Deceptive Intelligence: CNN breaks story on Slave Trade in Libya; French Government voices concern for African Migrants

Source:  Ghana Today
November 25 2017

Gerald A. Perreira

 

libya slave trade

World turns blind eye to Libya slave trade – Reuters

The world we find ourselves in is complex and full of contradictions. It is easy to fall for rudimentary textbook propaganda based on simplistic dichotomies, such as ‘the good guys versus the bad guys’. If we are not aware of the complexities and nuances facing us, we can fall for this type of propaganda, whose sole aim is to keep us apart and destroy any type of unity that could strengthen our ability to defeat the enemy.

Hypocrisy and insincerity

When examining and assessing the latest information fed us by one of imperialism’s mouthpieces, CNN, there are important things for us, as revolutionary Pan-Africanists, to keep in mind. The first thing to note is the clear hypocrisy and insincerity which is nowhere more stark than CNN’s recent expose of “Libyan crimes against humanity” and French President, Emmanuel Macron’s call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to demand immediate action against this heinous “Libyan” crime.

I know this much for sure, as an African revolutionary I do not look to the devil for the truth. I know that the devil does not lie some of the time; he lies and deceives all of the time. In whatever form the devil manifests himself, I do not deal with him. He can come in the guise of the imperialists and White Supremacists themselves, or their mouthpieces such as CNN, BBC, Fox News or any of the mainstream corporate media outlets. We should never forget their role as cheerleaders and purveyors of the fake news that laid the groundwork for the invasion and destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Therefore, let us ask ourselves the burning question, why are they providing us with this information, and why now? Why are the imperialists suddenly feigning concern for the plight of Africans?

A counter -revolution

In my first article on the invasion of Libya, published March 2nd, 2011, titled, Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective, I said that “the conflict in Libya is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution. The struggle is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa, and reactionary, racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi’s vision of Libya as part of a united Africa.”

Events have proved this analysis correct. Muammar Qaddafi and the Revolutionary Committees Movement of the Al Fateh Revolution had a monumental task on their hands: to conscientize and reposition the Libyan people for a significant role in the revolutionary Pan-African project for a United States of Africa. This is a battle for all African revolutionaries. In Sub-Saharan African countries, where almost the entire population comprises Black Africans, we face the same battle. Here in the Caribbean, it is no different. So, when Qaddafi urged his people to look towards a United States of Africa and a revolutionary Pan-African perspective, he had to face Libyans who rejected this program in favor of Libya and the entire North African region joining the Barcelona Project, a Mediterranean-European alliance, whose aim is to take North Africa out of Africa.

The hidden agenda

Prejudice against dark-skinned Africans exists all over planet earth. Even in countries where the population is almost 100% Black African, we have to contend with ‘shadism’, a hangover from colonialism and plantation culture, where Africans with lighter skin shades are held in higher esteem than Africans with darker skin shades. However, to say that “Arab Libyans” are selling “Africans” is overly simplistic and deliberately misleading. There is a hidden agenda here – beware. The objective is to ignite hostilities between so-called Arab-Africans and so-called Sub-Saharan-Africans. There is a debate amongst Africans about who is an African. On the one hand, there are those who limit the definition of African to Black Africans in the Sub-Saharan region of the continent. On the other hand, there are those of us who believe that Africa is one, and we will resist any attempt by the imperialists to redefine and further balkanize Africa. Rather than becoming part of the European Community, North Africans promoting the Barcelona Project would be better off seeking out their African roots. This is what Muammar Qaddafi told all Libyans.

Those who today call themselves “Arabs” have a historical, ancestral and moral duty to recognize their Africanity. Those “Arabs” who live in countries on the African continent and those who live in the region outside of the continent, need to explore and reexamine their history. The region they inhabit, erroneously named “Middle-East” and “Levant” by the European colonizers cannot be divorced from Africa. I agree with Islamic theologian and historian, Dr. Wesley Muhammad, that the area known as “Middle-East” or “Levant” is more aptly named ‘Afrabia’.

Anyone interested in more information on this and the Aryanization of Christianity and Islam, should refer to the brilliant works of Dr. Wesley Muhammad, especially his book ‘Black Arabia and the African Origins of Islam’.

The North Atlantic Tribes Organization (NATO) deeply fear this type of awakening and the unity of purpose and action it could lead to in this oil rich and wealthiest region of the world.

Muammar Qaddafi’s persistent struggle

Minister Farrakhan said many years ago, reflecting on periods of unity in our history, “we did it before and we can do it again”. Muammar Qaddafi persistent struggle to forge a United States of Africa was starting to pay off. He was on the verge of creating an African currency that would have shifted the global economic imbalance, preparing the way for Africa to take its rightful place in the world. Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Ivory Coast, was openly supporting Qaddafi with this radical move. Gbagbo believed that those who were serious should declare a United States of Africa and the others could follow. Fear of this emerging African unity, especially between countries in the north and south of the continent, prompted France to orchestrate Gbagbo’s removal from power at the same time as the NATO led invasion of Libya. Genuine African unity, resulting in anything more than talk, will always be opposed, no matter what the cost, by the forces of White Supremacy.

