US plans to militarily penetrate Africa

The U.S. is preparing “to militarily penetrate the African continent” by building up its military resources within the Mediterranean Sea, says Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop the NATO organization.

On Wednesday, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino announced that the U.S. was transferring 200 marines and two planes to its base at Sigonella in Sicily to deploy in Libya if U.S. diplomats come under attack as they did on Sep. 11, 2012.

The U.S. is also deploying four Guided Missile destroyers to naval Station Rota in Spain which is the Atlantic gateway into the Mediterranean and one of the most important shipping corridors in the world.

The destroyers include three from Norfolk, Virginia; USS Ross, USS Donald Cook, and USS Porter, and one from Mayport, Florida, USS Carney. Ross and Donald Cook will arrive in fiscal 2014 and Carney and Porter in fiscal 2015.

“The U.S. is positioning itself for a military intervention inside Libya by building military forces in Sicily,” said Rozoff in a phone interview with the U.S. Desk on Thursday.

“Potentially, other interventions in Africa and even the Sahara region could be staged.”

According to Global Research, the U.S.’s intervention in Africa is driven by America’s desire to secure valuable natural resources and political influence that will ensure the longevity of America’s capitalist system.

This article originally appeared on : Global Research  [Has since been removed]

 

 

http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/us-plans-to-militarily-penetrate-africa/34265/

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U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit

Photo: Press TV

Fire Dog Lake’s Kevin Gosztola notes:

Today US military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The US military is the world’s largest landlord, with significant military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti,Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK.  Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.

Citing a page at US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) website, they highlight the “areas of responsibility” publicly listed:

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) is active in 20 countries across the Middle Eastern region, and is actively ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs, logistical support, and funding to the military in various nations. At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM), according to the paper, “supports military-to-military relationships with 54 African nations.”

[Gosztola points out that the U.S. military is also conducting operations of one kind or another in Syrian, Jordan, South Sudan, Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, the Congo, Uganda, Mali, Niger and other countries.]

Altogether, that makes 74 nations where the US is fighting or “helping” some force in some proxy struggle that has been deemed beneficial by the nation’s masters of war.

***

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an accounting of all the publicly acknowledged deployments of US military forces

But those are just the public operations.

Gosztola notes that the covert operations are uncountable:

Beyond that, there are Special Operations forces in countries. Jeremy Scahill in Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, writes, “By mid-2010, the Obama administration had increased the presence of Special Operations forces from sixty countries to seventy-five countries.

***

Scahill also reports, based on his own “well-placed special operations sources”:

…[A]mong the countries where [Joint Special Operations Command] teams had been deployed under the Obama administration were: Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Yemen, Pakistan (including in Baluchistan) and the Philippines. These teams also at times deployed in Turkey, Belgium, France and Spain. JSOC was also supporting US Drug Enforcement Agency operations in Colombia and Mexico

Since President Barack Obama has been willing to give the go ahead to operations that President George W. Bush would not have approved, operations have been much more aggressive and, presumably, JSOC has been able to fan out and work in way more countries than ever expected.

Global assassinations have been embraced by the current administration, opening the door to night raids, drone strikes, missile attacks where cluster bombs are used, etc. Each of these operations, as witnessed or experienced by the civilian populations of countries, potentially inflame and increase the number of areas in the world where there are conflict zones.

***

The world is literally a battlefield with conflicts being waged by the US (or with the “help” of the US). And, no country is off-limits to US military forces.

Of course, JSOC is not accountable to Congress … let alone the public:

JSOC operates outside the confines of the traditional military and even beyond what the CIA is able to do.

***

But it goes well beyond the war zones. In concert with the Executive’s new claims on extra-judicial assassinations via drone strikes, even if the target is an American citizen, JSOC goes around the world murdering suspects without the oversight of a judge or, god forbid, granting those unfortunate souls the right to defend themselves in court against secret, evidence-less government decrees about their guilt. As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh said at a speaking event in 2009:

Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.

***

There are legal restrictions on what the CIA can do in terms of covert operations. There has to be a finding, the president has to notify at least the “Gang of Eight” [leaders of the intelligence oversight committees] in Congress. JSOC doesn’t have to do any of that. There is very little accountability for their actions. What’s weird is that many in congress who’d be very sensitive to CIA operations almost treat JSOC as an entity that doesn’t have to submit to oversight. It’s almost like this is the president’s private army, we’ll let the president do what he needs to do.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/05/u-s-currently-fighting-74-different-wars-that-it-publicly-admits.html

U.S. Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture, Kill, and Abuse Civilians

u.s., commandos, in, 75, countries, are, teaching, militaries, to, torture,, kill,, and, abuse, civilians, US Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture Kill and Abuse Civilians

(PolicyMIC) -While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens.

The training of foreign militaries to serve the interests of the American state goes all the way back to at least the Cold War. The U.S. used taxpayer money and weapons to subsidize foreign governments and militaries that were “anti-communist” even if the regimes were incredibly brutal and ruthless. All an authoritarian had to do was refer to his political opponents as “communists” and the Americans came rushing in.

In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads. Cheaper and less visible than directly invading and overthrowing governments the U.S. didn’t like, sock puppet dictators were the preferred means of implementing policy.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left very little justification for an American imperial position throughout the globe, yet those same Cold War policies were not only not discarded, but expanded upon. Back in 2010, President Obama and the Pentagon began implementing a strategy with a larger emphasis on “combat operations” and military-to-military coordination. U.S. Special Forces are now operating in (at least) 75 countries, teaching their governments more efficient means of subjugating their populations, creating chaos, and serving the interests of the American empire.

Syria is the most recent example of this policy. While publicly claiming that the U.S. is helping build schools and hospitals in Syria, the Associated Press and New York Times reports document that the U.S. is training and arming Syrian “rebels” opposing the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. With the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, most of the weapons are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, many of whom belonging to groups that just a few years ago were killing U.S. Marines in Iraq.

