Monday, 29 June 2015


London’s Shard and the Arab World’s Sectarianism

Churchill's Karma

During the heyday of George W.Bush’s “War on Terror”, his erstwhile ally Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair scolded the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez and the Bolivian President, Evo Morales in the aftermath of a European Union-Latin American summit.

Blair requested both Presidents behave sensibly and responsibly with their respective country’s natural resources. Obviously, Bush’s right hand man did not qualify how such ‘sensibility’ and ‘responsibility’ should manifest itself. But if we gaze across the world and look at how the Arab despots of the Persian Gulf spend their wealth we certainly can decipher what the war criminal meant by ‘sensibly’ and ‘responsibility’.

Abundantly clear to the naked eye, is that what Blair demanded from the Latin Americans, is that their wealth should be jubilantly showered on the British economy.

There hardly isn’t any aspect of the British economy which hasn’t been supported (or “invested in” as the British media likes to delusionally boast) by the Gulf statelets. These statelets have shown themselves to be, in effect, nothing but British demarcated oil wells designed to give the British economy priority over the regions hinterland populations.

Great Britain’s leading arms exporter, British Aerospace is totally dependent on the weapons sold to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE), etc. There very likely would not be a globally renowned, successful British arms industry if it wasn’t for these statelets. I’ve written specifically about this here and discussed other parts of the British economy propped up by the Gulf dictators here.

The latest act of most outrageous ‘sensibly’ and ‘responsibly’ in spending the oil wealth, is that leader of the UAE is building a personal six-story car park in London for his collection of over 110 lucrative private cars to the tune £20 million. While millions around the world are starving to death, what better way for a British lackey to spend the wealth of the region than to build a car park in his master’s capital?

More so, the British economy has been propped up in recent years by these artificial states in the Persian Gulf created by British imperialism, while the mainland of the Arab World sinks deeper into sectarian war funded and tele-visually fanned by these same states. There has always been an outrageous and blood soaked international dimension and backbone to British prosperity. Back in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries it was the transatlantic trade in millions of captured Africans as labour for North American/Caribbean (sugar, tobacco and cotton) plantations and British imperialist rule over India which allowed Great Britain to be the most powerful imperial power on earth.

William Gladstone, the much vaunted great Liberal politician of the nineteenth century, began his career in the British parliament, knee and neck deep in the blood of his father’s slave plantations in Jamaica. Yet we hear next to nothing of this when Great Britain’s famous historians marvel and recount on how great and sublime the British Empire was. Such moral obliviousness never escaped George Orwell. Writing on British prosperity in the late 1930’s he had this to say:

“What we always forget is that the over­whelming bulk of the British proletariat does not live in Britain, but in Asia and Africa. It is not in Hitler’s power, for instance, to make a penny an hour a normal industrial wage; it is perfectly normal in India, and we are at great pains to keep it so. One gets some idea of the real relationship of England and India when one reflects that the per capita annual income in England is something over £80, and in India about £7…This is the system which we all live on…”

Returning to the contemporary world, British political commentators would never mention how Great Britain’s continued prosperity is more or less dependent (or “the system which we live on”) on the bogus statelets created by British imperialism in the Persian Gulf. The barbaric sectarianism running rampant in the Arab World today is the flip-side, of say, the tallest building in Western Europe and London’s latest iconic landmark, the Qatari financed ‘The Shard’ or a Gulf Sheikh’s car park in London.

With one hand the Arab despots of the Persian Gulf fan sectarianism in the Arab mainland and beyond, and with the other they are left free to “invest” in the British economy. The Shard can be seen as symbolising the twisted and essential link between jihadist sectarianism of the Arab World and the British economy.


Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda

By Eric Draitser
New Easter Outlook

The East African country of Eritrea is once again being demonized internationally as a systematic violator of human rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued an allegedly damning report detailing what it claims are “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” taking place in Eritrea. Media coverage has similarly echoed those claims, presenting Eritrea to a western audience as a backward and “brutal dictatorship,” playing on the traditional stereotypes of totalitarianism from East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

However, a closer and more critical analysis of both the report, and the true agendas of the western institutions promoting its narrative, reveals a vastly different motivation to this report and the continued anti-Eritrean narrative. It could be called politically motivated propaganda, and that would be correct. It could be called a distorted and biased perspective rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of both politics and history, and that would also be correct. It could, quite simply, be called abject neo-colonialism of the worst sort, and that too would also be correct.

For while the UN and western media portray Eritrea – a country most westerners know nothing about, if they’ve ever even heard of the country at all – as little more than a “Third World dictatorship” because of its alleged violations of human rights, they conveniently ignore the actual human rights issues that Eritrea champions, making it a leader on the African continent, and a country that in many ways should be held up as a model of human development and adherence to true human rights.

Eritrea leads the way in Africa on issues ranging from the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases, to access to clean drinking water, literacy promotion, and countless other issues. But none of this is deemed worthy by the UN for inclusion in a report about “human rights.”

This is of course not to suggest that Eritrea, like every other country in the so called “developing” and “developed” worlds, is without problems, as that would be simply false. Rather, it is to note that a truly objective report that actually sought a substantive analysis of human rights in Eritrea, rather than a politically motivated propaganda campaign, would have revealed a country busy transforming itself and its people, leaving behind the decades of colonial oppression and subjugation, beating an independent path for itself.

But of course, this is the gravest sin of all in the eyes of the western ruling class and the institutions it controls. Abject poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, death from preventable diseases, and many other hallmarks of African underdevelopment – these are all fine in the eyes of the West, so long as you follow their IMF, World Bank, UN rules of the game; so long as you “respect opposition,” “respect democracy,” and act “inclusively.” But, when a country chooses to create its own system, and pursue its own national development (white neocolonial opinions be damned), it is immediately cast as the great villain. So too with Eritrea.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts.

The UN Report: A Critical Look

The UN OHCHR report presents a vision of Eritrea that is, in many ways, at odds with reality. While forms of political repression and non-conformity to western conceptions of democracy are highlighted and repeated ad nauseam, other critical aspects of human rights are entirely ignored. Moreover, the UN report was limited in its scope because of lack of access to the country, thereby forcing the report to rely exclusively on the testimony of expatriate Eritreans and those with an obvious political bias and grudge against the government of Isaias Afewerki. So, far from being objective, the report is, by its very nature, a one-sided portrayal of the situation in the country. The report notes:

"The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea and that there is no accountability for them…The enjoyment of rights and freedoms are severely curtailed in an overall context of a total lack of rule of law. The commission also finds that the violations in the areas of extrajudicial executions, torture (including sexual torture), national service and forced labour may constitute crimes against humanity. The commission emphasizes that its present findings should not be interpreted as a conclusion that international crimes have not been committed in other areas."

While of course there is a shock value associated with phrases like “extrajudicial killings,” “torture,” and “crimes against humanity,” these claims need to be interrogated carefully. It is impossible to say the extent to which these claims are either wholly true, complete fabrications, or partially true embellishments concocted by expatriates with an anti-government personal and political agenda; it is not unreasonable to assume that it is a combination of all three.

However, it is useful here to ask whether countries like the United States, for instance, would also be guilty of “extrajudicial killings” and “torture” were a similar investigation conducted into the seemingly endless, dare I say systematic, police murders of American citizens, especially people of color? Or what about the now universally accepted fact – publicly acknowledged even by President Obama who blithely declared “We tortured some folks” – that the United States systematically tortured prisoners throughout the so called “War on Terror”? Or that the US continues to hold countless inmates, again disproportionately people of color, in long term solitary confinement, a common US practice decried as torture by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E Méndez of the very same OHCHR?

But of course none of these uncomfortable truths are good for the narrative of “backwards African dictatorship,” and therefore, they are not part of the story. Nor does the report define exactly what it means by “national service.” However, those with knowledge of Eritrea’s domestic policies, which is almost no one in the West, understands that “national service” especially includes national military service, a practice used by many countries, including the US darling Israel, among many others.

Of course, it would be wise to here make the distinction that, unlike the apartheid state of Israel which uses its military for the purposes of oppression and occupation, Eritrea fought a protracted and bloody war against the former colonial masters in Ethiopia, having had ongoing military conflicts with their neighbor for nearly the entire, short existence of Eritrea as an independent nation. With a relatively small population and, proportionately speaking, a long and porous border with a hostile nation with a history of subjugation of Eritreans, it is not at all unreasonable to have a robust military apparatus fueled by mandatory military service.

One should also recall the way in which such reports, and brazen distortions, have been used by the UN and the OHCHR in the recent past. In perhaps its most shameful moment in recent history, the former High Commissioner Navi Pillay was instrumental in building the justification for the disastrous, illegal, and blatantly neocolonial, imperialist war against Libya. Pillay actually took the lead in disseminating anti-Gaddafi propaganda in the first weeks of the destabilization campaign, making her the leading edge of the propaganda assault, lending her reputation and position with the UN in order to bolster the anti-Gaddafi narrative. In late February 2011, Pillay stated:

"More needs to be done. I encourage all international actors to take necessary measures to stop the bloodshed…thousands may have been killed or injured over the past week…Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors…Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protestors…The Libyan leader must stop the violence now…  Libyan forces are firing at protestors and bystanders, sealing off neighbourhoods and shooting from rooftops. They also block ambulances so that the injured and dead are left on the streets."

The facts that have been gathered since the illegal aggression against Libya have all contradicted every assertion that Pillay and the OHCHR made in early 2011. As Dr. Alan Kuperman wrote in his report Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, published by the prestigious Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University:

"Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period."

Needless to say, the credibility of the OHCHR took a major hit in 2011 with that ghastly episode of outright lying, propaganda, and service to the foreign policy agenda of the West. So too should one be skeptical of their similar distortions on issues such as Eritrea, which in many ways are similar to Libya.

In fact, it is no coincidence that Eritrea’s closest ally in the world was Libya and Gaddafi. As the US Government-funded Center for Naval Analyses wrote in a 2010 report, “In the 1990s, Qadhafi made numerous attempts to mediate the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, but Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi was uninterested in separate negotiations…Qadhafi even went so far as to propose a Sahelian-Saharan peacekeeping force, to which Eritrea agreed and Ethiopia did not. Qaddafi subsequently helped finance Eritrea’s military campaign against Ethiopia.” It seems then that, far from being a coincidence, Eritrea is, in effect, getting the Libya treatment in terms of the propaganda and distortions.

