Monday, August 27, 2007

Wheat prices reach record level

Eish........Toast or Caviaaar, same diffrence soon..............................

Poor weather - from droughts to floods have cut harvest forecastsWheat prices have hit record highs on global commodity markets, bringing the threat of rising bread prices.
Bad weather in key grain growing areas such as Canada and parts of Europe has limited supplies as demand has risen, sparking fears of a supply shortfall.
Surging prices are also expected to have widespread fallout for consumers.
While it will mean higher bread prices, it could also trigger an increase in meat and dairy prices as farmers battle to pass on rising feed costs.
Global wheat stockpiles will slip to their lowest levels in 26 years as a result, official US figures predicted earlier this month.
Output fall
The dire forecast came as Canadian officials said the country expected its harvest to be slashed by a fifth as a result of drought.
Meanwhile, its rival Australia - the world's third-largest wheat exporter and a key supplier to Asian regions and South America - has also warned harvests may be reduced by warmer-than-expected temperatures experienced in the spring.
Crops in the Black Sea area of Europe, however, have been ruined by bad weather, while Chinese production is expected to fall by 10% as a result of both flooding and droughts.
And as supplies fall, demand from emerging economies such as India is increasing - factors which helped push prices to record highs of $7.44 a bushel on the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade market in the US on Thursday.
In the UK, prices have also soared, with bread-making wheat now fetching about £200 per tonne - double last year's level.
While surging prices are beneficial to wheat growers, they do bring further problems.
A World Food Programme spokesman said the increases could mean its budget would not stretch far enough to help those affected by natural disasters.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

'GATVOL' -- hardhitting criticism of Mbeki-regime in top Dutch publication
August 10 2007 -- THE HAGUE, The Netherlands. One of the most critical articles of the Mbeki-regime yet published in the Netherlands was issued this week in the Haagse Post/De Tijd, a widely-read opinion weekly in the Dutch capital city.
Its headline reads: "Gatvol - the ANC's South Africa: racism, corruption, violence, unemployment"...
It starts off with the sentence: ' life under the ANC in South Africa is no joke, and many of its top-educated people are leaving. However, as long as the ANC can capitalise on its 'freedom fighting glories' of the past, it can stay in power.'The article is not yet made available its archives on the internet.
The no-holds-barred article by Dutch journalist Willem Talis pulls no punches. I quote just a few paragraphs from it to illustrate the point: He wrote for instance:
Racism: "In the Netherlands, preferential treatment over one specific population group over another, is totally illegal. "In South Africa it has been raised to a standard to strive for." No other country country on earth places such an over-emphasis on race.
"Indeed the ANC-government knowns within the decimal point exactly how the racial balances are situated in every facet of their society.
"As far as that particular subject is concerned therefore, nothing has changed at all under black-majority rule'. (since apartheid).
"And whenever his regime is criticised, the president makes it a habit of pulling out the 'race card'."
The comrades become overnight multi-million-dollar millionaires
The article also describes detailed examples of why and how all the old struggle-era ANC-comrade-executives are turning themselves into dollar-millionaires practically overnight, and how they will always publicly hail and support each other as heroes even when they have been caught in criminal acts
"The first signs of (this) moral corruption started becoming visible in 1997 - the ANC had been in power about three years when reverend Allan Boesak was accused of stealing money which had been collected to help apartheid-victims.
"Upon Boesak's return from the USA, he was awaited at Johannesburg airport by the then-minister of Justice - not to personally clap him into handcuffs, but to pay homage and honour to this former leader in the anti-apartheid struggle."
"When Boesak was tried and imprisoned for fraud, he was accompanied there by supporters raising him high onto their shoulders; he was released from jail early and President Thabo Mbeki gave him amnesty personally."Soon it became clearly evident: the comrades from the freedom-struggle could do no wrong".
"After the takeover of SA's governance by the ANC-government, they also launched a massive social-engineering scheme, during which qualified, experienced white officials were dumped at a huge scale. The downside of this campaign was that huge numbers of these open posts were filled with inexperienced blacks, also in the judiciary, and that the new managers gave themselves lavish salaries often hundreds of times more than the minimum-wage scale".
"The ANC also enriched its election funds with donations from a mining magnate who has since then been conveniently murdered, and stubbornly refused to refund these illegal donations. Earlier, the ANC had also earned 1,5-million Euros from illegal oil-deals with the Saddam Hussein-regime.'
"Companies are only given government or private-company tenders such as from banks if they have black partners. An annual 6,000 new 'dollar-millionaires' are being created in South Africa now. (...) the ANC's official spokesman Smuts Ngonyama summed up this new order in a most meaningful way, saying: "We (the freedom fighters) did not fight to remain poor."
The article continues:
"ANC-fat cats are only there for one reason: to enrich themselves, and they measure their status by owning expensive BMW's, imposing homes, extravagant lifestyles and the number of security guards they surround themselves with. (...)
"Meanwhile more people now live in hovels than ever did a decennium ago (during apartheid) and the gap between rich and poor has grown even more.
"The ANC is the government and vice-versa. The division which is supposed to exist between politics and big differences is disappearing more each day."
The article concludes: "nearly everybody here in South Africa now feels that it's time to end all those nice words about improvements, and an end with a president who claims that he knew nobody who had died of Aids; and who announces that the crime-epidemic mainly is a queston of 'perception'.
"A president who has for years maintained the myth that 'quiet diplomacy' with neighbouring Zimbabwe was the only way to solve the chaos caused by dictator Mugabe.'
"In short, many people are 'gatvol' - to use a flexible Afrikaans term..."

What has happened to Mbeki?
Christelle Terreblanche
August 26 2007 at 09:37AM

A year before he became president, Thabo Mbeki told parliament in 1998 that South Africa faced the challenge of "allowing a thousand flowers to bloom".Quoting the Chinese slogan from the Mao years - "Let a hundred flowers bloom! Let a hundred schools of thought contend!" - Mbeki said that the need was underpinned by the complexity of issues facing the country."Let none of us pretend that the debate about change will be capable of being handled in the manner of a cozy chat around a bountiful dinner table. Because of the nature of what we have to do, it will be rough and painful and drive many of us to shout at one another, to curse and use misunderstood and hurtful words that were only meant to soothe, if only they were understood," he said.

Nine years later and with only 18 months of the Mbeki presidency remaining, those words ring both prophetic and futile. Many a harsh word has been spoken and many who have criticised his presidency believe that the thousand flowers are being crushed, just as they were in Mao's regime. Those who knew the jovial and generous Mbeki who returned from exile in the early 1990s have been shocked by the vindictive and authoritarian tone of his attacks during the past month over the Frere Hospital saga. The maliciousness has been directed particularly at Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, his axed deputy health minister, who described the baby deaths at Frere a "national emergency" - seen in the context of the country's declining human development index (HDI), a measure of poverty and life expectancy. The government has consistently denied the United Nation's HDI for the country. Mbeki in 2006 called its calculations that poverty had deepened "obviously wrong" and "illogical".Referring to Frere, he said that the "mini-skirt" data on baby deaths were wrong and the truth misconstrued - intensifying a perception of a president in an ivory tower of denial. Madlala-Routledge was called a "lone ranger" acting outside the "collective" for putting the spotlight on a systemic problem. This has raised questions over what Mbeki really sees as "the collective" and whether party interests and allegiances have superseded government accountability. There are signs that he will leave a legacy of rampant state corruption. Civil society and the media bit back harshly, something that probably took Mbeki by surprise. The attacks from both sides have become increasingly personal and demeaning, notably the media expose of health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's alleged thieving and drinking. Some have called the public outcry a "seismic shift" in the nation's body politic.More serious are fears that the hardline tone is fuelling a climate of fear, loathing and repression and will mark Mbeki's last months as hegemony by stealth. There are signs that the ugly saga is developing into a full-blown crisis as the acrimonious succession battle approaches a climax at the ANC's national congress in December. What has happened to the man who wanted a thousand flowers to bloom? Is he already a lame duck, unable to exert his authority? Is the authoritarian tone a sign that his administration's legitimacy and hegemony are already disintegrating? Or is the realisation dawning that his legacy will be one of denial - over Aids, Zimbabwe, poverty and unemployment? Most commentators believe that Mbeki has become increasingly intolerant of criticism and incapable of self-criticism.A former member of his government remarked this week on the contradictions that mark a brilliant man who increasingly relies on struggle rhetoric to win the perception war and now won't allow anyone to contradict his "collective". Helen Zille, the opposition leader, ascribes Mbeki's attack on Madlala-Routledge as evidence that, in Mbeki's ANC, the leadership is increasingly acting as the "vanguard", "endowed with special insights to determine what is right for everyone else". Adam Habib, a political analyst, says, like most of his peers, that the president's over-reaction to Madlala-Routledge was not warranted. "The central need at this historical juncture is for a plurality of different views to exist in the centralised apparatus It is absolutely crucial that they are canvassed. If we don't we are in trouble at a later stage."Another commentator quotes Antonio Gramsci, the Italian strategist: "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms". These words are often used in the context of an incomplete democracy or a country at a crossroads.The "morbid" atmosphere revealed by the health "wars" can also be attributed to the past two years of succession battles - the more aggressive tone from Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, Jacob Zuma's mobilisation for the ANC presidency, and the "succession" coalitions forming behind the scenes.Those who fell foul of Mbeki in his earlier years, particularly over his macro-economic austerity programme, Gear, insist that the vicious tenor he has adopted in the health wars is not an aberration. They claim a long history of Mbeki acting in intemperate ways against those who contradict him, labelling them and hanging them out to dry.Then there are those in the Zuma camp who, for years, have accused him of using his increasingly centralised state power for witch-hunts among his detractors. Some of the acrimony has been a long time in the making. More recently it has unleashed the type of anger that saw a nearly month-long public-service wage strike across traditional race and class lines, and a spate of protests has been blazing across the country over perceived local government corruption and non-delivery. HIV and Aids, which claims 900 lives a day, and the government's perceived luke-warm response to it, has become a critical issue, according to which many in politics define themselves.It was precisely the president's lack of recognition of the graveness of the arms-deal allegations and his failure to act decisively that brought on the ugly succession battle - the single biggest dividing line in the tripartite alliance - fuelled by his axing of Zuma over allegations of arms-deal corruption.Mbeki has said he will stand for a third term as party president despite the fact that this has divided his party. This split is likely to deepen should Mbeki carry out his veiled threat to pursue a disciplinary agenda against Madlala-Routledge in the ANC. Now the stand-off over the health ministry is likely to exacerbate this divide and provide yet another platform for the alliance partners and Zuma to mobilise as the leadership battle heats up in advance of the conference. But Mbeki's most urgent dilemma is whether to act on the allegations already in the public domain against the health minister. He has never acted on the basis of media allegations but, uncharacteristically, he has promised to do so now if proof is provided. If he does not act, Mbeki runs the risk of his hurtful words having been "misunderstood", as he himself warned nine years ago. Worse, he might find himself hoisted with his own petard, becoming the victim his own vicious attempts to stave off his critics.

Hoeveel mense voel hulle drome het uiteindelik waar geword in die Nuwe Suid-Afrika?

