Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 03, 2018

Secret U.S. Wars Endanger Africa

Under the pretense of waging their 'war of terror' U.S. Special Forces use lots of money and murky legal authorities to worm themselves into the intestines of Africa. Their secret action is likely to lead to more instability and is endangering the peoples of Africa and their governments.

In a recent interview Seymour Hersh spoke (@2:50m) about U.S. military operations in Africa:

"We have a big special forces community that are active particular in Africa, in lot of places. I think the public knows very little about it. I don't think my president has been briefed on it. I think he isn't interested in it or just doesn't know about it. I know there is concern among some people in the military, high up in the military, in the government, in Washington: 'What are these guys doing? Who is in control?' There is a lack of control among the special forces. Many of them are driven with the idea that they are in a crusade. That they are the Knights of Malta fighting the infidels in the 14th century or 13th century. I mean that's really crazy stuff. So when I hear in the military, what the special operations command says about Mali: 'Here is what happened when four guys died and how.' I am sorry but I think there is much more to the story, there is much more to our presence there, but it is very hard to get that stuff."

The U.S. has only few of its regular military stationed in Africa. But there are plenty of U.S. special forces there, mostly working in secret. They are supposed to be under control of AFRICOM, the imperial U.S. command for that continent.

In 2007 Moon of Alabama commentator b real wrote a three part series, Understanding AFRICOM: A Contextual Reading of Empire's New Combatant Command, which documents how and why AFRICOM came about:

In early February 2007 the White House finally announced a presidential directive to establish by September 2008 a new unified combatant command with an area of responsibility (AOR) solely dedicated to the African continent.
The U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) will replace the AOR for each of three other geographic combatant commands (there are now a total of six) currently tasked with portions of the second-largest continent, with the small exception of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) retaining AOR for Egypt. Further details on operations have not been made public apart from the usual basic press briefings and the formation of a transition team, though it is not a mystery to identify what role AFRICOM will play in both the U.S. and Africa's future.

Africa is huge with a relatively small population of 1.2 billion, less than India or China. Its 54 countries have various kinds of natural wealth. Next to oil, gas and uranium there are all types of strategic minerals and metals, from cobalt needed for rechargeable batteries to rare earth elements used in electronics. 


China is making friends in Africa by investing in infrastructure to further development and trade. It is building ports, railways and telecommunication lines. These projects aim at win-win situations where China as well as the host country profit from them.

To counter China the U.S. is using its 'regime change' tools and secret military operations instead of economic cooperation. While its military missions are claimed to be 'to train, advise and assist' with no combat role for U.S. soldiers the reality is much different. A recent attempt to catch the local smuggler/insurgent Doundoun Cheffou in the Niger-Mali border area ended with the death of four Nigerien soldiers, four U.S. soldiers and one Nigerien translator. The local insurgent group claimed to be part of the Islamic State (ISIS) but there is no evidence that it ever communicated with ISIS central or that it was accepted into the ISIS structure.

The incident finally led to more detailed reporting which finds that the operation was under direct control of U.S. special forces who (ab)used the Nigerian military under a secret "rent auxiliaries" program.

Two recent pieces detail the murky legal background and discuss the consequences of such operations. Joe Penny writes in World Politics Review about: The ‘Myths and Lies’ Behind the U.S. Military’s Growing Presence in Africa:

The U.S. military obscures the nature of its actions in Africa through ambiguous language and outright secrecy. It limits the amount of information available about the objectives of its operations, how those operations are carried out, the facilities it uses, and how it partners with governments in the region. At times, this has involved subverting democratic processes in partner countries, an approach that runs counter to years of diplomatic engagement ostensibly designed to strengthen governance institutions.
Today, the U.S. has a military presence in almost every country in Africa and conducts “advise-and-assist” missions with local counterterrorism units in Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Libya and possibly elsewhere. Officially, though, the U.S. has never led or unilaterally carried out a “capture-kill” mission in the Sahel, the semiarid region south of the Sahara desert that includes Niger; the mission targeting Cheffou was ostensibly led by the Nigeriens.

The U.S. military claims that all the missions in Africa, like the failed one in Niger, are under command of the local forces. But this is simply an obfuscation. The reporting makes clear that the Nigerian soldiers, as well as forces elsewhere, were under direct U.S. command. A similar obfuscation is used when the the U.S. drone base in Agadez is labeled as Nigerien Air Base 201.

There are two legal authorizations the U.S. military uses to operate in Africa and to confuse the public: 10 USC 333 covers 'advise and assist' missions and the related funding of foreign forces:

The Secretary of Defense is authorized to conduct or support a program or programs to provide training and equipment to the national security forces of one or more foreign countries for the purpose of building the capacity of such forces ...

In contrast to the above stands 10 USC 127e which authorizes classified programs to rent foreign forces or militia engaged in operations under U.S. special forces control:

The Secretary of Defense may, with the concurrence of the relevant Chief of Mission, expend up to $100,000,000 during any fiscal year to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing military operations by United States special operations forces to combat terrorism.

127e provides money for bribes, for hiring mercenaries and for launching as well as fighting insurgencies. There were two U.S. units involved in the Niger incident. The group that was attacked was on an 'advise and assist' mission under 10 USC 333. But it had been called up in support of the 'capture or kill' mission of another unit under official U.S. command that was run under 10 USC 127e.

Penny finds that these units are in practice interchangeable. In fact all such missions are run with U.S. special forces in the lead. He remarks on the danger of these murky programs:

The gamble that the public, in both America and across Africa, won’t find out about questionable actions, and won’t have the means to challenge them if they do, is becoming increasingly risky. Moreover, the Pentagon’s engagement in Africa—from Niger and Ghana to Djibouti and Somalia—is ramping up at the expense of a coherent diplomatic and economic strategy for the continent, a state of affairs that harms both American and African interests.

