Saturday, May 24, 2003

British troops lose war trauma case

British veterans from conflicts in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the Gulf who claim they were left traumatised by the horrors of war lost a legal battle for compensation. A High Court judge in London ruled against the veterans, many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and who had accused the defence ministry of failing to adequately care for them, for more information click here.

Mugabe 23 years in power

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in power for 23 years, has called for an open debate on his succession within the ruling ZANU-PF party. Addressing a rally on Thursday in Mount Darwin, 150 km northeast of the capital, Harare, Mugabe said debate should be encouraged instead of party leaders campaigning clandestinely, click for more details.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Mental Health in Situations of Political Violence and Disaster

Currently, I am in Madrid teaching at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for the GAC-Grupo de Acción Comunitaria which is part of the Centro de Recursos en Salud Mental y Derechos Humanos . I thought it may be useful to highlight the course offered by the group, which, to my knowledge, is very unique. It is entitled "Salud Mental en Situaciones de Violencia Política y Catástrofe" (Mental Health in Situations of Political Violence and Disaster), which is very impressive in its reach and courses offered.

Victims, Perpetrators and Healers at the TRC

by Trevor Lubbe (Cape Town)

The focal point of this paper will be to describe a piece of work I undertook for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa during April 1996. This involved facilitating a group of TRC staff during the very first week of the public hearings. I would like to use this group experience to highlight some of the difficulties that arise in a specialised truth-seeking process of this kind, and in order to understand some of these difficulties I have drawn upon some ideas from psychoanalytic practice – which is also a truth-seeking enterprise of sorts, and which also brings in the past as part of its healing objective. Of course while analytic concepts can be used to illuminate other areas of inquiry it also the case that terms like truth-seeking, forgiveness, reconciliation are not commonplace in psychoanalytic discourse, though the term reparation has some currency when discussing the aims of psychoanalysis.

Read more,click here.

Recognition and Reckoning- The way ahead on victims issues

Book Launch
Recognition and Reckoning- The way ahead on victims issues
Democratic Dialogue, Report 15

How to address the needs of the victims of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland remains a question as salient today as when the ‘peace process’ began in the early 1990s. In April 2002, the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister launched a victim strategy, Reshape Rebuild Achieve. This aims to ‘deliver practical help and services’ to victims. Democratic Dialogue convened a round table in December 2002 to evaluate the progress of the strategy. A range of victim groups, statutory and voluntary agencies and experts in the field participated. Recognition and Reckoning consists of contributions from influential policy-makers, practioners and academics made at the round table. It is essential reading for anyone trying to fully understand the complexities of Northern Ireland’s past and dealing with the perplexing long-term issues at its core.At the press launch of Recognition and Reckoning contributors to the report will share their perspectives. Inputs from: Prof Roy McClelland, Chair Healing Through Remembering Project, and Alan McBride and Patricia MacBride, Victim Representatives on the Civic Forum.

Download Report

Date: 3 June 2003 Time: 12 noon Venue:Europa Hotel, Belfast
R.S.V.P Ellen Finlay Tel: 02890220050 Fax: 02890220051 Email:

Thursday, May 22, 2003

McCarthy hearings online

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has published all of the transcripts of executive sessions held while Senator Joseph R. McCarthy chaired the subcommittee from 1953 to 1954. Publication of the transcripts, which marks the 50th anniversary of the hearings, constitutes the opening of the largest collection of documents related to McCarthy’s anti-Communist investigations.

With the subcommittee’s authorization, the Senate Historical Office edited the 160 transcripts—which contain testimony from over 500 witnesses—into a five-volume series published by the Government Printing Office (GPO). The Historical Office reviewed the transcripts, deleting nothing; prepared editorial notes; and created an index. The original records are available at the Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration. The entire text of these transcripts (S.Prt. 107-84) is available online, or may be borrowed from your local depository library.

View Here

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Visa Holders Face Extra Scrutiny

"Foreign visitors arriving with visas at U.S. airports or seaports next year will have their travel documents scanned, their fingerprints and photos taken and their identification checked against terrorist watch lists... The system will be enhanced later, possibly to include iris scans or facial recognition technology" - from a report in Wired News.

Monday, May 19, 2003

South African New Economics Network

SANE - The South African New Economics Network: "An independent network for the creation of a humane, just, sustainable and culturally appropriate economic system in South Africa"

Scholars Feel Helpless as They See Their Campus Destroyed

Scary article in New York Times today about the destruction of Basra University.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Job growth in the US under all Presidents

Below is a scorecard of job growth in the US under all Presidents since H. Truman.