As we now know, even those Libyans who opposed Qaddafi’s drive for a United States of Africa, did not support the overthrow of the Jamahiriya. It is a well-substantiated fact that the rag-tag and opportunistic conglomerate of reactionaries, including monarchists, Arab supremacists and al-Qaeda linked Islamists, such as those from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, constituted an insignificant minority. The Libyan Revolutionary Armed Forces could have easily contained these retrograde forces, if NATO had not bombed them into power. Without the backing of France, the US, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and their satellites, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, the so-called Libyan rebels amounted to nothing when confronted with the overwhelming support of the majority of Libyans for Muammar Qaddafi and the Al Fateh Revolution. This revolution brought dignity, stability, prosperity and liberation from foreign domination to all Libyans, from the fairest to the darkest in complexion. One thing you knew as soon as you stepped off the plane at Tripoli Airport was that the Libyans – all Libyans – were in control of their country! It was people power, seemingly chaotic and misunderstood by outsiders, but a truly participatory democracy to those who lived it and experienced it. The majority of Libyans were aware of this and supported Al Fateh.

Demons unleashed in Libya

Knowing who the so-called rebels truly are, it came as no surprise to me, that in addition to the long list of crimes against humanity attributed to these scoundrels, they would auction Black Africans as slave labor.

Following the heroic battle of Sirte, back in December 2011, in an article titled, Demons Unleashed in Libya: NATO’s Islamists Continue Program of Ethnic and Ideological Cleansing”, I wrote about the horror that was taking place. A horror that was instigated by the Anglo-Franco-American Imperialists, under the watchful eye of the UN – all of whom are now shedding crocodile tears over the sale of African migrants in Libya. In that article, I wrote about the “complete whiteout by the corporate media regarding all news from Libya”. I stated that, “Even the United Nations, an architect of the nation’s destruction, says 7,000 prisoners are held without trial or charge, most of them Black, many of them tortured. Any known Qaddafi loyalists who have not been able to get out of Libya have to stay underground. Death squads scour the land. Truckloads of bodies are being carted away, as the now feuding armed gangs, each with their own command structure, and none adhering to anything the Western installed NTC says, introduces the only policy they ever had – exterminate Qaddafi and all those loyal to him.”

These are NATO’s thugs.
I went on to note that, “In addition to loyalty to the Leader, and defense of their country against foreign invaders, having black skin and asserting one’s Africanity has become a crime in the new Libya. Ethnic cleansing is continuing unabated. Every day Black Africans from Libya and other parts of Africa are hunted down. Thousands have been brutally tortured and executed. Rape of Black women is a favored weapon of NATO’s Islamists. Many of the female bodies found show signs of rape, beatings and torture. Large numbers of Black Africans make up the ranks of the Green Resistance.”

I quoted one Tripoli resident as saying:
“Everyone is terrified of the NTC and their armed gangs. We have seen with our own eyes what they are capable of – they are animals. All around us people are being rounded up and imprisoned. We have no way of knowing how many have been murdered. Anyone who is associated with Qaddafi or suspected of loyalty to him is at risk. Even people who have worked for people who are known supporters of the leader have been rounded up and tortured. I personally know of many persons who were just working for people associated with the leader who have been taken away and never seen again. If you are black you are an immediate suspect – these rebels call black Libyans “abd” means slave and they are rounding them up just because they are black – it is making me sick and ashamed.”

“…What these rebels have done to their own people is disgusting – some of the acts of torture I can’t even speak about. There has been a lot of rape. I wept when I learned of what these animals did to the leader’s female bodyguards – they are not human and that is why there is so much fear. Any known Qaddafi loyalists who have not been able to get out of Libya have to stay underground. Libyans are afraid to talk to other Libyans – anyone could be an informer. It feels like the last days are upon us – Libya has been turned into a living hell.”

The imperialist media, including CNN was completely silent regarding all of these crimes against humanity, despite the fact that genocide in the form of an ethnic and ideological cleansing pogrom was unfolding right before our eyes. There was no outcry from the UN or the North Atlantic Tribes. No time or motive for outcry – having shared the spoils, these callous warlords had already moved on to their next victim – Syria.

So why now?
Could it be that the Green Resistance is gaining ground? Could it be that although they killed Qaddafi and buried him in an unmarked grave (they know why), his dangerous (for them) ideas are better known now than before? Could it be that Muammar Qaddafi’s vision for a United States of Africa could once again re-surface?

Prior to the overthrow of the Jamahiriya, thousands of Africans travelled to Libya to work, and they prospered. Employment opportunities existed across a range of occupations, including teachers, librarians, nurses, hotel workers, chefs, mechanics, electricians, construction workers and unskilled laborers. They were able to send money home to their families. African businesses and companies also traded extensively in Libya. There was zero tolerance in the Jamahiriya for the mistreatment of Libyan or migrant workers or anyone for that matter. I know of many foreigners who received favorable judgements in employment disputes.

The destruction of this most prosperous and just African country was led by France, who now dares to call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the crimes committed against African migrants “by Libyans”. This is devil-speak. The same devil who, in the words of the Honorable Minister Farrakhan, “unleashed the demons” that are now committing these and other heinous crimes, is trying to sow more discord by talking about “Libyan crimes”. Where was CNN and the French government when these same gangs of demons were committing the atrocities described above?

Deceptive intelligence

We have known since the first day of NATO’s invasion that this was perhaps one of the most racist and atrocious crimes of the 21st century. The question that we must ask ourselves is why CNN, the French government and others who led the charge in 2011, are all of a sudden concerned about the plight of Africans in Libya. Minister Farrakhan calls it “deceptive intelligence”, and warns us that, “every time the serpent raises its head it should be de-capitated”.

