U.S. MILITARY SAYS IT HAS A “LIGHT FOOTPRINT” IN AFRICA. THESE DOCUMENTS SHOW A VAST NETWORK OF BASES. | NICK TURSE
(December 1) – THE U.S. MILITARY has long insisted that it maintains a “light footprint” in Africa, and there have been reports of proposed drawdowns in special operations forces and closures of outposts on the continent, due to a 2017 ambush in Niger and an increasing focus on rivals like China and Russia. But through it all, U.S. Africa Command has fallen short of providing concrete information about its bases on the continent, leaving in question the true scope of the American presence there. Continue reading
By DOUGAL MACDONALD
Victory monument in Xuan Loc, Vietnam
Forty-three ago, the U.S. imperialists were resoundingly defeated by the heroic Vietnamese people, who had suffered greatly at the hands of the French colonialists and then the U.S. imperialists. Historic photos show the last of the U.S. invaders scrambling frantically to escape Viet Nam by helicopter, trying to save their worthless skins from the wrath of people’s war. Continue reading
US President’s first year sets record for deployment of elite forces overseas. The countries include “independent” Canada (see map below) | NICK TURSE in TomDispatch*
“However, with special ops deployments rising above Bush and Obama administration levels to record-setting heights and the Trump administration embracing the use of commandos in quasi-wars in places like Somalia and Yemen, there appears to be little interest in the White House or on Capitol Hill in reining in the geographic scope and sweep of America’s most secretive troops.” | AFP / Getty Images
“We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in October. That was in the wake of the combat deaths of four members of the Special Operations forces in the West African nation of Niger. Graham and other senators expressed shock about the deployment, but the global sweep of America’s most elite forces is, at best, an open secret. Continue reading
America’s war-fighting footprint in Africa: Secret U.S. military documents reveal a constellation of American military bases across that continent | NICK TURSE*
General Thomas Waldhauser sounded a little uneasy. “I would just say, they are on the ground. They are trying to influence the action,” commented the chief of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) at a Pentagon press briefing in March, when asked about Russian military personnel operating in North Africa. “We watch what they do with great concern.” Continue reading
Does eleven plus one equal sixty? AFRICOM’s new math, the U.S. base bonanza, and “scarier” times ahead in Africa | NICK TURSE
U.S. military outposts, port facilities, and other areas of access in Africa, 2002-2015 (Nick Turse/TomDispatch, 2015)
For years, as U.S. military personnel moved into Africa in ever-increasing numbers, AFRICOM has effectively downplayed, disguised, or covered-up almost every aspect of its operations, from the locations of its troop deployments to those of its expanding string of outposts. NICK TURSE*
Six people lay lifeless in the filthy brown water.
It was 5:09 a.m. when their Toyota Land Cruiser plunged off a bridge in the West African country of Mali. For about two seconds, the SUV sailed through the air, pirouetting 180 degrees as it plunged 70 feet, crashing into the Niger River.
Three of the dead were American commandos. The driver, a captain nicknamed “Whiskey Dan,” was the leader of a shadowy team of operatives never profiled in the media and rarely mentioned even in government publications. Continue reading
2044 or Bust –The U.S. military’s battlefield of tomorrow. In 2014, the U.S. carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300 per cent jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008. The number of security cooperation activities skyrocketed from 481 in 2013 to 595 last year. NICK TURSE,* TomDispatch.com Continue reading
US Special Black Ops missions already in 105 countries in 2015 – over 60 per cent of the nations on the planet. NICK TURSE*, TomDispatch
US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013.
Key to the Map of US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013
Red markers: US Special Operations Forces deployment in 2013.
Blue markers: US Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the U.S. or a third country during 2013.
Purple markers: US Special Operations Forces deployment in 2012.
Yellow markers: US Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the US or a third country during 2012.
Map courtesy of TomDispatch and Google
(Click to enlarge)
In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight. It was the second time in two weeks that elite U.S. Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers. And it was the second time they failed. Continue reading
A base camp, an authoritarian regime, and the future of US blowback in Africa. NICK TURSE*
Admit it. You don’t know where Chad is. You know it’s in Africa, of course. But beyond that? Maybe with a map of the continent and by some process of elimination you could come close. But you’d probably pick Sudan or maybe the Central African Republic. Here’s a tip. In the future, choose that vast, arid swath of land just below Libya.
Who does know where Chad is? That answer is simpler: the U.S. military. Recent contracting documents indicate that it’s building something there. Not a huge facility, not a mini-American town, but a small camp. Continue reading
For the third time in the past year, the Harper War Government has deployed Special Forces to Africa, this time to Nigeria, under the guise of humanitarian intervention. Nick Turse* elaborates Obama’s new model for expeditionary warfare.
Lion Forward Teams? Echo Casemate? Juniper Micron? You could be forgiven if this jumble of words looks like nonsense to you. It isn’t.
It’s the language of the U.S. military’s simmering African interventions; the patois that goes with a set of missions carried out in countries most Americans couldn’t locate on a map; the argot of conflicts now primarily fought by proxies and a former colonial power on a continent that the U.S. military views as a hotbed of instability and that hawkish pundits increasingly see as a growth area for future armed interventions.
Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network. Continue reading
U.S. documents reveal the feverish pace of Africom military exercises and operations in 2013 in 28 African countries, with more of the same for 2014, reports NICK TURSE* of TomDispatch.
In this framework, we note:
(1) The Harper war government again participated in the recently completed Flintlock 2014 in Niger, an annual US African Command exercise, along with NATO forces from the old colonial powers – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom;
(2) In January 2013, it provided C-17 aircraft to France for its military intervention in Mali in January 2013, as did the UK, Belgium and Denmark; and
(3) The predatory interests of the Canadian mining monopolies are second to none in the scramble to exploit African resources and markets. In 2011 – the most recent year for which statistics are available – 155 Canadian mining companies were operating in 39 African countries. Their combined assets totalled more than $30.8 billion, up from $26.5 billion in 2010. “Expand the picture to take into account other country’s projects financed on Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the TSX Venture, and Canada’s role in mining around the world grows even more substantial.” Continue reading
Key to the Map of US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013
- Red: Special Ops Forces deployed in 2013
- Blue: Special Ops Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the US or a third country during 2013.
- Purple: Special Ops Forces deployed in 2012
- Yellow: Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the US or a third country during 2012.
Tomdispatch (Jan. 7) – “DUDE, I don’t need to play these stupid games. I know what you’re trying to do.” With that, Major Matthew Robert Bockholt hung up on me.
More than a month before, I had called US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with a series of basic questions: In how many countries were US Special Operations Forces deployed in 2013? Are manpower levels set to expand to 72,000 in 2014? Is SOCOM still aiming for growth rates of 3%-5% per year? How many training exercises did the command carry out in 2013? Basic stuff. Continue reading