Wealth of Dangote, 4 others can end poverty in Nigeria – Report

Wealth of Dangote, 4 others can end poverty in Nigeria – Report

By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with OXFAM

The wealth of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote and four other Nigerians is enough to end poverty in Africa’s most populous nation, according to a research published by the charity group, Oxfam.
The report titled ‘Inequality in Nigeria – Exploring the drivers,’ said despite the current economic recession in the country, ‘‘a small group of elites enjoys ever-growing wealth,’‘ whiles ‘‘more than half of the Nigerian population still grapples with extreme poverty.’‘
‘‘In Nigeria, the scale of economic inequality has reached extreme levels, and it finds expression in the daily struggles of the majority of the population in the face of accumulation of obscene amounts of wealth by a small number of individuals.

While more than 112 million people were living in poverty in 2010, The richest 4 Nigerian man will take 42 years to spend all of his wealth at 1 million per day.

‘‘While more than 112 million people were living in poverty in 2010, The richest 4 Nigerian man will take 42 years to spend all of his wealth at 1 million per day,’‘ the report noted in its Executive Summary.
According to the group’s calculations, to lift all Nigerians living below the extreme poverty line, the amount of money needed will be about $24bn, ‘‘This amount of money is just lower than the total wealth owned overall by the five richest Nigerians in 2016, which was equal to $29.9 billion.’‘
They added that amount of money the richest Nigerian man (in this case Aliko Dangote) can earn annually from his wealth is sufficient to lift 2 million people out of poverty for one year. Nigeria’s extreme poverty line is currently pegged at $1.90.

Five richest Nigeria according to Forbes Magazine

Aliko Dangote – cement and other investments (net worth $14.4bn)
Mike Adenuga – telecommunication (net worth $9.9 billion)
Femi Otedola – oil industry and business (net worth US$1.85 billion)
Folorunsho Alakija – oil industry, business and fashion (net worth $1.55 billion) and
Abdul Samad Rabiu – businessman, sugar refining, cement, real estate (net worth $1.1 billion).

Government kicks over the report but businessman says it’s unfair

Local media portal, Vanguard Nigeria, carried reactions to the Oxfam report with a top business executive arguing that the authors of the report had unfairly linked poverty with wealth created by genuine individuals.
According to Tola Odukoya – CEO of FSL Asset Management Limited, the five persons listed were not directly responsible for alleviating poverty in the country and that it was purely a responsibility of government which controlled the common wealth.
‘‘The report is not too far from the truth. There is no doubt that there is so much poverty in the country, but I don’t think it is fair to the people mentioned in the report because they are private businessmen, who have built their wealth through hard work. The level of poverty is something that should be addressed to the government,” he said.
But a government representative at the event which was heald in Abuja also expressed concern over portions of the report. The Federal government via a Minister of State, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, argued that the report did not have a requisite methodology to analyze and appraise Nigerian affairs.
“I was worried by the language, tone and style of the report, and this made me ask: what was at the back of the mind of the authors when the report was being written?
“When I looked at the report, I was worried about certain concepts, such as ‘who are the elite?’ There was no definition of terms, such as elite and poverty. More worrisome was if the report falls into the hands of aggrieved individuals, how would they react?
“To us in Nigeria, when we find problems, we pray for the leaders. Let us think Nigeria, write Nigeria and behave like Nigerians,” an official who represented the Ministry noted.


Washington’s calls on US allies to stop contacts with Assad encourage terrorists — Lavrov

According to Lavrov, the US air strike against pro-government forces in Syria was illegitimate and unlawful regardless of what had caused it.

© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS
NICOSIA, May 19. /TASS/. The new strike of the US Air Force in Syria confirms Washington’s intention to use the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) for the fight against Bashar Assad’s government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday.
Moscow is concerned over differences in understanding the need to unite those who indeed fight on the ground and in the air against terrorists of the Islamic State and the former Jabhat al-Nusra, he said.
“We see the confirmation of an intention to use opposition and some extremists, including Jabhat al-Nusra, in the fight against the legitimate government of Syria,” Lavrov said.
This comes amid Washington’s calls to stop all contacts with Assad, he said, noting that the US Congress had passed a law demanding punishment for those who cooperate with the legitimate government of Syria.
“This distracts us from the Syrian settlement and the major goal of this settlement – preventing the seizure of Syria and other parts of the Middle East by terrorists,” Lavrov said. “So, what we hear about Washington’s position on Syria now is in fact coddling terrorists.”

