News Release Archive - 2013

NAFTA at 20: “Record of Damage” to Widen with “NAFTA-on-Steroids” TPP

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/sourceUSITC.jpg

The North American Free Trade Agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.

LORI WALLACH, via Joseph Williams, jwilliams at citizen.org, @pcgtw
Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, which just released the report “NAFTA at 20” [PDF]. Wallach said today: “NAFTA’s actual outcomes prove how damaging this type of agreement is for most people, that it should be renegotiated and why we cannot have any more such deals that include job-offshoring incentives, requirements that we import food that doesn’t meet our safety standards or new rights for firms to get taxpayer compensation before foreign tribunals over laws they don’t like. Given NAFTA’s record of damage, it is equal parts disgusting and infuriating that now President Barack Obama has joined the corporate Pinocchios who lied about NAFTA in recycling similar claims to try to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is NAFTA-on-steroids.”

Public Citizen states: “The study tracks the promises made by U.S. corporations like Chrysler and Caterpillar to create specific numbers of American jobs if NAFTA was approved, and reveals government data showing that instead, they fired U.S. workers and moved operations to Mexico. The data also show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality; how since NAFTA, U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada has been 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and how U.S. manufacturing and services exports to Canada and Mexico have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate. …

“Public opinion has shifted dramatically, from a narrow divide during the 1993 NAFTA debate to overwhelming opposition today. A 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should ‘do whatever is necessary’ to ‘renegotiate’ or ‘leave’ NAFTA, while only 15 percent believe the U.S. should ‘continue to be a member of NAFTA.’ That opposition cuts across party lines, class divisions and education levels, perhaps explaining growing controversy over the proposed deepening and expansion of the NAFTA model through the TPP. …

“The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on agriculture. The desperate migration of those displaced from Mexico’s rural economy pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the U.S. following NAFTA’s implementation.”

CIA Cloud Over Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post

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A petition that has gained more than 15,000 signers so far this week is urging the Washington Post to provide readers with “full disclosure” about a conflict of interest involving the Post’s sole owner Jeff Bezos and his newspaper’s coverage of the CIA.

Noting that “a basic principle of journalism is to acknowledge when the owner of a media outlet has a major financial relationship with the subject of coverage,” the petition calls on the Washington Post to be “fully candid with its readers about the fact that the newspaper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA.” 

Currently, the Post’s coverage of the CIA does not disclose that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.  

RootsAction.org, which launched the petition, said that “the Amazon-CIA deal is apt to be just the start.” The group added: “Amazon’s offer wasn’t the low bid, but it won the CIA contract anyway by offering advanced high-tech ‘cloud’ infrastructure. … Bezos is personally and publicly touting Amazon Web Services — and Amazon will be seeking future CIA contracts.”

Last month, Amazon released a statement saying: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.” For more background information, click here.

The following media and intelligence analysts are available for interviews:

ROBERT McCHESNEY, rwmcchesney at gmail.com

McChesney is co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America and author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, both published this year.  He is professor of communications at the University of Illinois.

McChesney said today: “When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems. The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media. Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.”

He added: “If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation — say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern is a former CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Today, McGovern cited the CIA-Bezos duo as “compelling proof that the Fourth Estate is moribund, and that defenders of the independence and integrity of the Web must thwart attempts by bozos at CIA and Bezos at the once-independent Washington Post from leaving still more stain on journalism.”

McGovern added: “CIA secret ties with the Post and other Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) go back several decades. After leaving the Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a major story for Rolling Stone (Oct. 20, 1977) showing how the FCM worked hand in glove with the CIA and how this was all covered up by the committee led by [Senator] Frank Church in 1975.

“What emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post — with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA. In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”

JOHN HANRAHAN, johnhanrahan5 at gmail.com
Hanrahan is a former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for the Washington Post, the Washington Star, UPI and other news organizations. A former legal investigator and currently a writer based in Washington, D.C., Hanrahan is also the author of books including Government by Contract. He recently wrote on press criticism, civil liberties and dissent for the now-defunct NiemanWatchdog.org website.

Hanrahan said today: “It’s all so basic. Readers of the Washington Post, which reports frequently on the CIA, are entitled to know — and to be reminded on a regular basis in stories and editorials in the newspaper and online — that the Post‘s new owner Jeff Bezos stands to benefit substantially from Amazon’s $600-million contract with the CIA. Even with such disclosure, the public should not feel assured they are getting tough-minded reporting on the CIA. One thing is certain: Post reporters and editors are aware that Bezos, as majority owner of Amazon, has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA — and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might not be a good career move.”

