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America’s Failure in Haiti: First, the Good News

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The good news is that — despite the current investments of $87 billion in Iraq + $65 billion in Afghanistan + 115,000 troops  in Iraq, + 98,000 troops in Afghanistan — the United States still has enough troops on hand to eke out a military presence in Haiti.

The bad news is that, for all its military might, the U.S. is impotent when it comes to delivering humanitarian aid. This may be because U.S. SouthCom (short for U.S. Southern Command), which is in charge of operations in Haiti, has never been intended, nor equipped, to handle actual humanitarian crises, even as it flies under the flag of humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. Quite the contrary.

The job of U.S. SouthCom and its five brothers in the “Unified Combatant Command” — U.S. NorthCom, Africom, CentCom, EuCom and PacCom —  is to is to provide a more efficient means for warring. Tasked with “global security,” these various commands oversee specific theaters on the world stage (see map below).  By no coincidence, the U.S. deems this task most urgent in the oil, gas and pipeline strategic countries around the globe — hence the neat overlap between the map, below, and the global “energy profiles” map, seen here.

That this latter “energy profiles” map reflects  a grand total of zero for Haiti ‘s oil, gas and coal production is both a blessing and a curse for this country.

Unified Combatant Command Map

The Blessing

The blessing is that Haiti has, so far, been spared the invasion of a large U.S. SouthCom military occupation; spared the fate of, say, Africa, where U.S. Africom’s stated mission is to “develop a stable environment on the continent to promote civil society and improved quality of life for the people there.”

To this end, the U.S. has a long history in Africa of bribing corrupt dictators, toppling democratically elected leaders, waging faux wars on terror, and providing funding, training and weaponry to the guerrilla armies that fight our clandestine and proxy-wars, so that we may destabilize governments, create civil war and — ultimately — seize control of the country’s oil, gas or other minerals. In the paths of these covert wars are the victims of America’s crimes — genocide in Sudan, rape and murder and other crimes against humanity in Somalia.

This is not to say that Haiti has been spared the rod of U.S. intervention. Au contraire. After all, there is the sugar industry to exploit, not to mention the risk — which has only grown in the wake of the earthquake — that Haiti could be transformed into a second Cuba, with the country potentially falling under the rule of our arch enemy, Venezuela, with whom we are covertly warring against to seize control of South American oil and pipelines in South America (via SouthCom’s fake war on drugs and faux war on terror in Colombia and Ecuador, but that’s another story).

The blessing is that, lacking oil or gas, there’s been no need to raise false flags over Haiti; no need to occupy the country and wage a faux war on terror.

The Curse

The curse is that — through all the political coups and exploitations (many of them orchestrated by the U.S.) and natural disasters that have repeatedly driven this impoverished nation to its knees with chronic starvation, disease, homelessness and oppression — the plight of Haitian citizens has been invisible to the United States.

Unlike Africa, where certain charitable NGOs are funded by the oil and defense industry to provide the humanitarian aid to the victims of our pillaging and plundering, the citizens of Haiti have been left to their own devices — left homeless, suffering from disease and malnutrition, forced to subsist on a diet of mud cakes made from clay and water dipped from potholes.  Unlike Africa — where the promise of protection, food, shelter and medical care to a brutalized population of sick, starving, scared, homeless people is an excellent tool for coercing cooperation and compliance — there is no such incentive in Haiti.

In this context, the U.S. aid effort to Haiti makes better sense.

Within 3 days, the U.S. was able to dispatch 10,000 troops to Haiti, with another 2,000 expected to arrive any minute. The international community has poured billions in donations to the earthquake victims. Organizations such as the International Red Cross, the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders and others have poured their full weight of their resources into Haiti.

Or, at least, they’ve tried.

Turns out, U.S. SouthCom, which has taken control of the airport in Haiti, has been denying airport access to these organizations. Just yesterday, Doctors Without Borders was denied landing to deliver the much-awaited inflatable hospital. Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières have also been denied access, as have France, Cuba and Brazil, prompting global criticism toward the U.S. and accusations that the U.S. is exploiting this tragedy for political motives.

Meanwhile, a mere mile away from this same airport, rats are feeding on the diapers of elderly nursing home residents, who have been without food, water or medical care since the earthquake. One-by-one, these elderly residents are dying, after which the rats can presumably begin feeding on their bodies, as well.