The warning 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has no information that Washington warned Moscow before delivering an air strike on Syrian pro-government forces, Lavrov pointed out:
“I don’t know about any such warning.”
US air strike against pro-government forces in Syria was illegitimate and unlawful regardless of what had caused it, the Russian diplomat added:
“The US command said the strike was delivered because these pro-government forces posed a threat to the opposition which cooperates with the US-led coalition.”
“Whatever the reason the US command made such a decision, the strike was illegitimate and unlawful. It was yet another crude violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” he stated.
An air force group of the US-led counter-terrorist group on May 18 attacked pro-government forces in Syria operating within the established de-escalation zone northwest of At Tanf. The coalition’s headquarters argued that the forces had posed a threat to the United States and its allies.


Satan’s Secret Agents: The Frankfurt School and their Evil Agenda

February 3, 2013

Based on an original article (see here) by Timothy Matthews.
Abbreviated and adapted with additional material  by Lasha Darkmoon.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
Let’s begin by considering the corrosive work of the Frankfurt School: a group of German-American scholars, mostly Jewish, who developed highly provocative and original perspectives on contemporary society and culture, drawing on Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber.
Their idea of a “cultural revolution” was not particularly new. Joseph, Comte de Maistre (1753-1821), who for fifteen years had been a Freemason, had this to say: “Until now, nations were killed by conquest, that is by invasion. But here an important question arises: can a nation not die on its own soil, without resettlement or invasion, by allowing the flies of decomposition to corrupt to the very core those original and constituent principles which make it what it is?”
What was the Frankfurt School?
Well, in the days following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was believed that a Workers’ Revolution would sweep into Europe and, eventually, into the United States. It failed to do so. Towards the end of 1922, the Communist International (Comintern) began to consider the reasons for this failure.
On Lenin’s initiative, a meeting was organized at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. The aim of the meeting was to throw light on the meaning of Marx’s Cultural Revolution. What did “cultural revolution” entail?  What was it all about?
First, among those present, was Georg Lukács, a Jewish Hungarian aristocrat and son of a banker. He had become a Communist during World War I. A good Marxist theoretician, he had developed the idea of “Revolution and Eros” — sexual instinct used as an instrument of destruction.
Then there was Willi Münzenberg, another revolutionary Jew whose proposed solution to the problems besetting society was to organize the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
“It was”, said Ralph de Toledano (1916-2007), the conservative author and co-founder of the National Review, “a meeting more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself.”
Lenin died in 1924, but by that time Stalin had risen to power and was beginning to look on Willi Munzenberg, George Lukács and other Jewish revolutionaries (like Trotsky) as dangerous Marxist “revisionists”, introducing concepts into Marxism that were alien to Marxism and which served only a Jewish agenda.
In June 1940, on Stalin’s orders, Münzenberg was hunted down to the south of France by a NKVD assassination squad and hanged from a tree.
In the summer of 1924, after being attacked for his writings by the Fifth Comintern Congress, Lukács moved to Germany. Here he chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist oriented sociologists. This gathering was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School.
This “School”, designed to put flesh on their revolutionary program, was started at the University of Frankfurt in the Institut für Sozialforschung. To begin with, school and institute were indistinguishable. In 1923, the Institute had been officially established, and funded by Felix Weil (1898-1975). Weil, born in Argentina into a wealthy  Jewish family, was sent to attend school in Germany at the age of nine. He attended the universities in Tübingen and Frankfurt, where he graduated with a doctoral degree in political science. While at these universities he became increasingly interested in socialism and Marxism.
Carl Grünberg, the Institute’s Jewish director from 1923-1929, was an avowed Marxist, although the Institute did not have any official party affiliations. But in 1930 Max Horkheimer (also Jewish) assumed control. He believed that Marx’s theory should be the basis of the Institute’s research.
When Hitler came to power, the Institute was closed and its members, by various routes, fled to the United States and ended up as academics at major US universities: Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley.
LD:  The fact that they spoke very poor English was no disqualification. They were Jewish, and so they managed to obtain prestigious academic appointments through Jewish influence, i.e., through networking — a system that works exceptionally well even today and which accounts for the huge and unfair preponderance of Jews in academia.
The School included among its members the 1960s guru of the New Left Herbert Marcuse — denounced by Pope Paul VI for his theory of liberation which “opens the way for [sexual] licence cloaked as liberty” — Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, the popular writer Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and Jurgen Habermas. All these individuals except Habermas were of Jewish origin.
Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief — or even the hope of belief — that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke a socialist revolution.
Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the “Judaeo-Christian legacy.”
LD:  “Judeo-Christian” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, given that Judaism and Christianity are at opposite ends of the religious spectrum. Since most Jews are  actively hostile to Christianity, and since Talmudic Jews actually take pleasure in the thought of Christ being boiled in excrement in hell, to speak of the “Judeo-Christian legacy” is clearly nonsensical.
To undermine Western civilization, the Frankfurt School Jews called for the most negative and destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life. To de-stabilize society and bring it to its knees, to engineer collapse, to produce crisis and catastrophe — this became the aim of these maladjusted and mentally sick Jewish revolutionaries masquerading as high-powered intellectuals.
Their policies, they hoped, would spread like a virus — “continuing the work of the Western Marxists by other means”, as one of their members noted.
To further the advance of their “quiet” cultural revolution, the Frankfurt School made the following twelve recommendations — all of them calculated to undermine the foundations of society and create the dystopia we now see all around us:
1.  The creation of racism offences and hate speech laws.
2.  Continual change to create confusion (e,g., in school curricula).
3.  Masturbation propaganda in schools, combined with the homosexualization of children and their corruption by exposing them to child porn in the classroom.
4.  The systematic undermining of parental and teachers’ authority.
5.  Huge immigration to destroy national identity and foment future race wars.
6.  The systematic promotion of excessive drinking and recreational drugs.
7.  The systematic promotion of sexual deviance in society.
8.  An unreliable legal system with bias against the victims of crime.
9.  Dependency on state benefits.
10. Control and dumbing down of media. (Six Jewish companies now control 96 percent of the world’s media. LD).
11.  Encouraging the breakdown of the family.
12.  All all-out attack on Christianity and the emptying of churches.
LD:  In the Soviet Union, under Stalin and his Communist Jews, the emptying of churches was accomplished by the simple expedient of burning the churches down—thousands of them.
(See here, here, here, here and here for more details on the systematic destruction of Christian churches and the persecution of Russian Christians under the Jewish leaders of the Russian Revolution. See alsoextended endnote.)
Coincidentally, most of the 12 aims and objectives mentioned above were set out prominently in the pages of that alleged  “forgery”, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Jewish philosophers of the Frankfurt School, it seems, had been heavily influenced by the Protocols. They were clearly impressed by what they read there and decided to implement its recommendations in their own sinister agenda.
One of the main ideas of the Frankfurt School was to exploit Freud’s idea of “pansexualism”: the search for indiscriminate sexual pleasure, the promotion of “unisex”, the blurring of distinctions between the sexes, the overthrowing of traditional relationships between men and women, and, finally, the undermining of heterosexuality at the expense of homosexuality — as, for example, in the idea of “same-sex marriage” and the adoption of children by homosexual couples.
Willi Münzenberg summed up the Frankfurt School’s long-term operation thus: “We will make the West so corrupt that it stinks.”