President Obama, secretly and without the consent of Congress, sent more than 150 Special Forces to Jordan to train the anti-Assad fighters on the use of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

What is even more disturbing is that the Syrian “rebels” have most likely already used chemical weapons, have a reputation for beheading prisoners, and that U.S. support is prolonging the conflict in the region. The reasons for U.S. intervention are of course complicated and multifaceted, but it most likely has to do with attempts to destabilize Iran’s strongest ally and what the Romans called divide et impera.

Syria may be the most dangerous example of the Obama administration’s enhanced policy of covert military training and assistance, but unfortunately it is nowhere near the only one. In Mali, along with building a brand new drone base, U.S. AFRICOM chief General Carter Ham admitted that while training Mali’s military, they “skipped ethics.” Targeting dissidents based on ethnicity and executing them is a staple of the U.S.-trained Mali government.

In Indonesia, the Obama administration resumed training and assisting an elite Indonesian military unit whose members have been convicted of massive human rights abuses in East Timor. U.S.-trained forces in Guatemala have incredibly close ties to some of the region’s most violent drug cartels and are notorious for their brutal treatment of civilians during the Guatemalan civil war.

A report from the Washington Office on Latin America details a U.S. policy called “the Merida Initiative” designed to “help the region’s militaries take on internal security roles” and use American police to train local police. Although President Obama publicly denounced the 2009 military coup in Honduras, Wikileaks cables later revealed that the Obama administration had members of the State Department meet with the illegitimate new Honduran “president” to help coordinate the implementation of the Merida Initiative.

The policy of militarizing, arming, and subsidizing foreign governments, especially those with well-known and documented human rights abuses and commissions of war crimes, appears to be a staple of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. But these policies help contribute to the spread of dictatorships, humanitarian crises, and instability while making the possibility of resentment and blowback much more likely.

It is becoming more and more clear that the bipartisan consensus policy of military interventionism is a threat to peace and security. Neutrality and non-intervention, as the Founders recommended, is a far more practical alternative and is still the best way to spread the American values our politicians are so fond of endorsing.

How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?

 

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(ProPublica) -Earlier this week, we wrote about [1] a significant but often overlooked aspect of the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen: so-called signature strikes, in which the U.S. kills people whose identities aren’t confirmed. While President Obama and administration officials have framed [2] the drone program as targeting particular members of Al Qaeda, attacks against unknown militants reportedly may account [3] for the majority of strikes.

The government apparently calls such attacks signature strikes because the targets are identified based on intelligence “signatures” that suggest involvement in terror plots or militant activity.

 

 

So what signatures does the U.S. look for and how much evidence is needed to justify a strike?

The Obama administration has never spoken publicly about signature strikes. Instead, generally anonymous officials have offered often vague examples of signatures. The resulting fragmentary picture leaves many questions unanswered.

In Pakistan, a signature might include:

Training camps…

  • Convoys of vehicles that bear the characteristics of Qaeda or Taliban leaders on the run. – Senior American and Pakistani officials, New York Times [4], February 2008.
  • “Terrorist training camps.” – U.S. Diplomatic Cable [5] released by Wikileaks, October 2009.
  • Gatherings of militant groups or training complexes. – Current and former officials, Los Angeles Times [6], January 2010.
  • Bomb-making or fighters training for possible operations in Afghanistan…. a compound where unknown individuals were seen assembling a car bomb. – Officials, Los Angeles Times [7], May 2010.
  • Travel in or out of a known al-Qaeda compound or possession of explosives. – U.S. officials, Washington Post [8], February 2011.
  • Operating a training camp… consorting with known militants. – High-level American official, The New Yorker [9], September 2011.

A group of guys…

  • Large groups of armed men. – Senior U.S. intelligence official, Associated Press [10], March 2012.
  • Groups of armed militants traveling by truck toward the war in Afghanistan. – Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp. – Senior official, May 2012.
  • “The definition is a male between the ages of 20 and 40.” – Former Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Daily Beast [12], November 2012.
  • “Armed men who we see getting into pickup trucks and heading towards the Afghanistan border or who are in a training exercise.” – Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Council on Foreign Relations [13], January 2013.

Officials have characterized the intelligence that goes into these strikes as thorough, based on “days [14]” of drone surveillance and other sources — and said that [15] apparently low-level people may still be key to an organization’s functioning. In 2010, an official told the Los Angeles Times [7] that the CIA makes sure “these are people whose actions over time have made it obvious that they are a threat.”

In Yemen, signature strikes are reportedly bound by stricter rules [11]. Officials have often cited the necessity of a plot against Americans:

  • Clear indication of the presence of an al-Qaeda leader or of plotting against targets in the United States or Americans overseas. — Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • “Individuals who are personally involved in trying to kill Americans… or intelligence that…[for example] a truck has been configured in order to go after our embassy in Sanaa.” — Senior administration official, Washington Post [16], January 2013

These strikes are not supposed to target “lower-level foot soldiers battling the Yemeni government,” U.S. officials told [17] the Wall Street Journal. A White House spokesman said last summer [18] that the U.S. “[has] not and will not get involved in a broader counterinsurgency effort” in Yemen.

But experts say some strikes [19] in Yemen do appear to have been aimed at local militants [20]. In Pakistan, in addition to low-level militants who might be involved in the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. has sometimes hit [21] those who posed a threat to the Pakistani government.

As we detailed [1], signature strikes have also been criticized by human rights groups and some legal observers because of the lack of transparency surrounding them, including on the number of civilians killed.

Israel admits to giving ethiopian jews birth control without their consent

 

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(Independent) -Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.

One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.

The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.

Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

Anti-War Protester Interrupts Hearing, Kerry Says Outburst ‘Good Exclamation Point for My Testimony’

 

Obama-KerryPresident Obama announces his nomination of Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state, at the White House on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

(CNSNews.com) – A heckler interrupted Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) opening remarks at his confirmation hearing on Thursday to become the next Secretary of State, an outburst that Kerry defended as indicative of American democracy and which reminded him of his own political action against the Vietnam war some 42 years ago.

The young woman, dressed in a pink hat, called for an end to U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the heckler was removed from the room by Capitol Police, Kerry said the woman reminded him of his time as an anti-Vietnam war activist who, along with other protestors, “wanted to have our voices heard.”

 

During his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kerry implied that freedom of speech is part of American democracy and said the protestor’s shouts were “a good explanation point to my testimony.”

In his opening prepared statement, Kerry referred to his military service during the Vietnam War but did not mention his testimony in 1971 before the same committee about some U.S. troops committing atrocities, such as raping civilians and beheading victims.

“And as we talk about war and peace and foreign policy, I want us all to keep in our minds the extraordinary men and women in uniform who are on the front lines, the troops at war who help protect America,” Kerry said. “As a veteran, I will always carry the consequences of our decisions in my mind and be grateful that we have such extraordinary people to back us up.”

Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed and will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down in March.

Minimum of 40 Children Paralyzed After New Meningitis Vaccine

(VacTruth) -On December 20, 2012, a vaccination tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, located in northern Chad, Africa. According to the newspaper La Voix, out of five hundred children who received the new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac, at least 40 of them between the ages of 7 and 18 have become paralyzed. Those children also suffered hallucinations and convulsions.

Since this report, the true extent of this tragedy is coming to light, as parents of these vaccinated children have reported yet more injuries. The authorities in the area are shaken, as citizens set fire to a sanitary administration vehicle in a demonstration of their frustration and anger at the government’s negligence.[1]

“We wish that our children would get their health back,” shared the parent of a sick child.

THE MENAFRIVAC VACCINE

MenAfriVac is a new vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India Limited. According to The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), it is the first vaccine to gain approval to travel outside the cold chain, meaning that the vaccine can be transported without refrigeration or ice packs for up to four days:

“The meningitis A vaccine known as MenAfriVac®, created to meet the needs of Africa’s meningitis belt, can now be kept in a controlled temperature chain (CTC) at temperatures of up to 40°C for up to four days, a decision that could help increase campaign efficiency and coverage and save funds normally spent maintaining the challenging cold chain during the “last mile” of vaccine delivery.” [2]

The data on the MenAfriVac vaccine is further backed by the World Health Organization’s website [3] and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website. [4]

So, why does this information differ vastly from the information given on the manufacturer’s website? Serum Institute of India Ltd. stated under the section marked STORAGE:

“MenAfriVac should be stored and transported between 2-8ºC. Protect from light. The diluent should be stored at 25°C. It is recommended to protect the reconstituted vaccine from direct sunlight. Do not exceed the expiry date stated on the external packaging.” [5]

THE STORY FROM INSIDE AFRICA

Mr. M., the cousin of two of the vaccine-injured children, who currently remain critically ill and hospitalized, explained that many of the children reacted within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine. He said that at first the children vomited and complained of headaches, before falling to the floor with uncontrollable convulsions while bent over with saliva coming from their mouths.

He shared that on December 26, 2012,  the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Security visited Gouro, bringing with them two Members of Parliament. He said that after some discussion, they decided to evacuate approximately 50 paralyzed children to a hospital over three hundred miles away in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad.

He added that the government responded to the tragedy by paying the parents money in a desperate bid to silence them, further stating that many of the parents are traumatized and confused.

As reported in La Voix, according to a member of the medical staff, as well as a comment from Dr. Daugla Oumagoum Moto, the director of the Center of International Health Support (CSSI), the reactions that these children have suffered are not typical of this type of vaccine against meningitis, which they say are normally fever, vomiting, and headaches, not the adverse reactions experienced by the hospitalized children.

A HEARTFELT PLEA FOR HELP

Fearing for their children’s present and future health, parents of these vaccine-injured children have begun asking questions, such as:

1. Was this a faulty batch of vaccines?

2. Did the vaccinators inadvertently vaccinate using an unsafe product?

3. Was the product out of refrigeration too long?

4. Were the vaccinators fully trained?

This recently vaccinated child is being attended to after having seizures.

This recently vaccinated child is being attended to after becoming paralyzed.

Mr. M. believes the children were left far too long without care and attention. He told me that, despite the state of the vulnerable children and many parents begging for help, the regional authorities failed to respond on time. The children were not seen by the only doctor in the region until a full week after their injuries!

He stated via email:

“In addition, the government and the media have gone silent about the tragedy, while there are still facts requiring clarification whatever contingencies. All this disturbs us and makes us fear the worst effects for the future. For the not knowing of what is going on behind the scenes of the Minister of Health or elsewhere (WHO, UNICEF).  As parents our priorities is that how to tell our children, it is very sad that entire city is paralyzed. We are begging our government act quickly as possible to save our children but it is too slow and lack of motivation. Therefore we call assistance for everyone in the world to intervene.” (his exact words from an email)

President Idriss Deby Itno announced at the beginning of the campaign that the vaccine was safe, secure, and would protect citizens against meningitis for ten years. [6]

Gavi Alliance, a major financial partner in the project, which cost $571 million, stated:

“If all of this works like we think it is going to work, then we are going to eliminate these epidemics. Stop. Period,’ said Marc LaForce, Director of the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a joint project involving PATH and WHO which developed MenAfriVac in less than ten years.” [7]

Both of these organizations appear to have been silent since the tragedy.

CONCLUSION

This is a newspaper clipping regarding the incident.

La Voix initially reported the incident. If you want to see an enlarged version of the newspaper clipping, click on the photo.