Clinton First Term: 242,000 jobs gained per month
Clinton Second Term: 235,000 jobs gained per month
Reagan Second Term: 224,000 jobs gained per month
Carter: 218,000 jobs gained per month
Johnson: 206,000 jobs gained per month
Nixon First Term: 129,000 jobs gained per month
Kennedy: 122,000 jobs gained per month
Truman Second Term: 113,000 jobs gained per month
Reagan First Term: 109,000 jobs gained per month
Nixon/Ford : 105,000 jobs gained per month
Truman First Term: 60,000 jobs gained per month
Eisenhower First Term: 58,000 jobs gained per month
G. Bush: 52,000 jobs gained per month
Eisenhower Second Term: 15,000 jobs gained per month
G.W. Bush : 69,000 jobs LOST per month

Posted on Radioleft (, 13 May 2003

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Orgnet analysis of politics debate

After a recent on-line discussion about politics and political books in America, this analysis tells is what our book buying patterns reveal about us? Interesting, see Orgnet.Com. Thanks to Andie for making me aware of this.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

See a review for H-SAfrica of Lyn S. Graybill, Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model? Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002, ISBN 1-58826-057-7 by Verne Harris.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Clarion call on debt and reparations now

Clarion call to the people of South Africa on debt and reparations now, 16 April 2003

Today on the occasion of the final statement made by the President of South Africa on the matter of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Reparations, Jubilee South Africa and Khulumani Support Group wish to make the following call to the people of our country:

1. Our organisations comprise the mass movement of the people of our land who continue to bare brunt of the on going assault on our lives engineered and orchestrated by the system of racial capitalism, sometimes called apartheid. Our people live not with a mere legacy from the past; rather the past lives on in their daily lives in a multitude of ways. In this regard the question of the economic system set up by apartheid and the part played by debt in it is a fundamental problem contained in the process of the ongoing redistribution of wealth in our country from the poor to the rich.

2. We note with concern the gigantic retreat taken by our President today in his conclusion of the work of the TRC. We have no doubt hat the corporations in this country will find these provisions totally in ine with the economic system whose practice continues in the present. Our organisations will continue in the coming period to look for ways of reconstructing the given provisions in the interest of the poor. This applies to the 22 000 victims of crime who appeared before the TRC; many more others who are members of Khulumani; and millions of others who continue to bare the social chains set off by racial capitalism.

3. Our organisations note the position expressed by our President in relation to the civil suits currently before the courts in the USA. We will continue to debate these issues in a democratic spirit at all levels of social engagement in this country, certainly among ourselves, our labour unions, our youth formations, our women's organisations, our faith bodies, our social movements as well as the structures of national governance. We have no doubt that the justice of our belief in ensuring the advancement of corrective, political, social and judicial measures in reply to apartheid crimes will ultimately triumph.

4. Our current civil suits target foreign corporations. To the local corporations within the borders of our country we say; we would not prefer to deal with you in a court of law whether it be a foreign or a local court. Our preferences is to call on you to use this moment so the purpose of opening up a meaningful dialogue with our organisations in achieving the following outcomes:

  • Acknowledgement of guilt
  • Devising public processes of redress
  • Searching for a human rights driven process of investment
  • Reconstructing economic alternatives in South Africa whose aim is to invert the process of redistribution to make it flow from the rich to the poor
  • Constructing models of bringing immediate relief to the pressure of poverty on our people as the basis of ensuring a process of eradicating poverty

5. To this end Khulumani Support Group and Jubilee South Africa are convening a national conference at a date and venue to be announced soon in order to allow the ordinary citizens of our land concretely to prepare an alternative position on reparations based on the stand we have taken in relation to foreign corporations. That specifically applies to South African corporations. This conference will designate a national process driven by the hand of ordinary citizens that will deal with the members of the business world in South Africa. Further it will serve to construct a process for reconciliation that denies the power of the past in our present.

Finally, the conference will designate a process of social mobilisation and political intervention that will not exclude the taking of South African companies to court if they are unwilling to address our platform.

Citizens of South Africa! The entire debt of racial capitalism consists in the extra judicial crimes of the apartheid system.

It also consists in these crimes which carved up our labour life; their mining, industrial and commercial system; their ghettos called locations, townships, homelands; their farm labour policies; their banking and financial systems; their internal debt as of 1993; their crimes against the ecology; their collarboration with the apartheid regime in illegal actions! This is the internal component of odius debt!

To the extent that these matters remain outstanding in the real work done by the TRC, and as concluded today, these continue to constitute the living social deficits caused by racial capitalism. The hour has now struck for the voice and hand of the people to guide our thoughts and actions on the question of reparations!

