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Re: GWB's State of the Union Address

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  • bobutne
    A couple of related questions: Would Secretary Powell have visited Gabon and Angola and would US troops be occupying Iraq if those nations did not possess
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 3, 2005
      A couple of related questions:

      Would Secretary Powell have visited Gabon and Angola and would US
      troops be occupying Iraq if those nations did not possess significant
      oil reserves?

      Has the label "terrorism" replaced "communism" as the raison detre
      for the US to undertake any extraordinary military or other
      international, non-sanctioned action or even to curb the
      Constitutional rights of its own citizens?

      Will president Omar Bongo relax his hold on the Gabonese press and
      open his country to totally free elections?

      --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "Francois Gouahinga"
      <francois@e...> wrote:
      > Hello all,
      > "Does the President really mean to follow through what he is
      declaring as US
      > foreign policy or is it a valiant attempt to justify our actions in
      > I doubt Presidnet Bush will engage in further belligerence.
      > First thing to note in that regard is the absence of the word SUDAN
      in all
      > of the State of the Union Address. By many accounts, that's the
      > pressing issue of the moment besides Iraq's exit strategy. (State
      > spokesman Richard Boucher confirmed on this past Tuesday that
      a "genocide"
      > has been going on in the Darfur...)
      > I do not think such omittal was accidental; rather, Rove and other
      > speechwriters knew perfectly they had to steer away from a
      situation that
      > has the potential to turn into a new Somalia.
      > Americans might have grown to tolerate the Iraq war, but it is
      clear that no
      > one (not even the Neo-cons) is likely to even envision a new
      deployment, be
      > it in Sudan or anywhere else.
      > "Will President Omar Bongo be affected by the new US foreign
      > Absolutely impossible.
      > As a matter of fact, Gabon-US relations are far more promising now,
      with a
      > lot of behind-the-scenes negotiations that have been going on since
      > Secretary Powell's visit to Libreville last year (and the
      > subsequent visit at the White House).
      > Also, this becomes apparent when one considers the fact that the
      > Jean Ping wouldn't have made it to the Presidency of the UN General
      > (unopposed) had it not been for the backing of the United States.
      > Last, the US Government certainly appreciates President Bongo's
      > mediation in sub-regional conflicts, including Cote d'Ivoire.
      > As I see it, President Bongo's approval ratings at the White House
      are at
      > their highest. And this time, he'll get my vote as well.
      > Francois Gouahinga
    • dupont3@juno.com
      Yes Gabon is more secure under President Bongo but who says that the US is more secure with Bush? Actually, quite the contrary has happened under Bush s
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 3, 2005
        Yes Gabon is more secure under President Bongo but who says that the US is more secure with Bush? Actually, quite the contrary has happened under Bush's leadership. Since he became President we have been living our daily lives under the threat of terrorism and this is the way that Bush wants it to be. He is able to stay in power by instilling fear in the hearts of Americans. All the things that we know about the major terrorist events that have happened under Bush's watch have been fueled by American propaganda. The Bush administration is a massive propaganda machine that has torn the country apart.
        It is wrong to say that we are moving in the direction of Bongo of Gabon. Our government wrote the book and has far surpassed anything that President Bongo can dream up. Our media is free to twist any story as long as the price is right. We are now proceeding to gobble up whole countries with this freedom & democracy scam.
        The path that President Kennedy put our country on has long been ripped up and shredded. I now look for other countries to step up and shine the light on a new path.


        -- "bobutne" <bobutne@...> wrote:

        Agree that democracy is no guarantee of good governance nor are all
        dictators terrible leaders. The US has a long record of conveniently
        ignoring the worst dictators (as long as they are in the
        US/capitalistic camp) and overturning a number of democratically
        chosen leaders. Our military/industrial/political complex has
        regularly run amuck.

        Ike was aware of this dilemma and Kennedy, too. WW 2/post-WW 2 was
        our zenith as great international stewards on this planet. Since
        then, we, also, have accelerated our raping of the environment in our
        greed to consume, consume and consume. Bigger is better with no
        limits to our avarice.