In Politco Wesley Morgan further details the (lack of) differences between these programs: Behind the secret U.S. war in Africa:

In repeated public statements, military spokespeople have said the American role in Africa is limited to “advising and assisting” other militaries. But for at least five years, Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other commandos operating under a little-understood authority have planned and controlled certain missions, putting them in charge of their African partner forces.
The [127e] authority funds classified programs under which African governments essentially loan out units of their militaries for American commando teams to use as surrogates to hunt militants identified as potential threats to American citizens or embassies. That’s instead of having the American commandos help the African troops accomplish their own objectives, as other U.S. special operations teams do in Africa.

There are some 21 programs worldwide run in secrecy under 127e authority. For the host countries they share an inherent problem with other U.S. training missions for foreign militaries. One day these missions end, the U.S. commandos leave and well trained, well equipped groups of militants, no longer used to be under local control, run free to do whatever they learned to do. Such units can easily mutate into criminal enterprises or stage a coup. A 2015 study found (pdf) that U.S. training and command of foreign troops endangers the stability of the foreign government:

Training .. alters the balance of power between the military and the regime resulting in greater coup propensity. Using data from 189 countries from 1970-2009 we show the number of military officers trained by the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Countering Terrorism Fellowship (CTFP) programs increases the probability of a military coup.
[A]mong all the countries that received no training from the United States for a particular year, 2.7% experienced a coup. Among those country-years with some training, the percentage is 5.3%, nearly double.

Any government that lets U.S. troops train and/or command its local military doubles the risk of a coup against it. The U.S. missions, especially the secret ones, are also prone to pitch parts of a country's population against others. The U.S. military is notorious for its lack of knowledge about the social fabric and attitudes of foreign populations.

Any government in Africa (and elsewhere) is well advise to reject U.S. training for its forces. It should not agree to 'advise and assist' missions or the even more dangerous secret 'counterterrorism' missions that are prone to create more of what they pretend to fight. The U.S. intent behind its 'generous' training offers is obvious.

Eleven years ago b real concluded:

Expanding the military reach of the most powerful empire the planet has ever known, AFRICOM will be tasked with the responsibility of achieving full-spectrum dominance over mother Africa for fuel. Operating as both energy-protection service and strategic Cold War front, the unified command will concentrate whatever military forces are necessary to keep the furnaces of Empire lit. Whether AFRICOM will succeed in this directive is beside the point, for, while ends may justify the means for the elite in power, their so-called "national interest" payoff, it is regular people who pay the full price at all times. And it does not require a crystal ball or great imagination to realize what the increased militarization of the continent through AFRICOM will bring to the peoples of Africa.

The secret special operations missions are just the start of a process in which the U.S. tries to subjugate all of Africa to its will and to control its resources. The people and governments of Africa should resist these attempts.

Posted by b on July 3, 2018 at 15:20 UTC | Permalink


But Africa is fighting back.
It is orienting toward China and Russia and the OBOR project.
See the enormous Chinese investment there,

Djibouti : China has a military base there and Russia is building their own on the other side. US base left in the middle.
On the other side is Yemen and the Bab el Mandeb strait. Interesting.

Sudan has asked Russia for "protection against the Americans"

Central African Republic, a huge country rich in minerals, diamonds and uranium, already replaced the troops protecting the president with RUSSIAN troops. I don't know what Russia gets in return, but I don't think it's for nothing.

South Africa is already in BRICS.

Posted by: veritas semper vincit | Jul 3 2018 15:46 utc | 1

thanks b and b real for this.. the usa only seems good for war, preparation for war, and byproducts of training and etc. etc. for war.. at some point the usa will either kill the whole planet, or the rest of the planet will figure out a way to shut the usa down.. china is doing the right thing by making agreements that benefit africa and itself... not sure just how equitable any of it is...

i read this in the link on niger above “The reality is that Niger is not at a level where it can say yes or no to the French or Americans. … We only have sovereignty on paper...” i think that is probably true for most of the african countries... setting up a large drone facility in niger is just a small part of it.. the usa is one sick country and i hope they are shut down sometime soon.. trump is helping in this regard...

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2018 15:47 utc | 2

Also the trail of western banking corruption connected to curupt polatition's in Africa ,there's know surprise there so far behind. Our fault yet again. Sick

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 3 2018 16:52 utc | 4

China is making friends in Africa by investing in infrastructure to further development and trade

yeah, i was sorry to hear a year or so ago that the Chinese were building their first military base there. Djibouti, i believe. kinda puts a crinkle in their otherwise wonderful centuries long record of never having enslaved or colonized the continent.

Posted by: john | Jul 3 2018 16:56 utc | 5

I'm thinking these US Special Forces are actually hired Mercs?

Posted by: ken | Jul 3 2018 17:00 utc | 6

What's being done in Africa was already done in Latin America, although the "process" down South isn't done yet. Again, as is noted, this is all about attaining access to critical resources, which is stated Outlaw US Empire policy since 1947. The overall Latin American experience is well documented in Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. I see the 19th century's Scramble for Africa being replayed, although that actually began in the late 1970s via the IMF's neocolonial Structural Adjustment Policies which most of Africa still struggles to overcome. Much growling's been done in English over China's economic projection into Africa as it overturns the IMF/World Bank monopoly on neocolonial activities--although it should be noted that China is very outspoken about its efforts are not aimed at achieving classical colonial dependency over its partners. Fortunately, the Outlaw US Empire provided a glimpse of what's in store with its destruction of Libya, which even the most corrupt African leaders cannot ignore.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 3 2018 17:04 utc | 7

@6 ken... yeah, probably another eric prince, made in the uae and etc funded ongoing insanity project .. entirely possible..