To those of us who simply don’t understand the logistics of getting aid to people, the incompetence of the U.S. aid effort in Haiti seems criminal. To those of us who don’t understand the “security concerns” of working in a disaster zone, it doesn’t make sense why a contingent of armed SouthCom troops could not be dispatched to hoof the 20-minute walk to provide food, water and basic medical care — or to, perchance, shoo away the rats feeding on the feces of the dwindling number of nursing home residents who are still, against all odds, clinging to life.

Nor does it make sense that, with an army 10,000 strong and counting — a military specifically trained and equipped to provide “security” around the globe —  the U.S. has not yet felt secure enough to provide aid to these nursing home residents, much less to the hundreds of thousands of victims of this tragedy, a mere 5 miles from the airport.

For the record, I’ve already done the math. It takes 1,320 people to make a human chain one-mile long. Half of the 12,000 troops could be used to make a 5-mile long human chain to pass the food and water from the airport to Port-au-Prince. Of the remaining troops, 3,000 could be used to guard the human chain (that’s approx. one guard for every two soldiers). The rest of the troops, roughly 2,500 of them, could be put to work dispensing food & water and shooing rats from the bodies of the living dead. Might even be a few to spare toward the long-overdue effort of digging survivors out of the rubble.

Granted, the human chain may be somewhat of an over-simplification, but it’s a hell of a lot better starting point than doing absolutely nothing except blaming our failure to act on a lack of infrastructure or on security concerns.

Let them eat cake

The good news is that, in addition to the 12,000 troops, President Obama has also dispatched two former U.S. presidents — Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — to help oversee this aid effort. Both presidents are well-versed in providing security to those oil, gas and pipeline strategic locations around the globe, once they’ve mysteriously disintegrated into civil war. Perhaps these ex-presidents can offer their expertise in Haiti, now that its people have grown so desperate for food and water that they’re now resorting the violence the U.S. has been predicting (and blaming for their lack of action) for the past 6 days since the earthquake.

If nothing else, the U.S. can put those 12,000 troops to good use, providing security for these ex-U.S. presidents. Too, there is some hope that Bush can redeem himself for his criminal failure to provide aid to the victims of Katrina. The icing on the cake would be if Obama could finally prove, once and for all, that his dream of bipartisanship was not just another pipe dream.

As for the earthquake victims in Haiti, Obama has already promised them, “You will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten.” These folk just need to be patient. Once Clinton and Bush arrive — and the stagecraft has been properly set — America will unveil its most generous aid effort, proving that the U.S. is, indeed, the most caring nation on the planet. To those who would ascribe political motives or grandstanding to Obama’s efforts, shame on you.

As Obama said in his promise to the people of Haiti 5 days ago, “In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you.”

Patience, Haiti. While America was unfortunately not able to be there during your hour of greatest need, we will be there soon. Promise. And if we don’t make it in time, please assure that elderly gentleman writhing in the dirt beside the fallen nursing home that soon, soon, America will have your country up and running again. Soon, you can pull yourselves up from that dirt, scoop it into your hands and — mixed with a little rainwater — bake it into the clay cakes that will have to sustain you once the troops, the ex-presidents, and the photo-ops depart.

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Written by canarypapers

January 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

HURRICANE IKE (and Paloma!) VICTIMS NEED YOUR HELP! Here are the links you need to send donations to the relief agencies working in the U.S., Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas

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UPDATE: Hurricane Paloma has devastated Cuba. See the links below for relief agencies working with Cuba.

The recent hurricanes have devastated Louisiana, Texas, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. The impoverished nation of Haiti, alone, has seen 3 major storms (Hanna, Gustav and Ike) in the past 3 weeks. People are suffering throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf states of the U.S. The good news is that several agencies are providing relief — food, water, shelter, beds and clothing — along with medical care, emotional support and efforts toward re-building. The good news is also that you can help.

See the links, below, to make a tax-deductible donation to one of these relief efforts.

Did your grandma ever tell you: “Many hands make light work”? Mine did, and she was right. Whether you’re talking about day-to-day cooking, cleaning and gardening, or helping the neighbor down the road whose house was hit by a tornado, it was and still is true. Many hands make light work. Remember this, as you decide whether you can afford to give to these relief efforts. Any donation amount — small, medium or large — is a blessing to the storm victims and to those folks on the ground who are providing the humanitarian care we’d all be doing ourselves, as neighbors, if only we could be there. Let your heart work through their hands. Donate. 