This tragedy raises many unanswered questions. Why were 500 children vaccinated in a region that has only one doctor, who was unable to provide advice or treatment for adverse events until one week later? Why did the manufacturer of MenAfriVac specifically advise that the product should be stored and transported at much lower temperatures than The Meningitis Project claimed? Why were the parents of these vaccine-injured children paid hush money?

Why are vaccines being pushed so strongly in a country which lacks clean drinking water and basic sanitation services? UNICEF blames Chad’s recurrent outbreaks of disease, including meningitis, on this vital, common-sense need. [8] Why have major organizations spent $571 million on a vaccination project, when wells to provide access to clean drinking water have been constructed for less than $3,000 by the International Committee of the Red Cross? [9]

How can at least 40 children become paralyzed after receiving a vaccine, and no news organizations provide coverage of this disturbing situation? The media has gone completely silent. There appear to be no reports of this incident on any government website. The only available information, apart from this one newspaper report, appears to be buried on a small blog titled Le blog de Makaila, which has been reporting regular updates on the situation. [10]

Where are statements from the involved organizations – WHO, GAVI, PATH, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?  Why has this vaccination program not been suspended? What are these organizations going to do about the atrocity that has happened in Gouro?

The Drone Commander:20,000 Airstrikes in the President’s First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia

 of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?”

(AlterNet) -Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on terror” falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The U.S. dropped 17,500 bombs during its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It conducted 29,200 air strikes during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. air forces conducted at least another 3,900 air strikes in Iraq over the next eight years, before the Iraqi government finally negotiated the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces. But that pales next to at least 38,100 U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan since 2002, a country already occupied by U.S. and NATO forces, with a government pledged by its U.S. overlords to bring peace and justice to its people.
 
The Obama administration is responsible for at least 18,274 air strikes in Afghanistan since 2009, including at least 1,160 by pilotless drones. The U.S. conducted at least 116 air strikes in Iraq in 2009 and about 1,460 of NATO’s 7,700 strikes in Libya in 2011. While the U.S. military does not publish figures on “secret” air and drone strikes in other countries, press reports detail a five-fold increase over Bush’s second term, with at least 303 strikes in Pakistan, 125 in Yemen and 16 in Somalia.
 
Aside from the initial bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 and the “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq in March and April 2003, the Obama administration has conducted more air strikes day-in day-out than the Bush administration. Bush’s roughly 24,000 air strikes in seven years from 2002 to 2008 amounted to an air strike about every 3 hours, while Obama’s 20,130 in four years add up to one every 1-3/4 hours.
 
The U.S. government does not advertise these figures, and journalists have largely ignored them. But the bombs and missiles used in these air strikes are powerful weapons designed to inflict damage, death and injury over a wide radius, up to hundreds of feet from their points of impact. The effect of such bombs and shells on actual battlefields, where the victims are military personnel, has always been deadly and gruesome. Many soldiers who lived through shelling and bombing in the First and Second World Wars never recovered from “shell-shock” or what we now call PTSD.
 
The use of such weapons in America’s current wars, where “the battlefield” is often a euphemism for houses, villages or even urban areas densely populated by civilians, frequently violates otherwise binding rules of international humanitarian law. These include the Fourth Geneva Convention, signed in 1949 to protect civilians from the worst effects of war and military occupation.
 
Beginning in 2005, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued quarterly reports on human rights in Iraq. They included details of U.S. air strikes that killed civilians, and UNAMI called on U.S. authorities to fully investigate these incidents. A UNAMI human rights report published in October 2007 demanded, “that all credible allegations of unlawful killings by MNF (multi-national force) forces be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action taken against military personnel found to have used excessive or indiscriminate force.”
 
The UN human rights report included a reminder to U.S. military commanders that, “Customary international humanitarian law demands that, as much as possible, military objectives must not be located within areas densely populated by civilians. The presence of individual combatants among a great number of civilians does not alter the civilian nature of an area.”
 
But no Americans have been held criminally accountable for civilian casualties in air strikes, either in Iraq or in the more widespread bombing of occupied Afghanistan. U.S. officials dispute findings of fact and law in investigations by the UN and the Afghan government, but they accept no independent mechanism for resolving these disputes, effectively shielding themselves from accountability.
 
Besides simply not being informed of the extent of the U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. public has been subject to military propaganda about the accuracy and effectiveness of “precision” weapons. When military forces detonate tens of thousands of powerful bombs and missiles in a country, even highly accurate weapons are bound to kill many innocent people. When we are talking about 33,000 bombs and missiles exploding in Iraq, 55,000 in Afghanistan and 7,700 in Libya, it is critical to understand just how accurate or inaccurate these weapons really are. If only 10 percent missed their targets, that would mean nearly 10,000 bombs and missiles blowing up something or somewhere else, killing and maiming thousands of unintended victims.
 
But even the latest generation of “precision” weapons is not 90 percent accurate. One of the world’s leading experts on this subject, Rob Hewson, the editor of the military journal Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the 19,948 precision weapons used in the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq in 2003 completely missed their targets. The other 9,251 bombs and missiles were not classified as “precision” weapons in the first place, so that only about 56 percent of the total 29,199 “shock and awe” weapons actually performed with “precision” by the military’s own standards. And those standards define precision for most of these weapons only as striking within a 29 foot radius of the target.
 
To an expert like Rob Hewson who understood the real-world effects of these weapons, “shock and awe” presented an ethical and legal problem to which American military spokespeople and journalists seemed oblivious. As he told the Associated Press, “In a war that’s being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi people, you can’t afford to kill any of them. But you can’t drop bombs and not kill people. There’s a real dichotomy in all of this.” 

The actual results of U.S. air strikes were better documented in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Epidemiological studies in Iraq bore out Hewson’s assessment, finding that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. air strikes. The first major epidemiological study conducted in Iraq after 18 months of war and occupation concluded:

Violent deaths were widespread … and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children … Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.

