– Femi Fani-Kayode
In an attempt to apprehend the 30 year old American whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a plane that was carrying the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was diverted to Austria on its way back to Bolivia from Russia. France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, based on intelligence reports from the Americans, closed their airspace to the plane because they believed that Snowden was on it and that he was being secretly smuggled back to Bolivia.
This was a plane that was part of the Bolivian state’s Presidential fleet and that was carrying the President of that country. Bolivia is a sovereign state which is not at war with anyone. This act was not only grossly disrespectful to the Bolivian state but it also violated international law and all the norms and rules of international diplomacy and decency. It was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention on international flights which says that the aircraft of the leader of any sovereign state has immunity and cannot be treated in such a manner. To make matters worse the Presidential plane was searched and President Morales, by his own words, was treated as if he were nothing more than a ”common criminal”. I would have to agree with the Bolivian Vice President that in actual fact Morales was actually ”kidnapped by America, her European allies and the forces of imperialism”.
He was eventually released and allowed to fly home but up until then President Morales was holed up at the airport in Vienna for no less than nine hours even though it immediately became clear to all that Snowden was not on his plane. This was a truly shameful episode. When the Americans and their allies treat leaders from the smaller and weaker nations of the world in such a way simply because those nations and those leaders have stood up for truth and justice and have resisted their ignoble quest to persecute the innocent and conquer the world it diminishes us all.
From this incident alone it ought to be clear to every right-thinking and discerning person that America, under President Barack Obama, is a nation that has literally been driven mad by its own paranoia and obsessions and that is completely drunk on power. Their ultimate objective is to control the entire world and to impose their will on each and every one of us.
I commend the courage of those truly progressive nations and leaders that have condemned the Americans and their allies on this issue, that have defied American imperialism and that have stood up for Snowden for exposing the illegal and immoral acts of the Obama administration. These nations include Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, Iran and a number of other countries. I also commend some of the key figures in the opposition political parties in Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Norway, Finland, Australia, India, Brazil and a number of other countries and Julian Assange’s Wikileaks organization for standing by Snowden as well and I commend Russia and China for refusing to hand him over to America. Both Nicaragua and Venezuala have now offered asylum to him and the Scandanavian nation of Iceland has gone even further by actually considering the possibility of conferring Icelandic citizenship on him even though he has never set his foot on their soil and even whilst he is still in hiding in Russia. It is the courage of those world leaders that are strong enough and that have cultivated the fortitude, the resolve, the decency and the humanity to rise up to the occasion, to stand up for the weak and defenceless and to look the American bully in the eye and say ”thus far and no further” that keeps the rest of us going.
Yet the revelations of the excesses the American state did not stop there. During the course of the week they were also caught spying on some of their own European friends. The fact that the American National Security Agency (aka ”No Such Agency”) have bugged the telephones and internet activities of government officials, government buildings and foreign embassies of their closest allies in the world was brought to the attention of the international community. The Europeans, quite rightly, have not taken the matter lightly. The reaction of the French President, Francois Hollande, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has been one of absolute outrage and each and every one of them have wholeheartedly condemned the behaviour of the Americans in very harsh terms. They even went as far as to suggest that this matter could affect the massive deal on trade that the two economic powerhouses were about to begin negotiations on. All these illegal acts and dark secrets by the American state were exposed by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the new PRISM system that the Obama administration is now using to spy on every single individual that has a phone and that is on the internet and every government in the world.
The implications of this are frightful and obvious to even the dullest amongst us. It sounds like a scene from George Orwell’s book titled ”1984”. And frankly speaking it is disgraceful. Such is the angst that even the most powerful intellectuals and true patriots in America itself such as the celebrated author Professor Naom Chomsky and the revered film producer Oliver Stone have condemned it. On July 4th at the Karlovy Vay International Film Festival Oliver Stone said ”it is a disgrace that Obama is more concerned with hunting down Snowden than reforming these George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques. To me Snowden is a hero because he revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment. He should be welcomed and offered asylum but he has no place to hide because every country is intimidated by the United States. This should not be. This is what is wrong with the world today. And it is very important that the world recognises and gives asylum to Snowden. Everyone in the world is impacted by the United States’ Big Brother attitude towards the world. We need countries to say no to the United States”. These are courageous words spoken by a true American patriot. And in my view he is absolutely right.
Where are the defenders of America and the Obama-lovers now? Will they seek to defend this illegal, despicable and treacherous act of the Americans who have shown that they are prepared to go as low as to spy on even their own allies as well? I say shame on them and kudos to Snowden. He has exposed the illegal and indefensible acts of the American state and he has proved to the world that they seek to secretly watch, monitor and record the activities of every single non-American on the planet. It is left to the rest of us to either resign our fate to God and accept it sheepishly or to resist it as best as we can with our loud protests until we get our privacy and our security back. I am deeply encouraged by the fact that even our very own President Goodluck Jonathan was also taken aback by this appalling spying scandal and that, through one of his officials, he actually cultivated the courage to ”warn the Americans” about their unacceptable excesses and spying ways.
This brings me to the issue of Obama’s visit to Africa. There can be little doubt that when President George W. Bush was in power he did a lot for Africa with his President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR) initiative which pumped in millions of dollars that saved the lives of millions of Africans and protected them from AIDS. He also provided more financial aid and grants to African countries than any American President that ever came before him and he supported Nigeria’s bid for debt relief and debt cancellation between 2005 and 2007. Quite apart from that he fully implemented the provisions of the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) which helped African businesses to grow, created jobs and wealth and reduced poverty on our continent by opening up the lucrative American market to some of our consumer and agricultural products. These are just some of the things that George W. Bush did for Africa. By way of contrast President Barack Obama has done next to nothing for us and has in fact dramatically reduced American aid, trade and support for our continent.