But the real question is why? Why is Eritrea so reviled by the vaunted so called “international community”?

Eritrea’s Real Sins: Independence and Human Rights

0343423411All countries demonized by the West, attacked economically and politically, have done something to earn them the ire of the so called “liberal democracies” of the developed world. Of course, it is never the seemingly innocuous pretexts that institutions such as the UN OHCHR invoke.

First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist radicals, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades, namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank, “Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies…You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.“

Naturally, such a radical departure from the tried and true cycle of financial aid and debt servitude, corruption and endemic poverty, is seen as a threat by the neocolonial establishment as manifested in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions. But the real danger is not simply the ideology, but its success. As the LA Times noted in its profile of Eritrea in 2007:

"The self-reliance program began a decade ago but accelerated sharply in 2005. Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country’s citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya…It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa."

In the eight years since 2007, Eritrea has made even greater strides, becoming the only African nation to reach its Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Eritrea now boasts a roughly 98% immunization rate, incredible reductions in malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, and other preventable diseases. Eritrea has reduced infant mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by nearly 80% since independence. Literacy rates have increased dramatically, access to basic health care, clean drinking water, and many other essential human rights have all been greatly expanded, all while accepting no foreign aid.

Christine Umutoni, the UN Resident Coordinator in Eritrea, explained that “What we see as development partners, what is responsible for this success is community participation, the enabling environment, leadership, strong mechanisms for prevention, value for money and coordinated inter-sectoral approaches.” Umutomi also added that Eritrea has put a tremendous amount of energy into developing innovative alternatives to tackling difficult health and human issues including temporary maternal clinics and mobile medical units, as well as knowledge of migration patterns and remote areas.

In other words, Eritrea has managed to rapidly, and in earnest, embark on a process of economic and social transformation that the West is constantly advocating for African nations. However, Eritrea has done it on its own terms, without being enslaved by the financial institutions of global capitalism, and that is what makes it a target for demonization rather than praise. Why, one might ask, are the human rights of the rural poor, the unborn and infants, those living in grinding poverty, not taken into consideration in the so called OHCHR report? Are human rights only restricted to a small minority of political discontents whose grievances, even if justified, are relegated to the realm of politics and speech? This is not to diminish the importance of such issues, but rather to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of the selective use of the term.

Of course, there are also other critical political and economic reasons for Eritrea’s pariah status in the eyes of the so called “developed world,” and especially the US. Perhaps the most obvious, and most unforgiveable from the perspective of Washington, is Eritrea’s stubborn refusal to have any cooperation, formal or informal, with AFRICOM or any other US military. While every other country in Africa with the exception of the equally demonized, and equally victimized, Zimbabwe has some military connections to US imperialism, Eritrea remains stubbornly defiant. I suppose Eritrea takes the notion of post-colonial independence seriously.

Eritrea also rejects the neocolonial notion that it, and Africa broadly speaking, should be little more than a cash cow of natural resources, especially mineral resources, for the developed world to exploit. Eritrea’s President Afewerki said in a recent interview:

"Your location could be a comparative advantage. If you have a long coastline, then you develop fisheries, develop your services industry – shipping, transportation – air, land. Provide industry and manufacturing…Africa can produce its own food and grow more. Why aren’t we able to do that? You have to produce something. Emphasize sustainable sectors. Agriculture is a sustainable sector. You need to put in place agriculture infrastructure. It’s a strategy commodity for communities…You need to think least on mineral resources (for economic development)… Gold glitters but it blinds people…If you forgo agriculture because you have gold, you go into a trap. If you forgo comparative advantage that you have because you have gold, then you make a big mistake…Food sovereignty and local production, local manufacturing and development are more critical than depending on resource exploitation. You must have a balance, comprehensive program that takes stock of your comparative advantages in different sectors and local needs first…Local markets are everything."

Is it any wonder that Afewerki and his government are demonized by the West? What is the history of US and European behavior towards independent African leaders who advocated self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology? The answer is self-evident. Such ideas as Afewerki expressed in the interview are seen by Washington, London, and Brussels as not only defiant, but dangerous; dangerous not only because of what they say, but dangerous because they’re actually working.

You do not see Eritrea depending on US and European NGOs, nor do you see the major western financial institutions enslaving the country with the unsustainable feedback loop of debt and aid. Instead, you see a country steadily emerging from decades of war and oppression, building a society from the ground up. Certainly there are problems, and changes of various kinds will need to be made as with all systems as they mature and evolve. But this is not what the US and its allies want: they need Eritrea to be brought to heel. And this simply cannot and will not be accepted by Eritrea, no matter the sanctions, no matter the demonization, no matter the demagogy.

Neocolonialism comes in many forms: political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, etc. It is undeniably true that Africa, and indeed most of the Global South, continues to be enslaved by the neocolonialism of the former colonial masters. It is also true that the neocolonial status quo is not to be challenged. Eritrea is one of the few countries doing precisely that. And it is for this reason, that it is demonized and vilified.

And it is for precisely this reason, that it must be defended.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


In this article lefty western mainstream writer Cockburn comes closest he has to admitting the british state is colluding with death squads in the Muslim world. The article also makes the correct point that the western mainstream basically airbrushed the massacre of nearly 200 people in Kobani/Ayn Arab out, and only focused on where europeans were targeted in lyons and in Sousse in Tunisia.

Although this is the closest Cockburn has come to admitting this collusion, he doesn't quite admit to it and still gives the 'West' a way out by saying it is the 'Wests' allies in the region that are supporting the death squads'.

My guess is that Cockburn knows very well about the british state collusion, but due to his career being embedded in western mainstream journalism, he cannot make that jump into investigating and reporting on this collusion as his career might be on the line if he does so.

Until now, still not one mainstream western journalist has done any serious work into brit collusion.

All the while the people who are the victims of this collusion in the Homelands and their supporters in the west, are very clear on this and have been campaigning and writing about this since at least early 2011 if not a lot earlier.

The relevant quote from the article:

"All this evades the obvious fact that “the war on terror”, declared with much fanfare and vast expenditure after 9/11, has demonstrably failed. Isis and al-Qaeda-type groups that are little different from it, such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham in Syria, are expanding their influence at an extraordinary rate in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

"The central reason for this failure is simple enough and is the same today as it was after 9/11. US and Western European power in the Middle East depends on an alliance with Sunni Muslim states that either support or sympathise with the Sunni communities in which are rooted Isis and Nusra. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey would not necessarily welcome the victory of the Sunni jihadis, but they might prefer it to that of their Shia or Iranian-backed opponents."

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm


Important point on how actually the Syrian Army is playing a major role in the protection of the Kurds of Rojava! 

Jay Tharappel: "For those who insist that only the YPG fights ISIS while also insisting that the SAA rarely fights, if not collaborates with ISIS - you do realise that the YPG are protected by the SAA, right?

The whole democratic confederalist stateless socialist whatever project which anarchists harp on about is ironically quite heavily dependent on the Syrian state.
Here's Hasakah, Syria. [pictured]"


Does anyone know why George Galloway MP was not on the speakers podium at the 'anti-austerity' rally on last Saturday? Although some on the left will have differences and issues with Galloway (I publicly disagreed with Galloway on Scotland, for eg), he is still one of the biggest, perhaps THE best globally known biggest political figures on the left in england, with his Respect Justice Equality party being one of the most important left formations in england in recent years and also has been a part of advocating working class, Black, Muslim and Asian and anti-imperialist demands for decades.

Why was he not on the speakers podium? I have already asked publicly why the Scottish National Party (SNP) were not on the podium although they were on the march. I have hear it RUMOURED that the whole protest is was controlled by pro Labour Party forces of the owen jones, rees, german etc (they dabble in colonial lefty politics when not covering for neocolonial supremacist sending death squads to Libya and Syria), so that would make sense why Galloway and SNP were kept out as they are not inside the Labour Party and both are (despite on opposing sides on the Scotland issue!) campaign directly against the Labour Party, whereas it seems the stage was kept clear for Jeremy Corbyn and his party.

So we had an 'anti-austerity' protest that seemed to not care less about the Charleston massacre (no mention of it by the organisers, Lee Jasper mentioned it on stage, but that was the only reference) protected the Labour Party, promoted left imperialist demands (Corbyn saying Britain is the 'fourth richest country and should not have to increase poverty', and 'money in the banks belong to british people', so protecting the imperialist fed social wage and making out the wealth robbed from the people of the Global South in the british banks belong not to the people of the Global South but british people!!), kept out the SNP and Galloway and others and has no strategy AT ALL in pushing back on ANY exploitation within ! And to think some were spinning this mess as something positive to join in with.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm


"The far-left faction in Syriza was gearing up on Sunday to campaign for a “no” vote by promoting their vision of leaving the eurozone, readopting the drachma and seeking special relationships with Russia and China.

“This is the moment of we’ve been waiting for, a chance to let the people decide,” said Alekos, a member of the Communist Tendency, an extreme faction in Syriza.” The problem is that there’s so little time to take the message to the countryside.”" (source: FT 28.06.15)

The best outcome in the Greek referendum would be a No vote to what the EU is offering Greece (ie., more economic attacks on the people of Greece). While the Syriza leadership are showing no real road map and blueprint to the Greek people for an exit from the Euro which a No vote would deliver, the best outcome is a No vote and then teaming-up with Russia, China etc. But like I said, as far as I know, Syriza are giving no clarity and details as to what their plan is if they win the referendum.

Giving no detailed plan to your people (like I said, I might be wrong and they are, but I have no heard about it), especially when it entails such major historical shifts reflects poorly on your leadership.
However, the whole orientation thus far is for the Syriza leadership to want to stay in europe. History is pushing them in another direction, pushing them very reluctantly out of 'europe' and into the world.

Worst case scenario, Syriza loses this election then they would lose political power and the right and their allies in the EU will take some revenge, and all the hopes of Syriza's leadership of "saving european imperialism for the benefit of the Greek working class" (Varoufakis) will look a bit silly as objective reality states that there is no real change to the order in europe lest you debunk to the Global South. These are major questions of anti-imperialism, ie., the potential transitions of peripheral imperialist countries (like Greece), into the Global South orbit.

However, there is hardly any massive openings from the Global South towards Greece. Franky, the Global South has more important things to pursue for itself than bailing out the Greeks. Aside from some minor murmurings about Greece joining the BRICS bank and Putin happily flirting with Syriza and teasing the EU therefor, not much forthcoming from the BRICS etc.