Issued by the National Executive Committee of Jubilee South Africa
Issued by the National Executive Committee of Khulumani Support Group
MP Giyose - National Chairperson of Jubilee South Africa
Ike Tlholwe - National Director of Khulumani Support Group

Monday, May 12, 2003

Evaluation of conflict resolution interventions

The evaluation of conflict resolution interventions – Part II: Emerging Practice and Theory. The evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding projects has arisen as a source of interest and concern throughout our field. To follow up on INCORE's previous work on this topic, an international meeting was held in Northern Ireland in July 2002. Practitioners, funders and evaluators who have been actively engaged in this work have raised a number of practical and theoretical challenges based on their own experiences. 'The Evaluation of Conflict Resolution Interventions, Part II: Emerging Practice and Theory' explores not only the challenges that have been encountered by those undertaking conflict resolution evaluation (CRE), but also some emerging considerations for improving our practice and our theoretical approaches. This report is available on-line. For hard copies of the report, please contact or phone Roisin O'Hagan 028 7137 5500.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Statement by Archbishop Ndungane on Reparations

Statement issued by Archbishop Ndungane on May 10th 2003

This morning I had the first informal meeting with representatives of Jubilee 2000, the Khulumani Group, the Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign, the Apartheid Claims Task Force, Mokoena attorneys and the SACC. The principle of dialogue rather than litigation was discussed and all groups are agreed that dialogue is the preferred course of action. The courts should be a last resort. Let us bear in mind that the case is being brought to the international courts by South Africans.

My intention is to pursue that course through dialogue and a way forward acceptable to all parties. What I do not want is the adverse publicity for our country that will result if we hang our dirty linen out in international forums. It is an absolute necessity for all the parties to come to the table. From what I heard from the claimants today it is imperative for me to seek a meeting with the business community and government to share what the claimants are saying. I believe they too will agree on the importance of dialogue.

The principle of restorative justice is a characteristic of our transition from apartheid to democracy. What these groupings are saying is that there can be no closure of our past without addressing the outstanding issues. It is my view that they need to be heard and certain issues need to be addressed so we can have a dignified ending to the whole matter and that all South African can work, with hope and shoulder to shoulder to build a
sustainable future for all.

Friday, May 9, 2003

Mines minister rejects use of US courts for reparations

Minerals and energy minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on Friday she "rejected" the use of United States courts in settling issues of reparations and justice in South Africa.

Mlambo-Ngcuka's rejection echoed President Thabo Mbeki's rejection of the same in Parliament last month when he stated that "the South African government is not, and will not, be party to such litigation".

In a statement issued by her office Mlambi-Ngcuka said she found it unacceptable that matters that are central to the future of the country should be adjudicated in foreign courts, which bore no responsibility for the well being of South Africans.

While the government recognised citizens' right to take civil action, the government was informed by the desire to involve all South Africans, including corporate citizens, in a co-operative and voluntary partnership to reconstruct and develop the South African society.

"Accordingly, the government does not believe that it would be correct to impose the once-off wealth tax."

The Minister added that nobody had "a right to impose a crisis on the people of South Africa, and to undermine the initiative to forge a process of reconciliation that caters for all the people of South Africa".

Although the statement did not say what litigation Mlambo-Ngcuka had in mind, her comments followed in the wake of the latest law suit against a South African company, this time Gold Fields.

The US7,4-million (approximately R53-million) lawsuit was filed by South African attorney John Ngecebetsha and US lawyer Ed Fagan.

Fagan came to prominence after securing compensation from Swiss banks for Holocaust victims.

According to media reports the suit was filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court on behalf of Zalumzi Singleton Mtwesi and more than 500 former employees of Gold Fields.

The suit claimed New York jurisdiction because the company does business in that country.

In it workers claimed they were "tortured, enslaved and poisoned with uranium."

Gold Fields has rejected the charges and disputes the jurisdiction of the US courts.

Fagan filed a similar suit against Anglo American in early April and against a slew of foreign banks and companies active in South Africa in the 1980s earlier in the year - Sapa

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Arms Dealing Northern Ireland and South Africa

As an organisation that works on peacebuilding in different countries, I thought it is worth noting that sometimes it is disturbing things that link worlds. I heard today that a Northern Ireland firm won the missile contract for South African arms spending. An air defence company in Belfast has won a multi-million pound contract to supply missiles to South Africa. It is the first export order won by the French owned Thales Air Defence for its short-range Starstreak missile system. The British army currently uses the system. The contract, with the South African defence forces is believed to be worth about £12m. See the BBC article.

Just received this from a concerned Northern Ireland citizen....

A satisfied Thabo Mbeki stated:

"We are delighted that Northern Ireland is so desperate for jobs that the government is prepared to provide generous grants to attract companies who make military arsenal to invest there. Some Northern Ireland residents are said to be dismayed to learn of this boost for a company they see as feeding the international war machine in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. However, as President of the United States of Southern Africa - whoops I mean president of South Africa, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure Northern Ireland people that this company in fact produces only weapons of moderate destruction, and not weapons of mass destruction at all. Weapons of moderate destruction only kill and maim hundreds of people at a time, not thousands, and injuries are always much more benign than those caused by weapons of mass destruction, so there is really no need to worry. Victims might lose an arm or a leg, or their whole family, but at least their skin won't turn purple and fall off (at least I don't think so). You can also be reassured by the fact that we have no intention of using the weapons we're buying anyway - but we would like to pull them out every now and then and polish them in front of the big guys we so desperately want to emulate and impress - you can understand that can't you? Surely? You know it makes sense.

Thabo Mbeki President USSA