Let us resist this crude attempt to divide and ruin us yet again. Let us not be distracted and misled by imperialist propaganda. Let us make sure that our enemies do not set our agenda, causing us to react to their devious attempts to pit us against each other. Let us set our own agenda for our second liberation. Crimes against Black Africans and Qaddafi loyalists, of every complexion, began in Libya in 2011, and continue to this day, unabated. Thousands languish in detention centers, Libyans of every complexion and migrants from all over Africa. Those carrying out these crimes on the ground are the foot soldiers and thugs of the criminal masterminds of the hell that is now Libya. Arrest warrants should be issued immediately for Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani to name but a few.

I end with a message to “All our Brothers and Sisters in Africa and the Diaspora” from long time Revolutionary Committee Movement member, Dr. Salem Zubeidy:

“This letter is addressed to our brothers, officials, and residents of the sub-Saharan African countries, who are characterized by dark features….

There have been many reactions and statements by African leaders, politicians, organizations and institutions following an investigation published by CNN that there are markets for the selling of Africans of dark skin in Libya …

No one stopped to question the validity of this report, and where is the market? When did this happen? Where do the (alleged) slaves go?

Then, no one asked how the channel got to the supposed market, and how was it able to video the “auction”? What is the purpose of the American channel to broadcast such a program that distorts an entire people, and accuses them of committing a heinous crime that is not accepted by a reasonable mind and not approved by any logic?

We can find explanations and justifications for a US channel harboring suspicious purposes in fueling separation and instigating seditions.

As an answer to the voices and forces that see in this an opportunity to falsify the facts, and play down the Libyan people’s accomplishments, side by side with their African brothers and sisters in the golden times of the al-Fateh Revolution, it behooves us to clarify some points:

  1. Libya, which you know has been hijacked since the Fall of 2011, and its capabilities are being controlled by criminal gangs that had been enabled by means of the Western war machine of NATO, after destroying the foundations of the state.
  2. Libya was the Bureau of the liberation movements, which trained, armed and equipped thousands of young people in the southern regions of Africa, Rhodesia, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, and enabled them to return with their full military gear, with Libyan advisers, to fight the battles of liberation.
  3. Libya offered total support to the struggle of Cabral in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde and dispatched Libyan officers as volunteers to fight alongside him, some of whom are still living witnesses amongst us.
  4. Libya presented absolute support for revolutionary and progressive regimes in African countries seeking liberation from imperialism and neo-colonialism in the Congo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, and others.
  5. Libya alone has resisted the Barcelona process, which had as an objective the separation of the light-skinned in the north of the continent linking them with the Mediterranean in the so-called “Mediterranean Organization” and established the CEN-SAD in response to the Barcelona process, to prove the unity of the continent.
  6. Libya fought the battle for the unification of the continent and the affirmation of its freedom, identity, and dignity through pressing for the establishment of the African Union.
  7. Libya embraced African political opposition movements, supporting their programs and bringing many of their leaders to power.
  8. Libya represented the ongoing battle for peace, development, and construction. It convened dozens of meetings, organized dozens of mediation affairs and reconciliations. It also invested huge sums in important projects in most countries of the continent …

We can go on in more detail, but we just want to tell you and the world that your Libyan brothers and sisters cannot accept to disassociate themselves from their continent, no matter how the enemies of Africa try.”

A full statement from Libyan People’s National Movement (LPNM) can be found at:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/libyan-peoples-national-movement-statement-on-the-slave-trade/

Gerald A. Perreira is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP), International Secretary for ARM (African Revolutionary Movement) and executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. He can be reached at mojadi94@gmail.com.

Zimbabwe Ruling Party Replaces Mugabe as Leader with Ousted VP

Source:  TeleSUR
November 19 2017

Robert Mugabe 5.jpg
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Grace Mugabe has been expelled from the ZANU-PF party as well.

Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF has removed President Robert Mugabe as head of the party, replacing him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had recently been ousted as the country’s vice president. Mugabe remains the president of the country.

RELATED:  What Next for Zimbabwe After Robert Mugabe: Division and Hatred? Or ‘One Love?’

Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, as well as Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Ignatius Chombo and Patrick Zhuwao, Mugabe’s nephew, were expelled from the party.

The meeting, held by ZANU-PF’s Central Committee, the highest decision-making body in the party, comes one day after a march of tens of thousands of people, in favor of ousting the long-serving leader. Protesters waved Zimbabwean flags and hoisted placards with slogans like, “Mugabe Must Rest Now,” and “No to a Mugabe Dynasty.”

However, the army reiterated that their action is “not a coup” and “not against President Mugabe,” but against “criminals” within his sphere and those who support Grace Mugabe’s political ambitions, which splintered the party ahead of its upcoming national congress to select a new leader before planned presidential elections in 2018.

Regarded across Africa and the diaspora as one of the last liberation fighters against European colonialism on the continent, a struggle epitomized in Bob Marley’s song “Zimbabwe,” Mugabe is said to have asked to serve the rest of his presidential term until next year’s elections when he will voluntarily step down. Mugabe made a public appearance days after the army came onto the streets and was seen in photos shaking hands and smiling with the army general who led the military action.

The Zimbabwe parliament

Military leaders are also set to meet with Mugabe later on Sunday, with a Catholic priest expected to mediate between the army and president, who has rejected a deal to step down, CNN reported, citing an official.

The Zimbabwe parliament is set to meet on Tuesday and could vote to start impeachment proceedings against Mugabe.

On Wednesday, the army seized power in the capital, Harare, but denied they had carried out a coup stating they were attempting to strike a deal with the president to resign.

The elder statesman put the African nation into a tailspin after firing his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was tipped as his successor.

Zimbabwe’s Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao said the veteran leader “is willing to die for his principles.” Mugabe has been the elected leader of Zimbabwe for 37 years.