So are we to argue that the best that we can hope for is Syriza managing the austerity relationship with its EU masters and basically just as much damage limitation as they can hope for.

Or can the Greek struggle with and beyond Syriza radicalise the situation more? There have been plenty of countries that have sacrificed a hell of a lot to get independence and an anti-imperialist state, why can't hypothetically the Greeks engage in that? Plenty of our peoples and countries have sacrificed and struggled to become relatively functional, we are not going to expect that at all of the Greeks? If not, why? Because they are 'europeans' and to 'civilised' for such sacrifice and struggle (no one is saying that, but this is part of the sub text imho in this entire conversation)?

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm


"The ‪#Charleston Church‬ shooting was not a massacre, it was a great revolution!"

- this is what most western lefties and their allies in non-white skin were saying when something like the Charleston massacre was happening every day for 7 months through 2011 complimented(!) with a 7 month Nato bombing campaign.

Can you imagine for months and months people saying that Charleston massacre x1000 is not really happening and actually its a great uprising?! This is what some of us went through in 2011 Re: Libya.

And MOST of those people saying that shite are STILL promoting the same in Syria now. Never forget, never forgive.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm



Never forget today - Bloody Friday in Ramadan 26 June 2015 - the day where we have seen what is unmistakably a concerted offensive by those who are masterminding these supremacist death squads -- the leading nato countries & their allies in the middle east, esp the gulf monarchies, turkey & israel: nearly 20 of our comrades killed in China - nearly 30 people killed in Tunisia - nearly 30 Shia brothers killed in Kuwait - armed gang depraved attack in france:

There is NO DOUBT that interests very powerful have hit strategically at Tunisia (hitting the economy, intending to turn Tunisia into a 'Qaeda' ie., a base for further destabilisation across Africa & Asia & into europe), China (encouraging destabilsation, which will happen more & more in China, with the utter lying media about 'China banning Ramadan' helping in that regard), Kuwait (stirring sectarian tension there which will have a direct spillover effect on Iraq, the other gulf monarchies, Jordan etc) and france (encouraging more anti-Muslim hate & divisions, and the western states will use this to justify more racism & securitsation of our societies).

Also, just a few days ago 'Isis' established a 'caliphate' in the Caucasus as well. The mistake the enemy has made in committing these death squad attacks is that it is going to spur on our side even more to meet this neocolonial project with a push back. We have already started doing this, but the AU, SCO, BRICS & other formations will develop their self defensive capacities.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm


The next time some hypocritical racist moron whines "Why don't the Muslims ever condemn the terrorists?", perhaps show them this? And ask them if they showed the same heart felt condemnation when we were arming, funding, training, and bombing for the same Wahabi terrorist gangsters who carried out massacres hundreds of times greater next door in Libya?

Mind you, if the Tunisian people pictured here knew how much the British people actually despise them, their faith, their culture then they might just have stayed at home. But probably not, because unlike the British, these people have dignity, courage and, crucially, compassion.

Another one to use to remind the bigots who demand every Muslim answer for the death squad terrorism that is in reality the creation of the British state itself.

British people will gladly see Muslims, Arabs and Africans massacred, drowned, starved and bombed, demand more of it even, but those same innocent Muslims, Arabic and African people, after all you have sat and watched your governments inflict upon them, will without a moments thought put their own bodies in front of a gun aimed at you, prepare to sacrifice their own lives to save your corrupt, decadent, privileged racist white skins...

"A British survivor of the Tunisian hotel massacre says brave Tunisians formed a human shield to protect Western tourists.

John Yeoman, who was in the hotel next to the one targeted by the gunman, said the men in the background of a picture taken during the shooting were not stood watching the gunman - but trying to save people.

Earlier John tweeted: "Those in the background formed a human shield to protect another hotel, they are not watching. They saved many lives. "

John told MirrorOnline: "It's amazing what they did. The staff were in a line and they were shouting at him, saying 'we won't let you through'.

"They shouted: 'You'll have to go through us'. That's why he's got his back turned to them.
"He tried to get to my hotel and they stood in a line."

As a result the 23-year-old - who told Tunisians he wasn't after them and targeted helpless Western tourists - turned and walked away."

- James Stuart

Hamma Hammami, much respected leader of the communist Workers Party of Tunisia at the left-nationalist Popular Front organised rally against imperialist backed Salafi death squad fascism in Tunis last night:


Make or Break Moment for Syriza

By James Stuart 

"Greece is being attacked in a vicious, vindictive way by the main organs of international finance capital."

Anyone watch 'A Very British Coup?'. Was on Channel 4 back in the late 80s.

Anyway, so we are at the part when socialist Labour PM Harry Perkins, having pulled Britain out of NATO, removed US bases, dismantled Polaris nuclear warheads, and started a very popular programme of nationalisation, is under heavy pressure by the right wing media and the IMF to accept a bailout loan based upon searing cuts and privatisation that will effectively destroy their government.

It looks like they will accept and fold.

But as Harry is on live tv broadcasting to the nation with a civil service scripted resignation in hand, he goes off autocue. He has an announcement of his own.

One of his trusted Ministers has just returned from Finland where he has done a secret deal with the Soviets.They have offered a huge, no strings interest free loan. The IMF, the civil service, the Americans can go to hell.

Harry will resign, but only for a snap election to re-elect him on the basis of this deal.

Election day comes. But the polling stations stay closed. Troops stand guard outside. The noise of military helicopters can be heard overhead. The Queen is to address the nation.
A very British coup.

Sorry for the spoilers but it is 28 years old.

And the point? Well, it would appear Syriza is faced with a similar scenario. Will they do as Harry and make the break with imperialism? Is there a deal ready with the Russians and Chinese? Will Greece force a Grexit? Leave NATO? Certainly Syriza are hinting at such, meeting Putin, playing hardball with the EU negotiations. But where is the nationalisation's? The economic programme to get capital under the cosh?

Or will Syriza capitulate? Accept the terms? Who do they fear most? The EU? The Generals? The people? Where is their heart? In Europe? With the people? With social democracy? Or with socialism?

Time will tell. But I will be 100% more surprised if they tell the EU where to go and pull a Sino-Russia bailout out of their hat, than I will be if they either accept the EU terms and try to muddle/force through cuts with the impossible task of not pissing off either the people, or the General. Or resign and hand over to an 'interim' govt of technocrats, as in 2011.

At the end of the day, yes, we stand with them. As long as they fight. As Chavez did, as Lula, Allende, Mandela. All in very different and specific conditions.

But they are none of these. They are the euro-left. Trots, greens, social democrats and Maoists turned liberals. This is no Brest-Litovsk moment. Syriza have not overthrown anything other than the political consensus. Sure, a great achievement in any EU nation, but for a Party of 'revolutionary socialists', they seem to have very little idea of how to achieve either. In fact they seem to have very little actual desire to achieve either.

Because how it looks at the moment is the EU as strict father, admonishing his rebellions teenage child to grow up,come home and get rid of that stupid hair cut, with both sides playing their part to a tee.

I could be wrong. I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope they now remember what they sold themselves as, not just at the election, but for the past 40 years. Anti-capitalists. Socialists. Surely that was a long enough time to make a plan. Or was that whole Transitional Programme business just a pamphlet to quote at the 'Stalinists' when they fell flat?

This is likely their make of break moment. Not just for Syriza, not just for Greece, but for any socialist, or even social democratic project in Europe in this period.

If they have a cunning plan ready to pull out of the hat, great. If not, things are going to get pretty shitty pretty damn fast.

As I said when they got elected, being a 'revolutionary socialist' is a hell of a lot easier when you never have to actually take any responsibility. As the KKE know well for all those decades that Syriza's forbears were slagging them off for their cop outs, cock ups and "historic compromises".

So, at times like these, when their backs are against the wall, when capital is demanding they choose their side, when a real possibility of a fundamental break with imperialism is not only possible, but necessary and desired and demanded by much of the (working class) population, with all it's possible ramifications, scary as they are, then at least ask, if not Trotsky, what would Harry Perkins do?

European imperialism to Syriza: 'Dont cry for me Syriza!" 

While I am on the side of Tsipras / Syriza against the european capitalist-imperialists, it is at the same time very clear that Syriza are creating MORE neocolonial confusion and mess than reducing it in their pursuit, as Syriza leader Varoufakis says of trying to "save European capitalism from itself", (source:…/yanis-varoufakis-how-i-became…/) ie., the foundational premise of Syriza's strategy is pro-imperialist and think helping to save euro imperialism is in the benefit of the Greek working class.

Although the Greek people and nation are an imperialist one they are nevertheless defined and treated as part of the bottom of the hierarchy defined by european imperialism by the centre of power of this entity which is north and western europe. This does not stop Tsipras and Syriza for framing their strategy in near wholly neocolonial terms, to quote Tsipras in relation to this questionably referendum tactic they have rolled out: "... we all have to remember that Europe is the common home of all of its peoples.That in Europe there are no owners and guests. Greece is, and will remain, an integral part of Europe, and Europe an integral part of Greece.But a Europe without democracy will be a Europe without an identity and without a compass"

There is a lot of neocolonial liberal nonsense in this. Although I fear coming across a tad pinickity, it is imho very important to define exactly what Syriza are saying and the way in which they are defining things. The bottom line is that the conceptual and physical reality which is 'Europe' is nothing other than the ideological and operational nature of modern colonialism and neocolonialism/imperialism. It is actually THE MOST rapacious and oppressive entity ever known to Humanity. Europe is not and has not ever been the 'common home' of all its peoples. But Tsirpas is at least honest at least in this regard that he is begging the masters of 'Europe' to stay in their bosom, cos the fact is that Tsipras and Syriza fear the non-European world more than they do their political parent which is european capitalism.

If Syriza do not try and convince the Greek people that they have a difficult but viable and MUCH MORE just (for themselves and for the world) alternative to team up and go towards the Global South instead of europe, they will remain down neocolonial creek without a paddle. ie., they have NO strategy to negotiate with the ECB/EU etc, cos the ECB/EU etc will NEVER accept anything that a hegemonic austerity and racist system. Syriza have until now refused to show a real counter European strategy, and are relying on what to negotiate with the European masters? NOTHING.