        President Omar Bongo is quite an enigma. The tighter he controls all
        of Gabon the more secure is the nation from outsiders and "insurgent"
        insiders and the less free are its inhabitants. I fear that the US is
        rapidly moving in the same direction....

        --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "dupont3@j..." <dupont3@j...>
        > Well one way is to not go on about Jesus Christ as if you are some
        kind of religious extremist. Crusades do not make the world a better
        place and violence in defence of religious values is wrong. . When a
        so-called born again Christian starts a war like the Iraq war with
        all the killing and torture that it has involved, then you know that
        something is not right with his religious beliefs. Religion and
        politics do not mix.
        > That is one of the reasons why I support President Bongo of Gabon.
        Because I really believe that stability is the most important quality
        of good governance. The US with its CIA and covert operations has
        caused so much instability and violence around the world that it
        seems like the ability to stay out of wars and govern effectively is
        a long lost art in our times.
        > Ciao,
        > dupont
        > -- SUPORTLINK@a... wrote:
        > Bob:
        > Your "points" are good, but it is NOT NOVEMBER, 1962, anymore.
        > I truly wish our nation, our people (both young & old), and our
        MORALS were
        > the same as they were when we arrived in New York City on
        Thanksgiving Day,
        > 1962, to start the Gabon I Peace Corps project.
        > Do you have any ideas as to how we can "return" to NOVEMBRT, 1962?
        I know
        > that I do, but I would be very interested in knowing your
        > Jackson.
        > Yours Truly,
        > Larry R. Jackson, Support Links Services
        > 3700 Buchanan Ave., Space #68
        > Riverside, CA 92503
        > Phone: (951) 273-1776.....Fax: (951) 273-1755
        > Cell: (951) 850-8596
        > Web site: _www.SupLnk.com_ (http://www.suplnk.com/)
        > "Failure Is Not An Option In This Lifetime!"
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > ___________________________________________________________________
        > Speed up your surfing with Juno SpeedBand.
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        Yahoo! Groups Links

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      • bobutne
        LIBREVILLE, 4 February (IRIN) - For years young boys and girls have been trafficked into Gabon from all over West Africa for use as child labour in this
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 4, 2005
          LIBREVILLE, 4 February (IRIN) - For years young boys and girls have
          been trafficked into Gabon from all over West Africa for use as child
          labour in this relatively affluent oil-producing country. But
          finally, there are signs that the government is starting to crack
          down on the practice.

          Gabon passed a law against trafficking and child exploitation in
          2002, but the first police roundup of child traffickers and their
          victims only took place on the 24 January - nearly three years later.

          The authorities arrested 60 young people from Benin, Togo, Nigeria,
          Ghana and Niger, along with 20 of their suspected adult employers,
          who were all immigrants from West Africa themselves.

          The youths, ranging in age from eight to 26, were taken into care
          prior to being reunited with their families.

          But to the disappointment of childrens' rights activists,
          the "uncles" and "guardians" to whom they were forced to surrender
          their earnings, were released from custody three days later.

          Those fighting for children's rights in Gabon complain that the
          police and border officials are only too happy to turn a blind eye to
          child labourers being brought into the country, whether by canoe
          along the coast from Equatorial Guinea, or by air into the
          international airport of the capital Libreville.

          "As long as the traffickers are not punished, the children who are
          sent back home will continue to fall back into the trade," said
          Kristian Laubejerg, the resident representative of the United Nations
          Children's Fund (UNICEF).

          He demanded a meeting with Labour Minister Jean Boniface Assele, as
          soon as he heard about the suspected child traffickers being released
          en masse.

          "Better coordination is needed for a nation wide operation that can
          take the traffickers by surprise," he said. "The police involved in
          the January round-up just didn't have the training required."

