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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 3

First Republic[edit]

Nigeria’s First Republic came into being on 1 October 1960. The first prime minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was a northerner and co-founder of the Northern People’s Congress. He formed an alliance with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons party, and its popular nationalist leader Nnamdi “Zik” Azikiwe, who became Governor General and then President. The Yoruba-aligned Action Group, the third major party, played the opposition role.[52]

Workers became increasingly aggrieved by low wages and bad conditions, especially when they compared their lot to the lifestyles of politicians in Lagos. Most wage earners lived in the Lagos area, and many lived in overcrowded dangerous housing. Labour activity including strikes intensified in 1963, culminating in a nationwide general strike in June 1964. Strikers disobeyed an ultimatum to return to work and at one point were dispersed by riot police. Eventually, they did win wage increases. The strike included people from all ethnic groups.[53] Retired Brigadier General H. M. Njoku later wrote that the general strike heavily exacerbated tensions between the Army and ordinary civilians, and put pressure on the Army to take action against a government which was widely perceived as corrupt.[54]

The 1964 elections, which involved heavy campaigning all year, brought ethnic and regional divisions into focus. Resentment of politicians ran high and many campaigners feared for their safety while touring the country. The Army repeatedly deployed to Tiv Division, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of Tiv people agitating for self-determination.[55][56]

Widespread reports of fraud tarnished the election’s legitimacy.[55] Westerners especially resented the political domination of the Northern People’s Congress, many of whose candidates ran unopposed in the election. Violence spread throughout the country and some began to flee the North and West, some to Dahomey.[57] The apparent domination of the political system by the North, and the chaos breaking out across the country, motivated elements within the military to consider decisive action.[58]

Britain maintained its economic hold on the country, through continued alliance and reinforcement of the Northern bloc. In addition to Shell-BP, the British reaped profits from mining and commerce. The British-owned United Africa Company alone controlled 41.3% of all Nigeria’s foreign trade.[59] At 516,000 barrels per day, Nigeria had become the tenth biggest oil exporter in the world.[60]

Military coups[edit]

On 15 January 1966, Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and other junior Army officers (mostly majors and captains) attempted a coup d’état. The two major political leaders of the north, the prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Premier of the northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello were executed by Major Nzeogwu. Also murdered was Sir Ahmadu Bello’s wife and officers of Northern extraction. Meanwhile, the President, Sir Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, was on an extended vacation in the West Indies. He did not return until days after the coup. There was widespread suspicion that the Igbo coup plotters had tipped him and other Igbo leaders off regarding the impending coup. In addition to the killings of the Northern political leaders, the Premier of the Western region, Ladoke Akintola and Yoruba senior military officers were also killed. The coup, also referred to as “The Coup of the Five Majors”, has been described in some quarters as Nigeria’s only revolutionary coup.[61] This was the first coup in the short life of Nigeria’s nascent second democracy. Claims of electoral fraud were one of the reasons given by the coup plotters.

This coup was however seen not as a revolutionary coup by other sections of Nigerians, especially in the Northern and Western sections and latter revisioninsts of Nigerian coups, mostly from Eastern part of Nigeria have belatedly maintained to widespread disbelief amongst Western and Southern Nigerians that the majors sought to spring Action Group leader Obafemi Awolowo out of jail and make him head of the new government. From there, they would dismantle the Northern-dominated power structure. However, their efforts to take power were thwarted by Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo and loyalist head of the Nigerian Army, who suppressed coup operations in the South. The majors surrendered, and Aguiyi-Ironsi was declared head of state on 16 January.[62][63]

Aguyi-Ironsi suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament. He then abolished the regional confederated form of government and pursued unitary like policies heitheto favoured by the NCNC, having apparently been influenced by some NCNC political philosophy. He, however, appointed Colonel Hassan Katsina, son of Katsina emir Usman Nagogo, to govern the Northern Region, indicating some willingness to maintain cooperation with this bloc.[64] He also preferentially released northern politicians from jail (enabling them to plan his forthcoming overthrow).[65] Aguyi-Ironsi rejected a British offer of military support but promised to protect British interests; however … Britain participated in overthrow?[66]

Ironsi fatally did not bring the failed plotters to trial as required by then-military law and as advised by most northern and western officers, rather, coup plotters were maintained in the military on full pay and some were even promoted while apparently awaiting trial. The coup, despite its failure and since no repercussion was meted out to coup plotters and since no significant Igbo political leaders were affected was widely perceived as having benefited mostly the Igbo. Most of the known coup plotters were Igbo and the military and political leadership of Western and Northern regions had been largely bloodily eliminated while Eastern military/political leadership was largely untouched. However Ironsi, himself an Igbo, was thought to have made numerous attempts to please Northerners. The other event that also fuelled the so-called “Igbo conspiracy” was the killing of Northern leaders, and the killing of the Brigader Ademulegun’s pregnant wife by the coup executioners. Despite the overwhelming contradictions of the coup being executed by mostly Northern soldiers (such as John Atom Kpera, later military governor of Benue State), the killing of Igbo soldier Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Unegbe by coup executioners, and Ironsi’s termination of an Igbo-led coup, the ease by which Ironsi stopped the coup led to suspicion that the Igbo coup plotters planned all along to pave the way for Ironsi to take the reins of power in Nigeria.

Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu became military governor of the Eastern Region at this time.[67] On 24 May 1966, the military government issued Unification Decree #34, which would have replaced the federation with a more centralised system. The Northern bloc found this decree intolerable.[68]

In the face of provocation from the Eastern media which repeatedly showed humiliating posters and cartoons of the slain northern politicians, on the night of 29 July 1966, northern soldiers at Abeokuta barracks mutinied, thus precipitating a counter-coup, which have already been in the planning stages. The counter-coup led to the installation of Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon as Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Gowon was chosen as a compromise candidate. He was a Northerner, a Christian, from a minority tribe, and had a good reputation within the army.

It seems that Gowon immediately faced not only a potential standoff with the East, but secession threats from the Northern and even the Western region.[69] The counter-coup plotters had considered using the opportunity to withdraw from the federation themselves. Ambassadors from Britain and the United States, however, urged Gowon to maintain control over the whole country. Gowon followed this plan, repealing the Unification Decree, announcing a return to the federal system.[70

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 2

Politics and economics of federalism[edit]

The British colonial ideology that divided Nigeria into three regions—North, West and East—exacerbated the already well-developed economic, political, and social differences among Nigeria’s different ethnic groups. The country was divided in such a way that the North had a slightly higher population than the other two regions combined. On this basis the Northern Region was allocated a majority of the seats in the Federal Legislature established by the colonial authorities. Within each of the three regions the dominant ethnic groups, the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo, respectively formed political parties that were largely regional and based on ethnic allegiances: the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) in the North; the Action Group in the West (AG); and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in the East. These parties were not exclusively homogeneous in terms of their ethnic or regional make-up; the disintegration of Nigeria resulted largely from the fact that these parties were primarily based in one region and one tribe. To simplify matters, we will refer to them here as the Hausa, Yoruba, and Ibo-based; or Northern, Western and Eastern parties.

The basis of modern Nigeria formed in 1914, when Britain amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates. Beginning with the Northern Protectorate, the British implemented a system of indirect rule of which they exerted influence through alliances with local forces. This system worked so well, Colonial Governor Frederick Lugard successfully lobbied to extend it to the Southern Protectorate through amalgamation. In this way, a foreign and hierarchical system of governance was imposed on the Igbos (along with many other smaller groups in the South.)[41] Intellectuals began to agitate for greater rights and independence.[42] The size of this intellectual class increased significantly in the 1950s, with the massive expansion of the national education program.[43] During the 1940s and 1950s the Igbo and Yoruba parties were in the forefront of the fight for independence from Britain. They also wanted an independent Nigeria to be organized into several small states so that the conservative North would not dominate the country. Northern leaders, fearful that independence would mean political and economic domination by the more Westernized elites in the South, preferred the perpetuation of British rule. As a condition for accepting independence, they demanded that the country continue to be divided into three regions with the North having a clear majority. Igbo and Yoruba leaders, anxious to obtain an independent country at all costs, accepted the Northern demands.