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2018 17:23 utc | 8

Perhaps 20 years ago or more, China built a great bridge in Costa Rica which linked a remote peninsula with the mainland. In exchange, China got fishing rights. China then proceeded to slaughter as many sharks as possible. They cut off the fins and tossed the carcasses into the sea. This created an environmental and ecological situation.

There is always a trade-off of some kind. No matter which parties are involved. The Art of The Deal.

Of course, at least they got a bridge instead of mercenaries run amok or a coup.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jul 3 2018 17:41 utc | 9

A recent attempt to catch the local smuggler/insurgent Doundoun Cheffou in the Niger-Mali border area ended with the death of four Nigerien soldiers, four U.S. soldiers and one Nigerien translator.
I'm sure it was that very shocking video that spooked the Yanks and drives the move now. You can see it in the Sy Hersh quote. I thought it particularly stunning.

Posted by: laguerre | Jul 3 2018 17:49 utc | 10

I honestly beleave it's high time a world wide symposium should be called, concerning the multiple criminal activites perpetrated by America in all there varied forms. There is now a very long list of victim country's plus major powerful country's with an interest in 'stopping America' by any and all means possible.
America subverted all other international channels of law, and media. I'm Africa would most certainly benfit!
On the agenda. USA crimes. Meens of joint prevention.sanctions and compensation. Back dated.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 3 2018 17:56 utc | 11

One of the great cultural events of this young century was the annual Festival au désert, a music festival in Mali. It has been shut down since 2012 due to security issues, namely the spreading violence and insecurity caused by NATO's intervention in Libya.

Posted by: jayc | Jul 3 2018 18:01 utc | 12

fastfreddy @9--

Which China:

"The Taiwanese mafia dominate the shark finning industry in Costa Rica, although Indonesian gangs also have a foothold in the market.[3] The Taiwanese and Indonesian mafia operate private docks in the Puntarenas area, notably Inversiones Cruz Dock and Harezan Dock and several others where some 95% of all catches are brought in, transported by truck to San José and flown mostly to Hong Kong.[3] According to the Costa Rican customs adviser Omar Jiminez, at least three boats full of shark fins enter the ports in Puntarenas every week.[7]Kaohsiung in Taiwan is one of the biggest ports in the world for importing shark fins. They are brought in from overseas and are placed out to dry in the sun on residential rooftops near the port."

Given the fact that the Kuomintang and its leader Chiang Kai-shek were described as "gangsters" by several high ranking US officials--Generals Marshall and Stillwell--during and after WW2, it's no surprise that it's Taiwan's Mafia in cahoots with other regional mafias that's involved in the blatant violation of law within Costa Rica and the corrupting of its police forces. As the linked article shows, "sharkfinning" long predates the construction of the bridge mentioned and is likely unrelated to that illegal practice.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 3 2018 19:40 utc | 13

thanks b for keeping this story in the public eye - coincidence or not i just so happen to be on the continent for july and starting to see what i can gather from my limited sources - haven’t been able to follow the situation with the attention available at the time i’ll have to revisit my earlier article and follow up on what i was learning then as i get settled in

on the way here via dubai i did read a congressional research rpt that brought up DOD’s use of dubai forces stationed in africa for training others. no doubt there are other new “allies” pulled into that nowadays in addition to the usual powers and wannabes. and zim after mugabe is probably a good case study to further understand africom

china’s big push into the continent has been in effect for nearly two decades now so i’m hoping to get a better feel for how that’s played out thus far - always been a contentious presence where i am now but quite established based on the land acquisitions, amount of one-stop shops, and grocery offerings even at the one chain store i’ve already popped in.

Posted by: b real | Jul 3 2018 21:45 utc | 14

To Karlof1 @ 13 and everyone who posted replies to Pretzel Attack in the previous comments forum:

I just found that Taiwan has been in cahoots with more than just various regional mafias in the years after WW2.

Summary by Aaron Zaidel of "Inside the League: The Shocking Exposé of how Terrorists, Nazis and Latin American Death Squads have Infiltrated the World Anti-communist League" by Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, New York: Dood, Mead & Co., 1986.

This paper is a summary of the first three chapters of the book, Inside the League, by Scott Anderson and Jon Anderson. The purpose of this book is to expose how leaders of the Nazis and other fascist organizations around the world have changed their allegiances from organizations of terrorism and genocide in their home countries to the more the politically popular World Anti- Communist League. This league was founded in 1966 as a public relations organization for the government of Taiwan and South Korea. They soon adopted methods of unconventional warfare including “assassinations, death squads, and sabotage through out the world.” (Anderson, 11). All of these are methods adopted from the Nazis. Anderson makes the claim that many Eastern Europeans who participated in the holocaust were recruited into high intelligence positions in the United States and England. They changed their rhetoric from complaints of a Communist, Jewish, Freemason conspiracy to buzz words like anti- Bolshevism and anti- Communism to appear respectable.

One example is the story of Chirila Ciuntu, one of the leaders of the Iron Guard. When the Chairman of the Iron Guard was murdered, most of the members fled for the safety of Nazi Germany. Chirila however, went underground with some of his closest followers in Romania. When the Nazis drove the King of Romania out of the country Chirila was free to go on a killing spree in an attempt to rid Romania of the Jews. Members of the Iron Guard took to the streets to torture and then murder every Jew they could find. When the Romanians rebelled and killed many members of the Iron Guard, the Nazis came and helped many of the leaders escape, including Chirila. They were placed under protective custody and given the privileges of a German officer.