“We must organise the intellectuals and use them TO MAKE WESTERN CIVILIZATION STINK! Only then, after they have CORRUPTED ALL ITS VALUES AND MADE LIFE IMPOSSIBLE, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Emphasis added)
LD:  According to Sean McMeekin’s The Red Millionaire: A political biography of Willi Münzenberg, Münzenberg was “the perpetrator of some of the most colossal lies of the modern age…. He helped unleash a plague of moral blindness upon the world from which we have still not recovered.”
The Frankfurt School believed there were two types of revolution: (a) Political revolution and (b) Cultural revolution. They were more concerned with cultural revolution, the demolition of the established order from within. “Modern forms of subjection are marked by mildness”, they taught. So-called “reforms” were to be made so slowly and subtly that these changes for the worse were barely perceptible. The School saw the undermining of the social order as a long-term project.
LD:  The systematic erosion of Christian moral values and the promotion of sexual perversion is known as cultural Marxism. Today, thanks to the efforts of organized Jewry which controls 96 percent of the world’s media, cultural Marxism has largely triumphed and Christianity lies in ruins. To many dispassionate observers, society has now reached its rockbottom moral nadir — as Jewish Marxists such as Willi Munzenberg (see quote above) would have been only too happy to witness — had he been around today. 
These iconoclasts kept their sights firmly fixed on the family, education, media, sex and popular culture. Each of these would be their target. If things did not go from bad to worse, year after year, they were not succeeding. To these revolutionary Jewish thinkers, bad was good — and worse was better.