However, it would be wrong to state that the two Southern regions were politically or philosophically aligned and there was already discordance between the two Southern political parties. Firstly, the AG favoured a loose confederacy of regions in the emergent Nigerian nation whereby each region would be in total control of its own distinct territory. The status of Lagos was a sore point for the AG which did not want Lagos, a Yoruba town which was at that time the Federal Capital and seat of national government to be designated as the Capital of Nigeria if it meant loss of Yoruba Suzerainty. The AG insisted that Lagos, a Yoruba city situated in Western Nigeria must be completely recognised as a Yoruba town without any loss of identity, control or autonomy by the Yoruba. Contrary to this position, the NCNC was anxious to declare Lagos, by virtue of it being the “Federal Capital Territory” as “no man’s land” – a declaration which as could be expected angered the AG which offered to help fund the development of other territory in Nigeria as “Federal Capital Territory” and then threatened secession from Nigeria if it didn’t get its way. The threat of secession by the AG was tabled, documented and recorded in numerous constitutional conferences, including the constitutional conference held in London in 1954 with the demand that a right of secession be enshrined in the constitution of the emerging Nigerian nation to allow any part of the emergent nation to opt out of Nigeria, should the need arise.(Author(s): Tekena N. TamunoSource: The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Dec., 1970), pp. 563–584 [44] ) This proposal for inclusion of right of secession by the regions in independent Nigeria by the AG was rejected and resisted by NCNC which vehemently argued for a tightly bound united/unitary structured nation because it viewed the provision of a secession clause as detrimental to the formation of a Unitary Nigerian state. In the face of sustained opposition by the NCNC delegates, later joined by the NPC and backed by threats to view maintenance of the inclusion of secession by the AG as treasonable by the British, the AG was forced to renounce its position of inclusion of the right of secession a part of the Nigerian constitution. It should be noted that, had such a provision been made in the Nigerian constitution, later events which led to the Nigerian/Biafran civil war would have been avoided. The pre-independence alliance between the NCNC and the NPC against the aspirations of the AG would later set the tone for political governance of independent Nigeria by the NCNC/NPC and lead to disaster in later years in Nigeria.

[45] Northern–Southern tension manifested on 1 May 1953, as fighting in the Northern city of Kano.[46] The political parties tended to focus on building power in their own regions, resulting in an incoherent and disunified dynamic in the federal government.[47]

In 1946, the British divided the Southern Region into the Western Region and the Eastern Region. Each government was entitled to collect royalties from resources extracted within its area. This changed in 1956 when Shell-BP found large petroleum deposits in the Eastern region. A Commission led by Jeremy Raisman and Ronald Tress determined that resource royalties would now enter a “Distributable Pools Account” with the money split between different parts of government (50% to region of origin, 20% to federal government, 30% to other regions).[48] To ensure continuing influence, the British promoted unity in the Northern bloc and discord among and within the two Southern regions, as well as the creation of a new Mid-Western Region in an area with oil potential.[49] The new constitution of 1946 also proclaimed that “The entire property in and control of all mineral oils, in, under, or upon any lands, in Nigeria, and of all rivers, streams, and watercourses throughout Nigeria, is and shall be vested in, the Crown.”[50] Britain profited significantly from a fivefold rise in Nigerian exports amidst the postwar economic boom.[51]

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NIGERIA OCCURRENCES: Nigerian Civil War PART 1

The Nigerian Civil War, commonly known as the Biafran War (6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970), was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta played a vital strategic role.

Within a year, the Federal Government troops surrounded Biafra, capturing coastal oil facilities and the city of Port Harcourt. The blockade imposed during the ensuing stalemate led to severe famine. During the two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation.[29]

In mid-1968, images of malnourished and starving Biafran children saturated the mass media of Western countries. The plight of the starving Biafrans became a cause célèbre in foreign countries, enabling a significant rise in the funding and prominence of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Britain and the Soviet Union were the main supporters of the Nigerian government in Lagos, while France, Israel and some other countries supported Biafra. France and Israel provided weapons to both combatants.

Ethnic division[edit]

The civil war can be connected to the British colonial amalgamation in 1914 of Northern and Southern Nigeria. Intended for better administration due to the close proximity of these protectorates, the change did not account for the great difference in the cultures and religions of the peoples in each area. After the amalgamation, oil was discovered in Eastern Nigeria (now Southern Nigeria). Competition for its associated wealth led to the struggle for control amongst the regions. As southern Nigeria was not as united as the north, it was disadvantaged in the power struggle.[30] In July 1966 Northern officers staged a counter-coup to revenge on the easterners for the targeting their own political leaders in the first coup; Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon emerged as the head of state. During his tenure, killing of Easterners in the north continued; several retaliatory actions took place, eventually resulting in the Biafran war.[31]

Nigeria, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, had at that time a population of 60 million people, made up of more than 300 differing ethnic and cultural groups. More than fifty years earlier, the United Kingdom had carved an area out of West Africa containing hundreds of different ethnic groups and unified it, calling it Nigeria. The three predominant groups were the Igbo, which formed between 60–70% of the population in the southeast; the Hausa-Fulani, which formed about 65% of the population in the northern part of the territory; and the Yoruba, which formed about 75% of the population in the southwestern part. Although these groups have their own homelands, by the 1960s, the people were dispersed across Nigeria, with all three ethnic groups represented substantially in major cities. When the war broke out in 1967, there were still 5,000 Igbos in Lagos.[32]

The semi-feudal and Islamic Hausa-Fulani in the North were traditionally ruled by a feudal, conservative Islamic hierarchy consisting of Emirs who, in turn, owed their allegiance to a supreme Sultan. This Sultan was regarded as the source of all political power and religious authority.

The Yoruba political system in the southwest, like that of the Hausa-Fulani, also consisted of a series of monarchs, the Oba. The Yoruba monarchs, however, were less autocratic than those in the North. The political and social system of the Yoruba accordingly allowed for greater upward mobility, based on acquired rather than inherited wealth and title.

In contrast to the two other groups, the Igbo in the southeast lived mostly in autonomous, democratically organised communities, although there were eze or monarchs in many of the ancient cities, such as the Kingdom of Nri. In its zenith the Kingdom controlled most of Igbo land, including influence on the Anioma people, Arochukwu (which controlled slavery in Igbo), and Onitsha land. Unlike the other two regions, decisions within the Igbo communities were made by a general assembly in which men and women participated.[33]

The differing political systems among these three peoples reflected and produced divergent customs and values. The Hausa-Fulani commoners, having contact with the political system only through a village head designated by the Emir or one of his subordinates, did not view political leaders as amenable to influence. Political decisions were to be submitted to. As with all other authoritarian and liberal religious and political systems, leadership positions were given to persons willing to be subservient and loyal to superiors. A chief function of this political system in this context was to maintain conservative values, which caused many Hausa-Fulani to view economic and social innovation as subversive or sacrilegious.

In contrast to the Hausa-Fulani, the Igbo often participated directly in the decisions which affected their lives. They had a lively awareness of the political system and regarded it as an instrument for achieving their personal goals. Status was acquired through the ability to arbitrate disputes that might arise in the village, and through acquiring rather than inheriting wealth.[34] The Igbo had been substantially victimized in the Atlantic slave trade; in the year 1790 it was reported that of 20,000 people sold each year from Bonny, 16,000 were Igbo.[35] With their emphasis upon social achievement and political participation, the Igbo adapted to and challenged colonial rule in innovative ways.

These tradition-derived differences were perpetuated and perhaps enhanced by the British system of colonial rule in Nigeria. In the North, the British found it convenient to rule indirectly through the Emirs, thus perpetuating rather than changing the indigenous authoritarian political system. Christian missionaries were excluded from the North, and the area thus remained virtually closed to European cultural imperialism. By contrast the richest of the Igbo often sent their sons to British universities, thinking to prepare them to work with the British. During the ensuing years, the Northern Emirs maintained their traditional political and religious institutions, while reinforcing their social structure. At the time of independence in 1960, the North was by far the most underdeveloped area in Nigeria. It had an English literacy rate of 2%, as compared to 19.2% in the East (literacy in Ajami (local languages in Arabic script), learned in connection with religious education, was much higher). The West also enjoyed a much higher literacy level, as it was the first part of the country to have contact with western education, and established a free primary education program under the pre-independence Western Regional Government.[36][37]

In the South, the missionaries rapidly introduced Western forms of education. Consequently, the Yoruba were the first group in Nigeria to adopt Western bureaucratic social norms. They made up the first classes of African civil servants, doctors, lawyers, and other technicians and professionals.