Blou Makou

Druk dit/Print it

E-pos hierdie skakel/E-mail this link Dis die vraag wat Naomi vra op Vrydag, 24 Augustus 2007. Ek weet nie of mense noodwendig drome, eerder as verwagtinge, oor die NSA gehad het nie. Maar kom ons praat dan van drome of verwagtinge.My verwagtinge van die NSA was geskoei op logika en konklusies oor die res van Afrika. Ek is dus nie verras deur wat sedert 1994 gebeur het nie. Die NSA het die pad (lees: afdraand) geloop wat ek verwag het. Niks verrassings daar nie en sover nie. Alles sedert 1994 verloop nog volgens die Afrika-bloudruk. Ek dink egter vele ander mense het die valse beloftes en opportunisme van die politici geglo en is intussen erg teleurgesteld. (Die yskaste en stowe het nie uit die lug geval soos beloof nie). So het die NP (later NNP) geleer tel, nadat hulle opportunisties orals loop en vertel het hoe hulle die verkiesing in 1994 gaan wen. Nadat hulle weer hulle agterente sonder spieël gesien het in 1999, het hulle finaal geleer om te tel en besef 'n wit minderheid kan nie kompeteer met 'n oormag van getalle nie.Die ANC se stoutste verwagtinge en drome is oortref, volgens hulle leiers se eie erkenning. Hulle het alles en meer gekry as waarvan hulle gedroom het. Die ster van Afrika op 'n skinkbord, vir 30 sikkels silwer ...Net so ook het die 10+ miljoen onwettige immigrante en grenssluipers veel meer gekry as waarvan hulle gedroom het, naamlik die ANC wat 'n houding inneem dat dit goedkoper is om hulle RSA burgerskap te gee as om hulle te repatrieer. En nou kan hulle al die voordele geniet van die sogenaamde apartheidstaat, waar hulle veel beter af is as hulle eie lande van herkoms, waar dinge veel slegter is, want daar was nooit die voorspoed wat apartheid gebring het nie ... As die emosies en propaganda eers afgekoel het, besef jy: mens kan stemreg nie eet nie, al het die spul Kommuniste jou voorheen so laat glo of gemáák so glo.Die klomp verstokte, wit liberales se naïewe daggadroom oor utopia en grondwet en regstaat, het egter in 'n nagmerrie ontaard. Die Helen Suzman's, Alan Paton's, Max du Preez's en Koos Kombuise is wreed ontnugter. Hulle kom toe agter dat die Afrikaner toe al die tyd nie so boos en sleg was nie, veral toe die NSA se boosheid en slegtigheid selfs die hardste kriminele se stoutste verwagtinge oortref. 'n Plek waar jou lewe nie 'n spreekwoordelike tiekie werd is nie, maar jy wel die reg op lewe het - teoreties. Van al die gewaande wigte en teenwigte het niks gekom nie, en slegs die booswigte het die laaste sê.Die minderheidsvolke soos die Kleurlinge is niks beter af nie, want soos hulle self sê: "Voorheen was ons nie wit genoeg nie, nou is ons weer nie swart genoeg nie." Al wat van die Khoi en San mense in die NSA oorgebly het, is basies 'n paar onuitspreekbare woorde in die leuse van die landswapen.Die Afrikaners is ook in twee kampe verdeel: diegene wat die verlies van hul vryheid en hul vaderland intens voel en diegene wat, soos destyds tydens die Anglo-Boere Oorlog, doodgelukkig is om deur vreemdes regeer te word en na hulle nuwe meesters se pype te dans.Die swart volkere van die NSA is tevrede dat aan al hul verwagtinge en drome voldoen is, want hulle stem nog elke verkiesing vir die ANC. Verder het hulle swart meerderheidsregering gekry en het hulle in kort tyd die NSA van 'n eerstewêreld staat na 'n derdewêreld staat verander. En hulle is nou die nuwe base en kan die blankes domineer, nie deur voortreflikheid nie, maar deur getalle-oormag.En aldus steier die hutspot van volkere voort. Waar dit alles sal eindig, kan ek nie voorspel nie, maar ek kan wel logika gebruik en die volgende sê ... Oeps, daar gaan die son onder - tyd vir my whiskey en ys. Eishhh!

Blou Makou

Martin Pabst: ANC moet praat en Weste het ’n rol

Martin Pabst: ANC moet praat en Weste het ’n rol,,752-801_2171160,00.html
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E-pos storie aan 'n vriend


In Duitsland is daar al hoe meer berigte oor die verwering van die openbare orde in Suid-Afrika.
Dié berigte maak my en baron Klaus von der Ropp baie bekommerd.Von der Ropp was lid van dr. Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert se afvaardiging wat in Julie 1987 in Dakar met die verbode ANC gaan praat het. Hy was ook teenwoordig toe Thabo Mbeki en genl. Constand Viljoen die Akkoord oor Afrikaner-selfbeskikking op 23 April 1994 onderteken het.
Ek (Martin Pabst) was ’n jaar later raadgewer in ’n gesprek in Interlaken, Switserland, tussen die ANC, die Vryheidsfront en ander. Hier is besin oor minderheidsregte in ’n demokratiese grondwet .
In Dakar het Slabbert aan die ANC gesê: “As julle apartheid wil oorwin, moet julle die wit mense, veral die Afrikaners, oortuig daar is ’n lewe ná apartheid.” Die ANC het dit aanvaar en ingestem tot art. 235 in die Grondwet van 1996.
Dié klousule erken “die reg van enige gemeenskap wat ’n gemeenskaplike kultuur- en taalerfenis deel, op selfbeskikking binne ’n territoriale entiteit in die Republiek of op enige ander wyse”.
Ongelukkig is dié klousule en verwante grondwetlike klousules nog nie verwerklik nie, met fatale gevolge vir alle Suid-Afrikaners. Vandag kort die land die stabiliteit waarsonder die transformasie van apartheid tot ’n regstaat en demokrasie nie kan slaag nie.
Suid-Afrikaners moet ag slaan op die voorstelle oor Kosovo wat mnr. Marti Ahtisaari, bemiddelaar van die Verenigde Nasies, in Februarie 2007 aan die Veiligheidsraad gedoen het. Dié voorstelle was gerig op Kosovo se toekomstige politieke ordening. ’n Kernaspek van Ahtisaari se voorstel is die beskerming van Serwiërs en ander etniese minderheidsgroepe se regte. Só kan hulle hul kulturele indentiteit bewaar en ontwikkel.
Onderwys op alle vlakke moet in die minderhede se moedertale aangebied word. Minderhede het ook die reg op hul eie private en openbare media. Die fisieke grense van gemeenskappe sal volgens Ahtisaari se plan só getrek word dat homogene taalgemeenskappe waar moontlik tot stand kom.
Só sal minderhede oorverteenwoordig word in Kosovo se sentrale wetgewende en uitvoerende organe. In 2001 het die Masedoniese parlement besluit op soortgelyke reëlings vir die land se verskillende etniese groepe. Só is ’n burgeroorlog beeïndig.
Westerse moondhede word aangeraai om weer as diplomatieke bemiddelaars op te tree in nuwe onderhandelinge tussen die ANC en Afrikaners oor so ’n bestel in Suid-Afrika. Amerika en Brittanje het immers ’n wesenlike rol gespeel in die akkoord tussen Viljoen en die ANC-leierskap.
Wanneer Afrikaners nie langer soos vreemdelinge in hul land voel nie, sal hulle hul nie meer deur uitwaartse of inwaartse migrasie aan Suid-Afrika onttrek nie.
As die voorgestelde hervormings in Suid-Afrika misluk, is ons bevrees Suid-Afrika se aanbieding van 2010 sal gekanselleer word. Die land sal dieselfde weg inslaan as sê maar Nigerië. En sal die Europese Unie 1,5 miljoen van sy lidstate se burgers uit ’n inploffende Suid-Afrika móét verwyder.
Dr. Martin Pabst is ’n politieke navorser en konsultant in Duitsland.

Monday, August 20, 2007

British forces useless

British forces useless

Geskryf deur The Telegraph
Maandag, 20 Augustus 2007

Under attackWhen America's top commanders in Iraq held a conference with their British counterparts recently, Major General Jonathan Shaw - Britain's senior officer in Basra - was quick to share his views on how best to conduct counter-insurgency operations.For much of the last four years, the Americans in the room would have listened carefully, used to deferring to their British colleagues' long experience in Northern Ireland. This time, however, eyes that would once have been attentive simply rolled. Few were in the mood for a lecture about British superiority, when they fear that Downing Street's planned pull-out from Basra will squander any progress from their own hard-fought "troop surge" strategy elsewhere."It's insufferable for Christ's sake," said one senior figure closely involved in US military planning. "He comes on and he lectures everybody in the room about how to do a counter-insurgency. The guys were just rolling their eyeballs. The notorious Northern Ireland came up again. It's pretty frustrating. It would be okay if he was best in class, but now he's worst in class. Everybody else's area is getting better and his is getting worse."The meeting, called by General David Petraeus, the senior US officer who has the task of managing the surge, is emblematic of what is fast becoming a minor crisis in Anglo-American military relations.In Britain, Gordon Brown's government has tried to depict a quiet process of handover to Iraqi troops in Basra, which will see the remaining forces in the city withdraw to the airport in November.What US generals see, however, is a close ally preparing to "cut and run", leaving behind a city in the grip of a power struggle between Shia militias that could determine the fate of the Iraqi government and the country as a whole. With signs of the surge yielding tentative progress in Baghdad, but at the cost of many American lives, there could scarcely be a worse time for a parting of the ways. Yet the US military has no doubt, despite what Gordon Brown claims, that the pullout is being driven by "the political situation at home in the UK".A senior US officer familiar with Gen Petraeus's thinking said: "The short version is that the Brits have lost Basra, if indeed they ever had it. Britain is in a difficult spot because of the lack of political support at home, but for a long time - more than a year - they have not been engaged in Basra and have tried to avoid casualties."They did not have enough troops there even before they started cutting back. The situation is beyond their control."Quite frankly what they're doing right now is not any value-added. They're just sitting there. They're not involved. The situation there gets worse by the day. Americans are disappointed because, in their minds, this thing is still winnable. They don't intend to cut and run."The officer predicted that the affair could have long-lasting implications. "There will be a stink about this that will hang around the British military," he said.It is a view echoed by General Jack Keane, the architect of the surge strategy, who has just returned from Baghdad.Gen Keane, who has the ear of Vice President Dick Cheney and Stephen Hadley, President George W Bush's national security adviser, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It is disappointing and frustrating to see a situation in Basra that was once working pretty well, now coming apart. The situation there has been getting worse for some time."The depth of concern has grown since Gordon Brown's first prime ministerial visit to the US earlier this month, when he delivered a blunt message to Mr Bush that he would stick to plans which could see most of Britain's 5,500 troops gone from Iraq next year.The next political drama will come in four weeks when Gen Petraeus reports on the status of the surge strategy, which has successfully quelled violence in some areas but has failed to put an end to calls from Congress to bring the troops home.Britain's uncertain legacy in Basra will then be used as a political battering ram in Washington, as Mr Bush tries to win support on Capitol Hill.One US official said that recent US military intelligence reports sent to the White House had concluded that Britain had "lost" Basra, and that Pentagon war games were predicting a virtual civil war in the South once British troops left.He said: "When the White House makes the case for continuing the surge on the Hill they will say: 'Look what happened in Basra when the Brits went back to their barracks. We can't pull out now. Give us more time to get it right'."He added that White House officials had expected Mr Brown to strike a different tone on Iraq to that of Tony Blair, but that they were disappointed not to win a firmer agreement to keep British troops in place."They don't mind a change in rhetoric, but the bottom line for the president was to keep Basra as a British responsibility. He didn't get as much as he wanted. There was a whiff of double dealing about it all."As The Sunday Telegraph revealed last week, plans have been drawn up to send thousands of American troops into southern Iraq to take over the supervision of the vital supply route north from Kuwait, a task the British will bequeath when they leave.But the senior US officer warned that combat troops may also have to go into Basra itself to "protect the population" from violence between its numerous warring Shia militias - an extra burden as perilous as any in Baghdad.US Marine Colonel Gary Anderson, who has conducted recent Iraq war games for the Pentagon, said the situation Britain would leave behind in Basra "could be the most bloody part of the transition".He said: "The primary issue in Basra will be a struggle between various Shia factions for control of the region, and frankly the regular government in Baghdad as well. It will be between pro-Iranian factions and those that are more nationalistic. It's going to be nasty."Col Anderson said British troops "did the best they could", but added: "I'm not sure they did as good a job as they did traditionally. This isn't Northern Ireland. They thought they had a pretty good model but Iraq is a different culture."Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, added: "Basra is a mess, and the exit strategy attempted there has failed. It is, for the purposes of future Iraq policymaking, an example of what not to do."Basra has gone far towards revising the common American image of British soldiers as perhaps the world's best at counter-insurgency."
Laatste opdatering ( Maandag, 20 Augustus 2007 )
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ANC - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