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TEXAS AND LOUISIANA

RED CROSS: DONATE HERE to support the the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund to aid recent U.S. hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana.  Alternately, you can donate here at the Red Cross’ general donation page, where you may then direct your donation to a specific geography (U.S. vs. International aid) or to “Where the Need is Greatest.” The minimum donation is $10. Should you wish to donate via phone or snail mail, the information is provided on the donation pages.  

Galveston in ruins after Hurricane Ike __________________________________________________________________________

 

HAITI and THE BAHAMAS

RED CROSS: DONATE HERE to support the Red Cross International Response Fund to aid recent hurricane victims in Haiti and the Bahamas. From this same page, you can alternately choose specific efforts, including “Where the Need is Greatest.” which is always appreciated by the Red Cross as they juggle their emergency efforts between various needs.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: DONATE HERE to support the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) disaster relief efforts to provide emergency food, shelter, water and other basic needs, along with medical care and long-term needs. There is a space on this page where you may optionally type in a specific area where you would like your donation to be directed (e.g. Haiti, the Bahamas), as well as the opportunity to have your donation given in someone’s honor or memory.  There is also info on this page for donating via phone or mail. With a 60-year history in providing humanitarian aid, Catholic Relief Services has a strong background in emergency preparedness and response. With 94% of their donations going directly to their programs, CRS has earned an A+ grade with the American Institute of Philantrophy. 

FOOD FOR THE POOR: DONATE HERE to support this worthy organization’s disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Payments can be made either online or through the mail. Their report card is impressive, with 96.8% of donations going directly to programs. Read here for charitable watch-group endorsements

p.s. While you’re at their site, check out the other humanitarian works by this fine faith-based organization. Their work is truly amazing and goes far beyond simple “Food for the Poor.” Their “Home Again 2008” project is but one example (see before and after photos, right).

Awe inspiring: For the same price some folks in the U.S. might pay for a summer vacation ($2,600) you could buy a house for a family in Haiti. Check it out here, blueprints and all. Give to this effort, too, if you can.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to buy a house for a family? 

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CUBA

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: DONATE HERE to support the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) disaster relief efforts to provide emergency food, shelter, water and other basic needs, along with medical care and long-term needs. There is a space on this page where you may optionally type in a specific area where you would like your donation to be directed (e.g. Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas), as well as the opportunity to have your donation given in someone’s honor or memory.  There is also info on this page for donating via phone or mail. With a 60-year history in providing humanitarian aid, Catholic Relief Services has a strong background in emergency preparedness and response. With 94% of their donations going directly to their programs, CRS has earned an A+ grade with the American Institute of Philantrophy. 

GREATER MIAMI JEWISH FEDERATION: DONATE HERE to support humanitarian relief efforts in Cuba for the devastation from Hurricane Ike. On the donation page, there are options to pay online (either in full or in installments) or to pay via phone or mail. This organization is working in both Haiti and Cuba. If you like, you can specifically direct your donation to Cuba, by typing CUBA in the comments section. One-hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts in Haiti & Cuba. 

OPERATION USA: DONATE HERE to support medical humanitarian efforts in Cuba. As this organization works in many countries, you will want to specify Cuba on the donation page by typing something along the lines of CUBA HURRICANE RELIEF in the comments section at the bottom. You can donate online or pay via phone or mail, per the info on the donation page. With 98% of their donations going directly into their program, this organization has earned a 4-star, “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator. (see their home page for more info).

THE DISARM EDUCATION FUND: DONATE HERE to support humanitarian efforts to provide desperately needed medical relief to Cubans — doctors, surgeons, medical supplies, etc. There is a drop-down menu on the donation page to designate your donation to Hurricane relief. You can also make your donation in the honor or memory of a loved one or a cause. See Ed Asner’s letter on this site, urging aid for hurricane victims. Their charity report card is not as good as it could be, with 77% of donations going directly into their program work, according to Charity Navigator. The good news is that you can, alternately …

SIGN A PETITION TO END THE U.S. EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA: CLICK HERE to sign the the Disarm Education Fund’s petition to end the U.S. embargo against Cuba. This petition, along with addt’l info on the embargo, is located on the Disarm Education Fund website. Signing this petition is a no-cost way to make the world a better place. 