Another example is Yaroslav Stetsko, the founder of the Orgnization of the Ukranian Nationalists. The Nazis saw Ukraine as important allies because of their strong racism against ethnic Poles, Russians, and Jews. In 1941 Germany and Ukraine invaded Russia to the delight of the peasants who were under the control of Stalin’s regime. It took little time however, for them to figure out that they were no better off under Hitler and Stetsko. Shortly thereafter, Stetsko declared the creation of the Ukranian State and named himself the ruler. The Nazis were alarmed by this and put him under quarantine. Anderson makes the claim that while under quarantine Stetsko continued to run concentration camps resulting in the execution of 100,000 Jews. However, in his official biography he details escapes form German concentration camps and is now generally perceived as a victim of the Nazis. Today Stetsko is a major player in the World Anti- Communist League and has brought his ruthless tactic form the WWII day with him.

Both Chirila and Stetsko are now leaders in the World Anti- Communist League. They are only two of the many cases of fascists that did not disappear from the political arena after the war. They continue to belong to an anti- Semitic organization, only now they have the front of anti- communist. These are not the only two cases of former leaders of mass genocide, covering their tracks and joining the World Anti- Communist League, only two of the more interesting cases the book mentions. This phenomenon has taken place with numerous people in the World Anti- Communist League.

In more recent history, Stetsko met with Ronald Regan at the White House to urge the U.S. to take a stronger stand against the Kremlin. Chirila now lives in Canada and is still politically active with the World Anti- Communist League. Because of their ability to hide their political past and their current agenda, and their ability to keep a clean reputation for the World Anti- communist League, “…people like Chirila Ciuntu, who helped the slaughter of “Communist Jews’ 45 years ago, can sit down in the same room with an Italian fascist who killed ‘Reds’ 10 years ago and with a Salvadorian who is killing subversives now.” (Anderson, 54)

Short biographies of Yaroslav Stetsko at these links show the close connection between Taiwan and former followers of the OUN (Bandera faction):

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 3 2018 23:06 utc | 15

my apologies if this is rude in the least, and if so, please feel to delete it, but:

i wanted to say good on you for rebutting marcy wheeler today. i would hasten to add that in no way did i even grasp what she was driving at, nor from whom her commentariat felt she needed protection from reprisal.

Posted by: wendy davis | Jul 3 2018 23:32 utc | 16

The world anti communist league was a CIA established group. CIA works with mafia all over the world. Every country has some mafia elements. To imply this group is affiliated with the government of Taiwan today is Chinese propaganda. When CKS allowed the creation of the group 50 years ago the US had a significant military and intelligence presence on the Island ,same as South Korea where the group was set up soon after. Both countries were basically dependants of the US at the time and supporting the US in the war in Vietnam against the Communists. While the group still maintains an office in Taipei its daily affairs are run out of Seoul and the group is pretty much global and includes many non Asians

Posted by: Pft | Jul 3 2018 23:46 utc | 17

Jen's post @15 reminded me of this (CP was the first article that came up in the search)

"The occasion was a speech given by a representative of Abbott, Craig Kelly MP. Being in Japan, Abbott had delegated the task of congratulating members of the Australian Croatian community in Sydney on Croatian independence attained in April 10. This was more than a bit awkward, given that April 10 was the date of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ceased to exist under Axis rule in 1941. If ever you wanted to back some unsavoury company, you couldn’t do much better than officials and sympathisers of the NDH.

Speaking at the Croatian Club in Sydney on April 13, Kelly’s words were noted in the Australian Croatian weekly Boca KroPress: “On behalf of the Prime Minister, who is in Japan, I’m conveying his greetings and good wishes on the occasion of the celebration of the 10th of April to you and all Croats in Australia, and those in Croatia.” The report also notes the presence of 200 Croats, various Australian politicians and a Ukrainian diplomat."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 4 2018 0:12 utc | 18

From the above article:

"To counter China the U.S. is using its 'regime change' tools and secret military operations instead of economic cooperation."

Bout' says it all. More "Full Spectrum Dominance" at the behest of the new 4th Reich.

business uber alles...

Posted by: ben | Jul 4 2018 1:07 utc | 19

Off topic but...
A third of a million refugees reported on the Syria/Jordan/Israel borders, S+J have both refused to allw entry to those 'fleeing the assad regime'.
How will this play out?

Posted by: adamski | Jul 4 2018 1:40 utc | 20

16 @ Wendy Davis

I have been reading Marcy Wheeler for over a decade, and b for at least two-three years. I think both are valuable bookmarks for anyone.
b hasn't seen the 'proof' of her views and fair enough. We will see when the investigations are done. That does not mean they aren't true. And it certainly does not mean the she isn't telling the truth about her personal knowledge and the threats to her, and for anyone to bemoan that without being in possession of the facts may want to examine their own assumptions.
Now, my own opinions and assumptions. My feelings about any accusations about any Russian meddling in American politics (for the record, I am an American, living in America) without acknowledging the USA's relentless meddling in the politics of almost every nation on earth for the last 70+ years is just blind, bleating by the ignorant. Which Marcy, and b, are most certainly not in my opinion. That doesn't mean they can't disagree on the facts as they see them, and I venture to say that both would change their view on something as the facts dictate.
My own feelings about this entire 'Russian meddling' in our elections would be moot if we spent any time at all trying to make the system more secure. Not black box, no paper trail machines. Not automatic purging of voter rolls because people throw political mailings in the trash. Not elimination polling stations in areas where a particular party knows they won't win. And counting paper ballots in public, and no disposing of the ballots before they can be challenged for a recount. Shut up about 'voter fraud' and start prosecuting election fraud.Then, come and talk to me about meddling in America's elections. It may start with an R in these cases, but it is certainly not Russia. Also, if you want to win an election for president, then campaign in every state. Every time.