In Igbo areas, missionaries were introduced at a later date because of British difficulty in establishing firm control over the highly autonomous Igbo communities.[38] However, the Igbo people actively took to Western education, and they overwhelmingly came to adopt Christianity. Population pressure in the Igbo homeland, combined with aspirations for monetary wages, drove thousands of Igbos to other parts of Nigeria in search of work. By the 1960s, Igbo political culture was more unified and the region relatively prosperous, with tradesmen and literate elites active not just in the traditionally Igbo South, but throughout Nigeria.[39] By 1966, the ethnic and religious differences between Northerners and the Igbo had combined with additional stratification by virtue of education and economic class.[40]

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Putin’s nuclear ‘doomsday machine’ could trigger 300-foot tsunamis — but the worst effects might come from the fallout.
April 26, 2018
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Putin’s nuclear ‘doomsday machine’ could trigger 300-foot tsunamis — but the worst effects might come from the fallout
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described a torpedo designed to hit coastal targets with a “massive” nuclear bomb. But physicists question its effectiveness.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said Russia was developing a nuclear-powered torpedo that could detonate a “massive” nuclear weapon » .
Such a device might create a 300-foot tsunami » if exploded in the right location and could rain long-lasting radioactive fallout » on a coastal target.
Experts have described the hypothetical weapon as a “doomsday” device, saying it could spread unprecedented and long-lived radioactive fallout.
But one researcher said such a weapon would be “stupid,” as it’d greatly limit its damage compared with an airburst.
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, he described a plethora of nuclear weapons » he said Russia was developing.
One of these proposed weapons, an autonomous submarine, stood out » among the depictions of falling warheads and nuclear-powered cruise missiles » .
According to a Kremlin translation ( PDF » ) of Putin’s remarks, he said the autonomous drone would quietly travel to “great depths,” move faster than a submarine or boat, “have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit,” and “carry massive nuclear ordnance.”
“It is really fantastic, he said, adding: “There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”
He also said Russia finished testing a nuclear-powered engine for the drones in December.
“Unmanned underwater vehicles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables them to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications, and infrastructure,” he said.
Putin did not refer to the device by name in his speech, but it appears to be the Oceanic Multipurpose System Status-6 » , also known as Kanyon or Putin’s “doomsday” machine » .
The Russian government reportedly leaked a diagram of such a weapon » in 2015 that suggested it would carry a 50-megaton nuclear bomb about as powerful as Tsar Bomba » , the largest nuclear device ever detonated » .
Nuclear physicists say such a weapon could cause a local tsunami, though they question its purpose and effectiveness, given the far more terrible destruction » that nukes can inflict » when detonated aboveground.
Why Putin’s ‘doomsday’ device could be terrifying
A nuclear weapon detonated below the ocean’s surface could cause great devastation.
The US’s underwater nuclear tests » of the 1940s and ’50s, including operations Crossroads Baker and Hardtack I Wahoo, demonstrated why.
These underwater fireballs were roughly as energetic as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki in August 1945. In the tests, they burst through the surface, ejecting pillars of seawater more than a mile high while rippling out powerful shockwaves.
Some warships staged near the explosions were vaporized. Others were tossed like toys in a bathtub and sank, while a few sustained cracked hulls and crippled engines. Notably, the explosions roughly doubled the height of waves to nearby islands, flooding inland areas.
“A well-placed nuclear weapon of yield in the range 20 MT to 50 MT near a sea coast could certainly couple enough energy to equal the 2011 tsunami, and perhaps much more,” Rex Richardson, a physicist who researches nuclear weapons, told Business Insider, referring to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people in Japan.
“Taking advantage of the rising-sea-floor amplification effect, tsunami waves reaching 100 meters in height” — about 330 feet — “are possible,” Richardson said.
Richardson and other experts have also pointed out that a near-shore blast from this type of weapon could suck up tons of ocean sediment, irradiate it, and rain it upon nearby areas — generating catastrophic radioactive fallout » .
“Los Angeles or San Diego would be particularly vulnerable to fallout due to the prevailing onshore winds,” Richardson said, adding that he lives in San Diego.
The problem with blowing up nukes underwater
Greg Spriggs, a nuclear-weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said a 50-megaton weapon “could possibly induce a tsunami” and hit a shoreline with the energy equivalent to a 650-kiloton blast.
But he said it “would be a stupid waste of a perfectly good nuclear weapon.”
That’s because Spriggs believes it’s unlikely that even the
most powerful nuclear bombs » could unleash a significant tsunami after detonating underwater.
“The energy in a large nuclear weapon is but a drop in the bucket compared to the energy of a [naturally] occurring tsunami,” Spriggs previously told Business Insider » . “So any tsunami created by a nuclear weapon couldn’t be very large.”
For example, the 2011 tsunami in Japan released about 9.3 million » megatons of TNT energy. That’s hundreds of millions of times as much as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 and roughly 163,000 times as much as the Soviet Union’s test of Tsar Bomba on October 30, 1961.
Plus, Spriggs said, the energy of a blast wouldn’t all be directed toward shore — it would radiate outward in all directions, so most of it “would be wasted going back out to sea.”
A detonation several miles from a coastline would deposit only about 1% of its energy as waves hitting the shore. That scenario may be more likely than an attack closer to the shore, assuming US systems could detect an incoming Status-6 torpedo.
But even if such a weapon were on the doorstep of a coastal city or base, its purpose would be questionable, Spriggs said.
“This would produce a fraction of the damage the same 50 MT weapon could do if it were detonated above a large city,” Spriggs said. “If there is some country out there that is angry enough at the United States to use a nuclear weapon against us, why would they opt to reduce the amount of damage they impose in an attack?”
Is the doomsday weapon real?
Putin fell short of confirming the existence of Status-6, though he did say the December tests of its power unit “enabled us to begin developing a new type of strategic weapon” to carry a huge nuclear bomb.
The Trump administration even addressed » the possible existence of the weapon in its most recent nuclear posture review » .
In a 2015 article in Foreign Policy » , Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on nuclear policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, dubbed the weapon “Putin’s doomsday machine.”
He wrote that there was speculation that the underwater weapon might be “salted,” or surrounded with metals like cobalt, which would dramatically extend fatal radiation levels from fallout » — possibly for years or even decades — since the burst of neutrons emitted in a nuclear blast could transform those metals into long-lived, highly radioactive chemicals sprinkled all over.
“What sort of sick bastards dream up this kind of weapon?” Lewis wrote, noting that such salted weapons were
featured in the 1964 science-fiction Cold War parody film » “Dr. Strangelove.”
To Lewis, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether Status-6 is real or a psychological bluff designed to prevent the US from attacking Russia or its allies.
“Simply announcing to the world that you find this to be a reasonable approach to deterrence should be enough to mark you out as a dangerous creep,” he said.