RELATED: Mugabe Stripped of WHO Goodwill Ambassadorship

Ousting former president Ian Smith

After having been imprisoned for over a decade by colonial forces, as well as being prohibited from attending the funeral of his three-year-old son, Michael Nhamodzenyika, Mugabe helped lead the Chimurenga Bush War from Mozambique to oust former president Ian Smith and his white minority government.

He’d come under fire for reclaiming land to distribute more equitably among his compatriots. By 2013, despite the British government withholding the white farmer’s compensation package, Mugabe had lived up to his end of the bargain, expropriating or confirming for redistribution most of their land.

The United States imposed a credit freeze on Zimbabwe in 2001. The European Union followed suit in 2002 by imposing sanctions in the form of an asset freeze and travel ban. The measures led to a major trade deficit and adversely affected the country’s healthcare system.redistribution

Mugabe Makes First Public Appearance, Military Pushes Exit

Source:  TeleSUR
November 17 2017

mugage attending graduation.jpgMugabe attending a graduate ceremony, his first public appearance since the military mobilization on Harare. | Photo: Reuters

Being cheered by a crowd at a graduation ceremony, Mugabe made his first public appearance since the military mobilized in Harare.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe made his first public appearance at a graduation ceremony in the capital city of Harare.

RELATED:   Zimbabwe’s Military Denies Coup, Zuma Says Mugabe Is ‘Fine’

This was the first time Mugabe had been seen since his military-imposed house arrest that began on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Defence Force announces “breakthroughs” for Mugabe’s exit from power.

“The Army applauds the nation for remaining patient and peaceful while it carries out its operations,” the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, ZDF, said in a statement.

The ZDF announced that it has reached “significant progress” to facilitate the exit of the government of President Mugabe, who has remained in power since the nation’s independence in 1980, and purging “criminals” from the African nation’s political structure.

Negotiations described as “on the way forward” are still under way, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces reported in a statement, which was delivered through state media.

“Significant progress has been made in its operation to identify the criminals around President Mugabe,” said the military, while confirming the continuity of the search and capture of these “criminals”, without giving any specific details or names.

OPINION:  Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe Has Fallen From Grace

The army insisted in its statement that these people “committed crimes that caused social and economic suffering” to the country.

The statement continued, “we are working with the President and Commander in Chief Robert Mugabe on the way forward.”

“We will periodically publish press releases to keep the public informed of events in the country, and the Army applauds the nation for remaining patient and peaceful while it carries out its operations,” the statement said.

Opposition leaders told CNN that a plan to remove Mugabe was discussed “a long time ago” by members of the president’s party and members of the opposition.

State media has said that Mugabe does not intend to leave his position and instead wants to continue until 2018, when the 93-year old’s term expires.

The military mobilized to secure power, which they have said is not a coup, after a dispute over the president’s successor.

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe ‘under house arrest’ after army takeover

Sources:  BBC and businessinsider.com
November 15 2017

robert mugabe.jpgZimbabwe’s military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.

Mr Mugabe told Mr Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader’s office said.

Troops are patrolling the capital, Harare, after they seized state TV and said they were targeting “criminals”.

The move may be a bid to replace Mr Mugabe with his sacked deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, BBC correspondents say.

Mr Mnangagwa’s dismissal last week left Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace as the president’s likely successor.

Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of Harare early on Wednesday.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the country’s political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980.

What do we know of Mr Mugabe’s situation?

The firing heard during the early morning came from Harare’s northern suburbs, where Mr Mugabe and a number of government officials live, the BBC’s Shingai Nyoka reports from Harare.

In a statement, Mr Zuma’s office said: “President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine.”

Special envoys from the Southern African Development Community would be sent to Zimbabwe, he added.

A Zimbabwean army officer, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, went on TV after the takeover to say Mr Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

sibusiso moyo zimbabwe.jpgHow did the military justify its move?

“We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and commander-in-chief of Zimbabwe defence forces comrade R.G. Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.” Maj Gen Moyo said, reading out a statement.

Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo read out a statement on national TV early on Wednesday

Maj Gen Moyo also called on the security services to co-operate “for the good” of the country and warned that any provocation would “be met with an appropriate response”.
Uniformed soldiers took over Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster, ZBC, and broadcast a statement to the nation in which a senior officer from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces denied that the military was staging a coup.
Soldiers could be seen deployed on the streets of the capital, Harare, alongside armoured assault vehicles.
The crisis follows unease over the future of Zimbabwe, which intensified last week when Mugabe dismissed his presumed successor, vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe and his family are “safe and sound”

The president of neighbouring South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said in a statement that he had spoken to Mugabe and that he was unharmed but confined to his home.
As daylight broke, a witness told Reuters that soldiers and armored vehicles were cutting off road access to government offices, parliament, and courts in central Harare.
The news agency also reported that the country’s finance minister had been detained by the military.
In their statement on Wednesday, the military said their aim was to “pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation” in Zimbabwe, then to give back power.  Major General S.B. Moyo, the army’s Chief of Staff Logistics, said:
“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government.

“What this mobile defence force is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed, may result in a violent conflict.”  The military action comes shortly after a political crisis inside Zimbabwe precipitated by Mugabe’s decision to fire one of his two vice presidents.  Mugabe dismissed his presumed successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who then left Zimbabwe.
According to Reuters, military leaders saw the move as an attempt to clear the way for Mugabe’s wife, 52-year-old Grace Mugabe, to take power herself.