Instead they resort to this nonsensical colonial begging to european imperialism about accepting a 'nicer' more charitable Europe ONLY on its periphery. Well, no sign of that. So wasup Syriza? For all your claims about saving Europe, Europe is NOT AT ALL interested in your going-nowhere saviour strategy, they are fine as they are. So what are you saving actually, and for whose interests?

Like I said, when it comes between the ECB/EU neocoonials and Syriza, its a no brainer that I am on the side of Syriza. But Syriza's narrative needs intense critique because it directly relates to what is happening and will happen to Europe in this next 3 decade period of the transition from an imperialistically controlled world order, to a Global South one. What is the place of european peoples and countries in this transition? Greece shows us the transition more than any other.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

Global South Option not being Popularised by Syriza Leadership

"The far-left faction in Syriza was gearing up on Sunday to campaign for a “no” vote by promoting their vision of leaving the eurozone, readopting the drachma and seeking special relationships with Russia and China.

“This is the moment of we’ve been waiting for, a chance to let the people decide,” said Alekos, a member of the Communist Tendency, an extreme faction in Syriza.” The problem is that there’s so little time to take the message to the countryside.”" (source: FT 28.06.15)

The best outcome in the Greek referendum would be a No vote to what the EU is offering Greece (ie., more economic attacks on the people of Greece). While the Syriza leadership are showing no real road map and blueprint to the Greek people for an exit from the Euro which a No vote would deliver, the best outcome is a No vote and then teaming-up with Russia, China etc. But like I said, as far as I know, Syriza are giving no clarity and details as to what their plan is if they win the referendum. Giving no detailed plan to your people (like I said, I might be wrong and they are, but I have no heard about it), especially when it entails such major historical shifts reflects poorly on your leadership.

However, the whole orientation thus far is for the Syriza leadership to want to stay in europe. History is pushing them in another direction, pushing them very reluctantly out of 'europe' and into the world. Worst case scenario, Syriza loses this election then they would lose political power and the right and their allies in the EU will take some revenge, and all the hopes of Syriza's leadership of "saving european imperialism for the benefit of the Greek working class" (Varoufakis) will look a bit silly as objective reality states that there is no real change to the order in europe lest you debunk to the Global South. These are major questions of anti-imperialism, ie., the potential transitions of peripheral imperialist countries (like Greece), into the Global South orbit.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

'Greeks Consume Three More Times than they Produce'

The bottom 90 per cent of Greece is in the top 20 per cent of the world by household expenditure. With 0.2 per cent of the world's full-time equivalent production workforce, the bottom 90 per cent of Greece has 0.6 per cent of the world's household expenditure. In other words, Greeks consume three times more than they produce.

How to explain that discrepancy? By the extraordinary productivity of Greek workers? By explaining how the fierce militancy of Greek workers has wrested a greater share of the national product from the capitalist class? Or by way of the unequal exchange, capital export imperialism and other ways in which rich countries like Greece profit from the surplus labour of the global South's superexploited workforce?

[By an anonymous colleague]

Thursday, 11 June 2015


African Leaders Pledge to Create Free-Trade Zone

Agreement would link three trade zones with a combined gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion



Africa’s Newest Free-Trade Zone

26 countries.
Connecting three regional trade blocs.
Combined GDP $1.2 trillion (2014).
Combined population 626 million (2014).
Combined value of trade $102.6 billion (2014).
Sources: World Bank, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

African officials pledged to create a free-trade zone across half of the continent, a bold commitment to dismantle long-standing hurdles to investment in the fast-growing but fragmented region.

Leaders from 26 countries across Africa’s eastern half from Egypt to South Africa agreed Wednesday to work toward a free-trade zone that would remove tariffs and customs between them.

Their common market, encompassing more than 600 million people today, would link three existing trade zones in southern and East Africa with a combined gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion.

The existing zones are the East African Community, created in 2000; the Southern African Development Community, founded in 1980; and an overlapping Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa that also took shape in the 1980s.

Those clubs have made some real economic strides. The EAC, the continent’s most integrated cross-border economy, has fostered a trade increase among its members, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

Countries in southern Africa have set common external tariffs. And a handful of small nations effectively share South Africa’s rand, the most liquid and widely traded currency on the continent.

More than $100 billion in goods passed between members of the three blocs in 2014, a threefold increase from a decade ago, according to documents written by officials drafting the new, larger trade zone to be called the Tripartite Free Trade Area.

Freer trade in the three existing blocs “has resulted in major revisions in the projections of the GDP of the grand free area,” said Calestous Juma, a Kenyan professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

But, tellingly, the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, will be left out of the new bloc. Nigeria is the anchor of another group called the Economic Community of West African States. Ecowas covers 15 countries and more than 300 million people but has failed to reach many tangible trade agreements.

“Ecowas has been preoccupied mostly with peacekeeping efforts and less with regional trade facilitation,” Mr. Juma said. He predicted it might be brought into the new pan-continental trade grouping eventually.

But economists cautioned the multidecade history of existing trade blocs shows the new, wider market is likely to face years of bargaining and delays before more African countries are stitched together.

While investment between African countries is on the upswing, cross-border trade still makes up just over a tenth of the continental total, the U.N. said. Many Africans must endure Byzantine application processes before visiting other countries on their continent. Some air routes between southern and West Africa still require a layover in Europe.

“These ambitions have been around for a long time, but without the requisite political will to make them a reality, progress will remain slow,” said Ronak Gopaldas, a country risk analyst at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


Venezuela Recognized by FAO for Halving Malnutrition

Caracas, June 8, 2015 ( - Venezuela was recognized today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for meeting the UN millennium goal of halving malnutrition.

The recognition was awarded during the 39th FAO conference in Rome which will last until June 13. It counts among its attendees representatives of 190 countries, including 130 ministers and 12 heads of state.

Attending on behalf of Venezuela, Bolivarian Vice-President Jorge Arreaza highlighted his nation's achievements in eradicating hunger under the socialist governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.

"Under the Revolution, children are now served breakfast, lunch, and snacks in schools [...] We've seen a miracle in school nutrition, whereas in the past [children were served] only one glass of milk a day," stated the socialist vice-president in reference his country's School Food Program.

According to Arreaza, Venezuela has over the last decade invested $142 billion in food programs that have distributed over 25 million tons of food items to 65% of the population. Today, 95.4% of Venezuelans eat three meals a day.

Venezuela was also recognized for its role in providing technical assistance to other nations striving to similarly meet millennium targets for eradicating hunger.

"Venezuela can be considered one of the countries, like Brazil and China, that has contributed to South-South cooperation in the world," noted Laurent Thomas, FAO Director for Technical Cooperation.

The South American nation was recognized by the FAO first in 2012 for slashing extreme hunger and poverty by 50% and subsequently in 2013 for reducing hunger from almost 14% in 1992 to 5% in 2012.

Arreaza accepted the UN body's recognition on behalf of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was compelled to cancel both his appearance at the conference as well as his much-anticipated meeting with the Pope for health reasons. 


What Greece Might Inform as to the Future of the West

Syriza is not my cup of lassi, however, the developments in Greece of late show it to be the weakest link in the chain of 'western imperialism' or 'the west', and as such shows some interesting things.

While Greece is on the periphery of the neocolonial bloc, it still has many benefits of being in the club, a bit like Bulgaria, Romania, East Europe and South Europe, it is on the bottom rungs of that section of the global hierarchy.

Not that long ago, the british invaded and smashed a socialist anti-imperialist uprising there, and it has ever since seen one of the most anti-imperialist populations within the west.

Greece has a number of mass movements for socialism and against imperialism, one of which is Syriza which has seen itself develop a electoral platform to some success. Personally, while I am aware of the nature of the division between Syriza and the Communist Party (KKE) and other forces, I would like to see a unity between all of them, really the KKE should be in government with Syriza (please, pro KKE people dont jump on me! lol).

There are all kinds of criticisms one could make of Syriza, but let me emphasise some of the positive: they have taken an anti austerity mandate to the heart of the necolonialists in the EU. They have caused great tensions and worries amongst the enemy and have threatened to walk away. They have led Greece to a closer strategic partnership with the leading Global South forces such as the BRICS and especially Russia, with Greece signing up to the BRICS bank!

And now they are on the cusp of a possible total exit from the EU etc, which will mean they will have to go deeper into alliance with the BRICS, and that is perhaps a lesson as to the future of the west generally, a direction which we are well along the the brits (much to the chagrin of the yanks) joining up with the Chinese led global bank called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other things.

There is not going to be mass revolutionary uprisings of the peoples of the west against neocolonialism and for socialism, although if there is that would be nice, but no sign of it at all. What we are seeing what will happen is what is already happening, things like Greece will develop ONLY IF other peoples and countries can develop some decent political capacity, ie., develop organisations and political leadership that pushed back on neocolonialism and in increasing harmony with the Global South, Scotland is another viable example of what may happen in the west.

The major stumbling bloc to that, and the reason why South Europe is relatively to the rest of the 'west' going just about in the right direction is cos South Europe is the weakest and least respected area by the enemy within the west, (although East Europe is treated even more shit than the 'PIGS' (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, an acronym obviously in line with the way in which relatively the rest of the enemy looks down upon that region), but the potential in East Europe is mostly neutralised due to the mass pro-Nato sentiment as a result of a triumphalist and brutal anti-communist pro-imperialist historical victories there from 1989-1991 (with exceptions, such as in the case of socialist Belarus)), and as such it is relatively easier for South Europe to increasingly break away and incrementally START to question and directly and indirectly critique its own colonial and imperialist nature.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing amazingly inspirational and dramatic taking place, although what Greece is showing is relatively dramatic moves in relation to its movement towards the leading Global South forces.

As for us in very backward places like west and NW Europe and North America, apart from some different levels of interesting things (Scotland, Ireland, less so Wales, Basque Country, even Podemos :/ ) we are still deeply steeped in neocolonial backwardness, but as I said, EVEN THEN, due to the very pragmatic nature of business etc, large chunks of the west are increasingly BUT NOT YET going towards a JUNIOR relationship to the leading Global South countries, but that DOES NOT mean that the enemy will not go to war to stop it becoming a total junior partner to the Global South. The war IS ON, the war against all of Africa, Asia (esp Russia, China, but also Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq and many other countries is intense) is at full blast and needs total defeat.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm



Angola's dos Santos in China seeking cash for ailing economy


* Dos Santos meets "good brother" Xi in Beijing

* Chinese firm signs $4.5 billion dam deal

* Chinese loans to Angola now top $20 billion

BEIJING, June 9 (Reuters) - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos met Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday on a state visit to seek financing for projects, including a $4.5 billion hydropower scheme, intended to revive an economy hit by low crude prices.