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What war with North Korea would actually look like.
April 25, 2018
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North Korea is the geopolitical equivalent of the drunken uncle at a wedding. Everybody would really, really like it if they’d just put down the wine/fissile plutonium and leave, but everyone also knows that trying to kick them out would result in the nuclear obliteration of the entire Korean peninsula. Under pudgy dynastic tyrant Kim Jong-un, North Korea (also known by the presumably ironic name Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) has repeatedly flouted international norms, threatened the world with destruction, and generally acted like a half-cut bully. All it needs to do now is drunkenly make a pass at its own niece and our
wedding analogy is basically complete.
But what would happen if someone did the unthinkable, and actually tried to eject boorish Uncle Kim? In other words, what if developed nations really did take the fight to North Korea? Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is North Korea would almost certainly lose. The bad news is the path to that defeat would make the invasion of Iraq look like a cakewalk.
It starts with an accident
Going to war with a nuclear state is such a huge decision that you probably hope it’d be just that: a decision, one not taken lightly. If that’s the case, you’d better skip ahead. According to Politico, many U.S. military planners believe a new war on the Korean peninsula has a good chance of being triggered by accident.
North and South Korea have a history of upsetting one another. The DPRK has previously shot down U.S. helicopters, South Korean troops have accidentally wandered into the demilitarized zone (DMZ), and soldiers have exchanged gunfire at the border. When tensions are cool, these incidents are diplomatic spats. When tensions are already boiling, they’re like going up to a sleeping lion and repeatedly kicking it in the babymaker.
The trigger could be the tiniest thing. Asia-Pacific specialist Michael Mazarr told Politico that North Korea could launch a missile test that malfunctions and flies toward Japan in a way that looks like an attack. Others suggested the U.S. could launch a limited “bloody nose” strike, as when 59 Tomahawk missiles slammed into a Syrian airbase in April 2017, only to have Kim assume it’s the opening salvo in a full-blown war. It’s what
Hardcore History’s Dan Carlin, in reference to the outbreak of World War I, called starting the doomsday device: the beginning of an unstoppable chain of events where each side thinks they’ve no choice but to escalate or face annihilation. It just takes one overreaction to set the whole thing going.
War Route 1: Missiles start flying
If you want nightmares, read this article by Foreign Policy. Written by the director of the East Asian Nonproliferation Program, Jeffrey Lewis, it lays out evidence for Pyongyang using nuclear weapons in the event of war. Since Kim Jong-un came to power, North Korean forces have been testing missiles all over the country, demonstrating that they could hit Japan and South Korea. Lewis says this shows the DPRK’s war plan likely revolves around an early nuclear strike. Pretty scary if he’s right.
Kim’s super weapons are “use it or lose it” toys. In the event of war, invading forces would immediately target Pyongyang’s nukes. That means Kim has to fire them at the very start of a conflict or else probably not fire them at all. Here’s where it gets pants-wettingly terrifying. In a separate article for Washington Post , Lewis writes that the North’s game plan is probably to gamble on a quick, massive nuclear strike being so shocking that it keeps the U.S. out of any conflict. That means every warhead the DPRK has going (a minimum of 25) being flung at South Korea and Japan.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins ran the numbers. Their low-end estimate assumed only 20 percent of Pyongyang’s nukes would actually detonate, and each would have a low yield of only 15 kilotons. They concluded this would be enough to kill 400,000 in Seoul and Tokyo alone.
War Route 2: North invades South
No one can say exactly what a cornered Kim Jong-un would do. That might be why The Diplomat war-gamed a conflict on the peninsula that didn’t involve nukes at all. Assuming Pyongyang might want to deliberately keep nuclear weapons out of the conflict, they tried to calculate what would happen if the North just straight invaded the South. In its own way, it was almost as scary as the thought of nuclear war .
North Korea has over 500 artillery weapons permanently trained on South Korea’s capital, Seoul. The greater Seoul area has around 25 million people living in it. If Kim decided his best chance for survival was a ground invasion across the DMZ, he’d begin by shelling the city. That would mean a rain of fire battering down on this one megacity, blowing buildings apart, destroying streets, and causing more chaos than a Godzilla-Clover royal rumble. By the time U.S. and South Korean forces scrambled to take out Pyongyang’s batteries, tens of thousands could be dead.
Speaking of U.S. and South Korean forces, there’s a good reason Pyongyang might want to kill 10,000 civilians. Survivors in Seoul would flee, clogging up roads that counterattack forces would use, thus buying Pyongyang more time. Don’t assume this is a scenario that Kim wins, though. As the North’s million-plus troops marched through the mountains, South Korean forces would start bombing them. The Diplomat estimates 100,000 DPRK troops would be killed before they could even reach Seoul.
Confusion and dirty tactics
You’ll probably have a hard time believing this, but experts think Kim might not exactly play fair at war. He seems like the kind of guy you don’t want to beat at Monopoly because he’ll probably have you executed right there at family Christmas. He’s the exact sort of person who might favor extremely dirty tactics on the battlefield. The Diplomat suggests this would probably manifest itself in a desire to create as much confusion in the invasion as possible.
Remember when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014? The snatching of that slice of territory was accompanied by the appearance of “little green men,” Russian soldiers wearing no insignia who did Putin’s dirty work in a way that could easily be denied (via
Brookings Institute). In an annexation of Seoul, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) would likely go even further. The Diplomat suggests their Special Operations Forces would infiltrate the South ahead of an invasion, don South Korean uniforms on invasion day, and create chaos.
The goal would be to leave the conflict in a fog of confusion, one made even worse by crippling cyberattacks launched against South Korean infrastructure. As the New York Times explains, North Korean cyberattacks are no longer just the punchline to lazy jokes, but an actual, as-scary-as-the-clown-in- It threat. They could keep both Seoul and Washington on the back foot until the North has captured whole districts of the southern capital.
WMDs and terror attacks
If you were a gambler, you wouldn’t put money on the North winning this conflict. The South Korean army is so far advanced that comparing it to the KPA is like comparing a well-oiled machine to a clockwork toy drunkenly assembled by Herman Munster. The U.S. military is a whole extra warp leap ahead. That leaves Kim trying to level a near-vertical playing field. Unfortunately, Pyongyang’s metaphorical earth mover is the one marked “chemical weapons.”
The nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative estimates North Korea has the world’s third-largest stockpile of chemical weapons. We know they work because Pyongyang assassinated Kim’s half brother, Kim Soo Hyun, with the nerve agent VX in 2017 (via NBC). In interviews with a dozen experts, a Vox reporter found broad belief that these weapons would be deployed in a conflict. Stuff like sarin would likely be dropped onto U.S. airfields in the region in an attempt to cripple them. One expert theorized Kim might even drop his entire sarin stockpile onto Seoul itself. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates this could kill up to 2.5 million.
If that sounds scary, it gets scarier. We’ve established Pyongyang would try to cause panic in the South. One way of doing that would be to unleash a biological agent like anthrax in downtown Seoul. All it would take would be a single drone or a single DPRK agent with a backpack, and you’d see mass deaths and blind panic on a whole new scale.
The U.S. enters its biggest war in decades
Looming in the background through all this is one undeniable fact. At some point, Uncle Sam is gonna come knocking on Kim’s door, and that’s gonna go about as well for the chubby despot as getting into a bareknuckle boxing match with a full-grown grizzly. Assuming Washington holds back on the nukes, the DPRK would find itself on the receiving end of a joint South Korean and American invading force. As Vox details , this would require the U.S. to enter its biggest armed conflict since Vietnam.
At the height of the war in Iraq, the U.S. had 166,300 troops stationed in the country. By contrast, the lowest estimate for the number of troops required in an invasion of North Korea is 200,000, according to the RAND Corporation. South Korea’s official estimate is that Washington would have to commit 690,000 soldiers to the conflict. The Pentagon thinks 2,000 war planes would be required. The last time a U.S. conflict came close to these numbers, Richard Nixon was in the White House.
Such a conflict would bring a lot of U.S. casualties. In 1994, a Pentagon assessment concluded over 52,000 U.S. personnel would be killed or wounded in the first three months of a second Korean War (via The Guardian). Today, with North Korean nukes and WMDs to factor in, the U.S. casualty toll would probably be higher.
The China factor
Here’s a question that keeps Pentagon war planners up at night: What would China do? Beijing is Pyongyang’s closest thing to a friend. In the event of a ground invasion of the DPRK, U.S. bombers trying to take out Kim’s nuclear stockpiles would be required to fly right up to the Chinese border, a prospect as comfortable for Beijing as armed Chinese bombers skimming the edges of Niagara Falls would be for Washington. The New Yorker attempted to sum up the potential Chinese reactions to war on the peninsula. They ranged from “China does nothing” to “whoops, here’s World War III .”
The idea of China going to war with the U.S. to help North Korea is scary, but it could be the stuff of paranoid fiction. A more likely prospect was outlined by China expert Oriana Skylar Mastro in Foreign Affairs (quoted here in Vox ). She explained Beijing is deeply unhappy with the Hermit Kingdom and even less happy about the prospect of nuclear war. Rather than siding with Kim, she suggests the Chinese military would respond by invading North Korea, securing its nukes, and killing Kim.
This is where things get dangerous. Chinese troops would reach the North’s WMD stockpiles first as they’re close to the Chinese border. So what happens when U.S. troops show up, having fought their way through the country, only to find Beijing has nabbed the prize? Depending how selfish people are feeling, we might be right back at “here’s World War III” all over again.
The Kim regime goes down in flames
Major spoiler alert! North Korea loses this war. No matter how anything we’ve discussed above goes down, the end result is still the Kim regime falling to pieces. While some, such as the guys at The Diplomat , believe Kim could possibly force a stalemate and cling on, the vast majority of experts predict his annihilation. In which case, the question is how long can he cling on for?
There’s a lot of disagreement on this issue. The experts quoted by Vox start by saying it could take six weeks for the Pentagon just to get the necessary troops it needs into South Korea. (The 28,500 already stationed there wouldn’t be nearly enough.) If the DPRK destroys South Korea’s main port city, Busan, it would take even longer. You can add to that the additional six weeks Professor Robert E. Kelly told Quartz would be needed to actually win the war, or the two-plus months the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates is necessary. Incidentally, there’s no chance of getting the troops ready beforehand. In 2002, Kim’s father watched as Saddam Hussein allowed U.S. forces to mass on his borders. Pyongyang won’t make Baghdad’s mistake.
You could argue the Pentagon may not need six weeks. Both the U.S. and South Korea have been training for years for a “decapitation strike” that would kill Kim as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of doubt over whether it would work, or even if it could work.
Everyone gets sucked into the quagmire
Mark Fitzgerald is the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies office in Washington. In September 2017, The New Yorker asked him what the aftermath of a second Korean War would look like. Fitzgerald’s prognosis was negative, to say the least. North Koreans are brainwashed from birth to believe their leader is a literal God. There’s a reason plenty of cults culminate in mass suicide (see: Waco,
Jonestown), and North Korea may be the biggest cult in history.
After Kim falls, we could see the type of violence on the Korean peninsula that we got in the Middle East. The
New Yorker article raised the specter of surviving Kim loyalists dividing into cells and launching an insurgency like those that still plague Iraq and Afghanistan. If you needed a gruesome reminder, the Iraq Body Count database carries a current total of between 181,000 and 203,000 killed by terrorism and insurgent violence in post-invasion Iraq. There’s little reason to think a post-war North Korea couldn’t be equally fanatical and violent.
It wouldn’t just be Koreans who suffered (although they’d obviously bear the brunt of it). A post-war civil meltdown could bog down the U.S. in the region for years or even decades. If China also gets involved, the geopolitical power games could create a quagmire none can escape from. It’s kinda hard to imagine any U.S. president declaring “mission accomplished” and handing everything over to Beijing.
The global economic shock sets in
One thing all predictions about a Korean conflict have in common is their unanimous belief that Seoul will be obliterated. This is actually even worse than you probably think it is. The greater Seoul area and surrounding provinces are home to over half of South Korea’s 51.25 million residents. According to the OECD the region generates nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP, rising to over 40 percent if you include nearby Gyeonggi. This is significant because a 50 percent drop in South Korea’s GDP would be enough to damage the global economy (via Foreign Policy in Focus).
South Korea is one of the “Asian tigers” driving the engine of global growth. Upending South Korea’s economy — in an apocalyptic war, say — would knock a whole percent off global GDP and severely mess up the economies of its trading partners like China and Japan. That’s the same China and Japan that are the second- and third-biggest economies on Earth, respectively, and may also be devastated by DPRK missiles.
War costs aside, there’s the matter of reconstruction and eventual Korean reunification. The costs of putting both Koreas and maybe Japan back together again would leave all the king’s horses and all the king’s men weeping over their empty wallets. Without a major war, reunifying East and West Germany cost $2 trillion over 20 years. The estimated costs for reunifying Korea? Three trillion dollars, according to the Independent. Talk may be cheap, but war is terrifyingly.

