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 The lead story on the Pentagon's new AFRICOM web site is entitled "U.S. Sailor Helps Save Drowning Woman in Gabon."

Here come the good white guys to the rescue.

In another place on the web site, Frequently Asked Questions, one finds this:

"What is U.S. Africa Command designed to do? U.S. Africa Command will better enable the Department of Defense and other elements of the U.S. government to work in concert and with partners to achieve a more stable environment in which political and economic growth can take place."

In February of 2007, the site continues, George W. Bush created U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). "The decision was the culmination of a 10-year thought process within the Department of Defense acknowledging the emerging strategic importance of Africa, and recognizing that peace and stability on the continent impacts not only Africans, but the interests of the U.S. and international community as well."

But critics maintain the command’s creation was motivated by China and oil. With Soviet influence gone and France’s traditional presence much diminished, China has poured money into the continent in recent years as its growing economy needs great access to natural resources. And the United States is projected to import at least 25 percent of its oil from Africa by 2015.

According to Black Agenda Report editor Bruce Dixon, "From oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, U.S. admirals and generals have been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials. They've conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets."

"Their new bases are not bases at all, according to U.S. military officials. They are instead 'forward staging depots', and 'seaborne truck stops' for the equipment which American land forces need to operate on the African continent. They are protected anchorages' and offshore 'lily pads' from which they intend to fight the next round of oil and resource wars, and lock down Africa's oil and mineral wealth for decades to come."

A couple years ago I saw two different items on C-SPAN that put all this in perspective for me. One was a presentation by a high-level National Guard military officer before the right-wing Heritage Foundation. He had a large map of the entire African continent on an easel and was pointing out how every state National Guard unit in the U.S. would be assigned a different African country. Each unit would create a relationship with a particular African nation and then establish a small U.S. military outpost, or as Dixon says above, lily pad base. These would be used as jumping off points in order for the Pentagon to have the ability to rapidly deploy forces in order to squash any effort to stand against U.S. corporate control.

A second C-SPAN experience was when I watched a three-hour presentation by then Naval War College futurist Thomas Barnett say, "We will be fighting in Africa in 20 years for their oil." He went on to say in his talk that the U.S. would no longer do international treaties because they would limit our ability to attack other nations - preemptively. Barnett said, on that occassion, "Adolph Hitler never had to ask permission to invade another country and neither will we."

So as I watch events in Africa today on American corporate TV, I filter it all through these previous moments of clarity.

About a year or so ago I attended a panel discussion in Brunswick where we heard from African activists who live nearby. Maine, because it is so white, has been a major federal relocation state for Africans who have been allowed into this country after escaping the chaos in Somalia, Congo, or Sudan. I will never forget one of the men asking the white audience where we thought the Africans were getting their weapons to kill one another. He said, "We don't make weapons in Africa." They largely come from the U.S. and other European countries.

The U.S. sells military equipment to African nations via the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Top recipients of these arms sales are Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Just like in the Middle East, the sale of weapons and U.S. support for dictators in these countries, helps create more instability and chaos. So much so that now the American people are told that we need AFRICOM to go into the region to bring "stability."

AFRICOM will serve as coordinator of U.S. covert operations in Africa. Civilian assistance funds will be funneled through AFRICOM. The funding mechanisms for AFRICOM will also permit private military contractors like Blackwater USA, Dyncorp, and Triple Canopy to extend their operations on the continent.

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Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.


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