Hanrahan added: “Post blogger Andrea Peterson nicely captured this sentiment when she asked Bezos, in a Q&A with Post staff in September, to ‘comment on Amazon’s pursuit of CIA cloud contracts.’ Bezos, as Peterson recounted, gave a non-answer, just ‘repeating what was already public knowledge.’ He merely praised Amazon’s cloud computing expertise but avoided any talk of the implications of Amazon linking up with the CIA. Peterson closed her column with a tongue-in-cheek understanding of what it means to raise such issues with the big boss: ‘To the best of my knowledge I remain employed by the Washington Post.’ And in her jest lies the problem for Post reporters and editors — and for readers — in this Amazon-CIA arrangement.”

MELVIN GOODMAN, goody789 at verizon.net
Goodman is director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He was an analyst at the CIA for 24 years. His most recent book is National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com
The author of several books on U.S. news media, Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org. He said today: “This is a test of journalistic integrity that the Washington Post is currently failing. Full disclosure is the least that readers of the Post’s coverage of the CIA deserve. Yet almost every day, the Post is publishing articles that cover the CIA without any indication that the Post’s sole owner is in business with the CIA to the tune of $600 million, while clearly seeking to expand that business relationship even further.”

Solomon added: “We should keep in mind that hundreds of newspapers around the country routinely publish articles from the Washington Post, and those articles are also widely read online. Most days, millions of people are reading Post stories about CIA activities that do not mention that the Post’s sole owner is in a business relationship with the CIA via his company Amazon.”

Solomon is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media.

First Commander: Guantánamo Should Never Have Opened

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Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, USMC (Ret.), was the first commander of the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. On Thursday, the Detroit News published a piece by him titled: “Here’s Why It’s Long Past Time that we Close Guantánamo.”

MICHAEL RATNER, mratner at ccrjustice.org, @justleft
Available for a limited number of interviews, Ratner is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which led the first legal challenge to the U.S. government detaining people at Guantánamo.

He said today: “There is much that is remarkable in the recent op-ed by Guantánamo’s first commander, Michael Lehnert. It is not just a piece arguing we should close it already, but that it should never have been opened. Two passages are particularly striking. The first was the belief that the detainees would provide a ‘treasure trove of information and intelligence.’ He points out that they did not. But more importantly it’s an admission that the real purpose of the detentions was intelligence gathering, and not dangerousness. Both at the time and today, that is an illegal, invalid reason for detention as was held by the Supreme Court Case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld: ‘indefinite detention for the purpose of interrogation is not authorized.’ The entire operation was flatly illegal.

“Second, Lehart says that detainees who have no charges against them should be released because it is constitutionally required. This correct legal belief would mandate the release of almost everyone at Guantánamo, not just those ‘cleared for release,’ which are already a majority. In this context I think of Shaker Aamer, a UK national, twice cleared for release and still at Guantánamo. It is an outrage that he and others remain there, almost 12 years after the prison is open. It ought to be an outrage to all of us.

“Finally, while Lenhart’s statements are much appreciated, the camp was an awful place when he ran it. Detainees were kept in dog-like cages and abused as has been attested in memoirs by Moazzam Begg and others. It would be good if Gen. Lenhart owned up to this as well.”

“Wrong on Ukraine”

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STEPHEN COHEN, sfc1 at nyu.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

Listen to his recent interview “The American Press Is Wrong About Ukraine” on the “John Batchelor Show.”

Cohen recently wrote a letter to the New York Times which the paper did not run, but was posted at TheNation.com: “According to a New York Times editorial, “The Cold War should be over,’ but ‘not, it appears, for Mr. Putin,’ who is trying to keep former Soviet republics, particularly Ukraine, from signing binding economic agreements with the European Union. This is the one-eyed axiom of the U.S. political-media establishment, passing for analysis, when it comes to Putin and to U.S.-Russian relations: Washington and its European allies ended the Cold War nearly 22 years ago, but Putin continues to wage it.

“But have the U.S. and Europe really done nothing to provoke Putin’s reactions? During these years, who, for example, expanded the West’s Cold-War military organization, NATO, to Russia’s borders, and still covets Ukraine and Georgia as members; bombed or invaded three of Russia’s international partners (Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya) and now threatens a fourth (Iran); and is currently ringing Russia with missile-defense installations? And then there is the editorial’s venerable Cold War double standard: ‘Europe’s use of trade leverage … is constructive and reasonable;’ but when Putin uses similar carrots — financial loans, discounted energy supplies, access to markets — to persuade Ukraine to join instead his fledgling Eurasian Customs Union, those are ‘attempts to bludgeon.’ …

“Moreover, independent editorial analysis would ask whether signing with Europe is really in Ukraine’s best interests. Ukraine is not ‘economically robust’ but near default. Will crisis-ridden Europe bail it out with tens of billions of dollars? Will Ukrainian goods flourish in Western markets? Will Europe open its arms to migrant Ukrainian workers?