Posted by: Tom in AZ | Jul 4 2018 1:58 utc | 21

Tom in AZ @21 said:"Shut up about 'voter fraud' and start prosecuting election fraud.Then, come and talk to me about meddling in America's elections. It may start with an R in these cases, but it is certainly not Russia. Also, if you want to win an election for president, then campaign in every state. Every time."

Thanks for that Tom, you hit the nail on the head with that summation. Too bad our reps refuse to see it, or discuss it.

Posted by: ben | Jul 4 2018 2:53 utc | 22

Pft @ 17:

Where in my comment @ 15 am I referring to Chinese propaganda? is based in California. The Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine is based in Edmonton (Alberta) and Toronto (Ontario), both in Canada. The link to the summary of the Andersons' book is based in Texas. Both Scott and Jon Lee Anderson are also American. All the information on Stetsko and his association with the World Anti-Communist League I found can be Googled. The League's Wikipedia entry states that Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kaishek) as President of the Republic of China aka Taiwan was a co-founder of the Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy in 1954. THe APLFD later became the World Anti-Communist League in 1966.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 4 2018 2:58 utc | 23

I read, and I don't know whether it's true or not, but one of Obama's first acts was to create AfriCom, and that same week, the government of Nigeria nationalized all the lands and resources out from under the people, exactly like Cheney and then Clinton did in Afghanistan, writing the Afghan National Minerals and Petroleum Acts IN ENGLISH, IN NOVEMBER 2001, in the US, before putting Karzai in as EXECUTOR (President) instead of Prime Minister, because the Executive can wield that nationalization power. Karzai took Cheney's bribes, took Clinton's $B bribes, then leased the resources to India and China instead, lol. All of which to say, US mercs have been trooping around Africa since Rhodesia, anf they're just hired guns for some cartel.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 4 2018 3:34 utc | 24

I have been looking to see if the US move into Africa was connected to the pivot to Asia Pacific.
Rand corp put together a strategy for a naval blockade/siege on China, but the real move may be a blockade of the resources China needs.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 4 2018 3:44 utc | 25

From the little of US plans that are comprehensible the Sahara is the initial space the capitalist scum have cast their greedy, beady eyes on.
It is the Sahara where we all (humans that is) came from although is is doubtful that holds the interest of the craven, covetous cu#ts pulling the strings of this outrage.
The fact that accurate information about what Africom is doing should concern every human who hasn't an empathy bypass. People have been made captive of so much nonsense the covetous cu#ts know that they can sell the most patently poisonous piffle as meaty commonsense, that they do not do that must be taken as an indication that the actual plan is so awful not even the world's most skillful professional propagandists cannot give this particular truth a positive spin.
A big portion of the Sahara including but not confined to Niger used to be a sphere of benevolent influence for the pre US sodomised Libya. Now Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco (which claims all of the Western Sahara and was supported in that claim by the at the time US pwned united nations), Niger, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Tunisia all have portions of the Sahara within their nations boundaries. That list came from here but is not comprehensive.

A sort of mini UN has been set up comprising many of the nations of the Sahara, it is called SIMUN and appears to be one of several false front 'NGOs' set up to push for the referendum in favour of an entity called "Western Sahara" as a nation state without any real sovereignty.

That concept of an entity whose true power lies in the hands of those exploiting and profiting from an area rather than those who live in it is contentious, even for moronic believers of the big lies. So we are simply not told and allow ourselves to be distracted by human interest tales of children led down a well by an idiotic coach who has unfortunately for him, been recast as the pied piper by the globe's 'truth tellers'. (Count the yellow shirts in this pic of coup leader and now internationally accepted Prime Minister of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-cha as he uses the childrens' misery to try and advance the interests of his right wing US owned party in an area where yellow shirts are despised).

Why the Sahara? Why the western region first? Don't know but we will eventually find out if we live that long.
One thing is for sure, that is French, Moroccan, Spanish and now US forces have been trying to rebalance the Sahara's population by slaughtering Tuareg, who are not the only indigenous people of the Sahara but just like the difficulty anyone has when identifying the nations which comprise the Sahara, the population are also ignored. There must be no space in humans' minds for associating that incredibly resource rich area with any particular nation or people, so that when the average human tries to envisage the Sahara their mind's eye must bring forth a vast space empty of humanity, full of sand dunes.

Posted by: Herman J Kweeblefezer | Jul 4 2018 5:26 utc | 26

ot - @16 wendy davis - mentioned this on the general open thread, but i think it is more complicated then as you say..

@21 tom in az.. i agree with you tom.. marcy and b are both valuable and typically insightful.. there focus is very different though.. there was a time when i enjoyed reading marcy, but it is a much to usa centric for me, which is why i typically hang out here.. the other problem i have witnessed with emptywheel is the hostility towards any alternative viewpoint, as one can see in the response to b on that thread where b is labelled a troll.. that is the usual response to anyone to offers a different view! you are a russian troll if you offer a different view at ews.. that to me suggests how things have devolved at ews forum, in spite of marcys work which is relevant.. the posters on the other hand are very intolerant - bmaz in particular..

Posted by: james | Jul 4 2018 5:47 utc | 27

Peter AU 1 @ 18:

Would you happen to know if Tony Abbott is still a member of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's Advisory Council?

Last I heard of Abbott, he had some involvement with the Ukrainian community in inner-west Sydney, far from his Manly-Warringah electorate.

Is there not a fascist group that Abbott is too embarrassed to be associated with?