ANC - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?
ANC - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? By Uncle CrackerOne often hears the cliché nowadays that, "One man’s 'Terrorist', is another man's 'Freedom Fighter'."The ANC/communist alliance want to convince the public at large that umKhonto we Sizwe were “Freedom Fighters” when in actual fact they were just common terrorists. What is the difference you ask?It was at the Kabwe conference in Zambia, 16-23 June 1985, when the ANC took the shocking decision that "The distinction between 'hard' and 'soft' targets should disappear. In other words, the onslaught against civilians was approved. In 1981 the ANC/Communist alliance's choice of targets were 81% 'hard' and '12% 'soft' targets. In 1986 it was 10.3% 'hard' and 80.7% soft targets.This Kabwe decision was in contravention of Protocol one of 1977 of the Geneva Convention, that the ANC in 1949 undertook to follow. In 1949, the ANC undertook to only attack 'hard' targets or the SA security forces. Article 1.52(1) and 57 of this undertaking is relevant here.Up until1977, the Geneva Convention had clear guidelines as to what the differences between soldiers, guerrillas and terrorists were. The Umkhonto we Siswe members did not wear their weapons openly and did not wear a uniform that could be recognised at a distance, for instance.In his book, 'Terrorism: How the West can win' (1986), Benjamin Netanyahu defines terrorism as such;"It chooses innocent victims precisely, because they are innocent. What distinguishes terrorism is the willful, calculated choice of innocents as targets...Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends"He describes the difference between Freedom Fighters and terrorists as such."Terrorists habitually describe themselves as guerillas. Guerillas are not terrorists. They are irregular soldiers who wage war on regular military forces - not on civilians. Actually, guerillas are the very opposite of terrorists. While they put themselves against far superior combatants, terrorists choose to attack weak and defenseless civilians - old men, woman, children - anyone in fact, except soldiers if they can avoid it. Civilians then, are the key to the terrorists' strategy. They kill civilians and more often than not they hide behind them, hoping that the prospect of more innocent deaths will help them escape retribution."Douglas Pike writes about terrorism as such:"Even in warfare certain acts are illegal and may properly be named terror.. this latter point rests in the belief that in all things there are limits, and a limit in warefareis reached at the systematic use of death, pain, fear and anxiety amongst the population for the deliberate purpose of coercing, manipulating, intimidating, punishing or simply frightening into helpless submission. Certain acts, even in war, are beyond the pale and can only be labeled as terror."Mahmood Mamdani writes in 2004;"Despite important differences, genocide and terrorism share one important feature; both target civilian populations."The Western world expected South Africa to sit on their hands and do nothing while the ANC was waging a total onslaught against South Africa. Look at what the current president of South Africa said.This is what Thabo Mbeki had to say, "We can't fight a bush war in South Africa. Look at the map. It is all developed. There are roads, radios and landing strips everywhere. This is not Angola or Mozambique. We do not have forests. The (military) machine would smash us if we tried to send in an army from outlying areas. Also, 87% of the Whites are in towns and cities. Our masses have to serve as our bush. The Black community is our bush."Mr Thabo Mbeki, as a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC (1977)"There is going to be more bloodshed and the whole country will be involved. The Soviet Union will give us what the West does not want to give us - namely weapons."Mr Oliver Tambo in an interview with the Washington Post, 9 September 1985.
"We want to make the death of a collaborator so grotesque that people will never think of it (i.e. collaboration)."Mr Tim Ngubane, ANC representative in the USA, in an address to students of the California State University at Long Beach, on 10 October 1985.
"Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country ... We have no guns - we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol."Ms Winnie Mandela, as quoted by Agence France Presse, Sunday, 13 April 1986.General Magnus Malan in his address to parliament (17 May 1988) said the following:"South Africa cannot live with such a morality. If the ANC, with worldwide approval, reserves the right to plant bombs against innocent people in South Africa, and continues to export revolution and terrorism to South Africa, the Republic of South Africa reserves the right to act against the ANC in neighbouring countries. South Africa is not acting provocatively or tauntingly. We are not seeking confrontation, but when innocent people are murdered or crippled by terrorists beyond our borders, we cannot sit with our hands folded."Let me again remind hon members of the words of Mr George Schultz: The civilised world will have to think long, hard and seriously about more active means of defense, namely defense through preventative actions against terrorists before they strike. Consequently to act against the ANC in neighbouring countries and destroy their facilities is a form of self-defense for the Republic of South Africa. It is based on a justified principle.
Now looking at the above definitions of terrorism and comparing it to the current crime situation in South Africa, is our crime just “Crime” or is it deliberate “Terrorism”?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Russia restores bomber patrols:

Russia restores bomber patrols
Story Highlights
Russia to send bomber aircraft on long-range flights on a permanent basis
President Vladimir Putin said the move was in response to security threats
The White House says the flights do not pose a threat to the United States
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var clickExpire = "08/31/2007";

CHEBARKUL, Russia (Reuters) -- President Vladimir Putin said on Friday security threats had forced Russia to revive the Soviet-era practice of sending bomber aircraft on regular patrols beyond its borders.

A Russian startegic bomber flies over an airfield outside Moscow during an air show.

Putin said 14 strategic bombers had taken off simultaneously from airfields across Russia in the early hours of Friday on long-range missions.
"We have decided to restore flights by Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis," Putin told reporters after inspecting joint military exercises with China and four Central Asian states in Russia's Ural mountains.
"Today, August 17 at 00:00 hours, 14 strategic bombers took to the air from seven airfields across the country, along with support and refueling aircraft ... From today such patrols will be carried out on a regular basis.
"We hope our partners will treat this with understanding."
At U.S. President George W. Bush's Texas ranch, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he did not believe the flights posed a threat to the United States.
"Militaries around the world engage in a variety of activities, so this is not entirely surprising," he said.
But the sorties are likely to add to Western concern about Russia's growing assertiveness. That trend has prompted some U.S. policymakers to draw parallels with the Cold War.
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Russia resumes nuke bomber sorties
Putin caused a stir this year by saying Russian missiles would once again be aimed at targets in Europe if Washington persisted with plans to build a missile defense shield in eastern Europe.
Russian diplomats have clashed with the United States and European governments on issues such as Kosovo, energy, and Moscow's treatment of its ex-Soviet neighbors.
Western military leaders have said this year that Russian flights near their airspace were becoming more frequent after a long quiet period.
One Western defense official called the flights "a little bit of chest-pounding, trying to let people know Russia is back in the game".
Putin said that when Russia had cut its flights in 1992, other military powers had not reciprocated.
"Flights by other countries' strategic aircraft continue and this creates certain problems for ensuring the security of the Russian Federation," Putin said.
That appeared to be a swipe at the U.S. and NATO, whose strategic bombers have continued to fly long-range missions.
As Putin spoke to reporters and television cameras, four Russian military helicopters appeared and hovered in the background while Russian tanks trundled behind him, even though the exercises had ended long before.
During the Cold War, Russian long-range bombers, which can carry strategic nuclear weapons, played elaborate games of cat-and-mouse with Western air forces.
Earlier this month Russian air force generals said bomber crews had flown near the Pacific island of Guam, where the U.S. military has a base, and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots scrambled to track them.
The Pentagon said the Russian aircraft had not come close enough to U.S. ships to prompt American aircraft to react.
In July, two Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers made unusually long sorties over the North Sea, leading Norway and Britain to scramble fighter jets to follow them. Russia's air force said later it was a routine flight. E-mail to a friend