The Destruction of the Family and the Promotion of Feminism

The School’s Critical Theory preached that the “authoritarian personality” was a product of the patriarchal family — an idea directly linked to Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, which promoted matriarchy.
Already Karl Marx had written, in the Communist Manifesto (1848), about the radical notion of a “community of women”. In The German Ideology (1845), he had written disparagingly about the idea of the family as the basic unit of society. This was one of the basic tenets of the Critical Theory: the need to break down the family unit.
LD: All families were essentially evil, these thinkers believed — even happy families — so they had to be destroyed. It was better if children had no parents, or did not know who their parents were. Or if they were orphans of the state. It was better if romantic love between the sexes, leading to stable long-term marriages, were destroyed in favor of short-term, unstable, promiscuous relationships. After all, the former might lead to happiness for all concerned, and that was clearly impermissible — for the whole point of the Cultural Revolution was “to create a culture of pessimism” (Lukács) and “to make life impossible for everyone.” (Münzenberg).

Georg Lukács (1885–1971): “I want a culture of pessimism … a world abandoned by God”
The Institute scholars therefore preached that “Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.”
LD:  These neo-Freudian Marxist philosophers of the Frankfurt School were clearly out to create trouble: to drive a wedge between parent and child and sow division in the family. Whatever was good in human relationships simply had to be destroyed. If people didn’t have problems, then problems would have to be manufactured “to make life impossible.” (Munzenberg).
All this prepared the way for the warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Marcuse under the guise of “Women’s liberation” and by the New Left movement in the 1960s. They proposed transforming our culture into a female-dominated one.
LD:  The idea that women should run society and wear the trousers, telling men what to do, had an enormous appeal to certain bossy types of women with a surplus of testosterone, particularly to butch lesbians and man-hating matriarchs. Many of these misguided females were to become evangelists for radical  Feminism, some even proposing to cut themselves off from the male sex completely and live in communes of their own. Curiously enough, the number of Jewish feminists is huge—out of all proportion to their percentage in the population.
In 1933, Wilhelm Reich, an honored and adulated member of the Frankfurt School, wrote in The Mass Psychology of Fascism that matriarchy was the only genuine family type of “natural society.” He was, as such, to be an inspiration to the feminists.
LD:  Reich, incidentally, a compulsive masturbator and sexual pervert, had entertained incestuous longings for his own mother and practiced bestiality with horses while still a child. (See here).
This versatile sexual deviant, now a cult figure on the left, along with the equally sex-obsessed Herbert Marcuse—popularizer of the slogan MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR—were to be godfathers of the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s as well as the patron saints of the Feminist movement.

The Indoctrination of Children through Education

Bertrand Russell was to join the Frankfurt School in their efforts at mass social engineering. He spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society. He wrote:
“The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity.
But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray.
When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”
LD:  The irony is unmistakable, but that is beside the point. Russell was all for turning the world upside down and ushering in Brave New World: atheism, feminism, and “sexual liberation” i.e., the green light to promiscuity, perversion, and abortion on demand.
The devaluation of values so sought after by the luminaries of the Frankfurt School  has now largely been achieved through sex education and media propaganda: in particular, by the promotion of masturbation, pornography, and the systematic high pressure salesmanship of  homosexuality in schools.   

LD:  This, then, is the secret agenda of organized Jewry as represented by the Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School: the destruction of traditional values, the destruction of the moral order, the destruction of the family unit, the destruction of religion, the destruction of meaning and purpose, and, finally, the destruction of happiness itself.
These are the people who now rule over us. They are in control. They create new wars with the same rapidity that a stage magician pulls rabbits from a hat. And they make sure that the people they rule over, their subject populations, are either demoralized debt slaves in insecure jobs or unemployed bums living on state benefits and a diet of junk food and sleazy junk entertainment laid on by the Jews.
Satan’s Secret Agents have been only too successful in creating a New World Order that bears a remarkable resemblance to hell.

