Even With Report Detailing Uganda Human Rights Abuses, U.S. Okays Millions More In Military Funds

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[Global: Africa]

Despite worsening human rights abuse in Uganda, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee recently voted to include another $50 million, in the draft version of the fiscal 2013 Defense bill, for surveillance and intelligence support to Ugandan troops, U.S. Green Berets and Navy Seals, who are, according to the Obama Administration, hunting East African warlord Joseph Kony.

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones: Despite worsening political repression and human rights abuse in Uganda, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted this week to include another $50 million, in the draft version of the fiscal 2013 Defense bill, to "enhance and expand" intelligence and surveillance support for Ugandan troops, and U.S. Special Forces, Green Berets and Navy Seals, who are, according to the Obama Administration, tracking down East African warlord Joseph Kony and his militia of between 100 and 200 fighters. The troops are operating from four "forward bases" in Northern Uganda, in the Southwest Central African Republic, the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan, all of which share borders in the oil and mineral resource rich East and Central African region. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann  Garrison : The Ugandan Army commanded by Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president of 26 years, has a record of atrocities, resource plunder and other human rights abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been well documented by UN human rights investigators.

In 2011, the Uganda Daily Monitor reported on Ugandan police shooting Ugandan civilians, including a three-year-old baby girl and an 18-yr.-old pregnant woman, during protests against the soaring costs of food and fuel. Uganda's secret service has a record of torture, as documented in the 2009 Human Rights Watch Report "Open Secret, Illegal Detention and Torture by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force in Uganda."

And, a 2012 U.S. State Department report on Ugandan Human Rights Practices in 2011 cited international and local human rights organizations' accounts of torture by the State Security Forces, which included caning, severe beating, squeezing of private parts, stabbing, kicking, tying of limbs in contorted positions, forced marching, rape, water torture, tearing off of fingernails, burning with molten plastic, and cutting off of body parts.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee says it wants to spend another $50 million to help Museveni's troops, and U.S. Navy Seals and Green Berets, hunt East African warlord Joseph Kony. High profile critics including  Milton Allimadi, Keith Harmon Snow, and Pepé Escobar have said that  the Kony hunt is really about securing African oil, cornering Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and checkmating China in the African resource scramble.

Barbara Allimadi a Ugandan human rights activist in the country's capital Kampala, and, the sister of New York City-based Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi, told KPFA that she'd like to ask Americans to question why the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee wants to spend another $50 million dollars to aid General Museveni:  (She was recently arrested  for a second time when she attempted to read a public statement deploring detentions without charges or trial of Ugandan citizens by security forces).

Barbara Allimadi: Anybody who's really interested in our country, and the people of Uganda, can clearly see the dictator Museveni in power. And the United States is supporting him. I urge the Americans to stand with us and question this. Why is America doing this? What is their motive? Our human rights are being violated. And we don't expect America to support a dictator.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Last month, NTV-Uganda also recorded the arrest of Ingrid Turinawe, Womens' League leader of the political party Federation for Democratic Change. The video sparked outrage around the world, because a Ugandan policeman was seen brutally grabbing and squeezing Turinawe's breast, as they dragged her from a vehicle and pushed her into a police van.

Barbara Allimadi said that Uganda's Parliament is now debating legislation called the Public Order Management Bill, which would make it illegal for more than three people to assemble in the streets.
For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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