Posted by: Jen | Jul 4 2018 6:37 utc | 28

I haven't checked up on Abbott for some time now Jen, but a leopard will not change its spots.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 4 2018 6:47 utc | 29

Jen, a year or so before Abbott was elected, I researched him. I had always wondered what was going on behind the scenes re one nation and Hanson years ago and decided to research it. Abbott was the front man for an anonymous group of sponsors in the jailing of Hanson. In looking into Abbott, he was far dirtier than the average politician. Most would pull every dirty trick in the book to push their opposition out of politics, but once they where out that was it. Abbott on the other hand, rather than pulling up when he had pushed his target out of politics, would pursue his target into private life and try to destroy that too.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 4 2018 8:05 utc | 30

This likely will have a direct bearing on AFRICOM; a very interesting take on Trump by Meyssan;

He covers some very salient points...

Posted by: V | Jul 4 2018 8:30 utc | 31

Peter AU 1 @ 30: Thanks very much for the information. Abbott is even more of a reptile than I realised.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 4 2018 8:56 utc | 32

With relevance to African country's being subverted by the west. Has enyone info on a financial consultant called 'Appleyard' tax haven ,unefecal tradeing ect ect ! Bet there up to there elbows in dark ops. For instance arms trade gun running for USA uk. They were very prevalent in the Panama papers.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 4 2018 9:11 utc | 33

OT but if anyone's interested the guardian claims it is kicking off in Salisbury again:

A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire after it was suspected two people might have been exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury.

A man and a woman, both in their 40s, were in a critical condition at Salisbury district hospital, Wiltshire police said on Wednesday.

A number of sites in the Amesbury and Salisbury area were cordoned off as a precaution, although the force said it was not yet clear if the pair were the victims of a crime. Tests were still being carried out to establish the substance that led to them becoming ill.

The reaction implies that the incident has taken PTB by surprise.
If this is not a pair of injecting drug users whose eyes were larger than their veins as the media initially insinuated and it isn't a belated attempt by the Maybot to resurrect her widely discredited tall tale maybe some non-Russian perps have screwed the story by being incompetent.

On the other hand this could also be something as obvious and human as Salisbury bill getting all nostalgic over their brief time in the spotlight , or that the careless Porton tech has screwed up again.

Judging by the reaction thus far whatever it is has surprised the club members.

Posted by: Herman J Kweeblefezer | Jul 4 2018 10:06 utc | 34

jayc says:

One of the great cultural events of this young century was the annual Festival au désert, a music festival in Mali. It has been shut down since 2012...

yeah, they brought it to Florence this year...

...4 or 5 years ago we tried to go down to Mali for the festivities, but it was kinda dicey, so instead we went to Essaouira, in Morocco, for the Gnaoua World Music Festival, another splendid event. there on the very edge of the Islamic world, all moms and kids on the promenades, punk rockers down from Casablanca, Tuaregs from the southern desert, other Berbers from the Rif, and a great international contingent...a great scene, music late, late into the night...

Posted by: john | Jul 4 2018 10:29 utc | 35

V @ 35
Thanks very much for trying and sorry for the waste of your time, I owe you one !
We all have our own gifts and skills here, I will try myself but, thought it worth while to check if the brilliant minds here had enything to hand !one of my weak spots is deep reaserch.
Appleyard are the go to consultants, if you have a few billion in dirty money and want out of greed to avoid tax, avoid publicity and have absolutely no morals re-slave labour ect ect that is why my hunch they will be in this right here. I'm not surprised to here they went below the radar, but they are worth digging up
If we want to find the dirt on our politicians and old money look right here!!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 4 2018 12:15 utc | 36

@39 Perhaps you mean Appleby?

Posted by: dh | Jul 4 2018 13:17 utc | 37

Mark2 | Jul 4, 2018 8:15:30 AM | 39

Not to worry; might have been interesting. ;-)

Posted by: V | Jul 4 2018 13:28 utc | 38

I doubt the population will stay at just 1.2 billion. Some say it will hit 2+ billion in just a few decades. The U.S. and others stirring up the pot will turn the trickle of African migration up to Europe into a flood.
Too bad the Americans and Europeans couldn't join in with the Chinese model of "helping" the African countries. It certainly makes more sense.

Posted by: morongobill | Jul 4 2018 13:49 utc | 39

dh @40
Thanks ! I new I'd get help here! It's a hot trail.see if I can be a better blood hound. That's defiantly the ones I was lookin for, and good link for me to start. Africa here I come.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 4 2018 14:29 utc | 40

@43 Last info I have is Appleby settled litigation against Guardian & BBC. I believe there is some kind of move in the UK to expose (shame) people who invest offshore.

Posted by: dh | Jul 4 2018 14:37 utc | 41

@tom in AZ #21 and james #27

i hadn’t read that there *had been* any threats to her, but her commentariat seemed to believe there will be. i just wondered who they were imagining might harm. as to what the investigation concludes, i call rubbish it being ‘the truth’ in the end. if i’d had the extra time, i might have gone back to try to see that screenshot w/ fresh eyes, and read her thesis more closely. perhaps later.

clearly she is an epic D partisan and rages against julian assange, craig murray’s knowledge, and quotes sources i find utterly unworthy, but most are on the Not side of ProporNot, although why anonymous sources in the CIA, FBI are so very reliable, ay yi yi. She knows for a fact that Putin poisoned the skripals, and to help that out...the UK just spent millions purchasing their house and that of the policeman who was also...affected, but NOT the seafood restaurant they’d left before heading to the park benches. small wonder as to why that is, eh?

she knows that the dnc and podesta emails were *hacked*, not leaked as most involved have testfiied to...those *lying liars*. as i remember it, the sole time that assange ever gave away a source as to say no, the russians were NOT the source of the files.

yes, bmaz is a pitbull of a gatekeeper for her; anyone who disagrees with the party line there is a troll...or worse. while i see the point about amerikan meddling in elections, to me that misses the larger question: what on earth would a trump presidency have actually gained russians? yeah, yeah, T had imagine rapprochement w/ putin, but ooof! all those russian ads on facebook! fine, indict boss tweet and his oligarch cronies, who cares, but please don’t play fast and loose w/ the lack of rational evidence in your confirmation bias, marcy. her holograhic memory (rayne had told me long ago) does allow her to weave many strings of a story together, but as w/ luke harding who could spot a russian signature on a tweet or the use of emoticons, both he and emptywheel seem to have forgotten all the cia exploits that wikileaks had published in vaults 7 and 8, including false signatures.

anyway, i gotta scoot; thanks for responding. and yep, more suspicious stuff in salisbury. another rodeo coming?

