"This is something that no one among us has the power to do with our sovereignty. It amounts to the attempted robbery of the nation by the force of arms. In a fundamental matter such as this, that has serious implications on our status as an independent nation, that could even mean life or death to Ghanaians, as we have seen in the bombs that continue to fall on marriage ceremonies in Afghanistan, the minimum expectation ought to have been an open democratic national debate and not secretive and conspiratorial manoeuvres." -Nana Akyea Mensah.
Nana Akyea Mensah writes in US Military Base In Ghana in response to a feature article on GhanaWeb by Asare Otchere-Darko, Obama’s Visit – What’s In It For Us And U.S.? Otchere-Darko’s article describes and implies that Kufuor did a deal with Bush and General Ward, bringing the Africa Command into Ghana without informing the Ghanaian people.
"… in August 2007 Major-General Ward, who was later confirmed as AFRICOM’s first commander, visited Accra. He held discussions with President Kufuor on “ways of strengthening military cooperation.” His high-powered secret meetings with the President, Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff triggered huge speculation. Much was made of Maj Gen J B Danquah’s public statement about the visit when he said Maj Gen Ward had ‘done enough to resolve’ Ghana’s concerns about AFRICOM, adding, “I have had the chance to hear [Ward] explain what is the reasoning behind the command, and it’s all about partnership.”
Kwesi Pratt: I am very alarmed after reading what is called the Cheney Report. When Bush came to power, he set up a committee chaired by Dick Cheney his Vice President to assess America’s energy requirements up to the year 2015. The Cheney Report actually says that by the year 2015, twenty percent of American oil requirements will be supplied by West Africa and therefore it is important to maintain a foothold in West Africa in order to ensure that oil supplies from West Africa to the United States of America will not be interrupted.
Consequently, the United States is planning to establish military bases across West Africa including Ghana. And I am very worried that at a time when we are celebrating our national independence we are going to tolerate the establishment of foreign military bases, especially American military bases on our soil. The great Osageyfo Dr. Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture, and all of them emphasized that Africa ought to be free from foreign military bases and weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow that dream to die.
That is why, it is important for us to resist all attempts to establish foreign military bases on African soil especially forces of the United States, must be prevented from establishing on African soil. Clearly because they are not on African soil to protect our interests, they are on African soil to facilitate the exploitation of our resources for the benefit of the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people and who are sitting on top of this world exploiting the Chicanos, exploiting the African Americans and exploiting all of the other independent and healthy forces in the United States on America. We have to resist all attempts to build U.S. military bases in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa.
Nana Akyea Mensah writes:
I feel greatly incensed by the casual manner Mr. Ochere-Darko breaks this news as though it is simply a matter of business, and not even making any attempt to explain the basis of the conspiracy that he confesses in the article. What does this mean? According to Asare Ochere Darko, even though the NPP government did not allow Ghanaians to have a say in whether or not they want a US military base on our soil, it is too late for the Atta-Mills government to say “No”! In other words, without any national debate, whether we like it or not the process has already been started and they cannot be reversed, so we are as good as being already occupied by a foreign power!
Is this supposed to mean that the NPP government was simply throwing dust into our eyes whilst plotting secretly to undermine our national independence and sell us to the Americans? Fortunately for Ghana and Africa, the elections did not go their way. From the article under discussion, it seems to me that with Obama and Atta-Mills in power, the same special interests behind the establishment of the military base in Ghana, the military industrial complex of the USA, are acting as ventriloquists, using their local stooges, to revive their diabolic plot, and rope the two newcomers into the deal. Who else could fit better in the role of selling Ghana to the imperialists more than the very right hand man of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, the great Asare Ochere-Darko, himself? If you should ask me what it was that worried me most in the article, I believe I would put my finger on the following seven words written by Mr. Ochere-Darko: “After all, the process has already started.” Most of us are still dazed by the question. What this man is virtually telling Ghanaians is that for months, the NPP has been secretly plotting with foreign powers to establish military bases on our lands without letting out a word about it to the Ghanaian public.
And so far, in terms of policies, Obama has shown himself to be a willing and enthusiastic supporter of the entrenched elites, what Kwesi Pratt calls the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people. Obama has allowed a certain amount of democracy theater in his political maneuverings so far. But he has carefully closed off any areas of debate he does not wish to entertain. And President Obama seems to be continuing all the same military imperialist programs initiated by Mr. Bush.
I have been an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama. I made my own small contributions to his campaign. He is wildly and justifiably popular in Ghana and Africa. This should not blind us to what is going on. And it should not stop us from exercising our democratic responsibility to speak out and say what we see.
Read the full article here: Ghanaians Discuss AFRICOM & Obama’s Visit
The US military in Africa Analysis, BBC World Service Listen
(Duration: 11 minutes)
Daniel Volman: Two main scenarios that one might envision. One of them is enormous chaos in a major oil producing country. I am sure the nightmare scenario for American military planners is the descent of Nigeria into such chaos that it is not even possible to produce oil and to export it from that country.
One other scenario that you can conceive of is attacks on American civilians or even more likely to incite an American response, attacks on American service personnel in Africa because as American military personnel go over there to Africa conduct training exercises and a variety of other activities, they are obviously in danger. and there has been a number of very close calls where American servicemen have come under fire from insurgents in countries like Niger and Mali. And if an American serviceman is killed in Africa, there will be a very, very dramatic response so I think there would be a lot of pressure on any American President to take military action in response to that.
The Unites States has also dramatically increased its naval presence off the coast of Africa particularly off the oil-rich coast of Guinea. And in addition, the United States has negotiated base-access agreements with countries all over the African continent to ensure that whenever the United States decides that it needs to deploy its own forces, in combat in Africa, it will have access to bases, anywhere it needs them, around the continent.