*          *          *

Endnote by Lasha Darkmoon

American historian Edwin Schoonmaker writes:

Fifteen years after the Bolshevist Revolution was launched to carry out the Marxist program, the editor of the American Hebrew could write: “According to such information that the writer could secure while in Russia a few weeks ago, not one Jewish synagogue has been torn down, as have hundreds—perhaps thousands of the Greek Catholic Churches… In Moscow and other large cities one can see Christian churches in the process of destruction… the Government needs the location for a large building,” (American Hebrew, Nov. 18, 1932, p. 12) Apostate Jews, leading a revolution that was to destroy religion as the “opiate of the people” had somehow spared the synagogues of Russia.” (“Democracy and World Dominion,” 1939, p.211). 

Wikipedia tells us that the Communist state after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution  was “committed to the destruction of religion”, and destroyed churches, mosques and temples — no mention of synagogues being destroyed  and that it “ridiculed, harassed and executed [Christian] religious leaders, flood[ing] the schools and media with atheistic propaganda.”
Since the Russian Revolution was essentially a Jewish revolution, with an overwhelmingly high percentage of its leaders being Jewish, one can understand why synagogues were NOT destroyed. The animosity of the Jewish leadership was directed almost exclusively toward the Christian clergy and their churches. Monks, nuns and priests were put to death in large numbers, often after being cruelly tortured in the process, their eyes gouged out and in some instances being boiled alive. (For graphic details of the systematic torture of Christians under the Bolsheviks, see here and section 7, “Fiendish tortures devised by the Jewish cheka”, here).
According to the Atlantic, September 1991, p.14, “In 1919, three-quarters of the Cheka staff in Kiev were Jews, who were careful to spare fellow Jews. (See footnote 21, here)
For more on the specifically Jewish character of the Russian Revolution, see here and here.
Russian-born Jewish writer Sonya Margolina goes so far as to call the Jewish role in supporting the Bolshevik regime the “historic sin of the Jews.” She points, for example, to the prominent role of Jews as commandants of Soviet Gulag concentration and labor camps, and the role of Jewish Communists in the systematic destruction of Russian churches. Moreover, she goes on, “The Jews of the entire world supported Soviet power, and remained silent in the face of any criticism from the opposition.”
In light of this record, Margolina offers a grim prediction:
“The exaggeratedly enthusiastic participation of the Jewish Bolsheviks in the subjugation and destruction of Russia is a sin that will be avenged. Soviet power will be equated with Jewish power, and the furious hatred against the Bolsheviks will become hatred against Jews.” (Cited here)


US aid to Egypt: Wrong but inevitable

By Muhammad Mansour, Monday 15 May 2017

For decades, the US has pumped money into Egypt to the detriment of democracy. Trump’s administration will be no different.
“The human hand that grants wheat knows how to sharpen the weapon,” wrote the Egyptian poet Amal Donqol. His words perfectly express the aid that the US gives to Egypt.
Since 1987, the US has provided $1.3bn in military aid annually to Egypt to enhance its longstanding cooperation – diplomatic words for “leverage” with the Egyptian military who dominate the country’s political scene.
After a two-year suspension as a result of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s worsening human rights record, it was resumed in 2015 ostensibly to help Sisi fight the Islamic State in his country.
Instead, as Sisi has failed to contain the militant group, that money – as experts testified last month at a congressional hearing – has become a total embarrassment for Washington.

(For embedded video please go to Source)

“The primary priority of the Egyptian military and general Sisi is not to fight terrorism or improve governance,” Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour from 2014 to 2017 said at the Senate hearing on 25 April.
“It has been to make sure that what happened in 2011 in the Tahrir square uprising can never ever, ever, ever happen again.”
Yet despite the unanimous recommendations from speakers at the hearing that the US should completely rethink its aid to Egypt, it is highly unlikely that Washington will scale it back.
That’s because the Trump administration, like Sisi, is less interested in countering IS than in continuing its relationship with the Egyptian military.
In other words, the US’s strategic interests are more important by far than those of Egyptians seeking democracy.

Securing dependency

Take the Suez Canal which the Egyptian military essentially controls.
Not only does 8 percent of all global maritime shipping pass through here annually, but Egyptian officials regularly expedite the passage of dozens US naval vessels, a clear benefit for US forces deploying to time-sensitive operations in the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean.
Sisi surveys the New Suez Canal shortly before its inauguration in August 2015 (AFP)
More importantly, thanks to US foreign military aid to Egypt, but also to Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon, the huge machine of the US arms industry runs smoothly. That’s because, instead of handing over cash, the US helps Egypt buy equipment and training from US defence contractors.
Keeping the Egyptian military dependent on US defence contractors gives Washington leverage over policy-making circles in Egypt. Although, of course, in reality this only works when there are strongmen like Sisi, with a military background, who has the requisite power in his hands to negotiate in a way beneficial to the US.