Die Engelse gevaar

Die Engelse gevaar

Geskryf deur Dan Roodt
Vrydag, 17 Augustus 2007
Stem in ons meningspeiling (regs onder): Behoort Boerehaat-Engelse soos Georgina Guedes toegelaat te word om in ons Republiek te woon?
Hiernaas verskyn ’n rubriek deur Anton Barnard, in reaksie op Engelse steun vir die naamsverandering van Pretoria.
So ’n ruk terug wou ek ’n boek begin skryf met die titel, “Die Engelse gevaar”. Oor die afgelope jare, in ’n poging om die gemors te begryp waarin ons land verval het, verslind ek geskiedenis. Soos my vrou droogweg teenoor my opmerk nadat ek haar van die soveelste insident vertel het waartydens die Engelse die Boere of Voortrekkers wou ondermyn: “Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis is eintlik die verhaal van Engelse wat die swartes opstook om die Afrikaners te gaan doodmaak.”
Oral waar daar oorloë tussen ons en swartes uitgebreek het, was daar iewers ’n Engelse sendeling betrokke. “Sendeling, ellendeling,” lui die Afrikaanse gesegde. Volgens sommige geskiedskrywers het Owen, die Britse sendeling wat by Dingaan se kraal werksaam was, vooraf geweet dat die moord op Piet Retief beplan word, maar verkies om nie die Voortrekkers te waarsku nie. Dan weet ons natuurlik van die haatveldtog wat Philip en Van der Kemp teen die Voortrekkers in die 1820s en 1830s gevoer het, en wat regstreeks tot die Groot Trek aanleiding gegee het.
Toe ons uiteindelik ná die Sandrivierkonvensie buite Engelse bereik ons eie republieke verkry het, was dit nie lank nie of Theophilus Shepstone annekseer die Transvaal in 1877. Hierna volg die Eerste Vryheidsoorlog teen die spul Britte en gelukkig vir ons gaan haal ons vir Colley en sy manne van Majuba af en wys hulle waar Dawid die wortels gegrawe het. Die vrede van die Pretoriase konvensie (1881) en die latere Londense konvensie (1884) het egter nie lank gehou nie, want in 1896 poog die Engelse om ’n staatsgreep in die Transvaal uit te voer met die Jameson Raid.
Dit gee regstreeks aanleiding tot die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog waartydens die Engelse gewapende swartes teen die Boere en veral die Boerevroue gebruik. Sowel Engelse as swartes molesteer of verkrag ons vroue, stop hulle en hulle kinders in konsentrasiekampe en pleeg ’n volksmoord waarvoor hulle nog nooit, anders as die Duitsers, die Turke, die Kambodjane of die Hoetoe’s van Rwanda, tot verantwoording geroep is nie.
Die 100 000 swartes wat deur die Britte tydens 1899-1902 bewapen is, vestig die patroon vir die twintigste eeu. Die Engelse het selfs ’n term daarvoor: war by proxy. ’n Mooi Afrikaanse uitdrukking vir dieselfde begrip is ’n “handskoenoorlog”.
Maak geen fout nie: Brittanje en die plaaslike Britte of rooinekke sal nie rus totdat ons as volk uitgewis of ten minste vernietig, gedekultureer en oor die aarde verstrooi is nie. Waarom die Engelse ons so haat, is moeilik om te verklaar. Een teorie is dat die koste van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog hul empaaier geknak het en dat dit ook die res van Europa teen Engeland gekeer het, iets waarvoor hulle ons nog nooit vergewe het nie.
Myns insiens spruit Suid-Afrika se onophoudelike politieke probleme en twiste uit die verdeelde lojaliteit van die invloedryke groep uitlanders wat steeds, ondanks die ANC se revolusie, ons ekonomie en die media beheer. Ons moet ophou om na dié uitgeweke Britte wat in die noordelike voorstede van Johannesburg, Natal of Kaapstad saamkoek as “Suid-Afrikaners” te verwys, want ten minste die helfte van hulle was nog nooit lojaal aan ons land nie, maar het geheg aan hul ou Queen en die Union Jack gebly.
Georgina Guedes wat Pretoria se naam verander wil sien, is maar net nog ’n Engelse génocidaire oftewel volksmoordenaar wat alles wat Afrikaans is, hetsy ons plekname, hetsy ons kultuur, hetsy ons mense wat al soveel onder Britse wreedheid gely het, uitgeroei wil sien. En natuurlik gaan dit met die handskoen geskied, want sy hoef nie self haar hande vuil te maak nie. Daardie idioot wat haarself die burgemeester van Tshwane noem, gaan dit vir haar doen. Soos sy in haar rubriek skryf, gee Guedes nie om watter name ons stede aanneem nie. Want Londen sal mos altyd Londen wees. Of Lissabon wel Lissabon? Met ’n van soos Guedes haal Georgina nie eintlik Britse uitverkore status nie; dis eerder geval van ’n Porra wat haarself verbeel sy het Engels geword.
Min Afrikaners sal toelaat dat hul kinders met ’n Porra trou, want hulle wil nie ’n geneties verswakte nageslag hê nie. Die ongeletterdheidsyfer in Portugal is iets soos 35%, die hoogste in Wes-Europa. Nadat die Portugese uit Mosambiek en Angola verdryf is, het ons hulle hier as Westerse vlugtelinge verwelkom en hulle blanke status gegee, hoewel heelwat van hulle in hul gewese kolonies oorkant die draad gekuier het. Van Guedes ontvang ons nou stank vir dank. Vanuit die groentewinkel waar sy nog tamaties en koejawels verkoop het, verbeel sy haar nou sy is een of ander koloniale sekretaris in Londen wat die soveelste gewapende aanval op die Boere met ’n span Ghoerkas beplan.
Die huidige bestel met sy naamsveranderings is uit en uit ’n maaksel van die geradikaliseerde Britse intellektuele en joernaliste wat met hul grootse propagandaveldtog die oorwinning behaal het oor die arme Broederbond en Nasionale Party wat in sy sterwensfase een en dieselfde organisasie was.
So ook Zimbabwe, waar Brittanje teen sy eie mense, die Engelssprekende, blanke Rhodesiërs gekies het en geëis het dat Mugabe president word nadat die gematigde biskop Abel Muzorewa aanvanklik ’n demokratiese verkiesing gewen het. Ek onthou nou nog hoe die Engelse studente by Wits waar ek gestudeer het, in 1980 gejuig het toe die nuus oor die radio kom dat Mugabe die verkiesing gewen het. Hoewel daar in Brittanje konserwatiewe Britte bestaan, word ons plaaslike Britse intellektuele, joernaliste en selfs sakeleiers wat die Johannesburgse ekonomie beheer, beïnvloed vanaf plekke soos Kuba of die linkervleuel van die Arbeidersparty wat sedert die sewentigerjare een van die laaste buiteposte van Marxisme in Wes-Europa is.
Soos die ANC bestempel die Britte, hetsy in die moederland, hetsy plaaslikes, die situasie in Zimbabwe as “demokrasie”. Die idee dat hulle in 1980 ’n groteske fout begaan het, het nog nie by hulle posgevat nie en sal ook nooit nie. Toe die Afrikaners onder apartheid naarstiglik swart skole en hospitale opgerig het, het histeriese Engelse intellektuele, joernaliste en kerkleiers dit ’n “misdaad teen die mensdom” genoem. Die Engelse het ‘n probleem met hul werklikheidsbesef en is in staat om enigiets te sê wat in hulle koppe inkom. Wat hulle in Zimbabwe aangevang het, of die geweld en anargie wat hulle en die Amerikaners deur hul militêre inmenging in Irak gesaai het, behang hulle met die pragtige begrip, “demokrasie”.
Voordat ons vergeet, die Kerstraatbom is in Londen beplan, nie in Oos-Berlyn of Moskou nie.
Verwoerd sal onthou word as een van die groot Afrikanerleiers van die twintigste eeu. Immers het hy ons vir ’n wyle uit die verderflike Britse Statebond gekry en ons land in ’n soewereine republiek omskep. Maar hy het ook vele foute begaan.
Een van Verwoerd se grootste foute was sy verdraagsaamheid teenoor ons grootste vyand, die verraderlike Engelsman. Toe Suid-Afrika in 1961 ’n republiek geword het, het Verwoerd die geleentheid gehad om Afrikaans die enigste amptelike taal te maak en van die Engelse te vereis om finaal te kies tussen hierdie land en Engeland. Pleks daarvan, het Verwoerd die perd van “versoening” en die “blanke nasie” wat kastig tweetalig sou wees, opgesaal. Sodoende het hy die Engelse hand versterk en dit was net ’n kwessie van tyd voordat ons herower sou word om die huidige verskrikking van “Engelse demokrasie” saam met die Zimbabwiërs en die Irakiërs te beleef.
Wie Georgina Guedes ook al is, ’n verengelsde Portugees wat haar op haar Johannesburgse identiteit beroep (asof ons hoegenaamd in haar gehegtheid aan Sandton City of die Fourways Mall of ander tempels van Anglo-Amerikaanse kultuur belangstel), verteenwoordig sy ’n simptoom van Suid-Afrika se Engelse probleem wat met die jare net groter geword het.
Agter die moordenaars en verkragters wat ons teister en agter die Zimbabwiese immigrant wat oor ons grense stroom, staan ’n grinnikende Engelsman wat sadistiese behae in sy vernietigingswerk en in ons ondergang skep.
Anders as die gehate Engelse met hul neigings tot volsmoord en etniese suiwering, wil ons die goed nie noodwendig uitwis nie. Maar ons sal moet besef dat tweetaligheid en die blanke nasie van weleer ’n groot fout was. Daar kan geen kompromie met die Engelse heersersklas in Johannesburg en Kaapstad wees nie. As die Afrikaner eers uit sy huidige slaapwandeling wakkergeskrik en agtergekom het wat aangaan, sal ons by die eerste die beste geleentheid Afrikaans as enigste amptelike taal in die hele land, uitgesonderd Natal, moet vestig. Laat die Engelse hulle in die huidige reeks naamsveranderings verkneukel, want by die eerste, beste geleentheid gaan ons elke Engelse naam in hierdie land na ‘n inheemse Afrikaanse naam verander. Elkeen van die kitsch veiligheidsbuurte met hul pretensieuse Engelse of Italiaanse name sal na ‘n Afrikaanse naam verander word, net soos wat die Vlaminge in Vlaandere met Franse name gedoen het. Wie die laaste lag, lag die lekkerste.
Die helfte van die Engelse sal binnekort daarna huistoe gaan omdat hulle dit nie sal kan verdra nie en die ander helfte wat intussen met ons ondertrou, Afrikaans geleer en in ’n groot mate verinheems het, sal by ons integreer en sodoende sal ons ’n Afrikanernasie vir die toekoms kan bou. Sonder Engelse opstokers en kranksinnige linkse rooinekintellektuele en –joernaliste wat dinge soos “transformasie” en kwasi-kommunistiese gelykheid verkondig, sal die verhouding tussen ons en die swartes so goed wees soos dit nog altyd was. ‘n Nuwe tydperk van vrede en voorspoed sal aanbreek en Engelse terreur en anargie sal tot die verre verlede behoort.
Mense soos Georgina Guedes behoort egter aangemoedig te word om hul haat jeens Afrikaans en Afrikaanse plekname uit te spuug. Dit herinner ons aan die ware aard van die Engelsman, die groot vernietiger in Suider-Afrika wat sy handskoenoorlog met Sjona- of Xhosahuurtroepe voer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Energy Geopolitics 2006

By Richard Heinberg

Welcome to the 21 Century. A world for which none of us is prepared.