When the same team from Johns Hopkins and Baghdad’s Al Mustansariya University did a more extensive study in Iraq in 2006 after three years of war and occupation, it found that, amidst the proliferation of all kinds of violence, U.S. air strikes by then accounted for a smaller share of total deaths, except in one crucial respect: they still accounted for half of all violent deaths of children in Iraq.
 
No such studies have been conducted in Afghanistan, but hundreds of thousands of Afghans now living in refugee camps tell of homes and villages destroyed by U.S. air strikes and of family members killed in the bombing. There is no evidence that the pattern of bombing casualties in Afghanistan has been any kinder to children and other innocents than in Iraq. Impossibly low figures on civilian casualties published by the U.N. mission in Afghanistan are the result of small numbers of completed investigations, not comprehensive surveys. They therefore give a misleading impression, which is then amplified by wishful and uncritical Western news reports.
 
When the UN identified only 80 civilians killed in U.S. Special Forces night raids in 2010, Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, who worked on the UN report, explained that this was based on completed investigations of only 13 of the 73 incidents reported to the UN for the year. He estimated the number of civilians killed in all 73 incidents at 420. But most U.S. air strikes and special forces raids occur in resistance-held areas where people have no contact with the UN or the Human Rights Commission. So even thorough and complete UN investigations in the areas it has access to would only document a fraction of total Afghan civilian casualties. Western journalists who report UN civilian casualty figures from Afghanistan as if they were estimates of total casualties unwittingly contribute to a propaganda narrative that dramatically understates the scale of violence raining down from the skies on the people of Afghanistan.
 
President Obama and the politicians and media who keep the scale, destructiveness and indiscriminate nature of U.S. air strikes shrouded in silence understand only too well that the American public has in no way approved this shameful and endless tsunami of violence against people in other countries. Day after day for 11 years, U.S. air strikes have conclusively answered the familiar question of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?” As Congressmember Barbara Lee warned in 2001, we have “become the evil we deplore.” It is time to change course. Ending the daily routine of deadly U.S. air strikes, including but by no means limited to drone strikes, should be President Obama’s most urgent national security priority as he begins his second term in office.

Outrage as library displays controversial drawing of black female slave having sex with white man

(DailyMail) -A library that covered up a drawing of a black female slave having sex with a white man after workers found it inappropriate has put it on display again.

The drawing, created by black artist Kara Walker, shows the horrors many blacks faced after the Civil War and during reconstruction and includes a depiction of a slave performing oral sex. It also depicts hooded Ku Klux Klan members standing around a burning cross.

It initially was hung during Thanksgiving in the Newark Public Library’s second-floor reference room, but officials reluctantly covered it with a cloth after one day because some workers complained it was insensitive.

 
Controversial: The drawing shows the horrors many blacks faced after the Civil War and during reconstruction and includes a depiction of a slave performing oral sexControversial: The drawing shows the horrors many blacks faced after the Civil War and during reconstruction and includes a depiction of a slave performing oral sex

Library officials and staffers have since met to discuss the drawing and decided it could be uncovered.

Library employee Kendell Willis told the Star-Ledger that he had a better understanding of the library officials’ position after the meeting.

 

 

‘They said there are a lot of things in artwork we don’t want to talk about, and that made absolute sense,’ he said.

Library officials plan to invite Walker to speak about the drawing, artistic freedom and the role of black artists in society.

 
Taking a stand: Library officials discussed the painting which had upset some and decided it could be put on display againTaking a stand: Library officials discussed the painting which had upset some and decided it could be put on display again

 
Freedom of expression: Artist Kara Walker was invited to the library to discuss her work Freedom of expression: Artist Kara Walker was invited to the library to discuss her work

‘The library should be a safe harbor for controversies of all types, and those controversies can be dealt with in the context of what is known about art, about literature, democracy and freedom,’ library trustee Clement A. Price, a Rutgers university history professor said.

‘There’s no better venue in Newark where such a powerful and potential controversial drawing should be mounted.’

Price noted that the portrayal of the black American experience is a sensitive issue.

‘Should we be depicted sentimentally, romantically?’ he said. ‘Should some of the grotesque realities be depicted in art or movies?’

Man locks up drunk cop

 

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(TheWitness) – A KwaZulu-Natal man arrested an allegedly drunk police officer and locked him up in the back of his police van after watching him drive recklessly through the streets of Pietermaritzburg.

Russell George, of Prestbury, said he was coming down Stott Street and about to enter Mayor’s Walk at about 20:00 on Sunday when he noticed a police van driving fast and recklessly.

“He was driving towards oncoming traffic as he turned into Victoria Road.

Accident

“At this point I was concerned about the safety of other road users,” self-employed George told The Witness.

“He suddenly jammed on his brakes and came to a complete stop.

“I got out of my car and went towards him and I asked him if he knew what he was doing. He started his car and carried on driving,” he said.

Continuing to drive recklessly, the policeman turned into Logan Road and came to a stop at the Howard Road intersection.

George decided it would be best to call 10111. He was told the police would be there shortly.

“After five minutes, no one had arrived. So I jumped out of my car and I approached the driver’s side and asked him to come out. He looked at me and I could smell that he had been drinking.

“I asked him again, and he refused.

“I then grabbed his keys, pulled him out and locked him in the back of his own van,” George said.

He added that the police van was badly damaged, as if it had been involved in an accident.

Birthday celebrations

Khanyi Mnikathi, a witness who lives on Howard Road, also said the policeman was drunk when he was pulled out of the vehicle.

She said: “He was quite sloshed. He was weak enough for him to be pulled out and into the back of the van.

“When he was put into the back [of the van], he started crying.”

She said the police officers who arrived there “were quite embarrassed”.