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How Rwanda’s Largest Climate Resilience Investment is Taking Shape
April 24, 2018
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Weather related disasters such as flooding and landslides affecting the livelihoods of residents of Gicumbi District, Northern Province could soon be curbed following the launch of a $32.8m initiative funded by the Green Climate Fund.
The initiative is a partnership with the Ministry of Environment and aims at building resilience of small-holder farmers and communities vulnerable to climate change who have often lost their harvest due to changing weather patterns.
The project, dubbed “Strengthening Climate resilience of Communities in Northern Rwanda,” is one of the largest investments in regards to climate resilience and is set to run for 6 years between 2018 and 2024.
It is part of Rwanda’s pathways towards developing a low carbon economy.
The initiative will directly support about 150,000 residents, with wider benefits to more than 380,000 people all who have little resources to mitigate and adapt to climate change, officials say.
Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), last week told Business Times that the project will protect River Muvumba watershed as well as establish adaptation and mitigation approaches in the agricultural sector and green settlements.
“Rwanda has been awarded a $32.8 million grant to strengthen climate resilience in Gicumbi District. The project will be facilitated by Rwanda Green Climate Fund (FONERWA) and aims to restore and enhance part of Muvumba watershed, increase the capacity of communities to renew and sustainably manage forest resources, and support smallholder farmers to adopt climate resilient agriculture,” she said.
More than half a million Rwandans, she added, will be impacted by the investment in nine sectors of Gicumbi District which include; Kaniga, Rubaya, Cyumba, Rushaki, Shangasha, Mukarange, Manyagiro, Byumba and Bwisige.
The approaches are soon to be replicated across the country, she said.
The investment plan shows that in addition to the $32.8 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, FONERWA will contribute $147,000 to the project while Gicumbi District has allocated $107,000. Wood Foundation is also providing $105,964.
“We are pleased with the progress we are making in accessing and utilizing funding through Green Climate Fund as we seek to meet our socio-economic transformation goals to become a developed, low carbon economy,” Ruhamya said.
Among the expected outcomes of the project include improved management of land and forests leading to emissions reduction, strengthened adaptive capacity and reduced exposure to climate risks, fuel-efficient cooking methods and modification of human settlements to increase climate resilience.
Reducing carbon emission
Over the six years course of the project, it estimates that an equivalent of 273,720 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be mitigated.
The project’s statistical background shows that climate change in Rwanda has had significant impacts such as rise in temperature over recent decades.
It further shows that the future economic cost of climate change in Rwanda could be significant if left unchecked. It is estimated at an additional impact of 1 per cent of GDP each year by 2030.
The trends indicate that the changes in rainfall (and rainfall unpredictability) are increasingly becoming uncertain, though an increase in heavy rainfall in Rwanda is projected as well as increases in rainfall uncertainty.
Experts say could worsen the impacts of then current climate uncertainty in the country leading to new risks.
Gicumbi welcomes initiative
Juvenal Mudaheranwa, the Mayor of Gicumbi District told Business Times in an interview that weather related disasters have been a major cause of losses to farmers in the area.
“The project is timely since farmers are already counting losses. The waters coming from small rivers that connect to Muvumba Rivers have caused flooding and landslides over the last two weeks. This is because there no infrastructure controlling erosion in the catchments such as terraces, forestry to sustain the soil,” he said.
In recent weeks, he said flooding has affected over 100 hectares of tea plantations and other crops in the area targeted by the climate resilience initiative.
“Farmers will feel relived once implementation begins while human settlements are also an issue that we expect that the project will tackle. We have also had cases of floods destroying infrastructure such as roads and bridges in the area. We are still in the process of generating a full report of recent disaster effects in the area,” he said.
Need of involving private sector in climate resilient investments
The Green Climate Fund which provided the grant for the project is also inviting private sector partners to submit project proposals to be considered for such funding.
According to Ruhamya, so far none of Rwanda’s private sector investors has secured financing from the Fund.
“There are many opportunities for private sector to address environmental challenges, including climate change impact in the sectors of agriculture, energy, water, forests, waste management, industries and transport among others,” she said.
The financing to Rwanda, according to Ruhamya, is part of Paris Agreement on climate change where developed nations agreed to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 to address the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries which also requires private sector involvement.
“It was also agreed that a share of the climate finance under the agreement should be channeled through the Green Climate Fund”, she said.
Rwanda has been working with Green Climate Fund for years which in 2015 led government to receive direct access accreditation to the Fund.
Since 2015, Rwanda has had access to preparatory programmes worth about $2.5 million in aspects such as capacity building in a bid to develop as a low carbon economy.
$1.5 billion private sector Facility
Speaking last week at a workshop on engaging private sector members to access financing from the Fund, Ayaan Adam, the Director of Private Sector Facility at Green Climate Fund, said that they are looking out for projects that are in line with national ambitions.
“We are looking for projects that are in line with countries’ ambition to basically support the Paris Agreement and their national adaptation plans. We had a capital of $10 billion at inception. We have approved programmes worth $6.3 billion and $1.5 billion for private sector of which some major projects were funded in Africa, such as Egypt multi-billion renewable frameworks,” she said.
Going forward, she noted the need to identify areas relevant to private sector intervention as well as encouraging public private partnership in implementing low carbon emissions projects.
Callixte Kanamugire, the Chief Advocacy Officer at Private Sector Federation, said: “We have to foster awareness and capacity building on how to design bankable projects and access to the funds. This is what is needed to encourage us to invset in green economy.