Deals made only in US interests

If Egypt was ruled by democratic institutions, the US could say goodbye to its foothold. Instead, the leverage that the US has a result of its aid crushes the hopes of Egyptians for civil society to flourish. When push comes to shove, US interests always seem to contradict America’s proclaimed democratisation agenda in the region. The interests always win.
For instance, it took just one meeting last month between Sisi and Trump to pressure the Egyptian president to release Aya Hijazi, the dual US-Egyptian citizen, along with her husband and six other Egyptians.
US President Donald Trump meets with Aya Hijazi at the White House on 21 April 2017 (AFP)
For nearly three years, they had all been in jail over charges of child abuse and human trafficking charges, linked to the running an NGO tasked with helping street children. In late April, Hijazi was theatrically flown to Washington and met Trump, sitting on the same Oval Office chair that Sisi had sat on days earlier. The charges were dropped.
Back in 2012, when Egypt was ruled during a transition period by the SCAF (military junta), police raided several NGOs and arrested 43 workers, including Americans, Europeans and Egyptians. They were referred to a criminal court over charges of espionage and fomenting unrest in the country.
A few days later, the Egyptians were the only defendants who still stood for trial after a court lifted a travel ban on the foreigners, including seven Americans who had to pay $300,000 bail each.
Like Hijazi, the following day, seven Americans and other foreigners were flown by a US private air charter to Cyprus and then back home as the Egyptian parliament and media attacked the government for succumbing to US pressure and allowing them to leave during court proceedings.
The foreign defendants were later sentenced in absentia. Several Egyptians who were lucky and found a way to leave the country, applied for asylum in the United States, such as Nancy Okail and Sherif Mansour. But the others ended up as scapegoats in jail with no government applying pressure for their release.

Not about peace 

Contrary to popular belief, Washington does not give aid to Egypt to ensure that Egyptian government maintains its peace deal with Israel.
This might have been the case during the time of Anwar Sadat who signed the Camp David accords in 1978. But as time has passed, maintaining peace with Israel has become of greater interest to Egypt than the US.
After all, the US gives the Israeli military three times more aid – $38bn over the next decade to be precise – than Egypt to ensure the country’s military superiority over its neighbours.
But in Washington, no one is debating whether Israel, despite historical massacres and ongoing violations committed against Palestinians, deserves its aid.
In fact, neither Egypt nor Israel really need this massive funding. The regional balance of power could be maintained by much less. But then what would fuel the US arms industry or feed the endlessly hungry arms race in the region?

Into the arms of France and Russia

In the aftermath of the violent dispersal in 2013 of pro-Morsi protest camp in Rabaa Square, the Obama administration suspended military aid to Egypt for the first time in decades. US law prohibits assistance to a government whose elected leader is deposed by a military coup.
But realising how much the US had lost as a result, in March 2015, his administration resumed the aid programme – but critically, it had reformulated its framework.
On 15 August 2013 after the killing of hundreds of protesters in Cairo, Obama announces the cancellation of US military exercises with Egypt (AFP)
Instead of supplying Egyptians with large-scale conventional equipment as it had for nearly three decades, the White House announced that, starting in 2018, it would “channel US security assistance for Egypt to four categories – counterterrorism, border security, Sinai security, and maritime security – and for sustainment of weapons systems already in Egypt’s arsenal”.
In a separate National Security Council press release, NSC spokesperson Bernadette Meehan noted that the Obama administration had also decided to end Egypt’s use of cash flow financing (CFF) – the financial mechanism that has enabled Egypt to purchase equipment on credit – in 2018.
“By ending CFF, we will have more flexibility to, in coordination with Egypt, tailor our military assistance as conditions and needs on the ground change,” the press release said.
Obama’s changes to the aid – which Egyptians had taken for granted for decades as a reward for the peace treaty with Israel – pushed Sisi to seek other partners who could enable large-scale equipment procurement on credit. He found them in France and Russia – and without any of the Obama administration’s human rights obligations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Sisi during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow in August 2015 (AFP)
In February 2015, Egypt purchased 24 Dassault Rafale fighters, a frigate, and missiles from France in a deal worth an estimated $5.9bn (half of which was financed by French loans). France delivered the first three planes in July 2015.
In 2014, France sold Egypt four naval frigates in a deal worth $1.35bn. In the autumn of 2015, France announced that it would sell Egypt two Mistral-class helicopter carriers (each carrier can carry 16 helicopters, four landing craft, and 13 tanks) for $1bn.
In a separate deal with Russia, Egypt will purchase 46 Ka-52 Alligator helicopters which can operate on the Mistral-class helicopter carrier. Other Russian-Egyptian arms sales include Antey-2500 (S-300) anti-ballistic missile system ($1bn contract) and 46 MiG-29 multirole fighters ($2bn contract).
In the absence of accountability and transparency, it’s possible that the $23bn that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE granted to Egypt to keep its economy afloat starting in 2013 after Morsi was ousted was used to buy this equipment – even as Egyptians felt the pinch of double-digit inflation and unemployment.