“It was ironic because it was a citizen who put him in the back of his own van,” she said.

Mnikathi said that when her mother approached the officer to ask him what happened, he said he had been celebrating his birthday and that all his friends had bought him a bottle of alcohol. “He did not deny that he was drunk,” she said.

Another witness, who gave his name as Sbu, agreed that the officer was very drunk.

The policeman was taken to Loop Street police station.

It was alleged that police had recently been called to a nightclub in the city where the officer had held up his girlfriend at gunpoint.

George said that while he was giving his statement, “two men came into the station to report that a police van had crashed into [their vehicle] and fled”.

Charges

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan confirmed that the policeman had been taken into custody.

“He will be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol,” she said.

“While he was in custody, we received a report that he had been involved in a collision in Prestbury.

“He is also going to be investigated for reckless and negligent driving,” said Jeevan.

She added that police were aware of an incident “where there was a problem with his girlfriend”.

She said an investigation into an assault was pending and that the officer’s firearm had been taken away.

Zweli Mnisi, spokesperson for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said justice should prevail and that the investigation should take place without prejudice.

Obama Plans African Wars

AfricanWars

(BFP) -Obama’s war-making appetite exceeds all his predecessors and then some. He’s already waging multiple direct and proxy wars.

His rhetoric about winding them down rings hollow. He wants to make the most of the next four years.

No targeted country left behind reflects his agenda. He’s ravaging the world multiple countries at a time. He’s out-of-control. He governs like a serial killer.

He plans more war on Iran, perhaps Lebanon, and full-scale intervention against Syria. He has other targets in mind. He’s insatiable. Africa dreaming explains what’s on his mind.

On December 15, 2006, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was authorized. On February 6, 2007, it was announced. On October 1, 2007, it was established, and on October 1, 2008, it became operational.

It’s based in Stuttgart, Germany, not Africa. It’s responsible for warmaking and military relations throughout the continent. It’s comprised of 53 countries. Many potential targets are represented.

Washington wants the entire continent colonized and controlled. It’s resource rich. It has large amounts of oil, gas, water, gold, silver, diamonds, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, manganese, other valued minerals, and rich agricultural land.

In early July 2009, Obama visited sub-Saharan Africa. He signaled his intentions. In Accra, Ghana, he said:

“We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don’t, and that is exactly what America will do.” He said Ghana and other African governments must achieve “good governance.”

His message was clear. Open the continent to Western investment and development. Privatize, privatize, privatize. Forget about providing healthcare, education, and other vital services.

Give US and other Western corporate predators free reign. Play the game the way Washington demands or suffer the consequences. Ghana got the message. Why else would Obama show up.

Libya didn’t. Gaddafi paid with his life. The country became another NATO trophy. Africa’s most developed country became a charnel house.

Egypt’s on the boil. Morsi is Washington’s man in Cairo. Street protests strongly contest his dictatorial governance. As long as he maintains US support, he can rule any way he wishes.

On December 7, the Wall Street Journal headlined “Terror Fight Shifts to Africa,” saying:

Obama may ask Congress to wage America’s war on terror against Mali, Nigeria, Libya, “and possibly other countries where militants have loose or nonexistent ties to al Qaeda’s Pakistan headquarters.”

Washington’s war on Libya created out-of-control violence and instability. Tribes, rebel gangs, and green resistance fighters battle for dominance. Puppet leaders America installed have little or no authority. No end of conflict looms.

Mali’s late March military coup appears fallout from Libya. It may be replicated elsewhere in North Africa and other areas. Niger’s endangered.

There’s more involved than meets the eye, including controlling regional resources. Besides oil, Libya, Mali, and Niger have valuable uranium deposits. Washington seeks control.

In October, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy head, Catherine Ashton, was involved in developing a Mali mission within 30 days. According to EU diplomats, it involves deploying 150 European military experts to train Malian and other African forces over a four to six month period.

On October 12, the Security Council approved an international military mission to Mali. Ban Ki-moon was enlisted to help develop military intervention plans. Finalizing them was planned for end of November.

France drafted the UN resolution. It was Washington’s lead attack dog on Libya. It may have the same role on Mali. In late March, monsoon season starts. Expect something early next year in advance. African troops will be involved.

Germany agreed to participate. Britain likely also. Washington remains in charge. Whatever is coming will be another Obama war. Officially it’s because Islamists seized power in northern Mali. The area replicates France in size.

Before his ouster, Gaddafi was a stabilizing force. Investments and mediation efforts prevented conflict between governing authorities and Tuareg rebels.

Things change a year ago. Heavy armed rebels mobilized. In March 2012, Long-time Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was deposed.

Local Islamists controlled northern areas with Tauregs. Islamists with Al Qaeda ties drove them out. According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama wants congressional approval to intervene. With or without it, he’ll do what he wants.

US special forces and drone attacks may be planned. Operations may be similar to Washington’s proxy wars on Somalia and Yemen.

Administration officials call Mali a “powder keg” able to destabilize surrounding countries. They have to invent some reason to intervene. AFRICOM head General Carter Ham said:

“The conditions today are vastly different than they were previously. There are now non-Al Qaeda associated groups that present significant threats to the United States.” He urges intervention.

An unnamed official added:

“Everyone is committed to taking on violent extremism in Africa. There is a healthy debate in the administration about how best to counter the threat in the region.”

Ham said Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) raises most concern. It’s also called “the Salafist Group for Call and Combat.” Other regional groups include “the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.”

“It is clear to me they aspire to conduct events more broadly across the region, and eventually to the United States,” claimed Ham.

“That is the ideology. That is the campaign plan. Establish the caliphate and spread the ideology. Attack Western interests. Attack democrat forms of government. We are certainly seeing it.”

It’s hard imagining anyone with command or lower authority saying these things with a straight face. America’s only enemies are ones it invents.