Construction firm China Gezhouba said it had won the contract to build the dam in the southern African nation, a project that would take six years to complete and be financed by Chinese bank loans.

"China and Angola are good brothers and long term strategic partners," Xi told dos Santos, adding that Beijing would encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Africa's number two oil producer, according to Chinese state television.

China has built strong ties with Angola since the end of a long civil war in 2002. Luanda now sells around half of its 1.7 million barrels per day oil output to China.

Angolan foreign minister Georges Chikoti said Dos Santos was seeking financial backing for "priority projects".

"These are projects in the financial industry, high education, energy, training and agriculture," he was quoted as saying in state media. There were no more details.

With oil hitting a six-year low of $45 a barrel in January and the global output glut unlikely to abate with OPEC maintaining supply levels, Angola's oil-dependent economy is in trouble.

The central bank devalued the kwanza by 6 percent last week and the government is predicting a budget deficit of 7 percent of GDP for this year even after massive cuts to state spending.

Oil accounts for around half of Angola's GDP, 80 percent of tax revenues and 90 percent of export earnings.

"I don't think dos Santos is going there to beg but there will be some negotiations around increased funding from China," said Cobus de Hart, Angola analyst with NKC African Economics in Cape Town.

Beijing has issued oil-backed loans to Angola since 2003, a year after it emerged from a 27-year civil war. Including the latest hydropower loan, those debts now amount to more than $20 billion.

"Dos Santos is one of the few leaders in Africa who can actually single-handedly raise billions," said Anthony Lopes Pinto, managing director of Imara Securities Angola.

"Angola is the largest recipient of Chinese FDI in Africa and increased FDI is one of the ways to avoid recession."


BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Angolan counterpart Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Tuesday and they pledged to boost win-win cooperation between the two countries in pursuit of common development.

"China and Angola are good brothers and long-lasting strategic partners," Xi said during their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Recalling his visit to Angola in 2010, Xi said the friendly cooperation between the two nations has yielded visible results and brought substantial benefits for their people over the past five years. The two countries announced the establishment of a strategic partnership during Xi's visit, when he was vice president of China.

During Tuesday's talks, Xi said China and Angola need each other in pursuit of common development and they can provide opportunities for each other with their comparative advantages.

The two sides should stick to the correct direction for the bilateral relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, said the Chinese leader, highlighting the significance of political trust in each other, and mutual support for each other on development path as well as issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns.

Xi also called for closer exchanges between the governments and legislatures of the two countries.

"The Chinese side stands ready to work with Angola to turn our traditional friendship into a driving force for win-win cooperation," Xi said, pledging assistance for Angola in its push for sustainable development and benefit its people with its rich natural and human resources.

The Chinese government will encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Angola, participate in construction of industrial parks and infrastructure, and help the country to achieve economic diversification, Xi said.

He looked forward to signing agreements on currency swap, investment protection and avoidance of double taxation between the two countries.

Xi also called for more people-to-people exchanges between the two countries on education, culture, medical care and tourism as well as more coordination on international affairs regarding the UN Security Council, the post-2015 development agenda, climate change, and the peace and development in Africa to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

Xi said China and African are a community of common interests and common destiny and that the Chinese government firmly adheres to the policy of unity with African countries.

China will work with Angola and all other African countries to advance the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership featuring win-win cooperation to promote common development and benefit the Chinese and African people, said the Chinese president.

Echoing Xi , dos Santos said mutual trust and reciprocal cooperation have served as a solid foundation for the bilateral strategic partnership.

Dos Santos thanked the Chinese side for enduring support for Angola in its push to achieve national reconstruction and socioeconomic development.

Stressing the significance of the Angola-China cooperation for the African country's development, dos Santos said the Angolan side is willing to cement friendship with China and work to tap the immense potential for the bilateral cooperation.

Dos Santos hoped for closer cooperation with China on infrastructure, education, science and technology, electricity, agriculture, industry, and finance.

The Angolan government will make efforts to provide favorable environment for Chinese enterprises investing in Angola, said the visiting president.

As Angola and China hold similar stance on many international and regional issues, President dos Santos said Angola, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, will cooperate with China to safeguard peace and stability of the world.

After their talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of a string of deals between the two countries.

Prior to the talks, Xi held a red-carpet ceremony to welcome dos Santos, who is paying a state visit to China from Monday to Saturday at Xi's invitation.


China threatens to arm Hawaii separatists who want kingdom


China has suggested arming Hawaii’s independence activists in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and recently threatened to challenge American sovereignty by making legal claims to the Pacific islands as its territory.

Chinese threats to back several groups of Hawaiian independence activists who want to restore the islands’ constitutional monarchy, ousted in a U.S.-backed coup more than a century ago, have raised concerns that military facilities on the strategic central Pacific archipelago are threatened at a time when the Obama administration is engaged in a major shift toward Asia as part of its military and diplomatic rebalance.

Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon consultant and author of the book “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” said Chinese military hawks, known as “ying pai,” told him they are ready to provide arms to Hawaiian independence activists in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

“Beijing’s extraordinary sensitivity to American arms sales to Taiwan — even one bullet or a spare tire for a jeep — often provokes angry words,” said Mr. Pillsbury, who has held talks with 35 Chinese generals in recent years.

“A favorite comparison the ying pai has made to me is ‘How would the Pentagon like it if we provide arms to our friends in Hawaiian independence movement?’” he said. “I was incredulous because I had never heard of such a movement in Hawaii, but after checking, I met a few of them.”

Mr. Pillsbury said Chinese backing for the independence movement would be a concern. Some U.S. archival material shows U.S. authorities acted on their own in the 1898 annexation of the islands, he said, something Congress later investigated.

Mr. Pillsbury’s book, published last week, reveals that Chinese hawks in the military and Communist Party are key to a 100-year strategy to vanquish and overtake the United States as the world’s leading power.

Another indicator of Chinese interest in fomenting unrest in Hawaii surfaced in 2012 when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton revealed that Beijing threatened to assert legal, territorial claims over Hawaii.

Mrs. Clinton said U.S. ownership of Hawaii came up during talks with the Chinese after she argued against Beijing’s destabilizing territorial activities in the South China Sea.

“At one point in one of my long discussions about this, one of my Chinese interlocutors said, ‘Well, we could claim Hawaii,’” she said. “I said, ‘Well, go ahead, and we’ll go to arbitration and prove we own it. That’s what we want you to do.’”

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement is made up at least 10 groups seeking some form of independence from the United States and the re-establishment of the monarchy that was ousted in 1893 with support from the U.S. government and a company of Marines.

The movement is nonviolent, and its protests in recent years have been limited to temporary takeovers of government facilities.

Leon Siu, a Hawaiian-born musician who holds the title of foreign minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom, one of the groups seeking independence, said U.S. military facilities on the islands are contrary to the original monarchy’s neutrality.

“First of all, we’re not native Hawaiians. We’re Hawaiian nationals and we see our country as a lawful, independent country, and we’re working to restore that,” Mr. Siu said in an interview. “The bottom line is we want our country back.”

Mr. Siu said he has met with Chinese government representatives in the past but was unable to discern their motives or level of support for Hawaiian independence. He has been working through international organizations and legal institutions for the past 10 years to gain recognition of Hawaii as an independent state.

Strategic military site

Hawaii was ruled under an internationally neutral constitutional monarchy in the late 1800s. After the 1893 coup, a provisional government and then a Republic of Hawaii preceded formal U.S. annexation as a territory in 1898. Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959. About 1.4 million people live on the eight main islands.

Hawaii remains one of the Pentagon’s most important strategic military outposts, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some 2,500 miles from California, and 4,000 miles from Tokyo. It is the central point of the military’s strategy of shifting forces to the Asia-Pacific region as part of the “pivot,” designed to counter Chinese bullying in the region.

The Navy’s historic Pearl Harbor Naval Base is home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which commands some 200 ships, 1,100 aircraft and more than 140,000 sailors and civilians based throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The Air Force operates nearby Hickam Air Force Base, headquarters of the Pacific Air Force, with 45,000 airmen in the region and 300 warplanes.

The Army’s Schofield Barracks is the headquarters for 80,000 soldiers deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The Army, facing sharp budget cuts, has announced plans to cut the number of troops based at Schofield by 16,000 and another 3,800 at nearby Fort Shafter.

The National Security Agency operates a major electronic eavesdropping post in Hawaii known as “Kunia.”

A defense official said military counterintelligence agencies several years ago conducted routine assessments of the Hawaiian independence movement to determine whether it poses a threat if activists turn to violence and threaten U.S. troops.

An independence contingency

Mr. Siu, of the Hawaiian Kingdom group, said he was told by a Pentagon official several years ago that contingency plans had been drawn up for withdrawing forces from Hawaii in the event of independence. “But I’m sure [the U.S. military] would rather renegotiate” the military bases to keep forces in place, he said.

Pentagon and Pacific Command spokesmen said they were unaware of any such contingency plan. “I’m not aware of any concerns here in the Pentagon for something like this occurring,” said Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright.

On a future U.S. military presence, Mr. Siu said Hawaiian nationals believe they should be the ones to determine whether U.S. military bases remain.

A military presence, however, would be contrary to Hawaii’s declared status as a neutral power in 1854.

A new Hawaiian Kingdom government after independence would have to decide the fate of the military facilities.

“I would favor a relationship [in which] the United States would help protect us because of our treaty of friendship, as well as Britain and France and every other nation with whom we have treaties, such as China, Japan,” Mr. Siu said.

“More specifically, I would not favor the United States maintaining their military bases here, but that’s not my decision,” he said.

Mr. Siu says that despite the creation of the U.S. state of Hawaii in 1959, the kingdom remained a lawful entity that includes the entire Hawaiian Islands chain and the remnants of the population at the time of the coup.

Apology Resolution

Under the 1933 Montevideo Convention, the Hawaiian Kingdom meets all the conditions of a sovereign nation, except it is not conducting international affairs on a large scale, Mr. Siu said, noting that his job has been carrying out that mission at the United Nations in New York and Geneva for the past 10 years.

Several international court cases also are challenging what Mr. Siu calls the “unlawful occupation” of Hawaii by the United States.