Posted by: wendy davis | Jul 4 2018 15:02 utc | 42

See also last open thread, this chart of world oil reserves is essential knowledge (even if one questions one no. or another.) From 2005, so might be considered outdated; believe me, little change has taken place in the ‘proportions’ or rough info offered. Which, btw is all one can expect in this area. (Search “KSA oil reserves”.)


Exception, the exploitation of ‘tight’ or ‘shale’ oil thru fracking. Rapier, brief (march 2018) on US shale oil (which is operating at a dolllar loss, yet another discussion..)


Oil use (not reserves) is a fair proxy for ‘development’, ‘standard of living’ and international influence, power, via military clout, industrial power, pol. arm-twisting, plus thru finance, etc. Some might say, No, = total energy use, or total FF (incl. coal, nat gas), but we won’t fiddle about with those distinctions.

This bubble chart, 2009 (not much change to today..) shows oil use by country/continent.

guardian, from BP

The movers and shakers, dominators and controllers: N. America (US-Can-Mex), Europe, a mini-geo area, with massive use -> …. Africa is absent.

A whole huge continent, figured as a flea. The fantastical bigly unexplored continent. The other charts show, though, that the ME and Venezuela will continue to be controlled, opressed, subject to division-n-rule, proxy wars, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 4 2018 15:18 utc | 43

Worth a read! Tip of the ice burg. Can of worms,no surprise.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 4 2018 16:11 utc | 44

@45 wendy davis... thanks.. i agree with you!!!

Posted by: james | Jul 4 2018 17:07 utc | 45

Somewhere I have a small stash of Soldier of Fortune mags, that were somewhat entertaining back in the day. Strangely relevant in the current context of mercs and locals doing dirt for hire. So really not much has changed in the last 50 years. Especially the opium trade.

The only mag that advertised “skunk piss”. RIP

Posted by: Stumpy | Jul 4 2018 17:43 utc | 46

Did'nt Margert Thatcher's son try and personally overthrow a small African country when his mum was pm ? Ha ha it all went wrong he got lost in the middle of nowhere he he they had to send in a search party to try an find him ahh ha ha ha.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 4 2018 18:12 utc | 47

@ Wendy Davis 16

”. . .in no way did i even grasp what [Marcy Wheeler] was driving at . . .”

Thank you. I had the same experience while struggling through that dense jungle of twisted and hacked-up verbiage. About half-way through I gave up and went to the end to find her conclusion, which I found to be just as befuddled, muddled and bewildering as what had gone before.

I've seen that writing "style" before -- employed by persons out of desperation while trying to make a convincing argument for a set of propositions that they themselves do not believe.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jul 4 2018 18:49 utc | 48

@james 41 and Antispin #48:

i think i’ve susssed it out (although take that for what it’s barely worth). the screen shot is from a former journalist friend warning marcy that the true reason kushner wanted to open a back-channel with russia was NOT so boss tweet could work w/ putin on fighting Isis in syria, but to prop up assad, prevent regime change in trade for ensuring that iran would stand down there, as trump was far more interested in containing iranian influence. now, i’d thought the only good thing trump had done w/ putin in syria was establish deconflictions in air space w/ amerikan allies fighting that air war *illegally*, of course.

if i’ve got the gist of it, marcy published this now so that others who might be threatened by republican agents, she’d speak so they didn’t have to, any if she gets murdered, the world will know why, *and* that this piece by david ignatius at bezos’s rag of a waPo signified that her ‘friend was correct in his belief/insider leaks, whatever.

“I’m making this public now because a David Ignatius report Thursday maps out an imminent deal with Russia and Israel that sounds like what was described to me within hours of the election. This deal appears to be the culmination of an effort that those involved in the Russian attack worked to implement within hours after the election.”

ignatius posits that israel is in the mix as well, and describes ‘spheres of influence’ inside syria. jeez, david: syria might be on the menu on the july 16 summit? ya think? so will ukraniem cuz yanno putin stole crimea to reconstitue the soviet empire...or something.

but i do think she believes it all, given her past predilections. i remember that some time ago a ‘troll’ had called bullshit on some of her contentions, and told her she was a ‘higher class luke harding’, lol. oh, feel the burn... ‘course, she may respect harding, who can say?

but i've read all manner of psypops about 'putin's plans for syria'.

and tom in AZ: i reckon that over yonder folks will believe that b wrote about this rather than it having been prompted by an O/T, likely inappropriate comment from me. but thanks for not mentioning my name.

sorry for typos; i'm half blind as a bat...

Posted by: wendy davis | Jul 4 2018 20:38 utc | 49

OT - @49 wendy davis.. it would be far better if the usa was able to get a grip on how it's whole foreign policy, especially with regard the middle east - is driven by israel, right on down to the same shitty papers that are regularly cited, which do the very same thing... i think it is called the elephant in the room, that no politician talks about, and no subservient msm outlet is allowed to discuss.. the folks in the usa have given over to a heavy type of navel gazing.. when not navel gazing, they are reading the nyt, wapo, wsj and etc and think they are such citizens of the world... the usa has gone over a cliff and has yet to realize it.. ew's site is one more fine example of this too... anyone with a different view, is a troll.. that is the level of discourse allowed at ew these days.. marcy might have been good at sleuthing, but i think she has gone down a rabbit hole and can't find her way back out.. none of her commentators are capable of offering her much of a flashlight either.. ignatius is some cia type stooge who happens to work for the wapo.. his words are completely irrelevant, or relevant only in so far as he can further israels long term objectives..he's another stupid neo con essentially..