“Not a word about any of this or about the real issue: the West’s ongoing campaign to move the new Cold-War divide further East, to the heart of Slavic civilization. Nothing could be more de-stabilizing or more detrimental to the real security of Europe or America.”

* CIA Fingered Mandela * Cuba Aided in South African Liberation

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/522016252.jpgANDREW COCKBURN, amcockburn at gmail.com
Co-author of several books on global affairs and covert operations, Cockburn wrote a New York Times op-ed in 1986 that noted Nelson Mandela’s “arrest came as a result of a tip-off from the Central Intelligence Agency to the authorities. According to recent reports in the Johannesburg Star and on CBS News, Mr. Mandela was traveling to meet a CIA officer who was working out of the United States Consulate in Durban, the capital of Natal. Instead of attending the meeting, the CIA man told the police exactly where and when the most hunted man in South Africa could be found.” See from FAIR: “CIA and Mandela: Can the Story Be Told Now? Agency’s Role in Mandela Capture Still Mostly Not News.”

PIERO GLEIJESES, slee255 at jhu.edu
Gleijeses is a professor of U.S. foreign policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and author of several books including the just-released Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991.

Asked about the controversy regarding the handshake between Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, Gleijeses said this morning on “Democracy Now“: “I think it’s pathetic and reflects the ethics of the United States and the policy of the United States. President Obama, was received with applause in South Africa when he spoke because he is the first black president of the United States. But the role of the United States as a country, as a government, past governments, in the struggle for liberation of South Africa is a shameful role. In general, we were on the side of the apartheid government. And the role of Cuba is a splendid role in favor of the liberation.”

Gleijeses gives the relevant history: “Che Guevara was sent by Fidel Castro as his top representative to sub-Saharan Africa — it was the first visit by a top Cuban leader to sub-Saharan Africa — because the Cubans believed that there was a revolutionary situation in central Africa, and they wanted to help. And Che Guevara established relations with a number of revolutionary movements. One of them was the MPLA, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola. …”

“In 1975, you had the decolonization of Angola, a Portuguese colony slated to become independent on November 11, 1975. There is a civil war between three movements: one supported by the Cubans … the other two supported by South Africa and the United States. And the movement supported by the Cubans, the MPLA, which is in power in Angola today, having won free elections, was on the verge of winning the civil war.

“And in order to prevent their victory … in October 1975, urged by Washington, South Africa invaded. And the South African troops advanced on [Angolan capital] Luanda, and they would have taken Luanda and crushed the MPLA if Fidel Castro had not decided to intervene. And between November 1975 and April 1976, 36,000 Cuban soldiers poured into Angola and pushed the South Africans back into Namibia, which South Africa ruled at the time.”

In 1991, Nelson Mandela traveled to Cuba to thank Fidel Castro and the Cuban people for supporting the fight against apartheid and colonialism in southern Africa. “The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces [in Angola] destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor,” Mandela said. “The defeat of the apartheid army served as an inspiration to the struggling people of South Africa. … When we wanted to take up arms, we approached numerous Western governments in search of help and we could only talk with the lowest level officials. When we visited Cuba we were received by the highest authorities who immediately offered anything we wanted and needed. That was our first experience with Cuban internationalism.”

Israel, Apartheid and Boycott Movements

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1499435_643336829063804_524318372_n.jpgNelson Mandela is scheduled to lie in state before his funeral on Sunday.

BILL FLETCHER, billfletcherjr at gmail.com
Fletcher is a columnist for BlackCommentator.com and a former president of TransAfrica Forum. He just wrote: “We Must Celebrate the Life and Work of Nelson Mandela.” Last year, he wrote the piece “Why Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Should Be Used to Target Israeli Apartheid.” This BDS approach has been endorsed by retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who wrote last year: “A quarter-century ago I barnstormed around the United States encouraging Americans, particularly students, to press for divestment from South Africa. Today, regrettably, the time has come for similar action to force an end to Israel’s long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory and refusal to extend equal rights to Palestinian citizens…”

SURAYA DADOO, suraya_dadoo at telkomsa.net, @MRN1SA
Dadoo author of Why Israel? The Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid: A South African Perspective. She is also a researcher with the Media Review Network in Johannesburg.

