Pogroms against LGBTI people to be legalized in Uganda

Ugandan president & dictator Yoweri Museveni has announced his intention to sign the “Kill the Gays” bill. The bill was passed by the Ugandan parliament on December 20, 2013 but the president has until February 23rd to veto or amend the bill to stop it from becoming law. Since the bill was passed, Ugandan human rights groups have documented at least seven arrests & increasing public harassment of LGBTI people. Two of those arrested were required to undergo anal examinations to prove they engaged in homosexual activity & these are expected to become routine procedures for men arrested on suspicion of homosexuality.

Museveni’s decision to support the anti-homosexuality bill legitimizing pogroms against LGBTI people in Uganda was a foregone conclusion. He’s been playing cutesy for the media & human rights groups by feigning misgivings about the bill & saying he wanted to base his policy on science. So while he refuses to meet with LGBTI activists, he assembled a dozen scientists from Uganda’s Health Ministry to determine if homosexuality is genetic or a social behavior–as if the latter made it criminal. Since you can always find scientists to sing for their supper–especially if you put a gun to their heads (because only a fool or a martyr in Uganda would defend homosexuality when the regime is conducting pogroms), Museveni had no problem getting the scientific judgement he wanted.

Obama was golfing in Southern California when he heard the news of Museveni’s decision. He stopped putting long enough to issue a denunciation saying the bill “will be more than an affront & a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans & reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.” Boy, you can’t get more excoriating than that! Is that the best Obama can do when a genocide is in the offing!?

US national security adviser, Susan Rice, was just as indignant & tweeted her reproach to Museveni, which dittoed Obama in sentiment & insipidity. There’s nothing like a good tweet to bring genocide to its knees.

An unidentified “senior Obama administration official” said if the bill is enacted, the US will review US relations with Uganda since, at $400 million a year, the US is one of the largest donors of “foreign aid” to Uganda. The US has a military buildup in the area & is targeting that entire region of Africa for neocolonial plunder so Museveni can rest assured US protests over genocide against LGBTI people will never rise above the level of an angry tweet urging Ugandans to love one another–in the right way of course.

What is needed is ongoing actions & rallies around the world (like were held yesterday) at Ugandan & US missions demanding the Kill the Gays bill be trashed, that the rights of LGBTI people be respected, that the pogroms against them end, & that the US stop its collusion with the Museveni regime.

(Photo from Advocate of solidarity rally opposing Kill the Gays bill; photographer & location unidentified but rallies were held around the world.)

Afghan president Karzai refuses to buckle to US Pentagon

Media & diplomats are calling Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to maintain US military occupation in Afghanistan “The last stand of Hamid Karzai;” they liken it to a poker game, deplore he is “thumbing his nose” at the US & demonizing US troops & diplomats, accuse Karzai of mental health problems & ask if he is off his meds–all because he demands a minimal semblance of Afghan sovereignty, including accountability in Afghan courts for US soldiers who commit crimes & cessation of barbaric attacks on civilians.

Karzai is no prize package politically; he is a long-time collaborator with the US-NATO occupation & came to prominence only as a result of his corruption & collusion with the US. He will be leaving office after the April elections so his new independence may reflect some opposition within the Afghan elite to continued US occupation. It takes a certain amount of courage for Karzai to defy the US because if they thought they could get away with it the Pentagon would not hesitate to take him out.

By far, the most pernicious attacks on Karzai came from the Washington Post under the headline ”Karzai suspects US is behind insurgent-style attacks.” Citing unidentified officials in the Karzai regime & describing them as “palace officials,” the Post claims Karzai suspects many “shadowy insurgent-style attacks” in Afghanistan involved operatives of the US government. On hearing the claims, US officials swooned like actors in a Victorian melodrama; according to the Post, they “reacted with incredulity & anger to the idea that they are trying to debilitate Afghanistan’s government, which they have supported with hundreds of billions of dollars.”

The appropriately named US ambassador Cunningham (since he is both sneaky & a ham actor) said “It flies in the face of logic & morality to think that we would aid the enemy we’re trying to defeat,” & he accused Karzai of “deeply conspiratorial” thinking. Not really ambassador CunningHam. Karzai doesn’t have to go all libertarian; he only has to look at Iraq & Pakistan to see the future of Afghanistan.

As for those “hundreds of billions of dollars,” they were either bucks for bribery or for war & not reconstruction. There are some new showpiece high-rises in Kabul but the rest of the country is a shambles from bombing raids & house demolitions. Several agencies of the UN have issued reports on poverty, homelessness, & the increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The UN reports blame it all on the corrupt Karzai regime, on the Taliban, on bad karma & not the US-NATO war because they support the war. One UN official in Afghanistan told reporters, “Poverty actually kills more Afghans than those who die as a direct result of the armed conflict.”

Poverty statistics in Afghanistan are quite staggering: according to one of the endless UN reports, nine million Afghans or 36% of the population live in “absolute poverty” while another 37% live barely above the poverty line. The streets are lined with homeless widows & their children begging. The poverty line established as $1.25 a day by the World Bank wouldn’t feed a mouse, let alone a child, so the distinction between absolute poverty & those barely above the poverty line is only one a sociopathic bureaucrat would make. But most importantly, can the UN tell us how those women were made widows & their children homeless? Has the bubonic plague hit Afghanistan & carted off all the men? Or might the US-NATO war be implicated in the massive poverty?

All out for the spring protests demanding “US out of Afghanistan!” “US out of Iraq!”

{Photo of Afghanistan from Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)}

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