It is unclear where either Grace Mugabe or Mnangagwa is now. The military’s statement refers to Mugabe “and his family,” implying that his wife is with him.
Outlets including Sky News have suggested she has fled west to Namibia, but a minister in the Namibian government has denied that is the case.
Reports online that Mnangagwa has returned to Zimbabwe have yet to be verified by any major news organisation.

The situation is coming to a head in advance of the ZANU-PF special congress next month, where Mugabe can appoint a new vice-president.

 

From Niger to Somalia, U.S. Military Expansion in Africa Helps Terror Groups Recruit

Source: Democracy Now

From Niger to Somalia, U.S. Military Expansion in Africa Helps Terror Groups Recruit

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Related: 

“The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game” (The Intercept)

“The US is waging a massive shadow war in Africa” (Vice)

Transcript 

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, to talk more about U.S. operations on the African continent, we’re joined by reporter Nick Turse. He’s a fellow at The Nation Institute, a contributing writer at The Intercept, where his latest stories are headlined “It’s Not Just Niger—U.S. Military Activity is a ‘Recruiting Tool’ for Terror Groups Across West Africa,” also his piece “The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game,” and at Vice, his latest piece, “The U.S. is waging a massive shadow war in Africa.” He’s the author of the book Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa and his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan.

Nick, welcome back to Democracy Now!

NICK TURSE: Thanks for having me on.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s begin in South Sudan. Why did Nikki Haley go there? Talk about the protest that occurred there.

NICK TURSE: Sure. Nikki Haley was dispatched there basically as a result of a speech last month that President Trump gave to African leaders at the United Nations. It was a very tone-deaf speech, where he, in fact, lauded the achievements of an African country that doesn’t exist—Nambia. But in the speech, he also mentioned that there were conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and especially South Sudan that needed tending to, that he was dispatching Haley to do something about it. What it was was never exactly clear. She was on something of a fact-finding mission.

She met with South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. And then, as you mentioned, she went to one of these protection of civilian sites in South Sudan, where there have been, you know, internal—internally displaced people basically stranded there for years, since the civil war broke out in 2013. And things got heated, and she was escorted out of the camp.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain the situation in South Sudan.

NICK TURSE: Sure. In December of 2013, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, launched a ethnic cleansing campaign in the capital city, Juba.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s one of the newest countries in the world.

NICK TURSE: Yes, it’s the youngest nation on Earth. And this was, in many ways, a U.S. nation-building project. The United States spent somewhere around $11 billion bringing South Sudan into nationhood. The South Sudanese fought for and died for their independence, but the United States was really the backer of this project. And it all fell apart in 2013. The country has been in a state of civil war since then. And the government has been carrying out ethnic cleansing campaigns across the nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Against who?

NICK TURSE: It started out as campaigns against the Nuer, which is the largest of the ethnic minorities. This is carried out by, as I said, President Salva Kiir, who’s a member of the Dinka, who are the largest ethnic group in the country. Since then, the civil war has spread. And most recently, it’s been affecting the deep south of South Sudan, the Equatoria region, where there are somewhere around 10 to 20 ethnic minorities. They’ve been targeted, and they’ve been leaving the country in droves, mostly to Uganda, about a million refugees across the border since the late summer of 2016.

Now, Nikki Haley, when she was in South Sudan, said that President Kiir could not claim that his soldiers weren’t committing these atrocities. But, in fact, that’s what Kiir has been doing for months now. He’s been claiming that fake news and social media drove these people across the border. But I was there earlier this year. I talked to refugees who had left the country. I spoke to people who were displaced in the country. I saw the burned villages. These people ran because of a government-run ethnic cleansing campaign, massacres, murder, village burnings. All this was going on then and goes on today.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the U.S. interest now?

NICK TURSE: Well, yeah, the United States, I think, especially—it was a bipartisan effort, so there are a lot of people in Congress that believe that the United States has an ongoing role to play in South Sudan. What the White House thinks should be done there is very unclear. Before Ambassador Haley left, she was talking tough about cutting off U.S. aid as a way to leverage U.S. power against the government of South Sudan. But since she arrived there, saw the refugees, she said that she now understands that cutting off U.S. aid would hurt the most vulnerable South Sudanese. It’s really an intractable situation, and it’s difficult to figure out exactly what the United States can do and what Nikki Haley’s mandate is.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, visited Gambela in western Ethiopia, where nearly 350,000 refugees flooded across the border from South Sudan amidst the country’s civil war.

NIKKI HALEY: This is an international crisis. This is not just Ethiopia’s problem. This is an international crisis. And when you look at the thousands of people here and you see that they’re supposed to have one health clinic for 10,000 people, and there’s 86,000 people in one clinic, it’s wrong. I mean, they’re trying to make ends meet by, you know, working off of food shortages, but at some point you have to look and say, “No one deserves to live like this.”

AMY GOODMAN: Haley said the United States is considering how to pressure South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, into peace, but said withdrawing aid may not work. Nick Turse?

NICK TURSE: Yes. You know, this is the quandary the United States has been in. At one time, they were giving South Sudan millions and millions of dollars for their military, to train politicians there, technocrats. Now it’s been reduced basically to aid. And, you know, that’s the leverage the United States has. But cutting that off means that so many people in need will be without.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Nick Turse, who is the author of several books on Africa, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa and his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. We’ll talk about the United States presence throughout Africa—6,000 U.S. troops, it’s believed—and what the U.S. was doing in Niger, where the U.S. special ops forces and as well as five Nigerien troops were killed. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “Africa Dream Again” by Youssou N’Dour. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we talk about the U.S. presence in Africa. I want to turn to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He spoke to reporters last week after a meeting with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said the military is shifting its counterterrorism strategy to focus more on Africa.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: The counterterrorism rules under President Obama, I thought, were overly restrictive. They denied us the ability to basically engage the enemy effectively and aggressively. The war is morphing. You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less. You’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less. You’re going to have decisions being made not in the White House, but out in the field. And I support that entire construct.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we continue our conversation with Nick Turse. He’s the author of Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa; his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. Respond to what Lindsey Graham has said. Talk about what the U.S. is doing in Africa.