The independence movement was given new life in 1993 under the administration of President Clinton, who signed the Apology Resolution recognizing that the United States “apologizes to native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of native Hawaiians to self-determination.”

The Hawaiian state government and the federal government dispute the independence activists’ claims. They have tried to placate the movement by offering to recognize Native Hawaiians as an American Indian tribe, with the same level of independence Indian tribes have had within the U.S. system of government.

Mr. Siu said the federal government has dismissed the independence claims as “water under the bridge” and that past claims of independence are no longer valid because of long U.S. government control.

“Native Hawaiian people are quite insulted to be grouped as an American Indian tribe, and so that has been totally rejected by our people,” he said.

Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Hawaiian Democratic Gov. David Ige, said the governor was unavailable to comment.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhu Haiquan said he has never heard any Chinese officials use “such rhetoric as you mentioned.”

“It is either a serious misunderstanding or a rumor with untold intentions,” he said.


Unsung Heroes: The Soviet Military and the Liberation of Southern Africa 

Author: Vladimir Shubin Deputy Director of 
the Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of
Sciences, and Professor of History and Politics at the
Russian State University of Humanities. Before joining the
academia he served in the Soviet Armed Forces from 1962 to 
1969, and from the late 1960s was involved in political and
practical support of the liberation movements in Southern
Africa, in particular as Secretary of the Soviet Afro-Asian
Solidarity Committee and head of the Africa Section in the 
CPSU International Department

Published in: Cold War History, Volume 7, Issue 2 May 2007


The history of military co-operation between the
USSR and the liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique,
Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa has still to be written.
The same applies to co-operation with Moscow in the
post-independence period. So far the attempts to do so have
been unsuccessful, not only due to the lack of accessible
documents, but also due to an uncritical attitude to the
available materials. This paper attempts to present a
'factual version of history'. It addresses in particular
the issues of training the African combatants in the USSR,
and the activities of the Soviet teams attached to the ANC,
SWAPO and ZAPU as well as to the armed forces of the
independent African countries. While most of the Russian
archives are still 'sealed off', the author has used oral
history sources and memoirs as an invaluable means of
painting a picture of the Soviet involvement from the early
1960s to 1991.


In recent years serious efforts have been made
to write a history of the liberation struggle in Southern
Africa, in particular by the South Africa Democracy
Education Trust (SADET) and the Archives of Anti-Colonial
Resistance and Liberation Struggle (AACRLS) in Namibia.
However, one issue often remains distorted or is missing,
namely the involvement of the Soviet military in support of
the liberation movements and independent African countries
in Southern Africa.

The history of Soviet relations with the African liberation
movements, especially in the military field, remains rather
obscure. So far, attempts to write such a history have been
unsuccessful, partly due to the shortage of accessible
documents. In fact, for many years all information on
Soviet assistance to freedom fighters, even of a purely
humanitarian nature, was 'hidden' from the public in the
USSR and abroad. It was only in 1970, almost ten years
after the co-operation had commenced that, in an interview
given for Pravda, the head of the Soviet delegation to the
international conference in solidarity with the peoples of
the Portuguese colonies, Professor Vassily Solodovnikov,
clearly stated for the first time that Moscow was supplying
the liberation movements with 'arms, means of transport and
communications, clothes and other goods needed for
successful struggle' and that 'military and civilian
specialists [were] being trained in the USSR'.1 However,
another reason for the absence of an accurate account is a
careless attitude to material that is available. True, most
of the Russian archives are still 'sealed off', but 'bits
and pieces' are nevertheless accessible to researchers.
Besides, in the circumstances, oral history sources and
memoirs are crucial for painting a true picture of Soviet
involvement in the region from the early 1960s to 1991.

The question of military co-operation between the USSR and
the South African liberation movement was raised for the
first time when two prominent leaders of the Congress
movement and South African Communist Party (SACP), Moses
Kotane and Yusuf Dadoo, visited Moscow in late 1961.
Informing their Soviet interlocutors about the situation in
South Africa, they expressed the opinion that

[U]nder the conditions of the reign of terror by the
fascist government which has at its disposal a huge
military and police machinery, the peaceful ways of
reaching the tasks of liberation and revolutionary
movements at present are excluded. The [South African
Communist] Party has decided to proceed from the necessity
of the preparation for the armed forms of struggle.

Their position was supported by the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union (CPSU) International Secretary Boris Ponomarev
and upheld by the Central Committee Secretariat.2 Referring
to their particular request for training of military
instructors, Kotane and Dadoo were informed that Moscow
'would be able to render the SACP possible assistance using
for this, in particular the facilities in some friendly
African countries, for example in Guinea and Ghana'.3
However, it proved problematic to arrange such training.
The issue of the presence of Soviet military personnel in
the African National Congress (ANC) camps was discussed
more than once by South African and Western academics.
Thus, Philip Nel claims that 'training personnel' from the
USSR 'reached the newly established ANC camps in Tanzania
and Zambia' in 1964.4 The source given for this rather
'sensitive' information looks credible - a book by Kurt
Campbell, then a Harvard University fellow (and later the
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence!) published by
Macmillan.5 But Campbell also refers to a secondary source,
a book by the US academic Kenneth Grundy.

Is this a merry-go-round of citation of sources? No, rather
a cul-de-sac, because Campbell's reference to Grundy's book
is irrelevant. Grundy writes about Chinese and Cuban
involvement in training guerrillas in some African
countries and then merely adds one sentence: 'Russian
instructors were also present in early 1960s'.6 He
specifies neither the year, nor the venue, nor the name of
organization that they were involved with; in fact, he does
not mention the ANC at all! The truth is that the Soviet
instructors in the ANC camps appeared only 15 years later,
in 1979. Moreover, this was not in Tanzania or Zambia, but
in Angola. They were sent there at the request of the ANC,
forwarded by Oliver Tambo in October 1978 during the annual
visit of the ANC delegation to Moscow. The person who
became widely known in the ANC as 'Comrade Ivan' -
Vyacheslav Shiryaev - headed the first group which came to
Angola in 1979. He was succeeded by 'Comrade George' (late
German Pimenov), 'Comrade Michael' (Mikhail Konovalenko),
and 'Comrade Victor' (Victor Belush).

The number of Soviet specialists with the ANC gradually
increased and, all in all, more than 200 Soviet specialists
and interpreters were stationed with the Umkhonto new
Sizwe(MK) in Angola in the period 1979-91.7 Soon the group
included specialists on 'military-combat work' ( i.e. the
building of the armed underground), tactics, engineering,
hand-to-hand fighting, communications and communications
equipment repair, as well as medical doctors, interpreters,
etc. The Soviet specialists with the ANC in Angola carried
out what used to be called 'international duty' in the
unhealthy climate and the persistent threat from the
Pretoria-led National Union for the Total Independence of
Angola (UNITA) bands, in the remote camps, which often had
to be moved. Initially these advisers stayed in Angola
alone and their families were only allowed to join them
later. There can be no doubt that the direct involvement of
Soviet officers in training MK personnel both in guerrilla
and conventional warfare helped to raise the level of
combat readiness of ANC armed units and, in particular, of
the organizers of the armed underground.

As to military training of the ANC personnel in the USSR,
it started much earlier. Here again the issue is often
distorted. Terry Bell in his Unfinished Business. South
Africa, Apartheid and Truth, written with Dumisa Ntebeza,
claims that 'there were also reportedly agreements in place
between the US and [the] USSR. These restricted any
military aid provided to the ANC to conventional training
involving artillery and tanks - not much use in the
conditions of the time'.8 The reality is contrary to these
claims. Instead of being conventional military training,
the courses for MK fighters and commanders from the very
beginning included studies in guerrilla warfare. The need
for highly specific guerrilla training was evident and
realized from the very beginning. In June 1963 two MK
groups, totalling about 40 personnel, were sent to the
Soviet Union. Among them was a young university graduate,
Martin Thembesile (Chris) Hani, who spent a year in 1963-64
'in the environs of Moscow', studying in a highly
specialized establishment known among the liberation
movements as the 'Northern Training Centre'. For many years
it was headed by 'General Fyodor', the late Major-General
Fyodor Fedorenko, an ex-World War II guerrilla commander in
the Crimea, who, incidentally, himself went with Liberation
Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) fighters into Mozambique in
1974. Many years later, in 1991, Hani said in an interview:
'How can the working class forget the Soviet Union? I went
to Moscow when I was 21 for military training. I was
accepted there and treated wonderfully.'9 Hani returned to
the USSR for further studies in the early 1970s and that
course helped him greatly during his clandestine stay in
South Africa and his activities in Lesotho. He recalled

We had undergone a course in the Soviet Union on the
principles of forming an underground movement. That was our
training: the formation of the underground movement, then
the building of guerrilla detachments. The Soviets put a
lot of emphasis on the building of these underground
structures, comprising at the beginning very few people.10

Archibald Sibeko shares this opinion and is highly
appreciative of the specialized training he and his friends

We were taught military strategy and tactics, topography,
drilling, use of firearms and guerrilla warfare. We also
covered politics, with heavy emphasis on skills needed
[for] construction and use of explosives, vehicle
maintenance, feeding a mobile army and first aid in the
field: everything necessary for survival under guerrilla

As for large-scale training special courses for ANC
guerrilla commanders and various military specialists, they
were organized in late 1963 at Odessa, on the shores of the
Black Sea. Facilities were available at the local military
college; moreover, this city was famous for its resistance
to the German and Romanian invasion in 1941, and in 1941-44
the catacombs there were used as hideouts by guerrillas.
The first MK group there was headed by Joe Modise, the
future South African Minister of Defence. The Soviet
political leadership closely observed the training of the
first ANC cadres in Odessa. A special group, led by Petr
Manchkha, head of the African Section of the CPSU
International Department, was sent from Moscow in June
1964, and its members were impressed.12 However, while
Manchkha's group expressed satisfaction with the progress
of the training, singling out the strict discipline and
high morale of the ANC cadres, they did note the
limitations of the college as far as the guerrilla training
was concerned.

