AFRICOM & A Coup

 

I have been heavily following the The Great Game of geopolitics ever since 2012-2013, once the Ron Paul presidential campaigns were over. Not that I wasn’t focused on war & imperialism before that, it was a major part of my politics. What changed after Ron stopped running, and Rand’s pull on domestic policies was limited, was that I stopped focusing on the economics, regulation, overall corruption of Washington. The stories don’t interest me.

Right around this time I began listening to Scott Horton religiously. All domestic politics just became bread & circus while the empire marched. Horton introduced me to a journalist named Nick Turse. Turse introduced me to the United States military’s expansion into Africa.

This week’s episode is a an update on that expansion, along with a bit of an introduction for those less aware.

The hub for information on Africa and more importantly, AFRICOM, is TomDispatch.com. Tom provides an introduction for most of the articles he publishes, and I wanted to share the one he wrote for the first piece by Turse that I read:

Unfortunately, there’s one place in that city’s global viewfinder that never seems to provides much of anything to riff off of, and so no fun whatsoever: Africa. Yes, today and Tuesday, Nick Turse continues his remarkable coverage of the U.S. military pivot to that continent, which promises a lifetime of chaos and blowback to come. Admittedly, what’s happening isn’t your typical, patented, early twenty-first-century-style U.S. invasion, but it certainly represents part of a new-style scramble for Africa — with the U.S. taking the military path and the Chinese the economic one.

By the time U.S. Africa Command is finished, however, one thing is essentially guaranteed: a terrible mess and a lifetime of hurt will be left behind. This particular pivot is happening on a startling scale and yet remains just below the American radar screen. Explain it as you will, with the rarest of exceptions the U.S. media, riveted by Obama’s so far exceedingly modest pivot to Asia, finds the African one hardly worth a moment’s notice, which is why, today, without the usual combustible mix of what’s recently in the news and what’s newsmaking in Turse’s two pieces, I have no choice but to skip the introduction. – Tom (4/13/2014)

So as far back as 2014, I’ve been following this clear build up of military infrastructure around the continent. Along with the build up, Special Forces has used the conflict zones throughout Africa as kind of a scouting expedition for the empire for the last five years. Providing training, arms and assistance to “friendly” regimes, making deals to allow US troops and forward bases within their countries for years to come. Direct action has also been a staple, with Green Berets, SEALS and other operators being involved in combat raids in Cameroon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. There has been at least 10 “unreported” attacks on US troops in West Africa since 2015. Not counting the most famous attack in Niger more recently. The one that exposed the ignorance of some the warmongers in Washington, who didn’t even know American troops were in Niger. The economic element is also there, conquest through “aid” and debt is also a weapon used. Much like the Chinese.

I learned about Camp Lemonnier, an old French Foreign Legion base in Djibouti that was the center of the AFRICOM footprint. It being the only permanent installation in Africa. Lemonnier has been getting upgrades and larger budgets since the beginning of Obama’s 2nd term:

“Camp Lemonnier is the only permanent footprint that we have on the continent and until such time as AFRICOM may establish a headquarters location in Africa, Camp Lemonnier will be the center of their activities here,” Greg Wilderman, the Military Construction Program Manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, explained.

“In 2013, we had a big jump in the amount of program projects,” he noted, specifically mentioning a large “task force” construction effort, an oblique reference to a $220 million Special Operations compound at the base that TomDispatch first reported on in 2013.

`According to documents provided by Wilderman, five contracts worth more than $322 million (to be paid via MILCON funds) were awarded for Camp Lemonnier in late 2013. These included deals for a $25.5 million fitness center and a $41 million Joint Headquarters Facility in addition to the Special Operations Compound. This year, Wilderman noted, there are two contracts — valued at $35 million — already slated to be awarded, and Captain Rick Cook specifically mentioned deals for an armory and new barracks in 2014. Source

Since 2014 the footprint has continued to grow, with the drone base in Niger being the most public and glaring new addition. I spoke about it briefly before last week, but the $100 million dollar base in Agadez, Niger has begun flying armed drone missions, an upgrade from the reconnaissance-only stance previously.

With the fall of Libya in his first term, Obama’s Pentagon looked at an opportunity to use the chaos in North Africa is grow the War on Terror. Signing deals with local government to combat the new Islamic radical issue in their territory, the military industrial complex has a new playground.

The drone program has been operational in Djibouti and Niger. The former as the staging area for strikes in Somalia and Yemen, with the latter mostly providing reconnaissance flights over the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions of Africa. Libya’s 550 drone strikes are usually launched from Sicily.

Maps help.

I will being linking to my older episode on this topic, along with my writing and all the Nick Turse you can handle.

Turse has recently summarized a release of AFRICOM documents from 2017 that outline the “worst case scenarios” for the different regions of Africa. Giving the organization ample excuses for an expanding budget. The documents were classified by the command chief of Africa, focusing on “potential gains” by terrorist organizations in the north and west of the continent.