MTHUNZI MBULI, MUHAMMED DESAI, mdesai at bdssouthafrica.com, @BDSsouthafrica
Mbuli and Desai are members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa. Desai said today: “Israel was one of the staunchest and longest standing allies of white-ruled Apartheid South Africa. After his release from prison in 1990 Nelson Mandela commented how he had received invites to visit ‘almost every country in the world, except Israel.'”

Mbuli added: “It’s ludicrous that [Israel Prime Minister] Netanyahu [claimed] that his flight to South Africa is too expensive.” The group cites the likelihood of protests and even the possibility of arrest. “Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, cancelled her trip to South Africa in 2011 due to threats of arrest,” says Mbuli; see “Livni Cancels SA Trip After Arrest Threats.”

Mbuli added: “Upon meeting with Palestine’s Yasser Arafat in 1990, Nelson Mandela said: ‘I sincerely believe that there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the Palestine Liberation Organization. We [South Africans and Palestinians respectively] live under a unique form of colonialism in South Africa, as well as in Israel, and a lot flows from that.’ … In September 2002, Mandela said of Israel: ‘What we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody talks about that.’

“Earlier this year, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane publicly criticized Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine saying: ‘Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently … our Palestinian friends have asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the [Israeli] regime. We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better.”

See: NBC News report on Israeli President Shimon Peres: “Israeli Leader Who Mourned Mandela’s Death Helped White Regime Get Missiles.” From the Guardian in 2010: “Revealed: How Israel Offered to Sell South Africa Nuclear Weapons.”

When Mandela visited the U.S. in 1990, his expressions of support of the Palestinians caused a major controversy; see: Los Angles Times: “Mandela Defends Ties to Arafat, Kadafi.” See video of his Nightline “town hall” interview with Ted Koppel.

Is Sen. Feinstein Profiting From the Fire Sale of the Public’s Property and Art?

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/postofficeunnamed.jpgThe Los Angeles Times published a piece over the weekend about sales of post offices and protests they have aroused. The article notes that CBRE is “the private entity that holds an exclusive contract to broker postal service real estate. … Riling many here is the exclusive deal with CBRE Group, whose chairman, Richard Blum, is married to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

“A recent e-book by investigative journalist Peter Byrne details allegations of below-market sales to CBRE clients and investors. (CBRE has declined to comment on those claims.) A June audit by the Office of Inspector General raised unrelated ‘conflict of interest’ concerns and noted ‘poor oversight’ of the CBRE contract.”

PETER BYRNE, pbyrne at sonic.net
Byrne is author of Going Postal: The Husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has Been Selling Post Offices to his Friends, Cheap. The first chapter of the book has been excerpted.

GRAY BRECHIN, gbrechin at berkeley.edu
Brechin is founder and project scholar of the Living New Deal Project at UC Berkeley. He said today: “Towns and cities throughout our entire country are losing their historic post offices and often the New Deal artworks designed for them. The giant real estate company CBRE advises the USPS on what post offices to sell and then profits by representing both the seller and buyer.”

“USPS management plans to sell Berkeley’s magnificent 1914 Main Post Office containing a New Deal sculpture and mural. Our grandparents paid for this building and many others in the country that are on the USPS-CBRE hit list. They belong to us as much as do the National Parks. National landmark status and widespread community opposition counts for nothing as USPS management continues to liquidate the public’s property and its constitutionally guaranteed service while the press sleeps on what Americans are losing and who is profiting from their loss.”

Volcker Rule “Result Will be the Worst of all Worlds”

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/06122013_william_black_divulgacao.jpgABC News reports: “Five U.S. regulatory agencies are voting on the so-called Volcker Rule … set to be approved Tuesday.”

WILLIAM K. BLACK, blackw at umkc.edu
Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A former bank regulator who led investigations of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, he is the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Black said today: “The ‘Volcker Rule’ represents Glass-Steagall-lite. It cannot work because it avoids doing what Glass-Steagall did — creating a ‘bright line’ rule separating what was permissible from what was forbidden. The failure to simply repeal the repeal of Glass-Steagall and repeal the Commodities Futures Modernization Act (which created the regulatory ‘black hole’ for financial derivatives) demonstrates how FDR was willing to act boldly because he learned the correct lessons from the Great Depression whereas both of our parties have acted timidly in response to the Great Recession. The result will be the worst of all worlds. The five largest U.S. banks do virtually all of the financial derivative trading by U.S. banks. They run massive proprietary derivatives trading desks that speculate in hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives. The Volcker Rule, in an effort to limit the evasions that are made inevitable by its failure to act boldly and ban derivative derivatives, will reportedly be over 850 pages. It will be a nightmare for bank examiners and honest banks, yet the big cheating banks will easily evade it by calling their speculation ‘hedging.'”

