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An article posted on the CNN website today revealed that previously secret memoranda publicly released today, which had been obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, showed that the US Department of Justice worked hand in hand with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to justify methods of interrogation that were historically recognized as torture.
A week of riots and clashes sparked in the capital as the government attempted to raise fuel prices by 50%. Mozambique is often unheard of in international news, but a week of violent riots in Maputo leaving 100 injured and four dead were enough to bring the world's poorest country to the headlines. The fuel price jump was proposed as a response to the 14% rise in diesel fuel costs. Food prices have also experienced an increase due to the rise in fuel costs. The reason that riots erupted was not only because of rising fuel costs, but mainly because of the low wages that people in Mozambique make. The more interesting question may be why is Mozambique so poor and why would the government seek a 50% increase in price to meet the demand?
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is the Zimbabwean political party focused on promoting democracy in a country where it has become very dangerous to associate with politics. Formed as an opposition party to the Zimbabwean African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which is led by current President Robert Mugabe, the MDC brings together a number of civil society groups. The MDC is now labeled as a terrorist organization by Mugabe's government, political activists are regularly beaten and arrested, and known members of the MDC disappear. The MDC front webpage tells of three recent deaths of people closely affiliated with the MDC. The site notes that this is becoming an all too common.
In an article written by a Washington Post blogger and later briefly analyzed and linked to on the Foreign Policy website, the new Africa Command, which has been created to supposedly focus on the globe's most neglected region, approved by Donald Rumsfeld, will be operational within two months. Some say this mark an important change in US policy more focused on preventative measures rather than Cold War posturing. Currently there are five commands, three of those split the African region. It has been suggested that the creation of the Africa Command will allow a single organization for agencies like the State Department and CIA. Now stop, the State Dpet. and CIA? The last time US military was based in Africa was during World War II. More recently the CIA has been involved on the continent throughout the Cold War and, I am fairly certain, currently. Through the US government the CIA did some 'wonderful' work: propping up numerous "democratic" dictators (Milton Obote and Idi Amin in Uganda) and assassinating a true democratic african leader, Lumumba in Zaire (DRC), and setting another dictator, Mobutu, in his place. These are just a few examples of the track record of the US military and CIA on the African continent, not to mention the misguided attempts in Somalia and the fearful neglect of the Rwandan genocide. The US military has many links to rebel movements and the put-down of rebel movements in roughly six African countries since 1990.
Africa is a land of mystery and wonder; a land of the ancient kingdoms and beginnings of civilization; of untamed, giant beasts; of fascinating peoples and cultures; a beautiful sunset in a picture; a special on the national geographic channel; of exotic and wild scenes, a battlefield of innocents; tyrants, and neo-colonizers; a vast expanse of poverty, disease, and hunger. Africa is a continent of grand beauty and awe, but also a continent of excruciating pain and strife; a land of needless death and equally of vibrant life.