The need for a specific training establishment suitable for
large contingents of trainees became acute. It was created
in Perevalnoye in the Crimea, near the city of Simferopol.
There, good use was made of the World War II experience of
the Crimean guerrillas, who had operated in mountains,
forest and bush - in other words, in terrain not very
different from Southern Africa. The centre in Perevalnoe
was also used as a site for 'practice' by the freedom
fighters who studied in Moscow. Mosima (Tokyo) Sexwale, a
former MK fighter, political prisoner, post-April 1994
premier of Gauteng province and now a prominent South
African businessman who underwent training in 1975-76,
recalls how 'Colonel [he was promoted later] Fyodor' showed
them war-time trenches and hide-outs when he came to see
the ANC group there.13

In spite of their intelligence services, the South African
government and its friends in the West knew surprisingly
little about the Crimean training facility. Harry Pitman of
the Progressive Party claimed in a speech in parliament
that he knew 'precisely' where the ANC members were
trained. He mentioned two places in the USSR: 'Jijinski in
Northern Russia' and 'Privali in Ukraine'.14 One can only
guess what he meant by 'Jijinski'; there is 'Dzerzhinsk', a
town close to Moscow, but no Umkhonto member has ever been
trained there. Later Pitman's spelling was 'improved' by
Africa Confidential, which wrote: 'The Soviet camps include
Provolye in the Ukraine and Centre 26, near Moscow.'15
Pretoria's police fared no better: Major General F.M.A.
Steenkamp, in his press briefing for accredited foreign
correspondents in 1984, spoke of 'Prvolnye military camp'
and, again, 'Centre 26',16 which, by the way, never
existed. And all this happened while the road sign
'Perevalnoye' ('pereval' means 'pass' in Russian) was
prominently displayed on the mountainous road from
Simferopol to Yalta!

The training of the MK personnel in the USSR continued for
almost three decades, and became increasingly
sophisticated. Let us hear again 'from the horse's mouth',
this time from General Siphiwe Nyanda, the first African
chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
He came to the USSR in 1985, immediately after the Kabwe
Conference of the ANC with the group of the MK commanders,
which included Charles Nqakula who is now Minister of
Safety and Security (and the SACP chairperson) and Nosiviwe
Maphisa-Nqakula, Minister of Home Affairs and the ANC
Women's League president:

In the USSR, we were staying in an apartment on Gorki
Street, Moscow, where the lectures were conducted. For the
practical exercises, we went to a place outside Moscow We
studied MCW (Military and Combat Work) as part of an
abridged Brigade Commanders' course.

(1) The course covered the following subjects, among
others,Communications (2) Underground work- Surveillance-
Secret writing- Secret meetings- Photography (3) Military
work- Ambush- Attack- Artillery effectiveness- Small
armsAll were useful.17

One telling detail: of the first group of ANC commanders
incorporated into the new SANDF in 1994 at the level of
general, everyone underwent military training in the USSR
except one commander who was trained by the Soviets in

The Soviet military co-operation with the ANC continued in
various forms until the radical political changes took
place in Moscow in August 1991 followed by the
'dissolution' of the USSR in December of that year. The
Russian press has calculated that between 1963 and 1991,
1,501 ANC activists were trained in Soviet military
institutions.18 However, this figure is not all-inclusive
and the total number was well above 2,000. The most
striking example of co-operation and mutual trust was
Soviet involvement in Operation Vula, aimed at the creation
of the armed underground network inside South Africa which
began in 1987-88 and extended into the post February-1990
period.19 Let us hear once more from General Nyanda:

The Moscow visit of 1988 was the final leg of my
preparation to infiltrate the RSA. It afforded me the
opportunity to brush up on my disguises and gain more
confidence in these From an operational point of view, the
Moscow leg was probably the most important for my cover
story. Without exception, those who were not privy to the
information believed I was in the Soviet Union for
[military] studies. The enemy therefore never expected me
to be right on his doorstep!20

Moscow's military co-operation with the South West African
People's Organisation (SWAPO) and its military wing - the
People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) developed in a
similar way. Most of the top commanders of the PLAN studied
in the USSR, including Charles Namoloh (his nom de guerre
was 'Ho Chi Minh'), the recently appointed Namibian
Minister of Defence. Many hundreds of PLAN fighters were
trained in the USSR (including three sons of Sam Nujoma) -
in the 'Northern' centre, in Perevalnoe as well as in
Solnechnogorsk, at the famous Vystrel Higher Officer
Courses near Moscow.

Apart from military training in the USSR, from 1977 a group
of the Soviet military specialists stayed with PLAN in
Lubango, in the south of Angola. Its most popular chief (in
1979-83) was 'Colonel Nikolay' (Nikolay Kurushkin, later
Major-General and head of the 'Northern Centre'). The
mission of the Soviet specialists and advisors was
primarily training of the PLAN personnel. However, it
appears that their duties in the field sometimes went far
beyond this. I recall how in March 1991, on the first
anniversary of Namibian independence, we went to the north
of the country, adjacent to the Angolan border, together
with 'Colonel Nikolay' and General Namoloh, then the Army
Chief of Staff. When we reached Oshakati, Namoloh said to
Nikolay: 'You see, it is such a nice place. And you always
told me: "Attack Oshakati, attack Oshakati".'

In the final stage of the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe,
a similar group, headed by the late Colonel Lev Kononov,
was stationed in Zambia. In addition, hundreds of fighters
of the ZAPU wing of the Patriotic Front underwent training
with the Soviet specialists in Angola in the late 1970s.
They were in the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)
camp when it was bombed by the Rhodesian Air Force in 1979
and one of them, Warrant Officer Grigory Skakun, died after
being hit by a cluster bomb containing ball bearings.21
Military training of Zimbabweans took place in various
areas of the USSR as well. I watched how they braved a
snow-covered field in Perevalnoe when I accompanied Joshua
Nkomo, the ZAPU leader and co-president of the Zimbabwe
Patriotic Front, on a visit there. 'If Ian Smith were to
see it', somebody joked, 'he would immediately surrender.'

In all three cases, for MK, PLAN and the Zimbabwe People's
Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), it was Angola which served as a
reliable rear base. However, before the country could play
such a role, it faced almost a decade and a half of hard
anti-colonial struggle. The late Petr Evsyukov (known to
his African friends as 'Camarada Pedro') who had been
responsible for contacts with the liberation movements of
the Portuguese colonies in the CPSU International
Department, recalls in his memoirs that after the first
representatives of the Popular Movement for the Liberation
of Angola (MPLA) - Mario de Andrade and Viriato da Cruz -
came to Moscow 'in the second half of 1961', 'an important
decision to begin multi-sided assistance to the
organisation was taken'.22 Then, some months later,
Agostinho Neto managed to escape from Portugal and also
'immediately came to Moscow. The negotiations with him
ended quite successfully'.23

The assistance was very versatile. 'Camarada Pedro' recalls
a fascinating incident. In urgent cases the leadership of
the liberation movements who knew his nom de guerre, 'Pedro
Dias', and the number of his post office box could send him
a letter by ordinary international mail. So, once a letter
arrived from Agostinho Neto, who complained about the
shortage of cartridges for Soviet-made TT pistols and asked
for them to be sent urgently. 'To confirm his request and
to avoid a mistake he enclosed a cartridge in an envelope.
This was probably the only case in the history of the
postal service.'24

With the beginning of the armed struggle in Mozambique the
liberation movement FRELIMO also began to receive military
supplies from the USSR and to send its personnel for
training there. In fact, my first trip to sub-Saharan
Africa was in January 1967 to Dar es Salaam. Our mission
was to bring Mozambicans for training in Perevalnoe and
many years later I heard from the Mozambican military
attaché that among them was Joachim Chissano, a future

The assistance to MPLA, FRELIMO and other liberation
movements was co-ordinated by the CPSU Central Committee
(CC) through its International Department while several
government bodies were involved. An important step was a
trip by a group of Soviet officials to several independent
African countries in early 1967. Evsyukov writes: 'an
urgent necessity arose to evaluate the state and prospects
of this [anti-colonial] war, to try to study the situation
on the spot, if not inside these countries [Angola,
Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau] at least from the territory
of the neighbouring states' to help the CPSU CC 'to
determine the line on our co-operation and policy in the
region'.25 The group members were Manchkha, Evsyukov,
Gennady Fomin, Head of one of the African Departments of
the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and Vadim
Kirpichenko, his counterpart in the KGB, the future first
deputy head of the PGU - Soviet political intelligence. The
trip resulted in 'the Politbureau's decision on our further
policy towards African countries, in particular, on our
all-round support to the militant nationalists in the
Portuguese colonies'.26 The group was primarily political
and did not include a representative of the Soviet Ministry
of Defence. Nevertheless, with the intensification of the
armed struggle in the Portuguese colonies and the beginning
of fighting in Namibia and Zimbabwe from the mid-late
1960s, the military had increasingly to play a larger role
in Moscow's co-operation with the liberation movements. For
many years these activities were co-ordinated by
Major-General Ivan Plakhin, a World War II veteran, who
personally visited the liberated areas of Mozambique and
Guinea-Bissau in the early 1970s and Angola in the first
days of February 1976, during the South African
intervention in the country.

However, by the time of the April 1974 Portuguese
revolution which opened the prospects for Angola's rapid
transition to independence, Moscow's relations with Neto's
MPLA were at their lowest ebb. They were drastically
affected by Neto's unity agreement in December 1972 with
its arch-rival - the CIA-sponsored Holden Roberto, leader
of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) -
and by the split within the MPLA that followed this step.
It was broad support for the MPLA and personally for Neto,
demonstrated after the April 1974 Portuguese revolution
inside Angola that made the situation clearer. In December
1974 Moscow received the MPLA military delegation headed by
Henrique (Iko) Carreira, the future Angolan Minister of
Defence, who spoke about the MPLA's 'weakness from the
military point of view' and emphasized the need for Soviet
assistance.27 Several 'fact-finding' missions and later
solidarity visits by the Soviets to Angola also helped,
such as a trip ostensibly 'to study the local educational
system' by Naval Captain Alexey Dubenko (future
Rear-Admiral and the first Soviet military attaché in
Angola) in early 1975.

