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U.S. Deploys More Special Forces in Search of Kony, Africa’s Stand-in for Osama bin Laden

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    by executive editor Glen Ford

    The latest deployment of U.S. Special Forces aircraft to central Africa is an escalation of an effective U.S. occupation of the continent, via AFRICOM and subservient indigenous armies. “AFRICOM’s mission is to lock the continent in a cage of steel, to imprison it in the imperial orbit.” President Obama casts Joseph Kony in the role of Africa’s Osama bin Laden, to justify the military buildup.


    U.S. Deploys More Special Forces in Search of Kony, Africa’s Stand-in for Osama bin Laden

    by executive editor Glen Ford

    Many millions are at risk from the very presence of a military command whose reason-for-being is instability and war.”

    The tempo of U.S. military occupation of Africa quickens by the day. Seizing every real and manufactured crisis as an opportunity, Washington has created a continental infrastructure that has already reduced most African armies to appendages of U.S. foreign policy, dependencies of the Pentagon. American armed forces operate across the length and breadth of Africa and exercise effective control over the armies of nearly all of the continent’s constituent states.

    According to a study by Nick Turse, AFRICOM, the U.S. military command, last year carried out “activities” in every country on the continent except Western Sahara, Guinea Bissau, Eritrea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Somalia. Somalia doesn’t show up in AFRICOM’s 2013 mission schedule because the country is nominally under the auspices of African Union “peacekeeping” forces. However, the U.S. and Europe pay for every African soldier and weapon engaged in the occupation of Somalia, while the overall operation is run by the CIA. (Egypt is considered part of the Middle East, for U.S. military purposes.)

    Especially in recent years, the U.S. often acts in concert with France, whose national ideology is white supremacy – no matter whether socialists or conservatives control the government – and which has never accepted decolonization in principle or practice. The Tuareg and, later, jihadist rebellion in Mali, and the destabilization of the Central African Republic – both French semi-colonies – brought France and AFRICOM into intimate operational contact, with the U.S. acting as airlift for French forces in Africa.

    U.S. and Europe pay for every African soldier and weapon engaged in the occupation of Somalia, while the overall operation is run by the CIA.”

    Born in the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency but thoroughly a creature of the Obama administration, AFRICOM has molded its public persona around the bogus doctrine of humanitarian military intervention, or Responsibility to Protect (R2P). AFRICOM has usurped much of the U.S. State Department’s food aid distribution duties on the continent, and provides medical care to hundreds of thousands of African military families, thus cementing a bond between the Pentagon and virtually all the continent’s armies – none of which can move effectively through Africa’s undeveloped terrain without U.S. logistical support. The African Union seeks legitimacy through “peacekeeping” missions that it is wholly incapable of executing without financing, equipment, training and every other conceivable support from AFRICOM or the U.S. clandestine services.

    President Obama orchestrated the Joseph Kony hysteria of 2011 as an excuse to send at least 100 U.S. Special Forces troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic and the new state of South Sudan. Kony had been in hiding for years, maybe dead, his Lord’s Resistance Army decimated and no danger to Uganda, which has felt safe enough to send many thousands of its troops on (well-paid) “peacekeeping” missions around the continent, at U.S. request. The Green Berets have not yet found the elusive Kony-monster – although they have been busy dealing with South Sudan’s civil war between U.S.-allied generals.

    AFRICOM has molded its public persona around the bogus doctrine of humanitarian military intervention.”

    Late last month, Obama used the failure to find Kony as the rationale for sending a unit of Osprey troop-carrying aircraft to Uganda, including 150 Air Force Special Operations troops to service and guard them. No matter what the Pentagon calls it, the deployment constitutes a Special Operations base, and no doubt a precursor to other bases throughout the region. (U.S. military doctrine requires such air mobility between bases.) Uganda says the Osprey deployment is temporary. However, it appears that Joseph Kony has a few more good years left as Africa’s bin Laden, the search for whom requires the movement of mountains of men, machines, money and weapons – all, of course, to save little children from capture by the boogeyman of central Africa. A humanitarian military intervention.

    The Ospreys and Special Forces troops are a small part of AFRICOM’s continental theater of war. The largest U.S. unit on permanent duty in Africa, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, “carried out 128 separate ‘activities’ in 28 African countries” during 2013, according to Nick Turse. Those nations include Niger, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Burundi, Mauritania, Niger, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Chad, Togo, Cameroon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Cameroon. In previous military exercises, up to 36 African nations have participated – all of them outfitted with U.S. command-and-control communications equipment, requiring American trainers and maintenance.