Billions of what ifs

Despite these deals, Egypt cannot do without US equipment such as F-16 fighter jets, Harpoon missiles or 125 M1A1 tanks. Likewise, the US doesn’t want Egypt to resort to its historical foe, Russia, especially given Putin’s expansionist aspirations in the region.
So these mutual desires have helped kick the can of differences down the road, especially with the rise of Trump.
Since the era of Nasser, Egypt has been stable enough, teetering along until the 2011 uprising broke out. But this stability came at the expense of democracy and economic progress, leading to the deterioration of all aspects of life that now haunt Egyptians.
Since 1948, the US has provided Egypt with $77.4bn in foreign aid. One can’t help but wonder if the majority of this funding had gone towards developmental projects, such as improving education, health and scientific research, whether Egypt would be in a different situation today, one in which US assistance would no longer be needed.


Tamils in Sri Lanka Commemorate ‘Tamil Genocide Day’

Tamils with images of family members who vanished during the Sri Lanka civil war, at a protest in the north in Jaffna, Aug. 2013.

Tamils with images of family members who vanished during the Sri Lanka civil war, at a protest in the north in Jaffna, Aug. 2013. | Photo: Reuters
The U.N. estimates 40,000 Tamils were killed, but rights advocates say the number could be as high as 150,000.
Hundreds of Tamils in Sri Lanka gathered throughout the country Thursday to commemorate the deadly, macabre end of the country’s 26-year civil war, many who recognize May 18 as Tamil Genocide Day.
Students and staff marked the day at Jaffna University in the city of Jaffna, while Tamils in Mannar lit candles and laid flowers in memory of the thousands killed. In Sampur, a ceremony was held by members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who on that day eight years ago, saw their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, killed by Sri Lankan military troops.
The city of Mullivaikkal, the location of the final battle between the troops and the LTTE, also saw vigils commemorating the killings. In attendance was Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran from the country’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, who called for a three-minute silence to remember those who died during the civil war, and also called on diaspora Tamils to observe the commemoration.

Deep sorrow as children come forward to place flowers for the massacred civilians pic.twitter.com/wrcEtPfSNF

Dozens of children come forward to light incense sticks and lay flowers in remembrance of the dead pic.twitter.com/KuyvrFXNwx

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Approx 600 students gather at Swami Vipulananda Campus, Eastern University to commemorate

The Tamil Peoples’ Council, the Tamil National Peoples’ Front and Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians also gathered in Mullivaikkal.
On Wednesday, a court order from the District Judge and Magistrate of Mullaitivu attempted to place a ban on ceremonies commemorating the events of May 18, on the grounds that they may adversely affect “the country’s integrity, national security and the peace of the nation,” reported The Tamil Guardian.
The International Truth and Justice Project, a transitional justice group in the country, condemned the attempted ban.

The Sinhalese state on the other hand denies both deflated and inflated numbers. For them no one died. Especially no Tamils.

The lives of 146,679 can be reduced to 40,000 within the blink of an eye.

While U.N. figures posit that 40,000 Tamils were killed eight years ago in the battle that drew the civil war to a close, many advocates say the number was closer to around 150,000.
The conflict began in 1983 when the LTTE launched an insurgency against the country’s majority Sinhalese population, which many Tamils view as a military occupation of Tamil land.
As in many parts of the world, Britain sowed the seeds for the current majoritarian Sinhala ideology, during its colonial rule of the island in the mid-20th century. The British also trained Lankan security forces prior to and during the course of the civil war.