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      U.S. support for
official Angola terror

South African missionaries offer
bird's-eye view of atrocities

Saturday March 25, 2000

 WorldNetDaily Exclusive

Editor's note: WorldNetDaily international correspondent Anthony C. LoBaido has traveled extensively in Southern Africa during the past decade. His articles on Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the South African Apartheid Mercenary Army Executive Outcomes and the Christian, anti-Marxist Angolan rebel group UNITA have documented the West's support for tyrannical regimes throughout Southern Africa. In this report, LoBaido brings together more evidence of the lies and betrayal that characterize the region.

By Anthony C. LoBaido

Read most Western news reports about what's happening in Angola and the story seems clear: The Angolan government officials wear white hats. The forces under the command of UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi wear black hats.

But reports on the ground from independent sources contrast sharply with the official news filtered through the lenses of the United Nations and the despotic Angolan regime.

A missionary group, for instance, charges that atrocities committed by the Angolan government are being systematically covered up -- atrocities including the systematic assassination of political rivals, the forced recruitment of children into the military and the suppression of all meaningful dissent, including the jailing of journalists.
Results of the Angolan government's soldiers scorched earth policy in southeastern Angola. Photo courtesy of the Windhoek Observer.

Frontline Fellowship was founded by former South African Special Forces reconnaissance man Peter Hammond. Its relief projects and missionary work have grown dramatically over the past decade.

"We try to bring the Gospel to the front lines of the war areas. We try and bring in Bibles, clothing and medical supplies as well," said Hammond. "In the Sudan, we've had to breach the United Nations ban on bringing in Bibles to the persecuted black South Sudanese Christians."

Frontline Fellowship is in a unique position to document the "facts on the ground" in Southern Africa, especially as they relate to the Christian, anti-communist black people living in South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

"By mid-1998, the precarious peace formulated between the MPLA Angolan government and UNITA at 1994 Lusaka Peace Protocol began to crumble," explains Frontline Fellowship's field director Robert Zins. "In the 'popular media,' most blamed UNITA for the resumption of open hostilities. Yet the media were virtually united in their failure to report on the MPLA government's atrocities carried out during its campaign to extend centralized administration into territory which had been under UNITA administration."
Civilians murdered by Angolan government soldiers. Photos courtesy of the Windhoek Observer.

Zins explained that it was not uncommon for the MPLA to identify people with UNITA sympathies and have them murdered, hence removing any future political opposition.

"The MPLA perpetrated such acts between 1996 and mid-1998," said Zins. "By such a practice, the MPLA demonstrated that it was not trustworthy and that its only intention was to eliminate its political rivals and maintain a monopoly of power. Under those circumstances, UNITA resumed its armed resistance."

But that's not the story being told in the West.

"Calls for a peaceful resolution to the Angola crisis were disregarded and notable individuals, such as Richard Holbrooke, United States ambassador to the United Nations and Peter Hain, minister of state at the British Foreign Office have come out in full support of the MPLA government," said Zins. "Hain has been globetrotting to rally support for the MPLA government, and to vilify UNITA, and particularly its leader Jonas Savimbi as being exclusively responsible for the breakdown of the Lusaka Protocol."

Indeed, on Nov. 19, 1999, the BBC aired a statement by Hain, in which he compared Savimbi with Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milesovic.

However, Mick Lanigan, a British official, rebuked Hain for having such a narrow perspective of the Angolan crisis and reminded him that "the oil revenue of Angola is being future traded out of London" and "that only a small percentage of that revenue is getting back to Angola. ... As recorded in both the international and British media, a huge proportion of this revenue is being siphoned off by President Santos and his ministers."

The UK recently offered Savimbi asylum in England, promising him freedom from prosecution and the chance to hold on to a great deal of his wealth if he hands over UNITA's diamond and oil fields to the MPLA and British multinational interests.

The MPLA also stands accused of engaging in the forced recruitment of child soldiers.