Real ones haven’t existed since Japan formally surrendered in August 1945. America waged permanent direct and/or proxy wars from then to now.

Multiple ones followed September 14, 2001 congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force. Some analysts believe it permits attacking any nation or group administration officials say have terrorist links.

Al Qaeda and groups with close ties are mentioned most often. Claiming it, of course, doesn’t mean it’s so. ACLU senior legislative council, Christopher Anders, expressed grave concerns. He calls another authorization for force alarming.

“This is the kind of thing that Americans could end up regretting,” he said. “We could end up in another decade long war if this crazy idea isn’t stopped.”

Obama and administration hardliners want complete freedom to invent whatever pretexts they wish to keep waging permanent wars.

Some congressional members feel the same way. An unnamed aide to one said:

“You can make a plausible case that (new threats are) in gestation and therefore we need to act now decisively to deal with (them).”

Nigeria is also mentioned. America and the IMF stoke internal violence. Western oil giants largely control its energy resources.

China made inroads with exploration and infrastructure deals. It wants more. It puts Beijing at odds with Washington and other Western interests.

Currency wars are in play. Nigeria’s foreign reserves are 80% in dollars. The rest are in euros and sterling. Russia, China, India, Iran, and other countries increasingly want less dollar dependence.

Moving away enough threatens it as the dominant world reserve currency. Washington is determined to prevent it. What’s ahead bears watching.

The more China becomes a major Nigeria player, the less dominant dollars in the country become. The same holds elsewhere in the region and other parts of the world. Destabilizing violence may be initiated to prevent it.

Washington wants unchallenged control over Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. They’re stepping stones to global dominance. Resource rich areas are most valued.

War is America’s option of choice to secure them. With or without congressional authorization, expect continued conflicts ahead.

Expect force-fed austerity at home to pay for them. Both sides of the isle agree. So does Obama.

U.S. Africa Command Now Has Permanent Spec Ops Unit

(Defense News) -Just weeks after the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate and CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, the head of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was for the first time given operational control over a dedicated special operations company that could be tasked with handling similar incidents in the future.

The commander’s in-extremis force (CIF) was stood up on Oct. 1, AFRICOM chief Gen. Carter Ham revealed during a talk at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute on Dec. 3.

Until now, AFRICOM had been alone among the six U.S. geographic combatant commands without its own CIF. Before this, AFRICOM relied on the CIF assigned to the commander of the European Command.

One of the reasons given for the lack of military response during the attack on the American consulate and CIA station in Benghazi on Sept. 11 was that the special operations quick reaction unit staged in Europe was unable to get there in time.

The European-based CIF was on a training mission in Croatia when the call from the Pentagon came in, but within hours they had positioned to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, where they gathered up pre-positioned stocks and prepared to fly the 500 miles to Libya.

“Those forces worked as advertised, and they were in position,” Special Operations Command (SOCOM) deputy commander Lt. Gen. John Mulholland told a special operations conference in Washington Nov. 28. “I’ll leave it at that because other decisions came into play that perhaps aren’t privy to SOCOM.”

Coming back to the subject later in his talk, Mulholland would only say that once the CIF landed at Sigonella, “other decisions took place subsequent to that that other commanders can speak to.”

The unit designation and location of the AFRICOM CIF is unclear, but the 10th Special Forces Group is assigned to Africa and operates out of Stuttgart, Germany, and Fort Carson, Colo.

Ham’s speech otherwise avoided Benghazi, which was unsurprising given the political powder keg the subject remains.

Ham downplayed any active combat role for U.S. forces on the continent, however, saying “it’s best to think of us in a supporting and an enabling role.”

He did offer stark warnings about the radical Islamist threat in Mali, where a military coup dissolved the government, allowing radical elements to take over the northern portion of the country.

“As each day goes by, al-Qaida and other organizations are strengthening their hold in northern Mali,” the general said. “So there is a compelling need for the international community, led by Africans, to address that.”

His comments on the security situation in North Africa’s Sahara and Sahel region were no less stark, however.

There is a “growing linkage, a growing network and collaboration and synchronization among the various violent extremist organizations” in the region, he warned, “which I think poses the greatest threat to regional stability, more broadly across Africa, certainly into Europe, and to the United States,” he said.

And those threats are growing. Carter added that Boko Haram, an Islamic group in northern Nigeria, “is receiving financial support, some training, probably some explosives from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in a relationship that goes both ways.”

The al-Qaida franchise is among the most well-funded among the international terror group’s branches, Ham said, raising money from kidnappings, extortion and illicit trafficking in fuel and other commodities, including running illegal drugs north to Europe.

On Nov. 13, the African Union agreed to send approximately 3,000 troops to northern Mali to battle the rebels.

Ham is preparing to leave Africa Command as soon as Army Gen. David Rodriguez, who has been tapped to replace him, is approved by the Senate. Rodriguez was nominated by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Oct. 18 to replace Ham, who has served at AFRICOM commander since March, 2011.

UN Speaking With US and France to Acquire Drones to Spy on the Congo

(Occupy Corporatism) -The UN has called for the use of drones to conduct “surveillance” over the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Rumors of aiding rebels in Rwanda would justify the use of “peacekeeping” NATO Forces to take down M23 guerrillas. The UN has been grabbing land in Africa and fighting against locals to acquire mineral-rich areas for the use of the Globalists.

Stephane Parmentie, representative from Oxfam, said: “What is missing the most in terms of land grabbing is a clear condemnation of this practice. That was one of the baseline demands of civil society. That was impossible to include it, because it was too sensitive and too controversial for quite a lot of member states.”

Nations like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, in Africa have “voluntarily” signed agreements with multi-national corporations and foreign investors, allowing them to control agricultural land. The nation’s leaders believe that giving access to their resources will benefit their people; however this is just another manipulative ploy to coercively acquire control over land, food production and securitization.