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See these links to read news and updates on the storm devastation, along with the relief needs & efforts being made in these areas:

Haiti Innovation: Choice, Partnership, Community

The Jamaica Observer: Digicel Donates US$1 Million Toward Hurricane Relief in Haiti

Catholic Relief Services: Storms Turn Haiti’s Roads into Rivers

Food For the Poor: Hanna Catastrophic for Haiti

Greater Miami Jewish Federation: Federation Collecting Funds for Hurricane Victims in Haiti, Cuba

Red Cross: Red Cross Provides Shelter as Ike Hits Land in Texas (read specifics on their good works in the 4-state area affected by Hurricane Ike)

Red Cross: Red Cross Responds to Caribbean Hurricanes

LA Times: Hurricanes and Haiti

The Sun: Hurricane Ike Chaos in Cuba

NPR: Cuba, Pounded by Ike, Rejects U.S. Aid

The Center for Democracy in the Americas: Cuba Needs a Gengle Storm of Generosity — INCLUDES CONTACT INFO FOR OTHER CHARITIES, RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE WORKING WITH CUBA

Miami Herald: Aid’s path to Haiti, Cuba is Fraught with Obstacles 

Miami Herald: How to Help Hurricane Victims — Contact info for assisting with relief efforts in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean.

Xinhua: Cuba Rejects Again U.S. Strings-Attached Hurricane Aid

 

The U.S. War Machine Leaves an Ugly Slick of Oil & Blood

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UPDATE — DECEMBER 31, 2009: The post below, originally published on July 26, 2008, was written as an outcropping of our disgust over the genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place in the United States’ brutal covert war in Somalia. We never finished this post and never will (see note at bottom of this page). However, the information herein continues to be as relevant today as it will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. (Think Obama constitutes a change from the Bush Administration’s warmongering for oil under the guise of fighting terrorism? Think again.)

Many Americans would be surprised to know that, throughout the course of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has also been busy with wars elsewhere in the world. Only, we don’t call them wars. We call them things like peacekeeping missions, nation-building or “low intensity conflicts.” Or, as is the case in Colombia, where the U.S. is at work wresting control of oil pipelines and trying to destabilize the bordering oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, while demonizing the leaders of these countries, we call it a “war on drugs” — even as the U.S. is the pusher man working out of Colombia, using the proceeds from our drug sales to fund our war machine in South America. (Think about it. Has cocaine ever been cheaper or more available than since Clinton and Bush began their war on drugs in Colombia? The same is true of heroin in the Afghanistan drug trade). And we don’t, as a rule, fight these wars ourselves. Instead, we buy off corrupt dictators and/or destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders and install corrupt dictators of our own choosing. Then we build armies for them — funding, training and arming these paramilitaries to the tune of millions, so that they can fight our various covert and proxy wars on terror around the globe, which are, coincidentally, in the most mineral-strategic countries on the planet — from South America to Africa and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms supplier, our war machine generating loyalties, death and destruction in over 174 states and territories.


These wars are given little scrutiny on the media radar, even as they’re claimed to be part of the larger war on terror — or, in the case of, say, Sudan, they fly under the guise of humanitarian efforts. Much like Somalia, Yemen is not so strategic for its oil reserves, but for its natural gas reserves. Oh, and there’s also that matter of its location (location, location). Specifically, Somalia and Yemen are located across from each other, like mirrors, on either side of the opening from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden through which our oil and gas laden ships must pass.The U.S. has been covertly warring for years to control this shipping lane. As such, news stories — past present and future — on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia and, yes, pirates are inseparable from this larger story, a story about a superpower that will use any ruse to get what it wants, up to and including climbing in and out of bed with friends, enemies and even the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

As for the collateral damage from our clandestine wars — genocide, ethnic cleansing and untold millions of human lives ground into starvation, disease, misery, death and civil war — America alternately ignores and feigns outrage. When it becomes strategically feasible and/or necessary, the U.S. military steps out of the shadows, setting up high-profile military installations, so that we may help these poor victims, or protect them from the “bad guys,” with whom we may or may not still be in bed. This is the story being replayed in countries throughout the world. Yemen is no exception.