NICK TURSE: Well, the U.S. is doing a lot in Africa. He talked about restrictions during the Obama era, but this was an era of major expansion, which, this past year, has, I have to say, jumped to another level. U.S. troops are now conducting, according to the commander of U.S. Africa Command, 3,500 exercises, programs and engagements per year. So that’s nearly 10 missions per day on the African continent, something that I think that most Americans are completely unaware of. I think Lindsey Graham states that he was unaware of the extent of this activity. So it’s a massive increase of late. When AFRICOM began, it was running about 172 exercises and missions per year. So this is almost a 2,000 percent rise in U.S. military activity on the Africa continent.

And this runs counter to what AFRICOM was originally sold as to the American people and to the world at large, that it would be something like the Peace Corps in camouflage, that there would be humanitarian operations, building of orphanages and digging of wells, that sort of thing. But it’s a fully militarized U.S. geographic combatant command, where you have troops running missions that, you know, are often sold as training and advisory, and done in a training and advisory capacity, but really are indistinguishable from combat.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, the discussion this week on Capitol Hill, we keep hearing many senators talking about giving more money to the U.S. military, that the death of the four Special Forces soldiers in Niger means the U.S. needs more money and that Africa is the place where, you know, the U.S. military action will be focused. Now, your story, one of them that you wrote, “It’s Not Just Niger—U.S. Military Activity is a ‘Recruiting Tool’ for Terror Groups Across West Africa,” explain.

NICK TURSE: Yes. This is something that a number of experts told me, that, you know, the United States has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into counterterror programs since just after 9/11 in West Africa—Niger, Mali, Mauritania, this entire region. The idea was to make this region a bulwark against terrorism. The thinking just after 9/11 was that weak states, fragile governments, ungoverned spaces, these were places that terror groups could proliferate.

But at the time, the United States didn’t recognize any transnational terror groups in the region. After all this U.S. activity, after running one special ops mission after another, year after year, now there are a proliferation of terror groups all across that region—depending on how you count them, maybe six to 10, including the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, which is the group that reportedly conducted this ambush that killed the four American Green Berets.

AMY GOODMAN: Not all of them were Green Berets, but they were Special Forces. On that issue of these Special Forces, 800 soldiers in Niger? What is the drone base? Why was it being built there?

NICK TURSE: Well, in 2013, the United States began drone operations there, a hundred U.S. personnel dispatched to Niamey, the capital of Niger. And the base was designed for providing what they call ISR—intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance—over the Niger and the greater West Africa region. Since then, the United States struck a deal with Niger to build a much larger base in the town of Agadez. U.S. Africa Command says that this is—they call it something like a temporary contingency location, which sounds like an airstrip with a couple tents around it. But declassified secret documents that I obtained show that this is a $100 million drone base that they’re building.

They chose Niger, these documents say, because the government there was open to them bringing in MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are the larger, newer variant of the Predator drone, a potentially much more lethal drone package. Originally, these were supposed to be carrying out, again, ISR missions, reconnaissance, surveillance. But now, in the wake of this attack, there’s a major push on to arm these drones and have them fly over the region. And this was something else that I also saw in the documents. Niger was the only country in the region that was open to having armed drones based there.

AMY GOODMAN: And both the U.S. and France are active there.

NICK TURSE: Yes. This is because of the collapse of Niger’s neighbor, one of its neighbors, Mali. In fact, a U.S.-trained officer, one of these—one of the officers trained in the U.S. counterterror programs after 9/11, overthrew the government of Mali, because there was an insurgency in northern Mali that this officer didn’t think that the government was taking on in the correct way. He proved incompetent at taking on the insurgency, as well. Islamists pushed his army back towards the capital. And there was a real fear that Mali would be overtaken by Islamist rebels. So France intervened, with the backing of the United States. And now France has been stuck in a counterinsurgency there, that seems that it’s also interminable and that the French cannot find a way to extricate themselves from.

AMY GOODMAN: Where else does the U.S. have drone bases across Africa?

NICK TURSE: Well, there are drone bases that pop up all across the continent, and the U.S. builds them and shuts them down depending on need. In the past, they’ve had drone bases in Ethiopia, in Chad, also in Kenya. I think the drone base that—of recent vintage, that’s been most important to the U.S., is in the tiny, sun-baked nation of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. There’s a major U.S. base there called Camp Lemonnier, but the drone base is a satellite facility. It’s called Chabelley Airfield. And the United States has run missions there that target the African continent. Also they run drone missions that fly to Yemen. And then it was used for engagements against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well. It’s a very important, centrally located drone base.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you have 6,000 U.S. troops. Do you think that’s the correct number?

NICK TURSE: I think, on any given day, there’s somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 U.S. troops on the continent, depending on the missions that are going on at the time, because troops cycle in and out. But 6,000 is a reasonable number.

AMY GOODMAN: In some, what, 50 countries in Africa.

NICK TURSE: Yeah. The United States is in somewhere around 49 or so African countries, at least over the last couple years. They’re conducting training missions, exercises and, in some cases, you know, commando raids and drone strikes.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Professor Horace Campbell, currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, a peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He spoke on Democracy Now! earlier this week about forces—about U.S. forces in Africa.