Martin Plaut: Africa, once a backwater for the United States, is now critical to its future. American energy needs and American investment have combined with concerns by the large and increasingly vocal African-American community, to force Washington to take the continent far more seriously.
President Obama with his roots in African soil is unlikely to resist.
Analysis was written and presented by Martin Plaut. And you are reminded you can hear it again on-line at BBC World Service dot com. And in tomorrow's programme we would be looking in greater detail at the situation in Iran asking whether the authorities are in the position to assert full control. That's Analysis at this time tomorrow. You are listening to the BBC...
For the full interview click here: Friday, June 26, 2009, The US military in Africa Analysis, BBC World Service Listen (Duration: 11 minutes)
Mr. James Victor Gbeho, ex-diplomat and adviser to President J.E.A. Mills on Foreign Policy, has assured the public that government has its head properly screwed on and will not enter into any agreement with the United States of America if the people do not approve of it.
Ambassador Gbeho, as he is popularly called, was speaking on the planned visit of US President Barack Obama to Ghana on July 10 and 11, 2009, and what the visit portends for the nation.
Sections of the Ghanaian public have publicly objected to the US government’s desire to base its continental military force, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), in Ghana.
Speaking on Citi FM’s breakfast show Monday, Gbeho said Ghanaians have some justification to be apprehensive about the country’s relations with the United States, given the way the latter has conducted its affairs in Latin America, in Asia and other parts of the world. More...
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June 27, 2009
With the Obama administration set to oversee significant increases in US security assistance programmes for African countries, Daniel Volman examines the US government’s plans for its military operations on the African continent over the coming financial year. Stressing that the US president is essentially continuing the policies outlined under his predecessor George W. Bush, the author considers the proposed funding increases for initiatives like the Foreign Military Financing programme and the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme. Pointing out that the administration is yet to offer any public explanation of its policy, Volman concludes that it would be a mistake to assume that there will be no US military action if the situation in Somalia deteriorates.
At the beginning of May 2009, President Obama submitted his first budget request to Congress. The Obama administration’s budget for the 2010 financial year proposes significant increases in US security assistance programmes for African countries and for the operations of the new US Africa Command (AFRICOM). This shows that - at least initially - the administration is following the course laid down for AFRICOM by the Bush administration, rather than putting these programmes on hold until it can conduct a serious review of US security policy towards Africa. This article outlines the administration’s plans for Africa in the coming year and the money it intends to spend on military operations on the continent.
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING
The Obama administration proposes maintaining or significantly increasing funding for the Foreign Military Financing programme, which provides loans for the sale of weaponry and other military equipment to a number of African countries. The administration’s request raises the total funding for arms sales to Africa from $8.3 million in financial year (FY) 2009 to $25.6 million in FY 2010. The new funding includes funding for arms sales to Chad ($500,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($2.5 million), Djibouti ($2.5 million), Ethiopia ($3 million), Kenya ($1 million), Liberia ($9 million), Nigeria ($1.4 million), South Africa ($800,000) and African regional programmes ($2.8 million).
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The Obama administration proposes small increases in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programmes for African counties, raising the total funding for this programme from $13.8 million in FY 2009 to $16 million in FY 2010. Significant increases in funding are requested for Chad ($400,000), Djibouti ($350,000), Ethiopia ($775,000), Ghana ($850,000), Kenya ($1,050,000), Liberia ($525,000), Mali ($350,000), Niger ($250,000), Nigeria ($1,100,000), Rwanda ($500,000), Senegal ($1,100,000), South Africa ($900,000) and Uganda ($550,000). The United States will continue its major IMET programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo ($500,000), and the Obama administration is proposing to start new IMET programmes in Equatorial Guinea ($40,000), Somalia ($40,000) and Zimbabwe ($40,000).
The Obama administration proposes major new funding for security assistance provided through the Peacekeeping Operations programme. The FY 2010 budget proposal includes increasing funding for the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership - from $15 million in FY 2009 to $20 million in FY 2010 - and for the East Africa Regional Strategic Initiative - from $5 million in FY 2009 to $10 million in FY 2010. It also includes $42 million to continue operations in support of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accords in southern Sudan, $10 million to continue operations to create a professional 2,000-member armed force in Liberia, $21 million to continue operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reform the military (including the creation of rapid reaction force for the eastern Congo), and $3.6 million for the Africa Conflict Stabilization and Border Security Program, which will be used to support monitoring teams, advisory assistance, training, infrastructure enhancements, and equipment in the Great Lakes region, the Mano River region, the Horn of Africa, Chad, and the Central African Republic. The budget request also includes $67 million to support the African Union Mission in Somalia. And it contains a request for $96.8 million for the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). The request for GPOI includes funding for the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance Program (ACOTA) - which provides training and equipment to African military forces to enhance their peacekeeping capabilities - although the specific amount requested for ACOTA is not provided in the budget summary. More...
25 June, 2009
Stars and Stripes, European edition
June 15, 2009
A social science research center is under development at U.S. Africa Command headquarters, where researchers from the academic world are being recruited to help map the complicated human terrain on the African continent.
The research center, which falls under AFRICOM’s knowledge development division, will be designed to focus on the long-term with an eye toward forecasting potential flashpoints and preventing them from developing into conflicts.
But mixing military and social science has long been a source of controversy, going all the way back to the Vietnam era when information collected by researchers was used for targeting people.
More recently, the Army’s Human Terrain System, used in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been met with resistance from groups such as the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, made up of social scientists opposed to the mingling of academia and the military. More...
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