    Obama used the failure to find Kony as the rationale for sending a unit of Osprey troop-carrying aircraft to Uganda, including 150 Air Force Special Operations troops.”

    To the extent that AFRICOM ensnares the militaries of the continent in dependence on the Pentagon, African sovereignty becomes a very bad joke. Many millions are at risk from the very presence of a military command whose reason-for-being is instability and war – and which must create such conditions to ensure its continued existence on the continent. Six million have already died in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the eastern regions of which were militarily seized by AFRICOM’s most reliable partners, Rwanda and Uganda. More than a million have died in Somalia, and who knows how many in the Somali-populated Ogaden region of Ethiopia, since the U.S.-backed 2006 Ethiopian invasion, the aftermath of which has made the Horn of Africa a bastion of AFRICOM and its proxies. AFRICOM brass are most proud of their role in the 2011 bombing and regime change in Libya, a disaster that has destabilized not only Libya but the entire tier of the continent to the south – justifying renewed French intervention and the ensuing Franco-American alliance as “humanitarian” co-protectors of Africa.

    As BAR editors Ajamu Baraka and Margaret Kimberley both point out in this issue, imperialism in fatal decline manufactures a quickening cascade of global confrontation and wars in an attempt to impose a military brake on the system’s unraveling. AFRICOM’s mission is to lock the continent in a cage of steel, to imprison it in the imperial orbit, and to patrol the continental prison with dependent African armies. The scenario is well-advanced, and obvious to anyone whose vision is not deformed by a white supremacist worldview – a deformity that is not limited to people of European descent.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


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    hurt their pockets/ flash strikes

    How do we organize people to not buy from all the big greedy opressive companies, the wealthy 1%, and to stop voting for those assholes in Washington, also organizing so we can make them do some campaign refinancing? Seriously.

    Also, I think it's important to try to support these flash strike workers. I know they're happening. So, why is it when we google search it nothing comes up? There was the same situation occuring during occupy Atlanta.

    I think this is an ethical dilema. We need another MLK, and no you ain't gotta be a doctor to organize your community and try to make a difference (whether it be big or small).

    I don't think we need another

    I don't think we need another MLK or individual 'leader'. We all can become 'leaders' in our own way. Just look at recent history of the Viet Cong and how they studied their enemy and exploited the divisions inherent in black soldiers being used as proxy warriors for old crusty white men's illusory power. They knew that these same kids were being denied opportunities at home and were being targeted and hunted down in the streets by amerikan occupying armies--the police. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN THE US. Except there is no 'official' military draft. When you have a situation where young black men & women don't have or have limited employment opportunities at home; any paycheck, is an alternative. Especially one with paid medical care, housing and a chance to travel. But again, the objective is the same, whether here or in Africa--to be a gatekeeper for the global system of apartheid that seeks to sublimate, subjugate and enslave ALL black people, no matter where we are on this planet.  But again, Vietnam was telling and the Viet Cong tactics can be used in Africa & Amerika today. I had a relative relate that while there his platoon was attacked by the viet cong, who then let the black soldiers go but killed the white soldiers. They were also known to blanket the countryside with fliers telling the black soldiers this wasn't their fight. The Viet Cong understood that 2 can play the divide & conquer game. And so I say today in advance, thank you US & the FUKUS axis for arming and training future armies that will do exactly what you fear--refuse to kill and oppress for you and will instead, fight and  protect their respective countries from you. Tides a changin' and you, in your arrogance, are funding and facilitating your own demise. Karma is sweet.


    In 2009 I wrote and chastised you (Mr. Ford) for not giving Barrack Obama "a chance."  He was fresh into office with a lot of hopes riding on the new leadership that had even brought Mandela to tears just a few months earlier.  I was hoping for a few, just a few good signs and efforts from this new face to reassure us that we had all not gone mad with reverse racialism and had rode a wave of economic uncertainty to a new day in poetic justice. 

    I was wrong to ask your restraint.  Your pedictions were right.  I have since warned many times that the real reason for the rise of this disingenuous black politician was to mis-direct the correct response to imperialism in Africa.  

    I remember when African leaders identified Andrew Young as the face of imperialism when he told of African American voting power that had gone from "pickin cotton to pickin the President," as he tried to urge non-violence during the revolution in Zimbabwe in the wake of Rhodesian tanks crushing the bodies of men and women protesters into the steps of the Rhodesian High Court. 

    My appologies for my hesitation.  It won't happen again.