Dear Dr. Chossudovsky,
While articles critical of the United States and our military are a regular element of the Centre for Research on Globalization, which by doing your organization, and others, play a vital function in the check and balances of free societies, I take exception with the distortions and complete disregard for the actual facts of U.S. Africa Command’s activities made in the Oct. 13 article “America’s Secret War in Africa” and in the referenced earlier article “Covert Ops In Nigeria.”
U.S. Africa Command supports U.S. foreign policy as we work to strengthen the defense capabilities of our African partners, including strengthening of regional cooperation through the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other cooperative efforts.
“Balkanization” is exactly contrary to our mission to protect and defend the national security interests of the United States by strengthening the defense capabilities of African states and regional organizations, and, when directed, conducting military operations, in order to deter and defeat transnational threats and to provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development.
The well known facts, which have been reported on extensively, of U.S. Africa Command’s activities are that we have consistently engaged with our African partner nations to help them act cooperatively to strengthen their security. We have been helping Gulf of Guinea states, including Nigeria, through ECOWAS and other regional organizations to cooperatively develop maritime safety and security systems to protect fisheries, stop resource theft, counter piracy, and catch smugglers.
We also take part in military exercises that promote cross-border cooperation and coordination. Our annual Flintlock exercise is designed to help nations in West and North Africa cooperate more effectively on cross-border threats from illegal traffickers and violent extremist groups. Another major annual exercise, Africa Endeavor, brings together African nations to coordinate their communications technology. U.S. Africa Command also supports training for AU countries that provide peacekeepers for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). These are only a few examples of our many activities that aim to build greater security and stability through cooperation in Africa.
The author’s claim that “America’s clandestine army will resort to drone warfare to assert control over the African resources” is a completely erroneous supposition, unsupported in any way, and frankly remarkably poor journalism.
The reuse of a five year old quote from Vice Admiral Moeller to mischaracterize the role of natural resources similarly shows poor journalistic work. There are current statements that clearly depict our mission and intent. While indeed the free flow of natural resources between Africa and global market is important the U.S., as it is to Africans, it is only one of many factors that link us together and make improving stability and security our shared goal.
Our actions noted above show our intent, as stated by Gen. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, to “enable our African partners to create a security environment that promotes stability, improved governance, and continued development,” and do not involve exerting control over resources.
Lastly, the author seems to intentionally mischaracterize the recent quote from Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, that military action in Mali must be well planned, well organized, well resourced and well thought through, and be agreed upon by those who are going to be most affected by it.
This statement clearly referred to a proposed ECOWAS led military effort, and not about unilateral U.S. military operations as the author misstated. As we have often noted, and have demonstrated, we believe it is Africans who are best able to address African security challenges, and we support those efforts. Carson’s quote reinforces that principle.
Further clarifying intentions regarding Mali, Gen. Ham said at a Oct. 3 press conference in Algiers: “We think it is primarily the responsibility of the neighboring countries to help Mali address their challenges, and the United States, I think, will assess how the United States may be able to help after the Security Council and others decide what path shall be followed. And if I may, just one final statement: the one course of action that we are not considering is U.S. boots on the ground in Mali.
…And again, we believe that this is a matter that is best resolved by Mali and by its regional neighbors. …Ultimately, the situation in northern Mali can only be resolved politically or diplomatically. In my view, there is – there is likely to be some military component to address the concerns in northern Mali, but the military component will be – is not sufficient, nor will it be decisive. …What I do know is that the situation in Mali is extraordinarily complex, and it will require the best efforts of the Malian people, the regional states and the international community to address this challenge.”
As you continue the important work of the Centre for Research on Globalization, I hope you and your authors will take greater effort to ensure what you publish meet the basic standards of truthfulness and journalistic standards. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my Chief of Media Engagement, Ben Benson, for any assistance and if you have specific questions about our activities.
This letter was from Colonel Tom Davis Director, U.S. Africa Command Office of rt, Germany in 2012, to Prof Michel Chossudovsky, President and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), berating him on his assertions
Well, fast forward to 2018. As of this writing there are U.S and French Drone bases in the following countries :
There are two U.S drone bases in Niger. A $100 million Repeat drone base in Niamey, and another $200 million drone base in Agadez. The U.S. has outgrown its sprawling military base in Niamey, Niger and has started building a third drone base in Agadez, Niger, some 450 miles to the north in the Sahara.
Now, the official position of the U.S government on this is that the drones are going to be looking for drug smugglers on the border with Libya, and militant groups along the border with Nigeria.
Really? A $200 million drone base to look for drug smugglers half way around the world?
You have all these Western soldiers that have arrived, but Boko Haram attacks are still happening. The al-Qaeda attacks are still happening. There hasn’t been a net increase in security. If these attacks are still happening, to well, what are they actually here for?
In May 2014, the U.S. announced that it was sending a force of 100 personnel and a single Predator drone to Chad to try and help find the 250 schoolgirls who were abducted by the group. Its 2018 and the American presence in Chad persists. In the center of N’Djamena International Airport, Camp Tassone remains a base for U.S. special forces troops under Africa Command. In March 2015, the site was host to an international special forces training exercise known as Flintlock.
On October 2015 the Obama administration notified congress it was sending 200 U.S troops and Predator drones to Cameroon to help fight against Boko Haram. That force was headed for Garoua, just 80 miles from Calabar.
A Cameroonian local Muslim youth leader Bouba Ahijo explained to Voice of America that although he had been told that the Americans would liberate them from the threat of Boko Haram, it remained unclear what they had achieved so far in Garoua. According to the New York Times, many of the 300 American military personnel to arrive in Cameroon will be special forces operators.
The paradox of this is envious. The United States of America, the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, the leader of the FREE WORLD, has open contempt for Nigeria, the 4th largest democracy in the world and its largest trading partner, whose system of government is modelled after that of the U.S, refuses to engage the Nigerian military directly to help tackle Boko Haram, refuses to sell weapons to Nigeria to help fight Boko Haram, scuttles every attempt of the Nigerian government to buy arms, because of alleged human rights abuses.
……….. yet chooses strategic military engagement with two of the longest serving dictators on the planet, voluntarily proffer military assistance with these autocratic regimes, even when not asked for assistance, and cummulatively is spending nearly half a billion dollars in these countries building military bases, even though the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency is in Nigeria and not in those countries.
….think about it.