Kieran Dwyer, UN peacekeeping spokesperson asserts that the UN’s consideration of drones would only be used “for monitoring the movements of armed groups, [and] one tool we are considering.”

Dwyer goes on to say: “Of course, we would do this carefully, in full cooperation with the government of the DR Congo, and trialing their most effective uses for information gathering to help implement our mandate to protect civilians. Ultimately, to introduce these, we would need the support of member states to equip the mission.”

The UN has been speaking with the US and France, courting them to gain access to their drone technology for use on international missions.

In March of this year, in a closed conference, Herve Ladsous, top official for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, proposed that drones be used to spy on civilians as well as “intercept communications” in the South Sudan area. Information collected by those drone would be utilized at the UN’s discretion.

The use of drones has recently become quite popular with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) requesting 10 more units to be added to the 35 drone fleet. Although the CIA does not officially acknowledge their use of these weapons, they have nonetheless requested that they be able to use more of them.

According to a DHS solicitation for “participation in the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) project from the small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) for transition to its customers” the hidden agenda was in their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were acquired in 2007 for the purpose of spying on American citizens.

Thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), 6 national drone test sites were established to coincide with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement that by 2015 at least 30,000 drones will be in American skies surveying US citizens in the name of safety, according to Janet Napolitano.

President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in February of this year, demanding that the FAA “integrate operation of drones” into National Airspace by 2015. These drones will be in civilian airspace, with “the potential for invasive surveillance of daily activities,” says House Representative Ed Markey.

Obama’s use of drones in foreign nations to commit murder without having to engage the “enemy” has become infamous – affording him the nickname “drone warrior – in – chief”.

Bad News for Africa: 3,000 More U.S. Soldiers are on the Way

Afrique bombes(GlobalResearch) The United States plans to permanently station a U.S. Army brigade on African soil, beginning next year. Is this the start of something big – and ominous – or “only a benign creeping U.S. military presence in Africa?”

“The obvious mission is to lock down the entire continent.”

When President Obama deployed 100 U.S. troops to Uganda a year ago to conduct a mythical search for Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, it is likely that many people shrugged. After all, how much damage could a mere 100 soldiers cause while wandering aimlessly through the bush purportedly in search of an accused terrorist? But as with the proverbial observer who can’t see the forest for the trees, a broader view reveals the deadly implications of what many incorrectly perceive as only a benign creeping U.S. military presence in Africa.

Army Times news service reported that the U.S. is expected to deploy more than 3,000 soldiers to Africa in 2013. They will be assigned to every part of the continent. Major General David R. Hogg mused: “As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory.” But the presence of U.S. soldiers in Africa is nothing new, and even though Hogg is unwilling to admit it, the obvious mission is to lock down the entire continent.

The U.S. military has at least a dozen ongoing major operations in Africa that require hands-on involvement by U.S. troops. By ensuring that U.S. troops will be found in every corner of Africa, there will be little risk that any regions where U.S. interests are threatened will be left uncovered. For example, Mali has oil reserves and is strategically located, but it has been destabilized by a growing secessionist movement in the north. Conveniently, Mali has also been the site of a U.S. military exercise called “Atlas Accord 12” which provided training to Mali’s military in aerial delivery.

During this year, there have been other operations in other parts of the continent that were comparable in scale if not in substance.

*“Cutlass Express” was a U.S. naval exercise that focused on what is purported to be “piracy” in the Somali Basin region.

*“Africa Endeavor 2012” was based in Cameroon and involved coordination and training in military communications.

*“Obangame Express 2012” was a naval exercise designed to ensure a presence in the Gulf of Guinea, an area that is in the heart of West Africa’s oil operations.

*“Southern Accord 12” was based in Botswana and its objective was to establish a military working relationship between southern African military forces and the U.S.

*“Western Accord 2012” was an exercise in Senegal that involved every type of military operation from live fire exercises to intelligence gathering to combat marksmanship.

There have been a number of other comparable exercises with names like: “African Lion,” “Flintlock,” and “Phoenix Express.” In addition, U.S. National Guard units from around the country have been rotating in and out of countries that include, among others: South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Tunisia, Nigeria and Liberia.

Press statements issued by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) suggest that these operations are as beneficial to Africa as they are to the United States. AFRICOM’s central message is that the U.S. and African militaries are partners in a war against terrorism and other forms of unrest. It is, however an error for any African country to swallow the notion that Africa and the U.S. are in some way interdependent. The true nature of the relationship was explained by A.M. Babu, a central figure in the formation of the country of Tanzania. He said: “The alleged ‘interdependence’ can only be of the kind in which we (Africans) are permanently dependent on the West’s massive exploitation of our human and material resources.”

U.S. plans for exploitation are revealed by a Congressional Research Service report made available by WikiLeaks. It says: “In spite of conflict in the Niger Delta and other oil producing areas, the potential for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Guinea is high, and analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25 percent of all U.S. oil imports by 2015.” The document quotes a U.S. Defense Department official as saying: “…a key mission for U.S. forces (in Africa) would be to ensure that Nigeria’s oil fields…are secure.”

Consequently, the U.S. would be pleased if there were African military operations that target militants who sabotage foreign oil operations in West Africa. At the same time, because of plans for increased oil imports, the U.S. would vigorously oppose efforts by an African military to exclude western companies from Niger Delta oil fields even though these companies’ leaking pipelines have ruined countless acres of African farm land and fishing waters.

The true interests of Africa and the U.S. are in perpetual conflict and the relationships between the U.S. and African countries must therefore be far from interdependent. Africans are well advised to react to the presence of U.S. soldiers in their countries as they would to termites in their own homes. There might be no immediate observable harm, but over time the structure will be irreparably damaged and may even collapse.