Considering that during the months before 9-11, the FBI had their finger on the pulse of the pre-9-11 terrorist network in Yemen (to which the Bush Administration was in
“ignore” mode), it is curious that U.S.has subsequently enjoyed the sort of relationship with Yemen over the past 8 years, where we could rendition detainees there to be tortured at our CIA black sites in Yemen. Which makes it somehow ironic that the media is using the Yemen connections of the recent underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
/AbdulMutallab, to help us recall and re-ignite our anger over 9-11. It seems the American public is now being signaled that it’s time to switch from from ignore-mode to the outrage-mode being feigned by our leaders. This is, of course, our cue, as patriotic, freedom-loving Americans to rally behind our pre-Christmas bombing campaign waged on the innocent men, women and children in Yemen, which promises to be an ongoing campaign in the war formerly known as Bush’s war on terror. It is no coincidence that this latest bombing campaign was already underway when the underpants bomber boarded the plane for America. Nor is it a coincidence that the trail of the underpants bomber is littered with questions that, for the official record, go unasked and unanswered.

Such has been the nature of America’s war on terror, beginning with 9-11. Our leaders can afford to be arrogant and sloppy because, truth be known, the U.S. is untouchable. We encourage those interested in these stories to do their own research. This page is a good starting point. Our apologies that we cannot finish our own effort out, and for any dead links on this page.


July 26, 2008

An odd coincidence: Pick any oil-rich spot on the globe, and you will find the U.S. engaged in the war on terror.

In this vein, why has there been such a preponderance of al Qaeda terrorists (or, rather, a preponderance of **propaganda about **al Qaeda) surrounding the oil fields of the world over the past 7 years?

The current war in Iraq is not the first U.S. war for oil. Nor is it the first war for oil that has claimed massive civilian casualties, which were then concealed by the U.S. media. This is the first war for oil, however, fought on the grounds that a foreign country posed a direct threat to the U.S. — false grounds — which our government intentionally deceived us into believing. This is also the first war for oil fought under the mantle of spreading freedom and democracy, even as the U.S. government funds and arms both sides in a civil war: Shiites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shiites — who then terrorize, torture, slaughter and commit ethnic cleansing of the very Iraqi populations we’re supposedly fighting to “save” from the evil terrorists. There’s a term for the type of warfare being waged by the U.S. in Iraq. It’s called war crimes.


That the American people have not demanded accountability from Congress, and have largely remained silent about the atrocities of this war – whether through complacent ignorance or sheer disbelief that our government could actually commit such atrocities — has only served to condone this war and the policies of this administration. Our collective silence has, in effect, given Bush-Cheney carte blanche to wage other wars on terrorism – wars now being fought in countires throughout the world, with scarcely a mention in the U.S. media.

Unknown to most Americans is that dozens of countries throughout the world have now been accused of harboring al Qaeda terrorists. Unknown to most Americans is that the Bush-Cheney Administraion is and has been waging clandestine wars in these countries, under the banner of “fighting terrorism,” sometimes called “peacekeeping missions” and “nation-building.” Unknown to most Americans is that we are currently spending millions of dollars in each of these countries, to fight mere handsful of alleged al Qaeda terrorists, whose existence — in many instances — is based on “intelligence” as leaky as the intelligence that sent us to war in Iraq. The potential and the reality (as seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan) is that these wars result in “chasing needles by burning haystacks,” as entire populations of innocent civilians are brutalized by the Bush-Cheney war machine , as it pursues small handsful of terrorists, who may or may not even exist.

In Iraq, alone, the Bush-Cheney war machine left in its wake over 4 million “displaced” Iraqi citizens — driven from their homes through violence and ethnic cleansing. From this point forward, if there were any questions left regarding the true intention of the U.S. forces, one need look no further than the billions of U.S. dollars spent building the enormous network of permanent U.S. bases over the past 7 years. These mega-bases have been built with every U.S. lifestyle amenity imaginable — from Baskin Robbins to Burger King, from miniature golf to swimming pools, from Hertz Rent-a-Car to department stores, and from football stadiums to movie theatres — not to mention air-conditioning, satellite internet access, cable television and international phone service.
The average Iraqi citizen has not enjoyed some of these amenities — such as electricity, food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care — since the days of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, construction on the permanent U.S. bases in Iraq proceeded swiftly toward completion, while U.S. work on to restore the most rudimentary of services for Iraqis — such as water purification, food, health care and electricity — fell to the wayside.