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A Legacy of Lies – Gambians Seek Justice for Former President’s Bogus Aids Cure.
April 24, 2018
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The victims of Gambia’s former dictator’s bogus cure are now seeking justice.
One by one the patients were called. It was often late at night, and always on a Tuesday or a Thursday.
Waiting for them in his billowing white robes was Gambia’s president, Yahya Jammeh. The tiny West African country’s minister of health – a trained doctor – was forced to be present in the room of the state house complex too.
The president had invented a miracle cure for Aids, he announced to his astonished nation in January 2007. Ignoring the scepticism and outrage from international health experts, who called it a sham, the former army colonel vowed to eradicate Aids with a secret herbal concoction and spiritual healing from a makeshift clinic in state house.
The health minister and his successors had no choice but to endorse the president’s outlandish and false claims. Jammeh got all his bureaucrats and underlings to support him: even the country’s official website issued glowing press releases on the free presidential treatment.
The patients were asked to undress and rub themselves off with a towel. Then they had to lie down on a stretcher. The president, who had no medical training, put on gloves and walked towards the patient.
“He would pour coloured water from a bottle on the patients and wash their bodies, top down,” says Fatou Jatta, one of the first people Jammeh drafted into his bizarre Aids programme 10 years ago.
The president would then chant prayers from a leather-bound Koran.
“He also applied a cream and gave us a concoction in a bottle to drink.
“[Within] 10 minutes I started feeling [almost] unconscious. I could not get up and walk. When I tried to stand up, I fell down.”
Jammeh’s fake Aids cure programme was deadly but no one knows just how many Gambians fell victim to his lies. A court case might be a first step in solving this riddle.
Jatta chooses her words carefully as she describes the “treatment” she and thousands of other Gambians received at the hands of Jammeh, who fled into exile in January 2017 after a brutal 22-year rule.
“I can cure Aids, you will never have the virus again,” the dictator assured Jatta and the other HIV patients he had summoned to state house.
At the time, she was part of an advocacy group of people with HIV. That is how she came to be a guinea pig for the dictator: he enlisted members of Aids support groups for the “presidential treatment”.
“We agreed to go because we knew the type of person Jammeh was,” Jatta says. At the time, Jammeh had been in power for 10 years. Gambians lived in fear: nobody said no to the dictator.
Jatta thought she would only take medicine and then be allowed to go home, but she was held against her wish for months – guarded closely by soldiers – and grew weaker and weaker.
She wasn’t allowed to see friends or family. Other survivors have said they were forbidden to have coffee or sex. No conventional medicine was allowed; only Jammeh’s concoctions of fruits, leaves, branches and roots. He never revealed the exact ingredients or allowed the mixture to be tested.
Not only did Jammeh televise treatment sessions of unwilling patients – many of whom had not yet disclosed their HIV status to family and friends – he would also regularly parade his “successes” to the media.
“Patients” had no choice but to confirm their so-called “health”.
“After seven months I was declared ‘cured’ and allowed to go home,” Jatta says.
At a time when South Africa was at the cusp of starting a national HIV treatment programme, Gambians were being told to ditch proven ARV treatment in favour of Jammeh’s snake oil. (Delwyn Versamy, M&G)
But when she went to the British Medical Research Council clinic on her release from Jammeh’s clinic, she was near death.
Her CD4 count – a scientific measurement of the strength of someone’s immune system – had dropped to 80. A normal CD4 count ranges between 500 and 1 500. The World Health Organisation now recommends that countries move away from treatment guidelines based on CD4 counts and instead offer all people living with HIV antiretroviral (ARV) treatment as soon as they are diagnosed.
At the clinic, Jatta was put on ARV treatment and her health improved.
It is only now, a year after the authoritarian ruler lost elections and was forced out of power when the region threatened military intervention, that she and his other victims are speaking out about their experiences. Under the feared dictator this could have been met with torture, detention or disappearance. During his reign he threatened to decapitate homosexuals and arrested anyone suspected of being a witch or a wizard.
“We still hesitate to go public,” Fatta says. Dressed in a colourful African boubou (traditional West African wide-sleeved, flowing robe), she is sitting in a simple bungalow in the seaside town of Kotu, about 9km from Banjul, the capital.
“There is always the risk Jammeh’s supporters will seek revenge for [us] exposing their leader. Some of them believe Jammeh will one day return.”
Fatta is one of the survivors not only speaking out publicly, but campaigning for justice and reparations from the former president, who is being harboured by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea’s dictator since 1979.
“We feel that our human rights have been violated and Jammeh should be brought to justice,” says Jatta. “I could have lost my life. I know of more than 20 patients who died after Jammeh declared them cured.”
Could a new court case bring an old charlatan to book finally? Local and international activists hope so.
In October, international advocacy organisation Human Rights Watch and Gambian groups launched the “Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh and his Accomplices to Justice”.
Gambia’s leading human rights defender Amadou Scattred Janneh founded the Jammeh Victim Centre.
“Many patients did not authorise him to disclose their conditions but he paraded them in front of state media,” Janneh says. “He held them captive. They had to stop taking modern medicine from qualified doctors.”
Gambians suffered “one of the most egregious, orchestrated assaults on people living with HIV in the history of the global Aids crisis,” explains a press release by the US-based charity Aids-Free World, an international advocacy organisation working with Gambian attorneys from the Institute of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa as well as Fatta and other activists.
The extent of the damage done by the former president will only come to light as more victims speak out and the case is argued in Gambian courts, says Sarah Bosha, legal research and policy associate with Aids-Free World.
The organisation estimates that at least 9 000 Gambians were coerced into the fake “Presidential Alternative Treatment Programme”, the majority of whom were reportedly HIV patients. There was an information blackout for most of the period, Bosha says. In 2007 Jammeh abruptly kicked out the United Nations envoy when she disputed that Jammeh had a cure. He kept his clinic’s records secret and it is not known how many people died as a result of his quackery, Bosha says.
“We are still gathering evidence of what happened for the court case and planning future research to ascertain numbers,” she explains.
“There are many questions, such as what happened to Aids funding and ARV stocks. Even oversight bodies have no information.”
It is equally hard to estimate the damage wrought by Jammeh’s bogus cure, Bosha explains.
“The health implications are serious and long-lasting. We have heard from the victims that they had constant diarrhoea. Some fainted, others vomited. That is devastating for someone whose immune system is already compromised.
“Because they were off ARVs for so long, their CD4 counts fell. They were in close confines with other people and some contracted tuberculosis (TB),” she says.
TB is a leading cause of death among people living with HIV. Studies have shown that ARVs can reduce the risk of developing active TB in HIV-positive people.
What is also not known is what effect Jammeh’s actions had on Gambians’ understanding of HIV and their treatment choices.
“There was a lot of propaganda. If people believed there was a cure, how did it change their behaviour?”
Alpha Khan, deputy director of Gambia’s National Aids secretariat, believes the country’s efforts to combat HIV were hampered by Jammeh and his so-called treatment. Only 30% of the 20 000 Gambians with HIV are on ARVs, according to UNAids data from 2016. For context: in South Africa, about 60% of HIV-infected people are on treatment.
The message Jatta and other victims are spreading now by talking out, says Bosha, is crucial to counter the two decades of Jammeh’s propaganda.
“We now have someone saying there is no cure. This is just good old-fashioned messaging.”
While the victims want Jammeh to stand trial, they are also seeking reparations, which would mean some form of financial compensation.
A Gambian commission for truth, reconciliation and reparation is set to start proceedings later this year.
Jatta is 51. She wants to see charges brought against Jammeh. But she also wants to make sure no one will again believe there is a miracle cure.
“When the whole world is yet to have a cure for Aids,” she asks, “Who is Jammeh to have discovered a cure

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Uganda: 350 Jobs Up for Grabs As Govt Restructures UBC
April 24, 2018
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Uganda: 350 Jobs Up for Grabs As Govt Restructures UBC
The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation offices in Kampala.
Kampala — Some 176 jobs at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) have been slashed and the remaining 349 tossed up for grabs as the long-awaited revamp of the public broadcaster starts.
Three new top positions, one of deputy managing director, director for finance and director for administration, have been created to redirect UBC operations to a self-sustaining business model.
A meeting of the ad hoc UBC revamp team yesterday, which went into the night, agreed on the structure which a source at the meeting said had already been aligned with the Public Service Commission.
The implementation of the restructuring is expected to start in the new Financial Year in July.
Mr Vincent Bagiire, the ICT ministry permanent secretary, who chaired last evening’s meeting, said: “I can confirm the approvals, but the meeting is still ongoing. Three hundred fifty positions are proposed for all the business units; that is the radio and television stations.”
He said the restructuring based on the best skills and qualifications will see the wage bill drop from Shs4.5b to Shs3.5b annually.
A leaked version of the revised salaries shows that the managing director will earn a gross monthly salary of Shs24m, a deputy Shs22m, director Television and Radio services Shs12.5m, graphics designer Shs1.5m, managers Shs6m, chief news editor Shs2.6m and a news reporter Shs1.5m.
The structure approved yesterday is a result of a UBC revamp team set up last September by ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze to streamline human resource and TV programming at the public broadcaster.
The establishment of the UBC revamp team follows findings by a 2016 committee chaired by Dr Peter Mwesige, the executive director of African Centre for Media Excellence, on the directions of Mr Tumwebaze.
The ad hoc committee’s report, among other things, established that UBC was saddled with debt, operated in breach of laws and flouted best corporate governance practices.
It also found that UBC remunerated its staff poorly; defaulted on remitting their pension contributions; most employees lacked employment contracts; while some board members lacked required skills to provide effective oversight.
The jobs
Under the new structure, there will be 135 employees across the 11 radio platforms, which include the five channels at the headquarters and six upcountry.
UBC TV alone has been provided 75 staff who will include the station manager, a manager news bureau, programmes controller, two chief news editors, seven news editors, 11 camera operators, seven reporters and nine presenters/anchors, among others.
The public broadcaster’s sister station, Star Television, will have 22 staff.
The engineering department will have 25 staff, 22 employees for signet (the digital signal distribution section), administration 26, finance 6 and marketing 5.
Mr Bagiire said an assessment by the revamp team found that many UBC staff meet the qualifications to serve at the national broadcaster, but they were being under-utilised with majority performing single tasks instead of multiple roles.
“The essence of restructuring is to align available skills to where they are best suited and we want to meet the international standards. At the same time, we are training the team to perform more than one task as per the practice in the broadcasting sector,” the Permanent Secretary said.
The revamp team in a draft report had recommended that all the positions across the platforms be advertised, but Mr Bagiire said yesterday’s meeting, which included the UBC board and top management, resolved that current staff reapply for jobs through an internal process.
He said the new top slots for deputy managing director and the directors will be advertised externally and that the Public Service Commission will handle the process.
Retirement
According to the restructuring report, employees due for mandatory retirement before June 30, 2018, will go while those seeking early retirement will be paid terminal benefits in line with applicable laws
On the other hand, staff past their retirement age will counselled to ease them out with less disruption during the transition.
“UBC through external consultant will provide counselling services, including pre-retirement training, for all the current UBC staff during the implementation exercise,” the report reads in part.
This revamp team wants UBC to transform into a leader in marketing, sales and advertising.
New UBC jobs, salaries
Designation (per person) Pay(gross)
Managing Director Shs24.5m
Operations Officer Shs1.5m
Deputy Managing Director Shs22.5m
Monitoring & Project Devt Officer Shs1.5m
Manager Legal & Board Affairs Shs6m
Manager IA & Risk Management Shs5.2m
Manager Fin & Rev Management Shs6m
Senior procurement Officer Shs2.6m
Sales & Marketing Manager Shs6m
Human Resource Manager Shs6m
Senior Administration Officer Shs2.6m
Office Assistant Shs537,035
Director TV & Radio Services Shs12.5m
Manager TV Shs6m
Manager News Bureau Shs2.6m
Controller Programs Shs2.6m
Chief News Editor (Radio & TV ) Shs2.6m
Head Library & Archives Shs1.5m
Head of Sports Desk Shs1.5m
News Editor Shs1.5m
Graphics Designer Shs1.5m
Librarian Shs1.5m
Producers Shs1.5m
Admin Officer Shs800,000
News Cast Director Shs800,000
Asst Librarian Shs800,000
Assistant Producer Shs800,000
Ass Graphics Editors Shs800,000
Camera Operator Shs800,000
Web content Controller Shs800,000
Video Editor Shs800,000
Make Up Artist Shs800,000
Reporters Shs1.5m
Presenters/ Anchors Shs1.5m
Sinologists Shs800,000
Manager Radio Shs6m
Director Technical Services Shs12.5m
Manager Engineering Shs6m
Studio & Production Engineer Shs2.6m
Transmission & Comn Engineer Shs2.6m
Maintenance & Projects Engineer Shs1.5m
OB Engineer Shs1.5m
Workshop Engineer Shs1.5m
Refrigerator Technician 800,000
Technicians Shs3.2m
Senior Systems Administrator Shs2.6m
IT Officer Shs1.5m
Manager Signet & Business Dev’t Shs6m
Technical Manager Eng Shs2.6m
Content Microwave& Fibre Optic eng Shs1.5m
Network & Comn Engineer Shs1.5m
Power Installation Generation Engineer Shs1.5m
Software & IT Engineer Shs1.5m
Technician Shs800,000
Total Wage Bill Shs209.5m
Gratuity 25% Shs52.375m
NSSF 10% Shs20.950m
Grand/Total Shs20.950m