The documents begin with Libya. The fear being that the ISIS and Al Qaeda elements in the eastern part of the country will use oil money to build relationship with “tribal elements” and plan attacks.

To the south, in the Sahel region, a union of ISIS & “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” (current rivals) could create in roads in Algeria, Mali and Tunisia. This would open up the UN Peacekeepers on the ground there since 2011-2012 to assassination and kidnapping.

In the Lake Chad Basin, the concern is a troop draw-down that was previously announced by the Trump administration. Of course this is a complaint floated publicly to build a case for a larger budget once violence in the region explodes. The draw-down is timed with the expanding drone program in Niger, making the need for troops on the ground less and less. So you could view it as a step in the right direction, if the Middle East drone policy was around to provide an example of things to come.

I see AFRICOM as an unfolding new chapter in the War on Terror, and really US imperialism. Now can be compared to the 1990s in the Middle East. Build up the hard infrastructure and relationships with local governments, begin with air power and surveillance, and when the eventual blowback from the policies comes, your well prepared to shape the region in your image. Or so the sharp minds think. The result will most likely be more chaos, more displaced populations, and more threat of attacks on innocent Americans and Westerners at home.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. I try to also touch on Syria and comment on the Trump vs. “anonymous” imperialists writing op-eds in the New York Times.

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This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version can be found below:

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Imperial Watch


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (left) on Monday in Beijing

In this episode I get back to my roots. There was a major story that EVERYONE needed to cover, so I got back to following the US military around and checking for geo-hotspots showing up in the news.

First, I wanted to hit on a “jump to conclusions” I expressed on a previous episode. I peddled a story about a Muslim ethnic group in western China, the Uyphur having 10% of its population placed in “reeducation camps”. Now, I’m not denying that some type of authoritarian social engineering is underway in the Xianjing region of China. It’s what was carried out in Tibet and during China’s Cultural Revolution. However, a journalist I respect very much, Max Blumenthal has done a short documentary showing that the narrative about Xianjing is almost completely coming from a human rights group for the ethnic Uyghur supported by NED, or the National Endowment for Democracy. So, yeah, rethinking that one.

This episode I examine the public push by China into Africa with its new $60 billion finance plan. This will be covered in western media as a threat that the United States will need to counter. Leaving out the long history of US military footprints in Africa (see Nick Turse). Which I break down.

War propaganda on the next Syrian attack will be coming shortly, and I speak on what to watch for. Like Nikki Haley for example.

I hope you enjoy my Saturday musings. My dog makes an appearance.

Be sure to check out other content creators under the #informationwarstag. I also am sometimes a guest on the Decentralized News Hour, where we chat about whats happening in political pop culture.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version (now with video) can be found below:

John McCain

In this episode I ramble about the death of John McCain and the cult-like reaction to it by the media, and most importantly the brainwashed Americans of every political persuasion.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version (now with video) can be found below:

 

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China!

I haven’t posted an episode in over two weeks, and there is reason for that…

I’VE BEEN BUSY! Busy enjoying my summer. Sometimes you need to take a break, step back and get a clear mind.

So this is just a short episode about three stories I had notes on, all of which have to do with CHINA!

The stories are about……

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes.

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Image source: 1234

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The Resistance Continues

In this episode, I discuss how General Mattis looks to be the voice of reason on having a war with Iran within the Trump administration, how the story of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is incredible, and finally the TSA’s shocking “Quiet Skies” program and how it violates all the rights.

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Free Speech

A quick rant about the banning of Alex Jones from most social media platforms and its affect on Free Speech/alternative journalism.

 

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes.

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The Culture War Has Taken Over

I thought going into this recording that the ranting and scolding of America was behind me. However, as I was looking over the stories I planned to discuss, I realized that even straight forward stories of corruption and imperialism are now seen through such a partisan and political lens by the viewer (or listener), that simply providing the news isn’t enough anymore.

As the photo at the top illustrates, the world is upside down for common American. Someone still living with T.D.S. refuses to accept that Tucker Carlson on FOX NEWS is leading anti-war voice on their television. Principles have gone out the window, especially with much of the left.

 

Even sharing the interview from Carlson’s show above, with a caption reading something like: “Even FOX NEWS doesn’t want war with Iran!”, will be met with “Carlson is a racist!”. The ability to separate Team Blue vs. Team Red from rationally looking at events that any well-adjusted human would applaud has completely disappeared in mainstream, bar-hopping, Happy Hour circles. Only the extreme progressive left, like CODEPINKfor example, have been able to keep their sanity.

The “Never Trump” crowd, or the Irrational Minority, as I call them can’t even take a step back when CNN and MSNBC describe the idea floated by Rand Paul and President Trump to take security clearance away from former heads of the CIA & NSA as “Erdogan’s Turkey”. Now I understand that Trump is using this as a power move, but the crimes and lies of the men and women he is talking about stripping of these powers are completely ignored by the hysterics. Even when placed firmly in their faces:

 

The Rational Majority is able to praise Donald Trump for meeting with North Korea. They are able to take a critical and contextual look at stories that come out only days after the summit stating that Kim has already begun ignoring his promises. The may, at the very least, question the motives of such stories. Understanding that the same outlets providing these narratives pushed war in the past.