A Crude Awakening

Despite what we, in America, hear on the evening news, the words ‘victory’ and ’success’ do not belong in the same sentence with the word ‘Iraq.” The situation in Iraq is one of humanitarian crisis. Five years into the U.S. invasion of their country, Iraq is now deemed, the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Human rights and relief agencies throughout the world (International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam) have described the situation as “disasterous,” as a “dire humanitarian crisis,” calling Iraq, “one of the most dangerous countries in the world…. a place of carnage and despair.” Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, recently described Iraq as a “successful endeavor,” a sentiment we hear echoed daily from our mainstream U.S. media. Would the American public be silent, if they knew that we are waging similar wars in dozens of countries?
Question: When is a war a war?
Is it a war, if it’s called a ‘low-intensity conflict’? Is it a war, if only a small number of U.S. military troops are sent in? And is it a war, if the soldiers are from private mercenary armies hired through U.S. corporations? And is it a war, if our military funds, trains and arms rogue armies to fight these wars? Is it a war if the military’s stated purpose is ‘peacekeeping’ or to lend humanitarian aid? And what if it’s a little of each? Is it a war?
The answers lie in the oil fields: If U.S. military engagement and/or aid results in the U.S. gaining control of a country’s oil/mineral profits — at the expense of the native populations, who suffer impoverishment, torture, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide as a result of our actions — then that military engagement is, indeed, a war. It is a war for oil.  
Curious to know just how many wars are being fought for oil, we decided to take a head count of each and every country where the U.S. is fighting the war on terror. Our bet is that each and every one is also, ultimately, a war for oil. Whether the resulting silence from this truth is deafening, or not, is anyone’s guess.

Pick a Continent, Any Continent…

Say, Africa. Although Africa is but one stop on Dick Cheney’s proposed world tour for oil, it’s a good place to start, since the entire continent stands to be devoured, beginning with its name. Renamed in February 2007 (for military purposes only, mind you) Africa is now called the U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). As shown on this map, USAFRICOM was created from the existing United States European Command (USEUCOM), United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Whatever that means. It is with some haste, then, that we inventory the African countries involved in Bush-Cheney’s global war on terror.

Lost in all the flurry of Bush’s February 2007 announcement of the surge in Iraq was his concurrent announcement of another surge — this one on the continent of Africa. Having neatly accomplished ‘Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems’ in their war for oil distribution in Iraq, Bush-Cheney — poised, now, to undertake another empire — easily won congressional approval for “African solutions to African problems.” aka, U.S.AFRICOM: the U.S. African Command and its military arm ACOTA. A Department of Defense military operation, AFRICOM was created by Bush-Cheney to enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa. Started in October 2007, and set to be fully operational by September 30, 2008, AFRICOM is installing military commands in a total of 53 African countries – that’s all of Africa, except Egypt.

In an August 2007 congressional briefing, State and Defense Department officials emphasized to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that AFRICOM’s aim is to boost cooperation on anti-terrorism and peacekeeping activities, and programs that promote regional stability. In this same briefing, Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant for African affairs, echoed this sentiment — assuring Congress that AFRICOM is focused on security, not combat. On the heels of this assurance, however, she nonetheless cautioned: ” I would anticipate that there would be an increase in the amount of exercises we conduct and other military-to-military cooperation activity.”

Many in Africa are understandably suspicious. Believing, perhaps, that past is prologue — the majority of countries are protesting the presence of AFRICOM, as are many individuals around the world, including some high-profile activists, such as Danny Glover , who consider the ongoing U.S.-British militarization of Africa to be little more than a strategy toward gaining control of Africa’s natural resources, most notably its oil. As one critic noted: “Peace operations” and “nation building” are what the military and the mercenaries call their activities. But just like Bush’s “healthy forests” and “clear skies” initiatives, the names mean the opposite of what they do.


The Oil Fields of Africa: Black Gold, Texas Tea

The conundrum the Bush-Cheney Administration faces in Africa is the same all the world over: how to pry the mineral rights from the rightful owners — the African people, in this case — while convincing Congress and the American public that our presence is purely benevolent? The events of September 11th provided an easily path: wage war on terror. This path is all the easier in Africa, where so many countries are already under the control of corrupt, suppressive dictators, whose loyalties are easily purchased.