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• Zimbabwe Zimbabwe: Mugabe – Mnangagwa ‘Never Invited Me to Attend Independence Celebrations’
April 24, 2018
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• Zimbabwe Zimbabwe: Mugabe – Mnangagwa ‘Never Invited Me to Attend Independence Celebrations’
Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, 94, has reportedly denied reports that he rejected an invitation from President Emmerson Mnangagwa to attend this year’s Independence celebrations.
Zimbabwe celebrated its 38 th independence anniversary on April 18 in Harare. The event was attended by a number of dignitaries, including diplomats and opposition party leaders.
Reports last week quoted presidential spokesperson George Charamba as saying that the nonagenarian had been officially invited to the celebrations, which were the first without him as the leader of the southern African country.
Charamba said that Mugabe had previously indicated that he would attend but he did not show up on the day of the celebrations.
Charamba, who served as Mugabe’s spokesperson for decades until the 94-year-old was forced to resign last year following a military intervention, said at the time that the veteran politician should be left alone as he needed to rest since he had just returned from the Far East.
But according to a NewsDay report on Tuesday, Mugabe refuted the claims, saying that he was never invited to attend the independence celebrations.
“I definitely was not invited to it (independence celebrations)… This should put paid to all the comments that [George] Charamba had to make on this matter,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.
He did not, however, elaborate.
Mugabe in February also reportedly rejected a mini-birthday party that had been organised for him by the Zanu-PF youth league to mark his 94 th birthday.
He instead chose to stay away from the public eye on a day set aside as a holiday to honour his legacy.
Sources close to him said at the time that the veteran politician refused to be part of the event because he wanted to be with his family.
“He wants to be with his family and those who love him genuinely and not those who want to abuse his name for political gains,” a close family member was quoted as saying at the time.
“The family would want to hold the birthday party for our old man, as a private event. But critically, what business does the party have for a man they removed in the manner they did?”