Black wrote the piece “Why JPMorgan Gets Away with Bad Bets” for CNN. See Black’s interviews at The Real News.

Beyond Honoring Mandela: What About U.S. Political Prisoners?

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JOHANNA FERNANDEZ, Johanna.Fernandez at baruch.cuny.edu, jfernandez1202 at gmail.com, @JohannaFernand
Fernandez is professor of history at Baruch College of the City University of New York, a former Fulbright Scholar, and one of the coordinators of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. She is also author of the forthcoming When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1968-1974.

She said today: “Today we mourn the death of Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter who was incarcerated for his leadership in the armed revolutionary wing of the African National Congress. During the 28 years of his incarceration, Mandela defied his captors from his cell by preserving his humanity and compassion in the face of the brutality unleashed against him, and many other political dissidents, by the U.S.-backed, Apartheid South African regime. Recall that the CIA tipped off the South African government so they were finally able to capture Mandela, who had proven to be so illusive. …

“From the early 1980s to the present, former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal’s prison writings have made him a symbol of defiance against the repressive power of the state. Like the early revolutionary Mandela, Mumia’s voice resounds with clarity, humanism and an unflinching commitment to the struggle for freedom, the world over.” Listen to Abu-Jamal’s just-recorded obituary of Mandela [audio].

“Today marks the 32nd year of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s wrongful incarceration and we are holding events in Philadelphia. Like the struggle that freed Mandela, the fight to free Mumia is bound up in the struggle to build a better world and to free all political prisoners in the United States, the majority of whom belong to historically oppressed minority groups. Like Mandela, these currently imprisoned Puerto Rican Revolutionary Nationalists, African American radicals (mostly former members of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army), and radical Native Americans were incarcerated for their defense of the idea of armed revolutionary struggle, and for their determination to defend, by any means necessary, their people’s right to life and the pursuit of happiness.”

Mandela: Beyond the “Safe Character”

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/South_Africa_Mandela_Cong_1_.jpgAJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2 at gmail.com
Baraka is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He has written extensively on Africa. He is in the U.S. until Monday.

BILL FLETCHER, billfletcherjr at gmail.com, @billfletcherjr
Fletcher is a columnist for BlackCommentator.com and a former president of TransAfrica Forum. He just wrote: “Nelson Mandela will be mourned and celebrated. But something else will happen. There will soon, probably very soon, be efforts to reinterpret his life. I do not mean leaving things out, as happened in the otherwise excellent film just released about his life. Rather, as we have experienced here in the USA with great leaders like King and Malcolm, there will be efforts to convert Mandela into a very safe character in order to advance the ends of the global elite. We will, for instance, not hear much about Mandela’s refusal to renounce armed struggle against apartheid, even though such a renunciation could have resulted in his release much earlier. We will not hear much about his expressions of gratitude to the Cuban people for their consistent support to the people of Angola, Namibia and South Africa who were fighting the South African apartheid regime. We will not hear about Mandela’s consistent, unwavering support for the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation.”

PATRICK BOND, pbond at mail.ngo.za
Bond is the director of the center for civil society and a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He is author of many books on South Africa, most recently South Africa — the Present as History: From Mrs Ples to Mandela and Marikana.

In his new interview with The Real News: “Mandela Led Fight Against Apartheid, But Not Against Extreme Inequality,” Bond says: “The mood here in South Africa is terribly somber. This was the day that everyone knew would come. … I happened to work in his [Mandela’s] office twice, ’94 and ’96, and saw these [economic] policies being pushed on Mandela by international finance and domestic business and a neoliberal conservative faction within his own party.” Bond cites a former Mandela cabinet member, Ronnie Kasrils: “He basically says that as a ruler Mandela gave in way too much to rich people. So he replaced racial apartheid with class apartheid.”

Bond just published the piece “Nelson Mandela’s Years in Power: Was he Pushed or Did he Jump?

Background:

Mandela was on the U.S. government terrorist list until 2008. See USA Today piece from 2008: “U.S. has Mandela on Terrorist List.”

When Mandela visited the U.S. in 1990, he caused a major controversy by expressing solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, see: Los Angles Times: “Mandela Defends Ties to Arafat, Kadafi.”

In early 2003, Mandela attacked the prospect of the U.S. invading Iraq. See CBS News reported titled “Mandela Slams Bush On Iraq,” which quotes Mandela: “What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. … If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care.” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in response that Bush “understands there are going to be people who are more comfortable doing nothing about a growing menace that could turn into a holocaust.” Video of some of Mandela’s attack on Bush is at democracynow.org.