          Although the employment of children under the age of 16 was forbidden
          by law three years ago, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Child
          Protection estimates that 25,000 children have been smuggled into
          Gabon from other Western African countries to work as maids, street
          hawkers and sex workers. Of these, it reckons, 7,000 are living in
          conditions of virtual slavery. UNICEF officials say privately that
          they reckon the number of trafficked children in Gabon is even

          They are to be found everywhere on the streets of Libreville, hawking
          goods as petty traders and selling their bodies for sex. Leila Ablavi
          told IRIN she was 10 years old and came from Togo. She said she
          worked from morning till night selling biscuits and yoghurt, taking
          the equivalent of between six and 10 US dollars per day.

          But Ablavi said she did not keep any of the money for herself. It all
          went to her "guardian." And she added that she had to be careful to
          about the police. "Often when we are around the administrative
          buildings, the municipal police chase after us and emty our pots into
          the street. It is difficult then to go back home and explain how I
          lost all the things I was suppose to be selling," she explained.

          Another girl, who said she was 14 but looked much younger, said she
          was better treated. "I sell well and my guardians don't treat me too
          badly -' but they get worried whenever I become ill!" she laughed

          Several of these young street sellers told IRIN that they were beaten
          frequently. "There are still almost as many child labourers who are
          deprived of their rights as there were previously," complained
          Gregoire Houndayi, a UNICEF consultant in this oil-rich country of
          1.2 million people which has attracted hordes of immigrants. "They
          continue to work in the streets of Libreville or in households
          despite the prevention measures adopted to eradicate this practice in
          the country," he added.

          Children's rights activists say the youngsters are typically taken
          from poor families. Their parents are told that they are going to a
          better life, to live with a family that will give them opportunities
          and education. Sometimes money changes hands before they leave home.

          The family is often promised a proportion of the child's monthly
          wages, but this is seldom paid. And the children, although they
          receive rudimentary board and lodging, seldom receive any money

          Most of the 60 youngsters picked up in the January police raid in
          Libreville have been reunited with their families. But 21 had no
          identification papers and were sent to live in hostels while their
          families were traced.

          Justin Nguema who runs one such hostel, the Agondje Centre, said
          child protection laws are not taken seriously in Gabon.

          "The maltreatment of children is a crime against humanity in Europe,
          but here in Africa it has been treated as little more than an
          administrative matter," he told IRIN.

          Flora, who is 13 comes from Benin. She told IRIN had been working as
          a maid for a Gabonese family in Libreville for about a year before
          she was brought to the Agondje child rescue centre.

          "I was brought to the Agondje Centre by the brother of a friend who
          could not bare to see me being beaten. He helped me run away from the
          house one Sunday when they had all gone to a family party," she said.

          The Agondje centre is helping Flora to trace her family through the
          Beninese embassy. She wants to go home.

          The Minister for Social Affairs and Child Protection, Angelique
          Ngoma, admits that more vigourous action is needed to clamp down on
          child trafficking.

          "It is time to establish firm strategies to put a definitive stop to
          this social ill which hits hard at the conscience of our country.
          From now on the state will no longer tolerate such practices," she

          Children's rights activists said girls were in higher demand than
          boys, since they were considered more docile and showed greater

          Furthermore, as they get older, girls can be exploited more
          profitably as prostitutes or sold off into polygamous marriages.

          Health Minister Paulette Missambo said she knew child trafficking was
          a deeply entrenched problem in Gabon, but she blamed the big gap in
          income between the haves and have-nots in West Africa for its
          continued existence.

          "Children from various countries in West Africa arrive in Gabon in
          inhuman conditions and are exploited by adults whose own children go
          to school," she admitted. "This is a hideous practice which is
          totally at odds with our traditions and our legislation. It is a
          scandal that nothing, neither extreme poverty, nor the uncontrolled
          thirst for easy money can justify."

          But pychologist Gatien Mba said that importing child labour to do the
          menial jobs that local people could no longer be bothered with had
          become "anchored in the traditions of Gabon" since the country's rise
          as an oil producer in the 1960s.

          Christian Kouadjo, a mechanic from Benin, told IRIN that child
          trafficking was widely accepted amongst the poor in his own country.

          "We come from a country with a commercial tradition of trading in
          children – it's part of our way of life. Children have to work to
          assure their survival," he said.
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