News reports flitting across computer screens these days seem increasingly to be related to the subject of energy. But what do they signify? The modern world affairs analyst is in little better position to discern the patterns and portents than was his or her ancient Roman counterpart, the reader of entrails. What is one to make of items like these?
In January, Russia’s Gazprom (the state-owned natural gas company) temporarily cut supplies to Ukraine in order to obtain higher prices. While Russian president Vladimir Putin re-established gas shipments as soon as Western countries complained (they did so because they were running short, due to Ukraine’s skimming off of gas being trans-shipped to Europe through its territory), Western officials saw this as Russia unsheathing its “gas weapon.”
In April, China’s president Hu Jintao visited the U.S., where president Bush effectively humiliated him at the White House by “mistakenly” playing the Taiwanese national hymn upon Hu’s arrival, rather than the hymn of the People’s Republic, and by allowing a Taiwanese “journalist,” a Falun Gong member, to rant uninterruptedly for more than three minutes about Chinese human rights violations during a filmed White House press conference, with Hu in attendance. Hu, himself displaying no bad manners, left Washington for Saudi Arabia, where he signed a series of accords involving Chinese access to future Saudi oil production in exchange for the transfer of sophisticated weapons and other technologies.
Also in April, Bolivia’s new president Evo Morales met with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, then announced the nationalization of his country’s oil and gas fields.
As a result of Washington’s rejection of NAFTA decisions favoring Canada, the two countries’ relations have soured. Canada may shift some of its oil trade away from the U.S.: Ottawa’s minister of natural resources has said that within a few years one quarter of the oil Canada now sells to the U.S. may instead go to China.
On May 9, CNN Money reported that Cuba has invited oil companies from China and India to drill in its Gulf waters. U.S. firms had also been invited, but were prevented from participating by the longstanding American embargo on trade with Cuba.
Russia’s Gazprom has hired former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as a consultant and has taken a majority holding in the Northern European Gas Pipeline. Gazprom also has Britain’s flagship utility, Centrica, in its sights for takeover; Tony Blair initially objected, then acquiesced to the deal.
On a visit to Vilnius on May 4, U.S. vice president Dick Cheney accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of using energy resources as a weapon to brandish against other Eurasian countries. “No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation,” he said. The next day, Cheney visited Kazakhstan to promote oil and gas export routes bypassing Russia. In his May 10 state-of-the-nation address, Putin responded by referring to America indirectly using the metaphor of a voracious wolf, mentioning the U.S .by name only in the context of peripheral comments about Africa and South America.
Oil-and gas-exporting Iran, defying Washington’s demands that it halt uranium enrichment, is being hauled before the UN Security Council, where the U.S. is insisting on sanctions while Russia and China appear ready to block them. The evolution of the rhetoric on Washington’s part is frighteningly reminiscent of that which accompanied the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Meanwhile, oil prices have hit historic highs of over $75 per barrel while global production has been stalled at about 85 million barrels per day for the past year.
While the specific meanings of—and connections between—these occurrences are often difficult to discern, their overall drift is becoming plainer with every passing day: The world is plunging into an energy crisis unlike any before, while geopolitical alliances are shifting quickly and to a degree not seen since the end of the Soviet era, and perhaps not since the end of World War II.
Global oil production is peaking—for all practical purposes, now. In the past weeks, the New York Times, Bill Clinton, and the executive vice president of Ford Motor Company (among many others) have stated that world oil flow is at peak. We have even seen one of the major oil companies (Chevron) place ads in multiple magazines and newspapers in order—gently, perhaps, but insistently and conspicuously—to break the news to the American people that the era of cheap oil, and cheap energy in general, is finished, over, done, dead, and gone. And that era just happens to be the only one that Americans alive today have ever known.
Oil is not the only problem; natural gas is turning out to be just as big a worry in North America and many European countries, and just as big a geopolitical prize to those who have and covet it. Gas prices have grown unusually volatile in the US, lurching from the long-time norm of $2 per thousand cubic feet up to $15 and back to $7 or less in six years. Globally, there are enormous natural gas deposits in Russia and Iran, but getting that gas to market in the growing quantities at which importers would like to use it will likely prove difficult, expensive, and perhaps even impossible given the geopolitical and economic context as well as the practical difficulties involved. This is very bad news for North Americans, who will have to rely increasingly on liquefied natural gas imported from far away by tanker—and will have to get used to paying the geopolitical costs that far-flung supply networks entail.
Welcome to the twenty-first century. And welcome to a world for which none of us is prepared. Take a good look around: things are changing quickly everywhere, and the omens are . . . well, ominous.
Russia: The Dealer Wins
When Washington succeeded in engineering the economic and political collapse of the USSR at the end of the 1980s, some heralded this as the “end of history”—a judgment that proved premature at best. After a decade of turmoil, during which foreign (mostly American) companies plundered Russia’s treasures, that nation elected as president Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB officer who, as a career move, had recently spent a stint at the St. Petersburg Mining Institute writing a dissertation titled “Toward a Russian Transnational Energy Company.” His thesis: Russia should use its vast energy reserves for geostrategic advantage.
After entering office in 2000, Putin moved to reconsolidate state control over the country’s oil and gas industries. Now, with that task almost fully accomplished, he appears to be making his dissertation a reality. Putin has paid off much of Russia’s foreign debt, the nation has accumulated impressive financial reserves, and Gazprom recently overtook BP to become the world’s second-largest energy company.
Putin is sewing up an increasing portion of the European gas and oil market (Russia supplies about a quarter of Europe’s oil and a third of its gas), and that of Japan as well. He knows his country will need enormous capital investments in order to keep pumping the hydrocarbons; Europe and Japan need those hydrocarbons and have cash to invest. Putin’s goal seems to be a kind of natural-gas version of OPEC, a cartel with supply networks throughout Central Asia and with pipelines supplying Europe and China.
Russia’s relations with China have warmed in recent years. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was born on June 15, 2001, with Russia, China, and four former USSR Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) as charter members. While there is little discussion of the SCO in U.S. media, that organization has been patiently expanding its capacity to act as a geopolitical counterweight to Washington.
The U.S. may have won the Cold War, but Russia will not be so easily bested in the energy war. Currently Russia is nearly tied with US ally Saudi Arabia in oil production (though the Saudis export more because Russia uses a larger proportion domestically). While Russia’s rate of production is likely to stall in the next year or two and then begin its inevitable and terminal decline, much the same can likely be said for Saudi Arabia’s. Meanwhile, Russia is unequaled globally in natural gas reserves. The matter is not simple, though. Russian gas output is currently in decline and this, combined with a severe Russian and European winter, may have forced Russia to reduce its gas exports. Also its own populace pays very little for gas, so indigenous demand is enormous. This is one reason why Gazprom is reputedly short of cash for such matters as large-scale Arctic gas development.
East Asia: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Peril
China, flush with cash from its enormous trade accounts surplus, appears to be successfully competing with the U.S. for future oil supplies not only in Asia but in Africa, South America, and Canada as well.
However, behind this new geopolitical strength, and beneath the spectacular recent growth rates of the Chinese economy, lurks long-term vulnerability. Given its huge population and an inherent demographic conflict between its industrialized coastal cities and the impoverished agricultural interior, China is actually acting out of desperation. Internal political upheaval will erupt if growth cannot be sustained, and growth will sputter without endlessly expanding energy supplies.
China’s burgeoning appetite for energy implies problems for Japan and South Korea, which also need hydrocarbons. For the past half-century these nations were cornerstones of America’s global sphere of influence. But America’s ability to assure future energy supplies is now questionable compared with that of Russia, and Korea and Japan will have to jostle with China to maintain their share of what is available.
Currently, Japan and China are at odds over territorial rights (and access to drilling opportunities) in the East China Sea. Would the US be able to come to Japan’s aid if competition turns to conflict? Significantly, a vigorous debate is breaking out in Japan as to whether it should start building a real defense capacity of its own.
Japan has also for many years been the primary holder of US foreign debt, banking on the ongoing stability of the dollar while enabling Washington to run up enormous deficits. However, the dollar’s soundness is increasingly in question.
If the U.S. can supply Japan with neither energy resources, nor reliable military protection, nor financial security, why should Tokyo continue to support America diplomatically? And why should it continue to prop up the dollar by buying yet more U.S. debt instruments—except to protect its existing dollar holdings?
Central Asia: Betwixt East and West
In Central Asia Washington has followed an old and familiar imperial playbook, supporting corrupt, autocratic regimes that offer sweetheart energy deals and that host US military bases, while undermining governments that refuse to play along. The playbook was on display in early May when Mr. Bush hosted Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev at the White House, stressing in his welcoming words the importance of their nations’ security and energy ties. But Washington is half a world away from Baku, while America’s rivals (Russia and China) are relatively close by. The Caspian basin was of key interest to American strategists even before the oil and gas discoveries of 1999-2000 in Kazakhstan. Thus last year’s announcement by Uzbekistan that it would no longer permit US military bases on its soil was an alarm bell for American geostrategists overseeing the region.
The Bush administration wants to curb Moscow’s influence in Central Asia and to weaken Gazprom’s growing control of energy supplies to Europe and the Caucasus, promoting new oil and gas shipment routes bypassing Russia and Iran in favor of its loyal ally Turkey. On May 15, Kazakhstan’s prime minister announced that his nation—with current oil production of about 1.3 million barrels a day expected to grow to 3Mb/d by 2015—will begin next month to pump its oil through BP’s US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (Azerbaijan to Georgia to Turkey) pipeline. Score one for Washington.
However, Russia and Iran have the lion’s share of the needed resources, and these nations are geographically placed to deliver hydrocarbons to developing markets. Washington, in contrast, is itself an oil and gas importer whose ability to back up threats by projecting military force is now questionable as a result of events in Iraq.
Washington’s nightmare scenario would consist of a Russian-Iranian alliance to dominate Central Asian oil and gas production and trans-shipment routes. Such an alliance is counter-intuitive in that Russia and Iran are competitors for export markets. But the Bush administration’s belligerence toward both nations could well persuade them to overcome their mutual wariness.
India: Whose Ally?
During the past year president Bush has gone out of his way to woo India as a geopolitical counterweight to China, sharing nuclear technology with Delhi—while bashing Iran for developing its own nuclear program (the irony may be lost on Americans, but not on others). However, India’s long-term interests are more naturally aligned with those of the rest of Asia than with those of the distant US. India has rejected U.S. pressures to withdraw from an oil pipeline deal with Iran, though that deal has yet to be concluded due to security considerations regarding Pakistan (through which the pipeline must pass). For its part, Pakistan has announced its intention to build the pipeline regardless of India’s decision.
The Financial Times reports that Washington “warned India that Delhi’s own nuclear deal with the U.S. could be ditched if the Indian government did not vote to refer Tehran to the United Nations Security Council.” Delhi voted accordingly, but may have second thoughts if Iran threatens to scuttle the $20 billion Indian gas pipeline deal just mentioned. India uses only the gas it extracts from indigenous sources at the moment, but would use more if it were available.
India’s main ties to the U.S. are based on trade and security. If, as the U.S. dollar tumbles and the Iraq quagmire deepens, America proves unable to ensure these benefits, then Delhi may have no choice but to add its considerable weight to the SCO Asian bloc. The deputy editor of The Hindu recently observed that “if the 21st century is to be an ‘Asian century,’ Asia’s passivity in the energy sector has to end.” While hosting “the world’s largest producers and fastest growing consumers of energy,” he wrote, Asia currently relies on “institutions, trading frameworks and armed forces from outside the region in order to trade with itself.” It seems unlikely to continue doing so for much longer.
Meanwhile, India’s industrial growth depends on energy supply, and with oil prices high and coal shortages looming, the country’s long-term growth prospects are questionable.
Europe: Buddy, Can You Spare a Btu?
Europe’s indigenous oil and gas reserves in the North Sea are rapidly depleting, with oil production decline rates averaging over 7% per year.