According to the Namibian Society for Human Rights, based in Windhoek (the German word for "The Windy Corner"): "Namibian and Angolan authorities have often collaborated in the rusga (forced recruitment) on Namibian soil of hundreds of Angolan youths who fled from military conscription into Forcas Armadas Angolanas, the armed forces of Angola, in order to fight against UNITA movement in that country."

In mid-December, Marxist Namibian and Angolan forces conducted a joint, major sweep throughout the townships in the vicinity of Rundu, arresting many people, especially males (including under-aged youths), for failing to produce Namibian identity documents. Human rights monitors reported that close to 1,000 Namibians, and possibly Angolan citizens, were being held under unhygienic and inhuman conditions in what looked like a concentration camp.

"That the detainees were not in possession of Namibian identity documents was not entirely their fault, as the Ministry of Home Affairs has so far been unable to provide all Namibians with proper documents," explained Zins.

On suspicion that they were UNITA soldiers, men were handed over to Angolan soldiers.

"Namibia openly allies itself with the MPLA government against UNITA," said Zins. "In December 1999, the Namibian government permitted MPLA Angolan government forces, Forcas Armadas Angolanas, to use Namibian soil to launch its attack against UNITA-held territory in southeastern Angola. During that cross-border bombardment, some FAA, NDF, and SFF soldiers crossed the Kavango River into the nearby Angolan villages where they allegedly started beating up civilians and pillaging. "

Looting is a popular pastime of the FAA. After numerous such attacks, "booty" was carried back to Namibia. The Windhoek Observer published photographs, reproduced here, of FAA soldiers crossing the Kavango River back into Namibia. With big smiles, they were shown carrying mattresses, television sets and other household goods and being greeted by smiling Namibian policemen in camouflage uniforms. The FAA soldiers sold the looted property in Namibia.

Having been trained by Executive Outcomes elite mercenaries from the now-defunct South African Special Forces, the MPLA's FAA has been conducting a scorched-earth campaign in southeastern Angola.

According to eyewitnesses, FAA soldiers recently swept through the rural areas along the Namibian-Angolan border, leaving in their path burned huts, destroyed villages and the bodies of civilians who apparently had been executed in cold blood.
These four photos depict Angolan MPLA government soldiers crossing back into Namibia, across the Kavango River, after they have just looted a town in southeastern Angola. Photos courtesy of the Windhoek Observer.

"We have heard reports that the people the Angolan army thinks are UNITA, it just eliminates" said Phil ya Nangoloh, the executive director of the Windhoek-based National Society for Human Rights. Also according to ya Nangoloh, local Namibian TV aired a brief news piece that featured an Angolan FAA soldier saying, "We came here to kill, to eat and to assassinate."

In cold blood

More terror is continuing to spread in northern Nambia, says Zins.

"In December of 1999, several FAA soldiers entered Namibia at Cuangar in order to buy drinks and to sell goods stolen from refugees fleeing intensified fighting in southern Angola," he said. "One of the FAA soldiers accused a man named Antonio Jacob of being a UNITA agent. While standing on Namibian soil, Mr. Jacob, a Namibian citizen, was bayoneted in the heart by Angolan FAA soldiers in the presence of Namibian authorities. This outrageous execution perhaps portrays methods which the Angolan FAA soldiers operate against unarmed detainees within Angola who are suspected of being sympathetic to UNITA."

Amazingly, despite its atrocities, the MPLA government continues to receive international support. On Jan. 18, the three observer nations to the Angolan Peace Process (Portugal, the Russian Federation and the United States -- a.k.a "the Troika") issued a statement reaffirming their view that UNITA under the leadership of Jonas Savimbi was "the primary cause of the continuing conflict in Angola."

Paragraph seven of their statement reads as follows: "Members of the Troika condemn UNITA's ongoing attacks on civilian populations within the Republic of Angola and note with grave concern the escalation of the fighting into Namibia. The Troika calls upon UNITA fighters to lay down their arms and encourages the government of Angola to provide mechanisms for the demobilization of former UNITA combatants."

Ya Nongoloh is not impressed.