HORACE CAMPBELL: So what we must be clear about to the progressive forces in the United States of America, that neither France nor the United States can have any political legitimacy in Africa, when on the streets of the United States of America fascists are walking around with Nazi flags and police are killing black people. I want to go back to the point that we made at the beginning. United States has no legitimacy for fighting terrorism in Africa, because you cannot fight to defend black lives in Africa when black lives are not important in the United States of America.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Professor Horace Campbell. Your response to what he says, Nick Turse?

NICK TURSE: Well, he makes a strong point there. And, you know, I might add that—and this is something in my recent pieces—that the United States’s counterterror activities in Africa have seemed to have the opposite effect, in many ways, that, you know, the U.S. was supposed to be building up counterterror capabilities, but we’ve just seen a proliferation of terror groups all across the continent. So, you know, the legitimacy is lacking, and then also the execution of this. It’s really gone counter to what the United States’ aims have been.

AMY GOODMAN: In your piece in The Intercept, the headline is “The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game.” What is this war game?

NICK TURSE: It was a war game that was carried out over several weeks last year. The acronym of it was JLASS-SP. And this was conducted by students at the U.S. military’s war colleges. These aren’t, I should say, West Point cadets or something like this. These are generally colonels in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, some of the best up-and-coming strategic thinkers in the U.S. military, people that will be generals running the wars in the coming years. They ran a very intricate war game, and this was one part of it—but a pivotal part.

The war game posits that there will be a terror attack in New York targeting the Lincoln Tunnel. It will be the largest terror attack since 9/11, the most casualties since then. And it will be carried out by a West African terror group, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, one of these groups that’s cropped up in the region since 9/11. Because of this attack, the United States decides to invade West Africa, starting in Mauritania. And, you know—and it won’t be a surprise to anyone that’s watched U.S. wars since 9/11 that this quickly becomes a quagmire, that the United States goes in thinking that it’s going to be a short campaign, that we can eliminate the terrorists there and withdraw quickly, but it soon turns into an intractable conflict where the United States has to surge in forces just to maintain its occupation, and there seems to be no way to get out of it.

AMY GOODMAN: And what’s the significance of a Pentagon war game?

NICK TURSE: Well, I mean, this is—it’s not an intelligence estimate, but this is something that shows what the United States is thinking about, where it sees threats coming from, what it sees as the “reasonable,” quote-unquote, U.S. response to it. And this generally is the U.S. response. I could certainly see something like this happening. And the results are chilling, especially given what we’re seeing now—talk coming out of Congress about, you know, increasing U.S. military operations in Africa. It’s a sobering account of what this might mean for all of us, here in America and especially in Africa.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Somalia? So the timeline was what? October 4th, that was the time of the Niger killings, of the ambush of the U.S. and Nigerien forces. Ten days later, October 14, though a lot of people learned about what happened in Niger, and Trump did not reveal what happened in Niger until after Somalia, but 10 days later, this double bombing in the capital, what they’re calling the Mogadishu massacre, over 350 people killed, 400 people wounded. And The Guardian reports that the suspected bomber is from the specific community targeted by a U.S. raid last August in a village near Mogadishu that killed some 10 people, among them children. Can you talk about what’s happening in Somalia and the U.S. presence there?

NICK TURSE: Well, the U.S. has had a long-standing presence in Somalia. This has been one of the places where U.S. counterterror efforts have been at their largest in Africa. You know, it’s cited by some in the government as a success story. Al-Shabab has, in many ways, been pushed back. But, you know, there’s a continuing terror campaign from al-Shabab that doesn’t seem to be able to be solved through military means. But this is—this is the way the United States has chosen to deal with it and chosen to deal with what it considers threats all over the continent, that it’s a sort of a counterterror whack-a-mole exercise.

AMY GOODMAN: What does it mean that Trump called it a so-called zone of active hostilities?

NICK TURSE: Yeah, this allowed for a loosening of bonds on U.S. military activity there. It allows the U.S. to pursue a more vigorous military campaign. And because of that, there’s a much greater chance of civilian casualties and a chance of just continuing the cycle. This is something that experts have told me again and again, that U.S. operations on the continent are, in many ways, fueling terrorism, that these U.S. military operations are causing discontent, and by killing, you know, innocent civilians, that you’re just breeding more terrorists, country after country.

AMY GOODMAN: During a news conference last month, President Trump congratulated African leaders for helping make his friends rich.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money.

AMY GOODMAN: “They’re spending a lot of money,” President Trump said. Nick Turse, as we begin to wrap up?

NICK TURSE: Yeah, I think Trump has viewed Africa maybe in two ways, that it’s some sort of transactional economic zone, where the United States can extract and make money, and then, you know, as a theater of war. And, you know, that speech was exceptionally tone-deaf. And it was the first time he had really addressed what his Africa strategy might be. And as you might expect, after those words, it became more and more muddled. It’s very difficult to understand exactly what the Trump administration sees for the future of Africa, and they really haven’t even staffed up with experts on it within the administration, at the State Department. So, it seems to be an ad hoc policy. I think you’ll see a lot more military engagement, especially after Niger. And, you know, I’m not sure about the economic empowerment that Trump’s talking about.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the shadow war in Africa. What do you mean?