The tactics used by Bush-Cheney are generally the same, however, no matter what the county. First, they make a case for terrorism in the country – preferably al Qaeda. Then, and not necessarily in this order, they (1) provide U.S. military assistance to fight terrorism, (2) accuse any one who disagrees with the U.S. military presence of being a terrorist insurgent, (3) incite existing cultural tensions toward divisiveness or civil war, (4) fund and arm the “goods guys” and/or the “bad guys” (aka terrorists) to physically remove — through either ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide — the native populations living on the lands around the oil fields and pipelines, (5) if these populations protest, label them as terrorist insurgents.

Throughout each step of the process, U.S. oil interests are expanded and secured — under the guise of “economic development” for the host country. When all is said and done, however, it is the U.S. who owns the controlling interests in their oil fields. Of course, by the time AFRICOM was created, Bush-Cheney had already done the legwork, having identified terrorist influences in most of the oil-rich African countries set to receive AFRICOM’s military commands. And in a few countries — such as Somalia and Sudan — they’d already accomplished steps 1 through 5.

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As an aside, a smattering of quotables on the topic:

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy toward Africa was driven by President George H. W. Bush’s vision of a “New World Order.” …. President Bush announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address his intention to “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025,” …. analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports by 2015. — from the Report for Congress, “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” March 10, 2008.

Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. — From President George H.W. Bush’s speech, “Toward a New World Order,” delivered before the nation and a joint session of Congress, September 11, 1990

Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur, making it suitable for stringent refined product requirements, and giving it a growing market share for the refining Centers on the East Coast of the U.S.Dick Cheney, May 16, 2001

In the aftermath in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it is increasingly clear that the United States ignores Africa at its peril….The continent’s failed states and huge swaths of ungoverned territory offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.American Enterprise Institute May 2004 conference bulletin: Leave No Continent Behind: U.S. National Security Interests in Africa

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works. Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” by Ralph Peters

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It is easy to understand, then, the fears of African citizens, who feel helpless to the incoming U.S. military presence in their countries. Some in America know this same helplessess, as we’ve seen war protesters branded as terrorist sympathizers or “homegrown terrorists” in recent years. The difference between Americans and Africans is that we do not have a history (up to this point, anyway) of being forced from our homes by the U.S. military, or of witnessing the mass slaughtering of our families, neighbors, communities, of whole towns of people, who protested the policies of the U.S. government. The fear of these African countries is understandable, then, as America’s war on terror turns its calculating eye toward the oil fields of Africa.

U.S. Oil & Mineral Claims vs. Terrorist Claims in Africa:
An Alphabetical Compendium of Coincidences

 
Algeria
Angola
**Benin (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Burkina Faso (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Cape Verde (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
Chad / Chad-Cameroon
Congo-Brazzaville
Côte d’Ivoire (peacekeeping)
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia (= Somalian war)
Eritrea
Gabon
**Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
**Lesotho
Liberia
Libya (pre-U.S. sanctions and post-U.S. sanctions)
**Madagascar
**Malawi
**Mali
Mauritania
**Morocco
**Mozambique
**Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Swaziland
**Tanzania
Togo
Zambia
Zimbabwe
** these countries receive aid through compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation, created by Bush in 2002, to “undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas.” While most of these countries lack significant oil reserves, their geographical & political relationships with oil-rich countries lends a strategic importance to U.S. interests in Africa.
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original idea with this post was to document every mineral/gas/oil-rich country in the world where the U.S. is engaged in various military operations. Frankly, the task is too disgusting to continue. To anyone interested in such things, just google to find which countries have rich reserves of oil and gas (or gold, diamonds and other minerals). Then google the name of any of these countries + “al Qaeda” or “insurgents” or “Dick Cheney” or “U.S. military,” or “USNORTHCOM” or “Blackwater,” or “mercenary armies,” or the name of either Bush Jr. or Sr.

Dig just a little, and you will find the U.S. in the thick of it, secretly funding covert and proxy wars, arming and training paramilitaries. You can also google terms such as: genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crisis, starvation, rape, death squads, disease, etc. and find your way to the U.S. through the back door, so to speak. Depending on the country, you may also find a “war on drugs,” particularly in South America, but also in Afghanistan. This is how the U.S. funds some of it’s illegal wars, as there is only so much money that can be hoodwinked out of Congress to fund our covert wars. One notable exception to the rule will be Darfur, where China beat us to the punch. In Sudan, however, the U.S. and China seem to be in partnership, each country jockeying for their fair share of oil an