept:

"THE U.S. MILITARY killed 23 civilians and injured another 10 in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia during 2020, according to a Pentagon report on civilian casualties that was released on Wednesday and immediately faced charges of being a whitewash. Experts said the report vastly undercounts the dead and wounded from U.S. military operations. ...


'The failure to accurately account and make amends for civilian harm does a disservice to civilians already suffering unimaginable loss, as well as to the Americans who deserve fuller transparency into the ways that U.S. operations have harmed civilians,' Annie Shiel, the senior adviser for U.S. policy and advocacy at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, told The Intercept. ...

 

A conservative accounting of civilians killed by the U.S. military in 2020, according to Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group, is almost five times higher: 102 noncombatant deaths resulting from U.S. attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. ... The Pentagon’s dramatic undercount does not include any of the secret attacks carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, which the U.S. government does not acknowledge. Nor does it take into account the civilian toll resulting from assistance to allies, such as Saudi Arabia, whose bombing campaign has killed thousands of civilians in Yemen."

https://theintercept.com/2021/06/03/pentagon-civilian-casualties-report/


-->US news outlets simply haven't covered this story. The US military kills them, and the US media just covers it up. 


=====


FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting):

"US Sanctions Against Venezuela Cause Shortages in Diesel, Editorial Standards. Western corporate media have time and again proved to be reliable allies for US regime change efforts against Venezuela. Alongside the occasional military threat, Washington’s strategy in recent years has relied on unilateral coercive measures commonly known as sanctions. Despite these measures being classified as 'collective punishment' and found responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, corporate journalists have been for a long time happy to downplay or totally ignore them. ...


Corporate journalists began to scrutinize the consequences of sanctions and complain about their 'failure' to topple the Maduro government toward the end of the Trump administration. But the arrival of President Joe Biden evidently reinvigorated their sense of duty as loyal stenographers serving the imperial presidency. As the US blockade becomes more asphyxiating to Venezuelans than ever before, corporate outlets have either turned their gaze somewhere else, or doubled down on misrepresenting sanctions.


The new administration has been abetted in its neo-Trumpian foreign policy by a media establishment ever willing to present collective punishment of an entire population as 'democracy promotion.' The fact that Trump’s brazen mob-style threats have been replaced by more sophisticated mafioso innuendo has certainly made corporate journalists’ life easier in this regard.

https://fair.org/home/us-sanctions-against-venezuela-cause-shortages-in-diesel/


-->Along with hiding the true death count of countries attacked by the US military, our empire friendly media routinely ignores the damage of US economic sanctions. At last count 22 countries are now being economical sanctioned by the US. And the death tolls from economic sanctions? The sanctions against Iraq starting in 1990 caused the death of tens of thousands of children. 


=====


News Ghana:

"Africa has 30 percent of the remaining mineral resources in the world, which, largely, remain untouched. According to recent forecasts, Africa will become a global strategic resource reserve by 2030. First of all, this refers to the irreplaceable types of minerals regularly used in the military. Even now, the US Military Industrial Complex dependence on imports of non-ferrous and rare metals from African countries exceeds 50%. ...


At the same time, Washington increases its military activity in Africa. The South African Mail & Guardian, referring to the documents of the US Armed Forces Africa Command, describes an ambitious project to deploy a network of military bases throughout Africa. The files detail more than $330-million of spending, including a list of 'prioritized' military construction projects planned to be carried out from 2021 to 2025. This is designated for infrastructure investments on US bases stretching across Africa. ...


Africa once again becomes a victim of colonization by Western culture. The widespread privatization of valuable deposits by American companies will stagnate any national opportunities for economic growth on the Black continent. Moreover, the cultural identity of the African peoples will also be vanished, pushing the world closer to globalization where Africa is destined to play the role of the raw material colony.

https://newsghana.com.gh/washington-is-to-take-over-africa/


-->One has to go beyond traditional US media to find any mention of our country's recolonization of Africa. BLM, however, is opening a window on this hidden story.