The Irrational Minority is unable to do so. They jump at the chance to have a story prove what they already know, that Donald Trump can only destroy the world. Providing them deeply researched articles showing the opposite is no use. Their minds can not handle the idea.

My attempt to discuss the new push for war with Iran, and any nuances are ruined by the fact that it’s Trump’s administration doing the pushing. No explanation of how the neoconservatives within his circles are the ones really looking for “boots on the ground”, maybe not Trump himself.

Pointing out the media’s tame response to The Orange Man’s all caps attack on the Iranian President is lost on people.

The media has them by the balls mentally. They are eating right out of Jack Tapper’s hand. And in effect, the Deep State, the War Party, the same people that Michael Moore made his millions attacking in his movies.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes. The Youtube version is below:

 

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T.D.S – I Guess I’m a Russian Agent

This episode was supposed to be a measured, calm dissection of Donald Trump’s trip through Europe and his summit with Putin in Finland. However, the last 24 hours in the American media and throughout the social media universe has completely made me go insane. Watching and listening to the Left (and my friends) parrot the War Party’s propaganda is really the last straw for me. These people are completely out of their minds.

The ability for the same think-tankers, TV “experts”, mainstream journalists and pundits to recycle their same, tired narrative that this boogeyman is the worst of all the boogeyman continues to shock me.

In 2018, with the access to enough information to be informed, or at least to build some skills in critical thinking, it’s amazing that when it is laid out in front of them what a “Neocon” is, what the last 30 years of Russian/US relations looks like, that the push for war with Russia is absolutely a bi-partisan policy, the lemmings STILL refuse to acknowledge these facts. Or are able to mold their views within reality.

This is dangerous stuff. And to see my bleeding-heart buddies saying things like “The President MUST support OUR intelligence community” or “Russia is our adversary”, it’s clear that T.D.S. is real, and rational thought has left American political discussion.

All that is left to save us is Tucker Carlson and his nursing home audience:

 

Articles for Sanity

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Just sharing some level-headed reads based in reality. Some of these articles will be sourced from Consortium News. This may not be a familiar outlet for you, but get acquainted. Most of these authors are not wild libertarians like I am. They are simply incredible journalists with the credentials to prove it.

It’s not my problem if these viewpoints (or facts) are foreign to you.

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Joe Lauria provides some much needed context. If people want any…

Some more Lauria for you….

 

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Ray McGovern and William Binney attempt to educate the President on the DNC leak job. Been sharing this one a lot today.

 

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My thoughts exactly. The worship of the State has pushed people so far that they can’t stand having a flawed leader of the church. Trump’s a buffoon. A buffoon that is ending Cold War tensions and introducing the idea of diplomacy to blood-thristy nationalist America. That goes for the Right and (clearly) the Left. Go have your nuclear war elsewhere.

NGOs

I decided to a do an episode on NGOs when I realized that most people I talk to have no knowledge of the Ukrainian Coup in 2014, or actually believe the US is on the wrong side in Syria,

NGOs come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones I talk about find their home in the arena of political destabilization. NGOs like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) envision themselves are beacons of knowledge, civility and Democracy meant to spread their influence and education around the world. Or so that’s what they say publicly. The results of their actions are so poor and destructive, at some point you have to wonder if maybe they know what their doing and do it anyway.

Spokesmen for NED describe the wanted results of some of their initiatives as “to empower like-minded activists to build movements in home countries” and “introduce democracy to authoritarian regimes”. The term “like-minded” is interesting. NED and other NGOs have no issue supporting the opposition in countries where that opposition is fascist or violent, as in the cases of Ukraine or Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, NED supported the opposing forces to Daniel Ortega, a pretty left-leaning leader for President Obama to want out of power.

Ukraine was an example of the same NGOs supporting extreme right-wing elements, just because they were seen as the best avenue to regime change. So like-mindedness has nothing to do with it.

NGOs are simply used as propaganda operations to pull the political strings of a nation one way or another. Most of the time, the interests the NGOs are serving are those of a nation state or private industry. NED and NGOs (like the ones active in Ukraine) work in common mission with the American empire. Ever attempting to expand control deep into Asian and Eastern European areas.

The way NGOs work remain me of two examples from pop culture, The Quiet American and The Good Shepherd. Both describe CIA coup/regime change operations, but the tactics have just been outsourced.

I’ll leave you with a quick example of how these NGOs work and what the people themselves believe their doing it for. The International Republican Initiative sounds harmless enough. However, when describing some recent successes, a spokesperson explained that they had been “working with forces” in Malaysia as far back as 2002. They more recently had their supported parties win elections. The moral argument about having to “bring democracy to the world” goes away once the elections are won. The spokesperson patted the IRI on the back for putting US-controlled forces “in charge of a country on the front-lines ” in the South China Sea. Good for American interests. Malaysians will just have to live with being on the front-lines.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes.

Sources

Image Source: 1234

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