"As long as the members of the so-called Troika of Observer States, namely the United States of America, Portugal and Russia, are themselves actively involved in the pillaging of Angola's resources, there will be a conflict of interest," he said. "The Troika condemns the human rights violation by UNITA upon innocent civilians, [but] human rights monitoring organizations in this region, hold the view that the lion's share of very serious human rights violations such as massacres, summary executions, enforced disappearances and torture both in Angola and along the northeastern border of Namibia are perpetrated by Angolan government forces."

It is interesting to note that Portugal is the former colonial ruler of Angola, that Russia has waged a massive war against UNITA -- sending billions of dollars in arms and manpower to the MPLA -- while the U.S. behind President Clinton's anti-UNITA executive order can hardly be called impartial observers.

Zins told WorldNetDaily that the National Society for Human Rights in Namibia has now come under the most vicious of verbal attacks.

For example, On Dec. 23, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation program Ewi lyaManguluka (Free Voice) contained a vicious attack against NSHR and against Phil ya Nangoloh personally. The female talk show host incited listeners by calling Phil ya Nangoloh an "enemy of the people" and "a habitual liar."

Worse still, on Jan. 13, a male caller on Free Voice "called upon Namibian Defense Force (NDF) soldiers, "especially ex-PLAN fighters, to use the rules of war to take drastic steps against the human rights organization."

Zins points to the arrest of Angolan journalist Rafael Marques at his home in October. He was accused of "defaming" MPLA President Eduardo dos Santos, by referring to him as a dictator in a July 3, 1999, article in an Angola newspaper called Agora.

The article, entitled "The Lipstick of Dictatorship," said that dos Santos was "responsible for the destruction of the country and the promotion of corruption." For his part, Marques was incarcerated for 41 days before he was informed of the charges against him. He was released on bail with instructions not to leave the country.

Marques' plight has been documented and taken up by Canada's International Freedom of Expression Exchange. Yet that may not be enough to save his skin. On Jan.19, a member of the Angolan parliament and member of the ruling MPLA party, Mendes de Carvalho, issued a death threat against Marques during a parliamentary debate.

Ironically, speaking during a debate on freedom of the press and expression in Angola, de Carvalho stated that if Marques continued to criticize the president of the republic, he would not live to the age of 40. Marques is 28.

"Can the MPLA tolerate a free press?" Zins asked WorldNetDaily rhetorically.

Show me the oil money

Some suggest the reason for the international community's continuing support for the Angolan regime in the face of such human rights abuses is simple greed.

Foreign oil firms armed with big budgets are stepping up the pace in a race for a dazzling offshore exploration off the coast of Angola. Analysts say Royal Dutch/Shell and Chevron Corp are among frontrunners for operatorship of the ultra-deep Block 34, where a giant reservoir is believed to lie beneath the waves off southern Africa's west coast.

"There's quite a push by all the major oil giants," said an industry analyst.

"We believe that Sonangol would like Shell to have an operatorship in Angola," said Andrew Hayman of IHS Energy Group, referring to Angola's state oil firm. Block 34, in 2,000 metres of water over 100 km off Luanda, is just south of three similar blocks where operatorship was snapped up last year by BP Amoco, Elf Aquitaine and Exxon Mobil.

"The eventual operator of the world-class opportunity would be expected to pay the government more than $300 million in a so-called signature bonus -- a one-off non-recoverable payment -- for the right to operate the block," added Hayman. "Last year's total $900 million in payments for block 31-33 to the government helped fuel the army's offensive against UNITA rebels led by Jonas Savimbi in a 25-year civil war."

According to UNITA sources and interviews by WorldNetDaily with Executive Outcomes personnel, ex-SADF soldiers and intelligence analysts, Eduardo dos Santos has become one of the richest men in the world today. This wealth is the result of the misappropriation of funds from the Angolan nation -- revenues accruing from oil and diamonds from "Sanangol," the Angolan national oil company,

Sanangol, like Executive Outcomes, has its headquarters based in London and is managed by British and Swedish personnel who are answerable only to dos Santos.

Anthony C. LoBaido is an international correspondent for WorldNetDaily