It is ironic that Bush, who has no links with Africa and who is a conservative Republican, did so much for us whilst Obama, who is of African descent and who is a liberal Democrat, has done very little. Other than a relatively paltry pledge of 7 billion USD for the generation of power on a continent which is home to over 500 million people and in which there are 53 independent countries, the only things that Obama appears to want to export to Africa are “homosexual rights”, “same sex marriage”, “same sex parenting”, drones and drone bases, AFRICOM and the PRISM spying system. His utter disdain and contempt for Nigeria in particular, though cleverly veiled, is interesting and significant. Despite our size, our standing and our relative strength on the African continent he has snubbed us twice on his two visits to Africa by not coming here. Worse still he has simply refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation even though they have butchered no less than 5000 Nigerians in the last two years (including 42 schoolchildren and their teacher on 5th of July 2013 and numerous others since May) and even though he has put a bounty on the heads of three of it’s leaders. Why the contradiction? If the leaders of Boko Haram are terrorists then surely the whole organisation is a terrorist one as well. Had Boko Haram been responsible for the deaths of even one American anywhere in the world I have little doubt that the following day they would have been officially designated terrorists by the Obama administration. Yet that courtesy has not been extended to us even though thousands of our people have been slaughtered by that same organisation in just two years.
The question is why the double standards? Is our blood not red as well? Are our lives not as important as that of others? If Al Shabab in East Africa, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in Algeria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Qaeda in the north African Sahel and in the Middle East, the Mehdi Army in Iraq, Abu Sayyaf in the Phillipines, the Janjaweed in the Sudan, the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda, Hamas in Gaza, Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, the Islamic International Brigade in Chechnya and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan are labelled as terrorist organisations by the Americans then why is Boko Haram of Nigeria exempt from that same label? These are just some of the contradictions of Barack Obama when it comes to his policies and attitude to Nigeria. Yet his attitude towards us is nothing new. Between 2005 and 2007 whilst he was still in the Senate, he was one of the few American senators who openly opposed the campaign for debt relief for our country. Thankfully despite his opposition we still got that debt relief and by 2007 Nigeria had paid off all her foreign debts.
Yet we are a very generous, forgiving and large-hearted people. Despite Obama’s indifference and his lukewarm attitude towards us the African people generally, and the Nigerian people particularly, continue to idolise him and slobber all over him as if he were the Messiah Himself, citing the fact that he is a black man, that he is ”one of us”, that he has a beautiful Pepsodent smile, that he is ”drop-dead gorgeous” and that he is a great orator that delivers brilliant and inspirational speeches as some of their reasons for doing so. Goodness me. What a country and what a people we are! Those that are moved by Obama’s Adonis-like looks and engaging oratory forget that Adolf Hitler delivered beautiful, inspiring and powerful speeches as well and that he was idolised in a similar fashion by the German people until he showed them his true colours. Of course by that time it was too late and 50 million people, including 6 million Jews and 20 million Russians, were killed as a consequence of Nazi aggression and World War 11. So much for powerful oratory and beautiful speeches.
For those amongst our people that still insist on fawning over Obama the questions are as follows. Do we have to bring sentiment into everything? When will we be governed by our heads and not by our hearts and our emotions? When will we appreciate the fact that a man ought to be judged by what he does and not by the colour of his skin or by what he says? They say that actions speak louder than words. Is that truism totally lost on us? Some say Obama is the ”saviour of the world” and the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet the same Obama has killed over 4000 innocent women, children and civilians in secret drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last 4 years. This represents a 200 per cent increase in the number of civilians that George W. Bush killed with similar drone attacks in the same area in the period of 8 years.
The same ”saviour” Obama is supporting the most ruthless brand of wahabbi-inspired, Al Qaeda, Islamist, Salifist and jihadist forces in Syria who call themselves ”Syrian rebels” but who are in actual fact nothing more than a bunch of heartless and cannibalistic beasts that slaughter women, children, moderate Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Christians, secularists, priests, nuns, ethnic minorities and anyone else that does not share their barbarous world view. They do not just kill their victims but they go a step further by cutting out and eating their hearts, organs and private parts after they have done so in the full glare of television cameras. These ”people” are Obama’s friends.
As a final pointer saviour Obama has just appointed Ambassador Susan Rice as his very own National Security Advisor. She is the pretty lady that flew to Nigeria and served our very own President-elect MKO Abiola a strange cup of tea at a secret meeting on July 7 1998 after which he coughed violently and dropped dead before her very eyes and at her very feet. Perhaps we should all take a moment to ponder on the implications of that. Saviour Obama must love us very much. With friends like him who needs enemies?
Permit me to end this contribution with a word on Egypt. Nothing exposes the sheer duplicity, deceit and doublespeak of saviour Obama more than his attitude and words about the tumultuous events that occurred in Egypt last week. Robert Fisk, the celebrated columnist with the U.K’s Independent Newspaper, captured it all very well in a brilliant article titled ”When A Military Coup Is Not A Military Coup”. He wrote ”For the first time in the history of the world a coup is not a coup. The army take over, depose and imprison the democratically-elected President, suspend the constitution, arrest the usual suspects, close down the television stations and mass their armour in the streets of the capital. But the word ”coup” does not- and cannot- cross the lips of the Blessed Barack Obama”. Fisk has hit the nail on the head. ”Blessed” indeed. May God deliver our world from ”saviour” Obama.