NICK TURSE: Well, I mean, these campaigns have been going on in Africa for years, but it’s largely unknown to the American people. And when you ask AFRICOM, as I have, about what’s happening on the continent, they’re always talking about training missions, about advisory missions. Well, this is exactly what the mission in Niger was billed as. This was working with local forces in an advisory capacity. But we see that, you know, an advisory or training mission can quickly become combat. And I think that the more U.S. engagement you see, the greater the chance that we’ll have more and more catastrophes like this.

AMY GOODMAN: Is there anything else you want to add that you think people in the United States—certainly, the corporate media hardly focuses on Africa. I mean, when you have, for example, the attack, what they call the Mogadishu massacre, of 358 people dead, almost no attention. Of course, right away, there is a mention of it. But in the aftermath, the devastation, the loss of life. What should people understand across Africa right now and be looking for?

NICK TURSE: Well, you know, I think it’s important to keep an eye on places like South Sudan, which we talked of earlier, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic. These are places where the United States had a more robust diplomatic effort before, but has—the United States has pulled back, in many ways. And these are places where the United States—the United Nations has warned of potential genocide, of ethnic cleansing campaigns. I think these are stories that are completely under-, and sometimes un-, covered in the United States, but I think they’re places that will be making the news in the future, for all the wrong reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Trump expresses, to say the least, a tremendous bellicose intent in various areas, are you concerned what that will mean as he focuses on Africa?

NICK TURSE: I am. You know, I think that this is the primary U.S. bent on the continent, that, you know, while a country like China has promoted economic engagement, the United States has really seen Africa as a counterterrorism problem. And the way to deal with that, in U.S. thinking, is to deploy more military forces, build more bases, deploy more troops.

AMY GOODMAN: And last question, and this goes to a piece you wrote just a few months ago, looking at what’s happened in Cameroon, “Cameroonian Troops Tortured and Killed Prisoners at Base Used for U.S. Drone [Surveillance].” And this was a report that came out by Amnesty International.

NICK TURSE: Yes, I worked with The Intercept, Amnesty International and a group called Forensic Architecture. And what we found was that there’s a small—one of several small U.S. bases in Cameroon, or a Cameroonian base where the United States has an intermittent military presence and U.S. contractors are flying drones. On the same base, Cameroonian forces were torturing and sometimes even killing prisoners, people that were suspected of supporting Boko Haram but, in most cases, were completely innocent and had no ties to the group. This is—you know, one, it’s illegal. Two, it’s building discontent in Cameroon. And it’s just—

AMY GOODMAN: This is at a U.S. base for drone surveillance—I said “strikes” before, but surveillance?

NICK TURSE: Surveillance. It was a—there are U.S. contractors who are flying drones out of this base, and then U.S. special operations forces that cycle in and out to work with—as this is another training mission for U.S. troops. But, you know, our allies are committing gross atrocities on a large scale. And this doesn’t go unnoticed by people in Cameroon. People in the United States don’t know about it, but we might know about the backlash to it in the coming years.

AMY GOODMAN: And this just happened today: Three U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed, and two others injured, when their logistics convoy was attacked in northern Mali, this according to the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack on the road. The 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali has become the most dangerous in the world, as Islamic militants routinely attack U.N. convoys across the north. Mali, of course, a neighbor of Niger.

NICK TURSE: Yes. You know, this is what I was talking about. After the U.S.-trained officer, Captain Sanogo, overthrew the government in Mali, it really destabilized the entire country. And because of that, in the north and even in the central part of the country, there have been militant groups operating ever since. They’ve really carved out strongholds. So, you have French and African forces, backed by the United States, conducting counterterror campaigns. But this is an ongoing insurgency, and it shows no sign of slowing.

AMY GOODMAN: Nick Turse, I want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to link to all of your pieces with different news organizations. Nick Turse is fellow at The Nation Institute, author of Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa. His latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. Nick Turse is also a contributing writer at The Intercept.

This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute with Carl Hart. We’ll talk about the national health emergency that President Trump has declared around opioids. Stay with us.

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US must end all military involvement in Africa

Source:  Presstv.com
October 11 2017

The US military must end its growing involvement in Africa and allow the nations of that continent to solve their own problems, otherwise the American people will pay dearly for these misguided actions, an African American journalist in Detroit says.

usa in Africa 2.jpgUS military outposts, port facilities, and other areas of access in Africa 2002-2015.  Source:  The US Military’s Best Kept Secret

“We cannot accept the explanation of the US government at its face value. The US should end these military missions in Africa, the drone stations, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stations; all military involvement in the African continent should end,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“Africa must solve its own problems, through its own regional and continental organizations and mass organizations. Otherwise the Unites States and the people inside the United States will pay dearly for these misguided and of course unfortunate military actions,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

PressTV-New US Army unit coming after Niger fiasco

The United States Army’s top officer says it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit, he describes as “similar to special forces,” but “not special Forces.”

The US Army’s top officer said Monday it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit.

General Mark Milley made the comments at the Association of the army’s annual meeting in Washington, not long after four special operations commandos were ambushed to death by militants in the Western African country of Niger.

The army’s chief of staff did not mention who was responsible for the attack although he asserted that the US military does know the group.

Two other Green Berets were injured on the October 4 ambush near the Nigerien capital Niamey by militants said to be linked with the Daesh Takfiri group in Iraq and Syria.

This represents yet another escalation by the US military in Africa,” Azikiwe said. “They are claiming that they are there just on a training mission.”

“Even though the US claims to be against these extremist organizations, they have worked with these groups in various geo-political regions including Libya, including Iraq, as well as Syria and Yemen,” he added.

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008 under former US President George W. Bush and strengthened and enhanced the following year during the presidency of Barack Obama.

The force has been operating in at least 35 countries across the African continent.