Europe has been allied with the U.S. for many years (Western Europe since World War II or before, Eastern Europe since 1990), led in this regard by Britain. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who staked his career on support for Bush in the Iraq invasion, is clearly on his way out. His nation, now an oil and gas importer, faces a future of increasing dependency on foreign sources, with Russia the logical long-term option for gas. Britain and the rest of Europe are fearful of Moscow’s intentions, but they are negotiating from weakness: Europe has few alternative potential suppliers, but Russia has a willing and immediate alternative customer—China.
Gazprom pipes about a third of its gas to Europe, with sales totaling over $25 billion last year. But European trade accounts for a disproportionate share of the company’s revenues due to continued domestic energy price subsidies in Russia. Gazprom’s 1,200 km gas pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea, now under construction, bypasses Poland, the Baltic states, and Ukraine—which are generally seen as more loyal to Washington than to Moscow. Russia is not shy about the political implications: its ambassador to Belarus said recently that “when the Baltic pipeline is built, Gazprom will be able to cut off Belarus without cutting off Germany. That means Poland too.” The Polish defense minister has compared the pipeline to the 1939 Hitler-Stalin deal partitioning Poland.
Ties between Europe and the U.S. run deep and are unlikely to dissolve overnight. Moreover, any shift away from traditional trans-Atlantic alliances is likely to be disruptive to the fragile European Union. Nevertheless, Washington can no longer count on automatic diplomatic support from Brussels, nor perhaps soon from London either, given the growing Russian stranglehold on European access to gas and oil; nor can Europe count on continued U.S. economic strength or America’s ability to assure (by military means if necessary) ongoing energy supplies.
Middle East: Seismic Rumblings
While the situation in Iraq continues to unravel (some speculate that the Bush administration has now resigned itself to a dismemberment of the country along ethnic lines), all eyes are fixed on nearby Iran. The international diplomatic consensus seems to be that relations between that nation and the U.S. have degenerated to such a point as to constitute the most worrisome international confrontation in decades.
America’s worries over Iran’s uranium enrichment and nuclear ambitions, while real, are also a mask for deeper issues—unresolved aspects of the two nations’ historic relations dating back many decades, and American irritation at Iran’s status as a nexus of the emerging Asian energy network. For their part, Iranian leaders truly want the ability to produce nuclear electricity: they have the capital to invest (thanks to high oil and gas prices), and they know that their country’s hydrocarbon resources are draining away. Iran’s oil production is in decline to the point that the nation is unable to produce its OPEC quota; meanwhile it must import half the gasoline it uses due to inadequate refining capacity. Iran also imports natural gas from Turkmenistan for various reasons, as does Russia.
At the next meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on June 15, Iran will be inducted as a full SCO member. At the same meeting, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan will also be invited to join. In April, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told ITAR-Tass in Moscow that his country’s membership in SCO would “make the world more fair.” Mohammadi also spoke of an emerging cooperative Iranian-Russian “gas-and-oil arc.”
Meanwhile China, the other primary SCO founder, is signing a $100 billion oil and gas deal with Tehran. Washington has exerted enormous diplomatic pressure on the Chinese to forego the agreement, but with no success. As mentioned above, there is also a nascent gas pipeline agreement between Iran, India, and Pakistan, and there is still talk of an Afghan gas pipeline.
The Bush administration—on the diplomatic, political, and military defensive over Iraq—is desperately seeking a way to maintain the appearance as well as the reality of power and influence in Eurasia. Iranian president Ahmadinejad is thumbing his nose at the U.S., and desires to lead an anti-American uprising of Muslim nations in the region. The American neocons evidently want to bomb Iran’s nuclear research facilities, but Iran holds strong deterrent cards in its emerging ties with Russia, China, and India. The old-guard foreign policy establishment in Washington views this U.S.-Iran confrontation (quite rightly) as another strategic disaster in the making. Powerful behind-the-scenes forces in Washington are working quickly but methodically to topple the Bush administration before it can act, or at least to hobble its ability to act if it survives. If they do not succeed and an attack ensues, conflict is likely to spread throughout the region. The consequences are potentially cataclysmic.
Africa: Dividing the Spoils
Evidently the industrialized world views Africa (with the partial exception of South Africa) less as an emerging market than as a heap of resources ripe for taking.
China’s president Hu recently visited Nigeria—America’s fifth-largest oil supplier—where oil production is increasingly threatened by well-organized rebels. In just one week in early May, three Italian oil workers were kidnapped, an American oil worker was assassinated, and an illegally tapped pipeline line exploded killing over 200 villagers attempting to steal gasoline. There is widespread speculation that at least some rebel groups are being covertly trained and supplied by nations interested in Nigeria’s oil and gas—including the U.S., China, Britain, Pakistan, and India.
If oil and gas pipelines are geopolitical bargaining chips in Europe, Asia, and South America, the same is true in Africa. The Chad-Cameroon pipeline, delivering 160,000 barrels of oil per day, is in effect being held hostage by Chad’s president Idriss Deby in his attempts to ward off World Bank creditors. Meanwhile, insurgents operating in Chad are threatening neighboring Sudan, whose oil resources are in turn being eyed hungrily by both the U.S. and China. The latter nation refused to condemn Sudan over recent killings in Darfur, after Sudan allowed Beijing to build a 500-mile pipeline to the coast.
Equatorial Guinea, Africa’s third-largest oil exporter, is led by dictator Teodoro Nguema (recently lauded by Condoleeza Rice as a friend of the U.S.), who was the object of a coup last year led by none other than Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
South Africa, the economic engine of the continent, has enormous coal reserves and state-of-the-art coal-to-liquids technology, yet still imports most of its oil from the Middle East. Tentative plans to develop biofuels production on the continent threaten to pit fuel production against food production in countries where hunger is already endemic.
Meanwhile the U.S. has undertaken a quiet military buildup in West Africa, with personnel dispatched to Nigeria and warships to the Gulf of Guinea.
South America: Emerging from the U.S. Shadow
Evo Morales’s nationalization of Bolivia’s gas adds to a growing rebellion (most notably in Venezuela, but also in Argentina, Chile, and to a certain extent Brazil) against the “Washington consensus” of neo-liberal, U.S.-dominated trade agreements. Historically, the United States has regarded Latin America as its backyard and has not permitted much independent maneuvering by leaders there (one has only to contemplate the fates of Torrijos, Noriega, Arbenz, and Allende to grasp this). But it may be that this time matters have gotten too far out of hand to be reined in by the usual methods. Assassinations and the toppling of regimes might backfire badly, given the widespread recent mobilization of anti-U.S. popular opinion in many South and Central American countries. Moreover, full-scale military intervention is practically impossible given US fixations with Iraq and now Iran.
What would have been unthinkable only five years ago seems to be happening: South America is slipping out of Washington’s control and may even become united in hostility to its northern neighbor. If Daniel Ortega wins election in Nicaragua this fall, Central America could eventually follow.
The United States: What Can Bombs and Bluster Buy?
The U.S., the world’s undisputed superpower for the past 15 years, is stumbling. Once the world’s energy king, its domestic oil production has been in steep decline for decades (ANWR and coastal drilling won’t change that). Its natural gas extraction is also in decline, its electricity grid is in need of overhaul, its transportation system is inefficient, its roads are crumbling, and its urban infrastructure is designed to function only with massive ongoing inputs of cheap energy.
As if that weren’t enough, the U.S. dollar is on the ropes as a result of extraordinary rates of borrowing—plus tax cuts and growing trade deficits. Downward pressure on the dollar’s value may further intensify if Iran and Venezuela follow through on threats to begin selling their oil for euros, and if Russia starts pricing its crude in rubles, as it has announced the intention of doing. For decades, the fact that nearly all international oil sales have been denominated in U.S. dollars has encouraged nations to keep substantial holdings of dollars in reserve, and this has in turn kept the currency’s value high and stable. A widespread rejection of the dollar in oil trading would have an impact on the US economy somewhere between serious and fatal, in the opinion of various commentators.
America’s domestic political situation is equally dire. The current administration came into office on the basis of a promise—set forth in the 2002 “National Security Strategy of the United States”—to achieve and maintain virtually complete global hegemony by discouraging any nation or combination of nations from achieving military or economic parity. That promise also—and crucially—included the goal of gaining unchallenged control of the world’s oil and gas flows. Tactics reserved to that end included pre-emptive war and “regime change” anywhere necessary. The U.S. corporate/banking/military elite gave the neocon-dominated executive group virtually free rein to pursue these goals. Given that group’s lack of a robust popular constituency, this entailed the fixing of elections, the mobilization of the media, the redirection of immense amounts of government revenue, the overriding of the Constitution as well as international laws and treaties, and the orchestration of a spectacular terrorist attack.
The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crew had its chance and, by near-universal opinion, achieved colossal failure on all counts. This failure was in fact predicted by many—including the millions who marched in streets to try to avert the Iraq invasion. But the current tragicomedy of the neocons’ fall from grace can offer little satisfaction to anyone, in that it implies extraordinary perils to both the nation and the world.
Over the past few months the consensus of the traditional power elites has shifted dramatically: they have evidently (judging by their statements and by the attitude of the mainstream media) concluded that the neocon cabal must go. Washington prosecutors, backed by the establishment’s old-guard foreign policy “realists” inside and outside of government, are preparing revelations of scandals and the handing down of still more indictments.
This may all be well and good in itself. However, the neocons’ efforts have meanwhile squandered immense amounts of fiscal, political, and diplomatic capital. And these efforts have played out (not coincidentally) as global energy streams are drying up. America’s power elites bet the farm on the neocons and lost. There can be no second chance. A recovery of America’s former position of unquestioned dominance, enjoyed until only years ago, is simply not in the cards. The best that can be hoped for is a partial re-consolidation based on withdrawal and reconciliation abroad, and massive inflation at home. This is a reversal of truly historic proportions.
The danger, of course, is that the neocons may be unwilling to surrender without a fight, and the casualties of that fight could conceivably number in the millions.
In short, we are witnessing nothing less than the beginning of the disintegration of the American empire abroad, and of long-standing national economic and political structures at home. It is important to avoid overstatement: the US is still an immensely powerful nation militarily and economically, and one that yet commands respect in at least some quarters. But the degree of the recent erosion of that respect, while difficult to quantify, is nevertheless considerable and unprecedented.
With the decline of Washington’s “full-spectrum dominance,” we are seeing the emergence of countervailing power blocs, primarily in Asia but also in South America. Liberal pundits have sometimes mocked Bush’s campaign promise to be “a uniter rather than a divider,” claiming that the president’s policies are effectively uniting the rest of the world against the US. There is more than a little truth to this.
This is the end of an era. And the transition toward whatever stable geopolitical arrangements are yet to come is likely to take some time and to be extremely dangerous and messy.
If you want to understand the progress of that transition, follow the energy.
Sources for this article (by date):
Siddharth Varadarajan, ““India, China and the Asian Axis of Oil”:,” The Hindu, January 24, 2006.
““Russia Should Cut Oil to Europe, Cut Discounts on Urals Crude—Transneft”:,” MosNews, April 24, 2006.
““China Acts to Secure Oil Reserves Amid Record Crude Prices”:,” AFP, April 24, 2006.
Noam Chomsky, ““Afterword: Failed States”:,” Znet, April 26, 2006.
Michael C. Ruppert, ““The Paradigm Is the Enemy: The State of the Peak Oil Movement at the Cusp of Collapse”:,”, April 28, 2006.
Jerome a Paris, ““The New Gas War”:,” European Tribune, May 1, 2006.
Michael Hirsh, ““The Energy Wars”:,” Newsweek, May 3, 2006.
David Espo, ““Cheney Lectures Russia about Reform”:,” Associated Press, May 4, 2006.
“Heading Out,” “Do the Russians Play Monopoly?”, May 4, 2006.
F. William Engdahl, “America’s Geopolitical Nightmare and Eurasian Strategic Energy Arrangements,”, May 7, 2007.
“China, Cuba reported in Gulf Oil Partnership,” CNN Money, May 9, 2006.
Ian Traynor, Nick Payton Walsh, and Ewan MacAskill, “The Russian Bear Is Back—and This Time It’s Gas-powered.” The Guardian, May 13, 2006.
Jad Mouawad, “The Pipes Carry Clout with the Oil,” The New York Times, May 13, 2006.
“Venezuela May Price Oil Exports in Euros,” Reuters, May 17, 2006.
“Kazakhstan to Join Oil Pipeline in June,” MSN Money, May 18, 2006.
This is the 170th edition of Richard Heinberg’s award-winning MuseLetter. For regular editions of the MuseLetter, subscribe here.
Heinberg is the author of two of the most essential books in the Peak Oil canon, The Party’s Over and Powerdown as well as a forthcoming small book to introduce the Depletion Protocol to a wide audience.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nicolaas Pieter Johannes Janse van Rensburg