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Every U.S. president who survived an assassination attempt.
April 24, 2018
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There might be no job on Earth more stressful than being president of the United States. Seriously, have you seen how fast those people age? Once they’re inaugurated, it’s like instant wrinkles. Between the massive responsibility, the constant media attention, and the neverending workload, presidents have a tough life. However, one additional source of stress that no one wants to deal with is the threat of assassination attempts. Tragically, some of our greatest U.S. presidents have lost their lives in attacks, and many others have come within a hair’s breadth.
Andrew Jackson, 1835
Back in the early 19th century, a U.S. president had never been seriously threatened by one of his own constituents. That all changed on one fateful day in 1835, when an unemployed house painter named Richard Lawrence pulled the trigger on President Andrew Jackson at a congressional funeral, according to History . The gun misfired, saving Jackson’s life. However, Jackson was understandably enraged about the whole thing, so he proceeded to beat the crap out of Lawrence with his walking cane, proving that canes could be a deadly weapon even in the centuries before
House, M.D. made it common knowledge. Lawrence then misfired again — talk about a coincidence! — and before he could fire a third time, he was swiftly taken down by the president’s aides.
Even when the dust settled, this incident lingered in the back of Jackson’s mind, and the president became increasingly concerned that Lawrence had been sent by a political rival. This seems like a reasonable suspicion considering Jackson was stirring up a lot of controversy at the time, but History says Lawrence probably had no connection to Jackson’s enemies.
Abraham Lincoln, 1861
Abraham Lincoln’s murder at Ford’s Theatre at the close of the Civil War was one of the most tragic moments in United States history. However, History points out that it wasn’t the first time someone tried to assassinate the man who would one day be known as “the Great Emancipator.” In 1860, the election of a known abolitionist to the White House was a source of massive controversy, causing tensions between the Northern and Southern states to reach a fever pitch. President-elect Lincoln was due to assume the presidency in early 1861, and after a touching farewell to his home state of Illinois, he hopped on a train to Washington, with a scheduled stopover in Baltimore. What Lincoln didn’t realize was that in Baltimore a man named Ferdinanda (and at least one associate) was planning to murder him.
Luckily, the terrorist plot was sussed out by police detective Allan Pinkerton, who warned the Lincoln family. Lincoln wanted to stop in Baltimore anyway, but his wife convinced him to skip it, leading to the Lincoln family hiding out in Washington’s Willard Hotel, as pictured above, until Lincoln was finally inaugurated on March 4.
William Taft, 1909
William Howard Taft wasn’t the most famous president in history, but trivia buffs recognize him as the unfortunate guy who got stuck in the bathtub. Memorable as that image may be, it probably never happened. In real life, Taft had more important things to deal with. Pretty significantly, he was the first U.S. president to meet with a Mexican president, then a former general named Porfirio Díaz. Considering the not-so-pleasant history between both nations, this was a pretty big deal.
The celebrated USA/Mexico crossover in El Paso, Texas, was accompanied by lots of glitz and bombast, according to Charles H. Harris and Louis R. Sadler’s The Secret War in El Paso , including a parade with 2,000 U.S. Army soldiers and more than 2,000 Mexican troops. You’d figure no one would be stupid enough to make an assassination attempt with that massive military presence around, but sure enough, some guy wielding a pencil pistol broke through the crowd and tried to murder both presidents at once. The would-be assassin was taken down before he could do anything, but he managed to get within a few feet of his targets.
Teddy Roosevelt, 1912
Even though Teddy Roosevelt successfully completed two terms by 1909, the “speak softly and carry a big stick” politician ran for a third term in 1912, and gave a big campaign speech in Milwaukee. Not everyone was happy about this, according to History . As Roosevelt stood up before the crowd, a barkeep named John Schrank shot a bullet at Roosevelt’s heart. Insanely enough, the speeding bullet smacked right into the bundled papers of Teddy’s speech, which he’d stuffed in his breast pocket earlier, as well as his glasses case. The bullet still got lodged in Teddy’s chest, but the speech papers/glasses case combo had significantly slowed down the bullet’s momentum.
So what did Teddy do? Apparently intent on cementing his reputation as the most hardcore U.S. president of all time, Roosevelt just continued giving his speech, as if totally unfazed by getting a bullet in the chest. He even ripped the bloodied papers out of his pocket, held them before the crowd, and announced, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.”
After the speech was done, he rushed to the hospital like any normal person. Schrank spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital.
Herbert Hoover, 1928
From the start, Herbert Hoover was at risk of being assassinated. Right after he was elected, six security agents drove up to his California home and were so worried by the house’s many windows that, according to to Mel Ayton’s Plotting to Kill the President , they immediately installed floodlights on the grounds.
Well, before the month was out, someone did try to murder the new president-elect, but it didn’t happen in California. Later in November, Hoover set off on a “goodwill tour” of Latin America, hoping to spread a message of peace to our southern neighbors. But not everyone felt so peaceful. A man named Severino Di Giovanni and his allies felt the president-elect’s visit was a perfect opportunity to get “revenge” on the United States. Once Di Giovanni deducted that Hoover was going to ride a train from Chile to Argentina, he arranged to have explosives planted on the railroad tracks.
The plot was discovered, and the bombers were all arrested before anything could be put into motion. According to a 1928 Time article, Hoover himself seemed remarkably undisturbed by the whole hullabaloo.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933
President Franklin Roosevelt faced many unprecedented challenges. As if both the Great Depression and World War II weren’t enough, he also suffered from polio that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Throughout all this, FDR’s policies, courage, and stability have led to him often being celebrated as one of the most important U.S. presidents in history. But according to History, it all could have ended tragically on one day in 1933.
Down in Miami, the new president-elect was giving a speech to a massive crowd. Amid the record flock of 25,000 observers, according to the Miami Herald , slunk an unemployed man named Giuseppe Zangara, who’d just purchased an $8 pistol. According to later reports, Zangara said he had no problem with FDR personally but claimed he hated “all officials and anyone who is rich.” As soon as Zangara had a clear shot, he screamed out, “Too many people are starving!” and fired six rounds at the president-elect. He missed FDR, but his bullets went through five other people, including visiting Chicago mayor Tony Cermak, who died from his wounds. The crowd swiftly took down Zangara and might have killed him had not a calm and composed FDR told them to let the authorities handle the assassin. FDR went on to devote his presidency to ending the Great Depression.
Harry Truman, 1947 and 1950
Attempts on the president’s life became increasingly common in the latter half of the 20th century, and Harry Truman had to deal with two tries. The first came knocking on his door in 1947, according to the New York Times, when a Zionist group called the Stern Gang sent multiple “letter-bombs” to the president, rigged to explode when the envelopes were opened. Before any fatalities could occur, the White House mail room snagged the letters and had the bombs defused by the Secret Service.
Only a few years later, Truman faced another murder attempt, according to History. At the time, the White House was being renovated, so Truman and his family were living around the corner in the Blair House. The two would-be assassins, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, marched right up to the front door and started firing their guns. Predictably, neither of them got very far. Torresola was mortally wounded in the conflict, and Collazo was sentenced to death, though in 1952 Truman arranged to have his near-killer’s sentence changed to life imprisonment.
Richard Nixon, 1974
The shocking death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 was one of the most traumatic events ever to hit the collective American psyche. While JFK was the last U.S. president to be murdered while in office, he certainly wasn’t the last one to face a near-assassination. According to the New York Times , it was only a decade later that a former tire salesman named Samuel Byck tried to kill President Richard Nixon.
Byck had previously protested outside the White House wearing a Santa Claus costume, and his grand plan — which he called Operation Pandora’s Box — was to hijack a commercial airliner and then force the pilots to crash it headfirst into the White House, hopefully killing Nixon. As described by the U.S. Government’s 9-11 Commission Report , Byck’s terrorist attack didn’t make it too far. Before the plane could even take off, he was shot up by police and then committed suicide. These events loosely inspired the 2004 film The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn. As for Nixon himself, he resigned later that year due to the infamous Watergate scandal.
Gerald Ford, 1975
Two assassination attempts is scary enough, but Gerald Ford faced both of his in the same month. According to
History, the first occurred in Sacramento on September 5. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a Charles Manson follower, was desperate to prevent what she perceived as an environmental threat to the California redwoods, and believed that she had to shoot Ford to make a statement. Fromme claimed to have gotten cold feet as soon as she saw Ford in person, but felt “stuck in this position,” and raised the gun. The Secret Service rapidly restrained her before anything could happen, and Fromme was sentenced to life in prison.
A few weeks later, Ford was in San Francisco when a former FBI informant named Sarah Jane Moore attempted to shoot him. History explains that Moore’s attempt was stopped by a nearby Vietnam veteran, Oliver Sipple, who managed to throw off her aim. Secret Service hurried Ford into a vehicle before Moore could hit him. She was sentenced to the same West Virginia prison as Fromme, though both were later transferred to more secure facilities.
Jimmy Carter, 1979
In 1979, according to historian Kevin Mattson’s What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President? , President Jimmy Carter was giving a Cinco De Mayo speech in Los Angeles, and he had no idea that hidden in the crowd was an unemployed drifter with the eerily familiar name of Raymond Lee Harvey. Harvey was wielding a gun, but before the perpetrator could shoot, his suspicious demeanor caught the attention of Secret Service members, who arrested him on the spot.
Though Harvey was the one who got caught, it turned out he was just a small fish in the assassination ocean. According to Time , Harvey told the authorities that he was supposed to be one part of a four-man operation to kill Carter. Supposedly, Harvey’s role was simply to shoot loudly enough to cause a distraction, while his partner, Osvaldo — yes, the name similarities continue — finished the job with a sniper rifle. Charges against Raymond Lee Harvey were later dismissed due to lack of evidence, according to CBS .
Ronald Reagan, 1981
In 1976, according to History, a man named John Hinckley Jr. watched the film Taxi Driver and became dangerously fixated on actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley wrote letters to Foster, traveled to Connecticut in an attempt to see her, and even tried to call her on the phone. His obsession took an even darker turn when he decided that he wanted to kill the president of the United States “for her.” In 1980, Hinckley attempted to trail President Jimmy Carter, but was arrested for carrying his guns near a Carter campaign stop.
Undeterred, Hinckley bought more guns. His obsession climaxed in 1981 when he tracked the new president, Ronald Reagan, to the Hilton Hotel in Washington. Hinckley unloaded an array of exploding bullets at Reagan. Though they didn’t explode properly, one bullet pierced Reagan’s chest, and others wounded a Secret Service agent, a police officer, and press secretary James Brady. Reagan survived the shooting. The courts determined that Hinckley was insane, and sentenced him to a mental hospital where he remained until his release in 2016, according to USA Today.
George H.W. Bush, 1993
The original President George Bush made it through his four years without facing an assassination attempt, but that all changed after he retired, according to PBS. In April 1993, just three months after finishing his term, Bush took a trip to Kuwait. Soon afterward, 17 suspects were arrested on charges of attempting to assassinate the former president with a car bomb. Further investigation by the FBI determined that the suspects had not been acting alone, but were part of a covert operation directed by the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
Seeing as Bush wasn’t the president anymore, the official U.S. response came from the new president, Bill Clinton, who wasn’t too happy about the incident. To make a point, Clinton decided to launch 23 cruise missiles at the Iraqi Intelligence Service headquarters in Baghdad. As explained by the Washington Post, the missiles were specifically fired between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. to prevent the death of innocent civilians, though Iraq officials later stated that three houses had been destroyed, three people killed, and four injured.
Bill Clinton, 1994 and 1996
During his time in office, Bill Clinton made it through a few assassination attempts. The New York Times says the first incident occurred in September 1994, when an alcoholic truck driver named Frank Eugene Corder attempted to pilot a small plane right into Clinton’s White House bedroom but instead crashed into one of Andrew Jackson’s old magnolia trees. Ironically enough, the Clinton family had slept over in the Blair House that night. So even if Corder had hit his target, his murder attempt would’ve failed, though it certainly would’ve infuriated all the taxpayers who would have footed the repair bill.
Clinton also survived an eerier encounter in 1996, according to the Telegraph . That year, Clinton was visiting Manila, and Osama bin Laden ordered his operatives to plant a bomb beneath a bridge that the presidential motorcade was scheduled to drive over. Just in time, Secret Service agents picked up a message regarding the bomb and rerouted Clinton’s path to avoid it. Though bin Laden’s involvement in the plot was soon uncovered, U.S. officials opted to keep quiet on the matter until many years later.
George W. Bush, 2005
In May, 2005, President George W. Bush stood beside Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on a stage in Freedom Square, in the city of Tbilisi, Georgia. According to CNN , Bush was giving a speech when suddenly a grenade came flying toward him from the audience … which, surprisingly enough, didn’t explode. As explained by the FBI , the grenade was live, but the attacker had wrapped it up so tightly in a red handkerchief that the firing pin wasn’t able to deploy properly.
The attacker escaped but was tracked down a few months later, and found to be a local Tbilisi man named Vladimir Arutyunian. Arutyunian, as it turned out, was the kind of guy who kept a bunker in the woods filled with a deadly array of chemicals, weapons, and explosives. After an incredibly strange trial, including one day where Arutyunian showed up with his mouth literally sewn shut, the would-be assassin was convicted and given life imprisonment for the presidential attack and for his murder of a police officer who had tried to take him in.
Barack Obama, 2009, 2011 and 2013
Being the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama received more death threats than most public figures, even compared to other U.S. presidents. However, there were three specific assassination attempts that made headlines. The first one occurred in 2009, when President Obama attended the Alliance of Civilizations Summit in Istanbul. A Syrian man was arrested for carrying fake press credentials, according to CNN . The man confessed that he’d been planning to stab Obama with a knife.
Things got a lot weirder in 2011, according to the Telegraph , when a young man named Oscar Ortega-Hernandez attacked the White House with an assault rifle. Ortega-Hernandez described himself as “the modern-day Jesus Christ” and believed it was his holy mission to kill Obama, whom he deemed “the Anti-Christ.” Needless to say, Ortega-Hernandez was arrested and charged with attempting to assassinate the president.
The strangest story happened in 2013, as reported by CNN, when typewritten letters were sent to Obama containing “a suspicious granular substance.” This substance was soon found to be ricin, a deadly poison. An Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested and charged, but according to the LA Times , he was found innocent. Charges instead fell upon Curtis’ online rival, James Dutschke, whom Curtis said had framed him. The bizarre story ended with Dutschke being sentenced to 25 years in prison.s
History
U .S . Department of State

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