Posted by: james | Jul 4 2018 21:10 utc | 50

Mark2 @ 47:

Mark Thatcher got lost in the Sahara during the Paris-Dakar car rally in 1982. He and his team were rescued by the Algerian military after a search involving three countries was launched.

He funded and partly managed a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in the mid-2000s. For his part, he received a 4-year suspended prison sentence and was fined £266,000.

"... Looking back at what went wrong, [SAS officer Simon] Mann held that the chief architect of the plot failed to raise the necessary funds in time for the mission. "One of the biggest mistakes was approaching Mark Thatcher to put in money. He wanted to be one of the boys, gain power in an oil rich country, impress his mother. He turned out to be a very weak link indeed." ..."

The last (hopefully) heard of him was that he was named in the Panama Papers back in 2015.

Don't you wish he had been left in the desert by the Algerians?

Posted by: Jen | Jul 5 2018 0:48 utc | 51

Close to 20 years ago (just before 911) now a BBQ in my backyard got crashed by a group CF forces guys sprinkled with CSIS wannabe's and I'm almost positive a JTF or two. By the next morning it was clear that they were describing the above article. I only comment to provide a scope of the time line as it appears this was planned longer ago than most might perceive. Thanks b...

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jul 5 2018 2:05 utc | 52

Jen @ 47
Thanks for getting back to me on mark thatcher. May seem a bit of trivia but it shows the general mind set of these people ! Yesterday I tryed my hand at researching from scratch plus one small lead, into curuption by westerners in Africa ! I'm still recovering from it ! It's just absolutely disgusting, the amount of it, the sheer brutal exploitation. These are the people ruling our country. Thanks again.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 5 2018 9:25 utc | 53

@1 - semper vincit: Do you have any further reading on what you posted in comment #1? I would *live* to get more info on that.

Posted by: KP | Jul 5 2018 10:35 utc | 54

I have not read all of the comments, and so someone may have answered this, but it was asked why the US interest in Africa kicked off in North Africa. Well it didn't. The US was heavily involved in supporting South African destabilisation of Angola (using an airbase in what was then called Zaire, now the DRC) from about 1974/5. See John Stockwell's book In Search of Enemies. So it goes back to the 1970s at least. But on North Africa, the best place to start is Jeremy Keenan's book The Dark Sahara. Keenan is a British social anthropologist who spent most of his career researching the Tuareg people. He showed in this book that the alleged Islamist group that became known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was actually a false flag psyop by the Algerian intelligence service (DGS). It is not in his book, but the Tuareg were seen as a barrier to a scheme that the Algerians had pitched to the USA in March 2005, to link up the natural gas fields in the Gulf of Guinea to the Algerian's existing gas pipeline network that crossed the Mediterranean to supply the European Union (EU). It was felt that this would reduce the EU's dependence on Russian natural gas. So the Algerians got a lot of US military aid (about $40 million) and attacked the Tuareg on the assumption that with their 'pacification' the pipeline could be built across the Sahara. The actual result was the opposite. The Tuareg were so furious at being demonised and attacked that it became clear that they would ensure that this pipeline would never be built. For details of the slaughter of the Tuareg, see Jeremy Keenan's sequel book The Dying Sahara.

Jumping ahead to the French invasion of Mali to 'save' the incumbent government after an Islamist group took over the northern part and were heading south, there is an article on this in the academic journal Review of African Political Economy in about 2015. After the overthrow of the Gadaffi government in Libya, arms flowed south into Niger and Mali. Two Islamist charities funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia suddenly appeared in northern Mali and recruited young men into an Islamist jihadist group. When the fighting started, young Tuareg opposed them but were defeated and some then joined this group, which began to move south, threatening the Mali government. So the French then had an excuse to send in forces with UK air logistical help to 'save' the government and establish a permanent force there. The real reason behind all this is that France depends on nuclear power for 80 per cent of its electricity, and global uranium supplies are growing a bit scarce. A lot of its uranium comes from Mali but that was sold on the open market and France wanted to be able to secure all the uranium supplied from there. After Sarkozy came to power in France, France dropped its independent military stance and rejoined the full military command structure of NATO. So it started cooperating militarily with the USA in Africa from 2006, before AFRICOM was formed. At roughly the same time, France, the UK and the USA established a joint intelligence operation in Paris to cover the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Posted by: Gary Littlejohn | Jul 10 2018 9:23 utc | 55

Someone said that they would love to have a more detailed explanation of Russia's growing engagement in Africa. A good place to start is here:

You can follow the links for further details and analysis. Andrew Korybko is an American living in Moscow who is becoming a prominent commentator on current affairs there. Notice that at one point he mentions, with links, other countries in Africa that Russia is having renewed contact with. Then there is the draft agreement being negotiated between Russia and the African Union.

This is dated 3 Jun and things may have moved on since then. Meanwhile the Russian government has reversed the cuts to the budget of the Institute of African Studies in Moscow, and has changed some of the personnel. So it is evidently looking to have better analysis from Russian sources. The countries that most seem to interest Russia (apart from South Africa which is a member of BRICS as someone pointed out) are Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia (where the new president is making some big changes), Sudan, Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Posted by: Gary Littlejohn | Jul 10 2018 15:17 utc | 56

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