AFD 66 – Mandela

Latest Episode:
“AFD 66 – Mandela”

I reflect on Nelson Mandela’s legacy. Guest Neal Carter talks about Millennials of Color. Then, I defend the minimum wage and unemployment insurance, and I pitch “Pelosi for President.”

Related links:

– AFD: Republican confusion on Mandela
– AFD: In defense of the minimum wage
– The Atlantic: Rand Paul Couldn’t Be More Wrong About Unemployment Insurance

Afghanistan 1978-79, unearthed

Dutch crimes-against-humanity investigators have published a list of 5,000 names of Afghans (out of tens of thousands) summarily executed by the Communist government between their April 1978 coup and the December 1979 Soviet invasion. The wave of executions was launched in response to a massive rebellion against the new government, in which 40,000 troops defected to the jihadists and rebels. Many of the victims of this Terror were given one-word charges, according to the documents, and buried alive in mass graves, according to soldiers who took part. The release of the names has provoked a huge reaction (of many emotions) this month, particularly since many senior ex-Communists are in the current government.

1992: The Great Russian Withdrawal from the Near Abroad

Flag_of_Russia_(1991-1993)-200pxA while back I posted the story of the experiences of the Soviet cosmonauts who were in space as the Soviet Union was breaking up.

While that was a pretty extreme situation, I just came across this article from 1997 about Soviet military units deployed in the non-Russian republics of the USSR (the “Near Abroad”) as it was breaking up. What were they supposed to do: withdraw immediately — hold in place? It was a logistical and political nightmare.

In many cases, ethnically Russian Soviet troops suddenly found themselves under Russian national command hundreds if not thousands of miles outside of the new country they were serving. Some units immediately started marching and driving back toward Russia, overland, abandoning in place any equipment they couldn’t take with them. Other units found themselves completely cut off and trapped in deployment locations as long-dormant ethno-religious and political conflicts broke out around them.
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Court: Dutch troops liable in Srebenica massacre

18 years later, Dutch UN Peacekeepers who served at Srebenica have been found liable by the Dutch Supreme Court for having ordered refugee men and boys out of the sanctuary of their base and into the waiting ranks of the Serb paramilitaries outside who then massacred them. Although their non-Dutch UN commanders gave the orders, the Court found they should not have followed the orders and that the Dutch government and commanders back home could have and should have intervened. The liability finding means the Netherlands will have to pay reparations to victim families in Bosnia. Meanwhile, in a just irony, the paramilitary commander who led the massacres is on trial now in the Hague (also in the Netherlands).

More on Pat Robertson’s blood diamonds

New revelations in the dormant Pat-Roberton-used-to-mine-conflict-diamonds-with-Charles-Taylor scandal. It was already known that he had used religious funds for an illegal blood diamond mining operation in Liberia (after President Taylor was indicted by the UN for war crimes!), but there was less evidence regarding longstanding allegations about his operations in the DR Congo. Now humanitarian mission air pilots from the Rwanda mission are coming forward to confirm that he was diverting planes from Rwandan Genocide aid efforts to carry mining equipment into the Congo. To give credit where it’s due, as I noted in my 2010 piece linked above, local Virginia reporters had figured a lot of this out as early as 1999 but there wasn’t as much evidence to confirm they were on the right track and also no one pays attention to local news unfortunately. The new information from the pilots and others also tells us used a failed farm in the Congo as a cover for the donations he was raising and diverting into mining.

The State of Virginia continues to refuse to investigate because he has consistently made huge donations to GOP candidates for attorney general.

Watching the USSR break up, from Space

mir-orbit-rkk-energiaIt just occurred to me that the Soviet/Russian space program was flying active missions to the Mir space station during the entire collapse of the Soviet Union over the course of 1991, so I decided to do some research to see how that played out.

It must have been totally insane experiencing your home country’s collapse and dissolution from space.
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