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Who was..'Die Siener'..?

Nicolaas Pieter Johannes Janse van Rensburg has a unique position in the history of the Afrikaner, he is considered in cultural and folk lore as a prophet, known in Afrikaans as "Siener van Rensburg"
Now UG will probably want to kick me for posting this, but thing is, not everyone knows the story of the 'Boere Profeet'. I only heard about him some 5 or 6 years back myself, and was pretty intrigued by the story of his escapades during the Anglo Boer War, and the role he played as advisor to Gen Koos De La Rey and the Boer leaders. There has also been a bit of a revival of interest in Siener and his visions, due very likely to the sad situation in South Africa.
But Siener didn't just have 'revelations' about South Africa and the time he was living in, he also had prophecies to do with world events and the future.
What I think is not important, each one makes up his own opinion. Many people swear by Siener's visions, and some of the things he warned about had a freaky way of happening...coincedence..?...maybe..I don't know. Reading anything about him or his visions and trying to interpret them is hard work (like reading a thesis in Alt Deutsch), and nigh impossible if you don't read and understand 'hoog' Afrikaans, but this documentary explains it all pretty well.
We all like a good mystery movie with a bit of the esoteric thrown in for some funky vibes, so without further adoooo..I present to you South Africas answer to the Da Vinci Code, a revelation from the past..? the guiding light for the present and future..?...words of hope and encouragement for the Volk, well, shucks..I hope so, they sure could do with some!..Love it or leave it...
I look forward to your comments as usual...! Grüße DR
'Die Siener'

TV program oor hom.Deel 1http://youtube. com/watch? v=HIRNNLZvNyEDeel 2http://youtube. com/watch? v=Ya0KopdROTkDeel 3http://youtube. com/watch? v=KsbTHSPturg