Moscow supported the Alvor agreements of January 1975
between the MPLA, FNLA and UNITA. However, against the
background of growing assistance to the MPLA's rivals from
the West, South Africa, Zaire and, for a certain period,
from China, supplies to the MPLA were resumed. In
particular, a core of the brigade, manned by MPLA
activists, underwent a crash course of training in
Solnechnogork and Perevalnoe.28 The most crucial moment in
Soviet-Angolan relations was the eve of Angolan
independence. Georgy Kornienko, later the First Deputy
Foreign Minister, writes in his memoirs: 'In the Angolan
episode of the "Cold War", like in the majority of its
episodes , Washington said "A", but in this case as well,
Moscow did not refrain for a long time from saying "B".'29
Kornienko believes that with the worsening of
Soviet-American relations related to Angola, in particular
advance in the talks on strategic arms stopped;
correspondingly, Brezhnev's visit to the USA was postponed
and then cancelled.30 However, I share the opinion of
Ambassador Vladillen Vasev, the former Soviet Deputy Head
of Mission (DHM) in Washington and then head of the
Southern African Department at the Soviet MFA, who believed
that if not Angola, the US would have found another excuse
for 'cooling off' relations with Moscow.31

According to Kornienko, on the eve of Angolan independence
when 'the civil war, provoked by the USA actions, began to
flare up', the Soviet MFA together with the Ministry of
Defence and the KGB prepared a proposal, approved 'by and
large' by the CPSU Politburo,32 to provide the MPLA with
all kinds of political support and 'certain material
support' but not to get involved in the civil war in Angola
'in the military sphere'. However, only a few days later
the CPSU International Department headed by Ponomarev,
having secured initially the signatures of Marshal Grechko
(the Defence Minister) and KGB Chairman Andropov, managed
also to get Gromyko's support for the satisfaction of the
MPLA's's requests to (still limited) arms supplies.33

The idea that Moscow instigated Cuba to send its troops to
Angola, which for many years proved so popular among
Western leaders and the mass media, has been shown to be a
fallacy. For example, Kornienko and his 'boss' Andrei
Gromyko, as well as Grechko and Andropov, only found out
about the Cuban combat troops airlifted to Angola through a
message from the Soviet Ambassador to Guinea informing
Moscow of the impending landing of the Cuban planes in
Conakry.34 However, the Cubans had previously informed
Moscow about the first stage of their involvement. I recall
that Manchkha told Nujoma in Moscow of the forthcoming
arrival of 500 Cuban instructors in Angola.35 As to the
actual presence of the Soviet military in Angola, Dubenko,
who returned to Luanda in October, was joined by Boris
Putilin on independence day. Putilin was then the first
secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Brazzaville (now a
veteran of Military Intelligence and a retired colonel),
and accompanied Ambassador Afanasenko as a member of the
official Soviet delegation. The first group of Soviet
military instructors, headed by Captain Evgeny Lyashchenko,
left Moscow on 31 October on a regular Aeroflot flight and
arrived in Brazzaville the following day. This group had a
purely defensive mission - to train Angolans in the use of
'Strela' ('Arrow') portable anti-aircraft missile
launchers. A week later the group was transferred to
Point-Noir and on 16 November joined a larger group of
instructors headed by Colonel Vassily Trofimenko, which
landed there on the way to Angola. So, five days after the
proclamation of Angola's independence, over 40 Soviet
military specialists arrived in Luanda.36

The Soviet involvement in Angola produced many 'unsung
heroes'. The name of the Deputy Commander of Air Transport
Wing from the town of Ivanovo, who risked his life and the
lives of his crew to airlift two Katyusha rocket launchers
from Brazzaville to Point-Noir, where the runway was unfit
for the heavy Antonov transport aircraft, has yet to be
revealed. These same rocket launchers were further moved by
a Cuban ship to Luanda and played a critical role in
rebuffing the attack of Mobutu/FNLA troops against Luanda
at the time. According to General Roberto Monteiro 'Ngongo'
(the former Angolan Ambassador in Moscow and now Minister
of the Interior), all in all, over 6,000 Soviets came to
Angola 'to teach in military schools and academies and to
train our regular units' and over 1,000 Soviet military
visited it for 'shorter periods of time', while 6,965
Angolans underwent military training in the Soviet Union.37
Figs. provided by the Moscow Institute of Military History
are even higher: 'up to 1 January 1991 10,985 Soviet
military advisors and specialists visited Angola, including
107 generals and admirals, 7,211 officers, 1,083
warrant-officers and midshipmen, 2,116 sergeants, petty
officers and privates and 468 civilian employees of the
Soviet Army and Navy'; 6,985 Angolans were trained in
Soviet/Russian 'military educational institutions' up to 1
January 1995.38

The role of the Soviet military in Angola (most of whom
served with the Angolan armed forces, but some with the
ANC, SWAPO, and ZAPU) is grossly distorted by many Western
and South African authors, either because of their
ignorance or, perhaps, because there has been too much
reliance on faulty intelligence sources. Thus, a British
academic (and a former editor of African Confidential)
Stephen Ellis and his co-author, a renegade from the ANC
and SACP who used the pen-name 'Sechaba' ('People'),
claimed in their book Comrades against Apartheid that in
September 1987 the Angolan government offensive against the
SADF-backed UNITA was 'supervised in part by a Soviet
General Konstantin Shaganovitch'.39 Indeed, there had been
an earlier Soviet Chief Military Adviser in Angola whose
family name was similar - Shakhnovich - although his first
name was Vassily and not Konstantin. The General left
Angola for the USSR in 1980 and died in Moscow not long
afterwards. One of Shakhnovich's successors was
Lieutenant-General (from 1983, Colonel-General) Konstantin
Kurochkin, First Deputy Commander of the Soviet
Paratroopers. So it seems that Ellis and 'Sechaba' managed
to merge someone dead with someone living. Kurochkin
himself left Luanda in 1985 though, according to him, he
subsequently paid several short visits to Luanda.40 Fred
Bridgland, a well-known British journalist, went even
further: he took 'General Shaganovitch's offensive' as the
title for a whole section of his book describing military
actions in Angola. Moreover, the non-existent 'Konstantin
Shaganovitch', according to Bridgland, was 'a known
chemical warfare expert', and this is used to substantiate
the claim that the Angolan brigade which faced the SADF had
'chemical weapons in its armoury'.41 On the contrary, it
was South African troops that used chemical weapons in
Angola. At the same time Bridgland (and his friends)
grossly miscalculated the number of the Soviet military in
Angola: 'Intelligence agencies estimated that Shaganovitch
had about 950 fellow Soviets in command and training posts
in Angola',42 while the commanding officer, General
Kurochkin said that the strength of 'the Soviet advisory
apparatus' was 'about 2 thousand persons'.43

The Soviets suffered casualties in Southern Africa,
especially in Angola. According to General 'Ngongo', 15
Soviet military (including aircraft crew members) had been
killed in Angola in the period up to 1991.44 Russian
military historians state that by the same date 51 persons
were killed or died and 10 were wounded.45 The 'battle of
Cuito-Cuanavale' in 1987-88 was particularly gruelling. Two
Soviet officers - Colonel Gorb and Lieutenant Snitko -
sacrificed their lives while assisting Angolan government
forces to rebuff Pretoria's troops. The defeat of South
Africa and UNITA at Cuito-Cuanavale and the advance of
Cuban, Angolan and SWAPO forces towards the Namibian border
was possible to a large extent due to supplies of modern
Soviet equipment. An extensive Air Defence system based on
the Soviet-made anti-aircraft missiles was created in
Southern Angola and MIG-23 and SU-22 aircraft proved to be
superior to South African weaponry. These developments
created favourable conditions for the completion of talks
on the settlement in South-Western Africa which opened the
way for the independence of Namibia in 1989 and, in the
long run, for the abolition of apartheid in South Africa
itself in 1994. In the words of former USSR Deputy Foreign
Minister Anatoly Adamishin, who took part in these talks:

If we hadn't come to the assistance of the MPLA, seven
thousand miles from our borders, who would have benefited
from it? Little doubt, it would have been the RSA What
would further developments in the region have been, if the
racist RSA had grabbed Angola in addition to Namibia? How
many more years would her domination by force over the
region have continued? How many more years would apartheid
have survived?46

A final note. Moscow's support to the movements and
independent countries in Southern Africa in military
matters was especially important because it was often
provided at the time when or in the areas and where other
countries were unable or unwilling to help. Moreover, I am
convinced that the Soviet Union's contribution was not
limited to training and material assistance, but resulted
also in the encouragement of non-racialism in Southern Africa, and a
special contribution in this respect was made by the Soviet
instructors in  Africa and the staff of the Soviet military training


[1] Pravda, 7 July 1970.

[2] Russian State Archive of Modern History (hereafter -

Collection 4, inventory 18, file 1017, 61-3. Decisions
taken by the

instruction of the Secretaries of the CPSU Central
Committee without

 recording in the minutes, N 478, 28
November 1961.

 [3] Russian State Archive of Modern
History (hereafter - RSAMH),

 Collection 4, inventory 18,
file 1017, 61-3. Decisions taken by the

 instruction of
the Secretaries of the CPSU Central Committee without

recording in the minutes, N 478, 28 November 1961Ibid.

[4] Nel, Soviet Embassy in Pretoria?, 43.

Campbell, Soviet Policy Towards South Africa, 41.

Grundy, Guerilla Struggle in Africa, 51.

 [7] Segodnya,
Moscow, no. 5, 1993.

 [8] Bell with Ntebeza, Unfinished
Business, 119.

 [9] Star, Johannesburg, 11 September

 [10] Echo, 21 February 1990.

 [11] Echo, 21
February 1990Ibid.

 [12] Discussion with V.
Shemyatenkov, Moscow, 6 January 1997.

later ambassador and now a prominent academic, was

responsible for contacts with the SACP and ANC in the CPSU

 International Department in 1961-66.

Discussion with Mosima Sexwale, Moscow, 16 October 2005.

 [14] Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg, 21 May 1982.

[15] Africa Confidential, London, 10 December 1986.

[16] Press briefing for accredited foreign correspondents
on the

 history, aims, activities and the level of threat
posed by the ANC.

 By Maj. Gen. F. M. A. Steenkamp, SA
Police. In The Auditorium, HF

 Verwoerd Building, Cape
Town, 9.00, 8 February 1984, 30.

 [17] Siphiwe Nyanda
to Vladimir Shubin, 10 December 2002.

 [18] Segodnya,
no. 3, 1993.

 [19] This operation is described in
Kasrils, Armed and Dangerous and

 Jenkin, Talking to
Vula; for the Soviet involvement see Shubin, ANC:

 A View
from Moscow, 332-8, 360, 381.

 [20] Siphiwe Nyanda to
Vladimir Shubin, 10 December 2002.

 [21] Rossiya (SSSR)
v voinah vtoroi poloviny XX veka, 436.

 [22] "Memoirs <