Friday, August 10, 2007

The ANC in a Nutshell - A Long Read, but a Good One
South Africa's BetrayalPostapartheid Pretoria has become the free world's leading coddler of dictators.BY JAMES KIRCHICKWednesday, August 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDTLast September, not long after the Israeli-Hezbollah war, South Africa's minister of intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, praised the Islamist group committed to Israel's destruction. The Iran News Agency, albeit prone to exaggeration, reported that Mr. Kasrils "lauded [the] great victories of the Lebanese Hezbollah against the Zionist forces" and "stressed that the successful Lebanese resistance proved the vulnerability of the Israeli army." The comment received no attention in the South African media; nor, for that matter, did the international press seem particularly interested. And yet, the scandalous comment occurred immediately after the South African government had warmly received the visiting Iranian foreign minister and expressed support for Iran's campaign for uranium enrichment--in spite of the passing of a United Nations Security Council deadline that same week regarding the suspension of Iran's nuclear program.This stance toward Iran is cause for concern on its own. Unfortunately, it is also illustrative of a much broader and more chilling trend in South Africa's postapartheid foreign policy: one that cozies up to tyrants, and is increasingly orientated against the West--even at the cost of its self-proclaimed principles of human rights and political freedom.Postapartheid South Africa's easy relationship with dictatorships, it should be noted, is not a new development. Until very recently, however, it has largely been overlooked by the media. This oversight is likely due to the fact that, much like its out-of-control crime rate, any bad news about South Africa is viewed as a blemish on the popular and self-comforting narrative surrounding the country's emergence from apartheid. Indeed, that a country scarred by so many years of violent racial segregation could transform itself into a fully functioning democracy with a robust economy while simultaneously avoiding the wide-scale racial bloodbath feared by many is nothing short of miraculous. But judging by its international relations, South Africa--by far the most politically stable, economically productive and militarily powerful country in sub-Saharan Africa--appears to be moving into the camp of the anti-Western powers, a loose but increasingly worrisome consortium not unlike the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement. Drawing heavily upon its history as a liberation movement, the African National Congress cloaks itself in a shroud of moral absolutism that not so subtly implicates its critics as racists, Western stooges, or apologists for apartheid.In a 1993 article written for Foreign Affairs on the eve of his country's transfer of power, Nelson Mandela declared that "South Africa's future foreign relations will be based on our belief that human rights should be the core of international relations." Mr. Mandela had good reason to attempt an improvement of his country's international image: South Africa's apartheid government was the cause of much instability in the region, involved as it was in international terrorism against antiapartheid leaders and cross-border raids in a number of black "frontline states."With the transition of power, then, many hoped that South Africa would prove to be a beacon of good governance and responsible leadership for the rest of Africa. Unfortunately, not long after he was released from prison, Mr. Mandela himself began cavorting with the likes of Fidel Castro ("Long live Comrade Fidel Castro!" he said at a 1991 rally in Havana), Moammar Gadhafi (whom he visited in 1997 in defiance of American objections, greeting the Libyan dictator as "my brother leader") and Yasser Arafat ("a comrade in arms"). Mr. Mandela felt affection toward these men because they supported the ANC in exile. But he seemed unperturbed by the fact that Cuba, Libya and the PLO all employed terrorist tactics and treated their critics much as the apartheid state had.That Mr. Mandela has comported himself so comfortably with dictators is more than hypocritical--it is a betrayal of the principles for which he languished twenty-seven years in prison. Yet while Mr. Mandela's grandstanding with tyrants is regrettable, it has been far less serious than his ANC successors' strategic and systematic support for a broadly anti-Western agenda.Perhaps the best example of the ANC's betrayal of the cause of human rights is in its dealings with its immediate neighbor to the north, Zimbabwe. Since he initiated a policy of violent confiscation of white-owned farms in 2000, President Robert Mugabe has presided over what might arguably be the most abysmal degeneration of a modern nation-state. Once the "jewel of Africa," a relatively affluent country that boasted high life expectancies, abundant food exports and the continent's highest literacy rates, Zimbabwe may now lay claim to one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world, mass starvation and a politically oppressed citizenry.Four years ago, as the country entered free fall, President Bush referred to South African President Thabo Mbeki as his "point man" on Zimbabwe. And in March of this year, the African Union once again reaffirmed its support for Mr. Mbeki as a peacebroker. But the ANC government has failed to deliver on the responsibility with which the world has entrusted it. Primarily because Mugabe was a liberation hero who fought against white colonialism, the ANC has been reluctant to take any action that might alleviate the brutality of his rule, never mind dislodge the tyrant from power. Indeed, South Africa is worse than inactive on Zimbabwe: It props up Mugabe via a formal military alliance, and does its diplomatic best to keep Zimbabwe off the international agenda.In March, Tony Leon, then the leader of South Africa's Democratic Alliance (the country's leading opposition party), invoked the repression of the apartheid years to make clear just how aberrant his country's policy on Zimbabwe has become. He went so far as to call South Africa's relationship with Zimbabwe "an insult to the Sharpeville victims," the 69 black civilians who were killed by the state's security forces at an antiapartheid rally in 1960, an act that sparked the ANC's armed campaign against white rule. Considering the conditions in Mugabe's Zimbabwe (where democracy activists are imprisoned, tortured and killed, opposition rallies are banned, and the free media are largely silenced), the comparison to apartheid-era South Africa is hardly hyperbolic.South Africa's newfound presence on the U.N. Security Council (it took up a two-year, nonpermanent seat in January) has placed its troublesome foreign policy in stark relief. One of the strongest proponents of Security Council reform via an expanded number of veto powers, South Africa assumed its seat with the hope of stirring things up and providing a voice for both the underdeveloped and developing world. With its proximity to and influence over Zimbabwe, South Africa might have seized the opportunity its position on the Security Council offered to earn international respect by drawing attention to its neighbor's ill-doings. Indeed, Mugabe could not have offered a more convenient reason for South Africa's condemnation: In March, he cracked down on his opponents by violently suppressing a public prayer meeting, and government agents cracked the skull of the country's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.Yet South Africa's ambassador to the U.N. repeatedly stated his government's belief that Zimbabwe is a local problem best left for Mugabe and his opposition to deal with among themselves. So, too, did South Africa oppose attempts to bring the issue before the United Nations, choosing to go the route of "silent diplomacy" instead. Yet this policy, partly inspired by South African President Mbeki's genuine fear of Mugabe, a man with far stronger anticolonial liberation credentials than he, has been an unqualified failure from the beginning.South Africa has balked at the chance to champion human rights at the U.N. in other instances, as well, lest it be seen as siding with Western forces. For instance, the first significant vote placed before the Security Council this year dealt with a nonbinding resolution regarding the military junta in Burma. The resolution called for the release of all political prisoners, a process of national reconciliation (one, it should be noted, not unlike South Africa's) and an end to human-rights abuses. South Africa, along with Russia and its crucial trading partner, China (whose neoimperialism in Africa has been extensively documented), voted against the resolution's acceptance--which, ironically, called for far less stringent measures than what the ANC itself demanded the world invoke against the apartheid regime. Even Archbishop Desmond Tutu admitted that the Burma vote was "a betrayal of our own noble past." Yet South Africa was content to recommend that Burma be referred to the Human Rights Council, a kangaroo court at which the world's villains pass judgment on Western democracies, and where such a resolution would garner little attention.The ANC has also made important entrées with the Arab and Muslim bloc by striking a defiantly anti-American pose. The ANC government opposed sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, for example, and even questioned the legality of the American- and British-enforced no-fly zones, which protected the Kurds and Marsh Arabs from certain genocide. In the run-up to the Iraq war, South African Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad (who earlier this year claimed that the United States was responsible for a "volatile, dangerous and unpredictable environment" in world affairs) met with Saddam in Baghdad to deliver a letter from President Mbeki that "expressed [Mr. Mbeki's] solidarity with Iraq."Other ranking members of the ANC have expressed similarly bizarre, anti-Western views. Just before the war began, the secretary general of the ANC told antiwar protesters that "because we are endowed with several rich minerals, if we don't stop this unilateral action against Iraq today, tomorrow they will come for us." A year prior, the Guardian quoted the country's health minister (who has suggested that AIDS sufferers eat beetroot and garlic to treat themselves) as saying that South Africa cannot afford drugs to fight HIV/AIDS partly because it needs submarines to deter attacks from nations such as the United States (she later denied ever making the statement).The ANC (due to South Africa's appalling lack of political finance regulations) has accepted millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments and officials including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, former Indonesian strongman Suharto and the viciously anti-Semitic Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia. Perhaps wary of how such an act would be received by its steadily increasing Muslim population, South Africa also decided not to co-sponsor the U.N. General Assembly resolution on Holocaust denial in January, and has joined in the chorus of those nations calling for the United States and the European Union to lift their sanctions on the Hamas-led Palestinian government.Though South Africa's Muslim community is small (just 1.5% of the population), it has become increasingly radicalized, and the ANC has done everything to appease it. In June of 2003, Mr. Pahad met with representatives of Hezbollah and legitimized the group by stating that "clear distinctions" ought be made "between terrorism and legitimate struggle for liberation." The ANC often lends credence to terrorism against Israel by likening the struggle of the Arabs to that of South Africa's nonwhites. Three years ago, Pakistani police captured three South Africans who stand accused of plotting to blow up the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and government buildings in Pretoria. Another South African has been arrested in connection to the July 7, 2005, London transit bombings, and earlier this year, the U.S. Treasury named two South African cousins as substantial financial contributors to al Qaeda. While the American government blocked them from making financial transactions in the U.S., South Africa's foreign minister attempted to use his country's new seat on the Security Council to block the terrorist-sponsoring designation from taking effect. And to top this all off, the ANC called for South Africans to "turn out in their thousands" the week of June 4 "in solidarity with the Palestinian people."Ultimately, however, what ought to matter most to the international community is South Africa's increasingly outspoken role in legitimizing Iranian nuclear ambitions. And the U.S. has indeed shown concern: In response to the Iranian foreign minister's visit to South Africa last August (when South Africa again declared that Iran has an "inalienable right" to a peaceful nuclear energy program) the United States sent its permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency to Pretoria in hopes of convincing South Africa to take a harder line.Given the complicated nature of South African-American relations due to the latter's inaction (and, at times, obstruction) in bringing down apartheid, it was understandable that Ambassador Gregory Schulte would attempt to win the South Africans over with flattery: "South Africa's example and leadership position you to help Iran's leaders to think hard about Iran's future and to consider two different models: The first, North Korea--nuclear-armed, but impoverished, isolated, insignificant; the second, South Africa--nuclear weapons-free, but secure, dynamic, and a respected player in your region and the world. The choice should be clear. You can help Iran's leaders make the right one." Nevertheless, South Africa has remained credulous of Iranian protestations about the supposedly civilian purpose of its nuclear program. Indeed, its representative to the U.N. recently told South Africa's Sunday Times that "We will . . . defend the right of countries to have nuclear technology for peaceful uses. For instance, Iran."South Africa's friendliness toward Iran has apparently increased in proportion to its emergence as a considerable player on the world stage. In March, serving in its temporary role as Security Council president, South Africa attempted to halt the imposition of a new round of sanctions on Iran for its defiance of IAEA mandates. The sanctions, proposed by the unusual alliance of the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, instituted an arms embargo and asset freeze--both of which South Africa fought to remove from the resolution, and, barring that, to postpone until after a 90-day "time out" period. Although the Security Council's five veto powers overruled South Africa's attempts at watering down the resolution, France's U.N. ambassador told the Associated Press that South Africa's diplomatic maneuvering had nonetheless "weakened a lot of the resolution."That South Africa would support Iran is partly a matter of oil politics: Iran supplies almost half the oil South Africa uses. Two years ago, the Iranians claimed that they had entered into talks with South Africa about the latter's supplying them with unprocessed uranium for enrichment purposes, a claim the South African government later denied. But South African sympathy for Iran clearly goes deeper than mere trade links. For instance, South Africa has recently found itself in a situation similar to Iran's as it debates whether or not to proceed once again with a uranium enrichment program for "peaceful purposes." Perhaps, then, the South Africans believe they will be labeled hypocrites for demanding greater scrutiny of Iranian activity while simultaneously sponsoring an enrichment program of their own.Yet the issue with Iran, at least, has never been uranium enrichment per se. Rather, it has been transparency and intent. No one seriously believes that South Africa's motives in potential uranium enrichment would be nefarious, and that South Africa--for the most part a good international citizen--would hinder any sort of outside inspection effort of its facilities. The same can hardly be said of Iran. As the Johannesburg Star recently advised the South African government, "Sometimes you have to get off the fence and take sides." When it comes to Iran, a democratic country like South Africa ought to know which side to take.Increasingly an influential force behind South Africa's power plays in the world arena is Ronnie Kasrils, the country's minister of intelligence and possibly the highest-ranking Jewish official in any government outside of Israel. A veteran of the antiapartheid struggle, Mr. Kasrils fled the country at the cusp of 25 and spent the next 27 years in exile as a leader of the ANC's military wing. Though the vast majority of South African Jews--safely ensconced within that country's privileged white community--did little to fight apartheid, Mr. Kasrils was one of the Jews who, in disproportionate numbers, took an active role in opposing the racist system (in addition to being one of the Jews who, also in disproportionate numbers, joined the Communist Party). Mr. Kasrils is also a vocal anti-Zionist and Israel's most outspoken critic in South Africa. He, like other high-ranking ANC figures, appears to believe that Iranian intentions are ultimately benign, and that Israel is in fact the major source of aggression and instability in the region. The prism of Mr. Kasrils's views on the Middle East provides the necessary context for understanding the ANC leadership's views on international affairs.In early September of this year, Mr. Kasrils wrote of Israel in the weekly Mail & Guardian that "we must call baby killers 'baby killers,' and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis." This article was published mere days before Mr. Kasrils ventured to Tehran to glorify Hezbollah. A few months prior, Mr. Kasrils joined some 70 South African Jews in a statement published in several of the country's newspapers declaring that, "Jewish support for Israel aggression kills humanity." Not surprisingly, Mr. Kasrils supports boycotting the Jewish state, endorses a "one-state solution" that would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and frequently lends credence to the "Israel is an apartheid state" meme.Mr. Kasrils's stance on Israel has become so egregious that Helen Suzman, a prominent secular Jew who served 36 years in Parliament as an opponent--sometimes the only one--of apartheid, has written that "it is not only religious Jews who object to Kasrils's allegations. The issue is the anti-Semitism fostered by Kasrils's pronouncements." In May of this year, Mr. Kasrils invited Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader and prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, to South Africa. Of the invitation, the South African Board of Jewish Deputies released a statement reading: "Expressing support for an organization whose very founding charter describes the Jewish people as evil enemies of humanity and calls for its total annihilation, fundamentally contradicts the ideals both of South Africa and of the ruling ANC itself."Joel Pollak, currently a student at Harvard Law School and a former speechwriter for the opposition Democratic Alliance, is a knowledgeable observer of Mr. Kasrils, having written a master's thesis on his relations with South Africa's Jewish community, which currently numbers between 70,000 and 80,000. It is not, Mr. Pollak maintains, Mr. Kasrils's extreme views that most upset South African Jews, but rather the way in which Mr. Kasrils advances them. "Kasrils, unlike Tony Judt, has political power," he told me. He went on to explain that Mr. Kasrils's attacks on Israel--and South African Jews, as well, for their alleged complicity in Israeli "war crimes"--echo the not so subtle warnings issued to Jews in the early 1960s by Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, who cautioned that Jewish support for the antiapartheid Progressive Party might inspire a wave of government-sanctioned anti-Semitism.Though Mr. Pollak says there is no doubt that Mr. Kasrils believes the things he says about Israel (his unwavering communism, for instance, helps account for much of his anti-Zionist ideology), he has cynically used his Jewishness--a trait he rarely ever acknowledges, except when criticizing Israel--to curry favor within the ranks of the ANC, where anti-imperialism is still in vogue, however outdated. Mr. Kasrils "knows that because he's a white minister in an intensely racially nationalistic cabinet, he's very vulnerable," Mr. Pollak concludes. Thus, by so publicly going after his own relatively miniscule minority community of Jews, Mr. Kasrils proves his leftist, Third Worldist bona fides to the ANC elite. And if his rise in prominence within the party is any indication, the ANC certainly approves of Mr. Kasrils's frequent Israel-bashing: In 2004, he was appointed intelligence minister from his former post as minister of water affairs and forestry.Mr. Kasrils, characteristic of the South African communists who were catapulted into power while their ideological fatherland crumbled, is unrepentant about the Cold War. In his self-congratulatory memoir, "Armed and Dangerous," he writes, "Whatever the drawbacks and failures I am convinced that in years to come humanity will look back to Soviet achievements as a source of profound inspiration." He blames the defeat of the Soviet system on those in power who were affected by a "fatal loss of confidence and will" and he writes admiringly of Che Guevara and "other communist heroes."Many people might prefer to wave Mr. Kasrils off as a harmless crank from a bygone generation. But as minister of intelligence, Mr. Kasrils is instrumental in shaping South Africa's approach to dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. As Mr. Pollak observes, "South Africa is now the only state in the democratic world aside from Venezuela, maybe, that is standing behind Iran on everything." So, too, is Mr. Kasrils integral to South Africa's treatment of the Zimbabwe problem: In the spring of 2005, not long after Mugabe uprooted 700,000 of the country's poorest citizens from their homes in a move reminiscent of apartheid governments' forced relocations of poor blacks to "independent homelands" in the barren countryside, Mr. Kasrils signed a military agreement with Zimbabwe, declaring that "the liberation struggles of Southern Africa and the resultant shedding of blood for a common cause . . . cemented our cooperation on the way forward in the development of our respective countries."The source of the ANC's kid-gloves treatment of totalitarians is undoubtedly its historic skepticism, even downright hostility, toward the West. This viewpoint solidified during the apartheid years, when it was the Soviet Union that supplied the ANC with weapons and issued diplomatic broadsides against the United States and Britain for their cozy relations with the apartheid regime. Today, the ANC rules South Africa not by itself, but as part of the fabled "tripartite alliance" that it legally formed with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the early 1990s after these opposition movements were legalized by the apartheid government. Herein lies much of the problem. To its credit, the ANC's left wing has been its most insistent internal critic on Zimbabwe (largely because Mugabe has crushed his country's independent trade unions). Nonetheless, anachronistic "anti-imperialist" ideology still fills the heads of those in the highest echelons of the party. Only compounding matters, both the COSATU and the SACP are "rabidly anti-Israel," as a South African Jewish community leader told me, viewing Israel as America's mouthpiece in the region. Moreover, while the ANC has supported liberal macroeconomic policies (to the delight of both domestic and international business), this is due to economic necessity rather than an ideological commitment to free markets. Indeed, the ANC has long been suspicious of Western intentions, to the point of paranoia, and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the attitudes of many high-ranking ANC figures on the supposed "Western" approaches to HIV (such as the belief that it actually causes AIDS) and Zimbabwe.The ANC has always featured communists in its ranks, and while some members were fervently opposed to left-wing totalitarianism, they never reached anything approaching critical mass. Indeed, those liberal antiapartheid movements and activists who were just as outspoken in their opposition to communism as they were to racial discrimination--such as the novelist Alan Paton, leader of the short-lived Liberal Party; Helen Suzman of the Progressive Party; and the English-language press--have notoriously been maligned by ANC apparatchiks as handmaidens to apartheid. Consequently, a history of antitotalitarianism--a strong, bipartisan current in American politics, shaped by the Cold War experience--simply does not exist in South Africa. Instead, fuzzy leftover notions of "anti-imperialism" dominate the political discourse of influential ANC leaders.South Africa's coddling of Iran, then, must be seen as of a piece with its deferral of responsibility as concerns Zimbabwe, its following of the Chinese cue on Burma, and its siding with the Palestinians. All of these decisions are undergirded by a long-established and deeply rooted uncertainty, if not downright antagonism, toward the West.Of course, this bleak picture just painted should not obscure the many admirable developments on the continent in which South Africa has played a leading role. It oversaw, for instance, the transformation of the Organization for African Unity, for too long a group that legitimized the kleptocratic tendencies of its member states, into the African Union, which, however weak, has at least deployed several thousand peacekeepers to Darfur. And with the largest and most professional military on the continent, South Africa has also deployed peacekeeping troops in Congo, Ivory Coast and Burundi. Despite his faults (and they are many), Mr. Mbeki is a dedicated internationalist who envisions his country playing a robust, leading role on a continent that could learn much from South Africa's democratic liberalism, political stability and economic vitality.But creeping anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments seem to have bubbled up from under the surface of South African political discourse. Indeed, they have now become an ideological underpinning of South Africa's foreign policy. The American political and media establishment looks askance at this development as, at least on its face, it pales in comparison to the actual human misery that is so widespread on the continent. Moreover, there is little that America or its allies can do to "punish" South Africa for its waywardness; on the contrary, the United States relies heavily on South Africa to be the continental, never mind regional, hegemon, and isolating Pretoria might imperil America's many other initiatives in Africa.For decades, the international community rightly considered South Africa a pariah state. With the fall of apartheid, South Africa earned the unique right to be a clarion voice for freedom and human rights around the world. What a shame, then, that the ANC pursues policies hearkening back to its country's discredited past.