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Several people sent me Mark Steyn’s YouTube video—he has a video channel he calls SteynPosts—from last Wednesday. It’s a 23-minute clip, right there on YouTube, and well worth your takes recently-elected French president Emmanuel Macron and his new political party as the starting point for his commentary. He refers to Macron as “this cipher, this... Read More
If you’re a reader of TomDispatch, then you know something of real importance about this country that most Americans don’t. As an imperial power, there’s never been anything like the United States when it comes to garrisoning this planet. By comparison, the Romans and imperial Chinese were pikers; the Soviet Union in its prime was... Read More
Secret U.S. Military Documents Reveal a Constellation of American Military Bases Across That Continent
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... Read More
Inaction Equals Annihilation
Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. On March 10th, Stephen O’Brien, under secretary-general of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs, informed the Security Council that 20 million people in three African countries -- Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan -- as... Read More
There are the terrorists, who get attention out of all proportion to their actual clout, and then there are those with big-time clout -- I think of them as the terrarists -- who get almost no attention at all. Back in May 2013, I came up with that term and here’s how I described those... Read More
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From their plush apartments, over groaning dinner tables, pseudo-intellectuals have the luxury of depicting squalor and sickness as idyllic, primordially peaceful and harmonious. After all, when the affluent relinquish their earthly possessions to return to the simple life, it is always with aid of sophisticated technology and the option to be air-lifted to a hospital... Read More
America’s Elite Troops Partner with African Forces But Pursue U.S. Aims
Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about borders. Neither does the Islamic State or Boko Haram. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc thinks the same way. “[T]errorists, criminals, and non-state actors aren’t bound by arbitrary borders,” the commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) told an interviewer early this fall. “That said, everything we do is not organized around recognizing... Read More
Credit: VDare.com
Our Ruling Class’s anxieties about the Russians, and their anxieties about us, have a deckchairs-on-the-Titanic quality about them. Peering forward into the middle 21st century as best I am able, there are much bigger issues looming. Nine years ago I wrote a piece titled “The Arctic Alliance.” My argument, in a nutshell, was that the... Read More
Things move fast. A published paper comes to the attention of Steve Sailer and suddenly a section of a puzzle gets completed. http://www.unz.com/isteve/school-test-scores-in-africa/ Better still, the boundaries of ignorance get pushed backwards, which is always a good idea, and a fine Christmas present. From the isolation of my study, and from the depths of my... Read More
Security directors from a number of North and East African countries have been discussing the issues raised by the continued flow across their borders of immigrants seeking to reach Europe. The numbers are expected to decline as colder weather arrives, but not as much as in previous years, and the migration is expected to surge... Read More
Keeping Track of U.S. Special Ops in Africa
Sometimes the real news is in the details -- or even in the discrepancies. Take, for instance, missions by America’s most elite troops in Africa. It was September 2014. The sky was bright and clear and ice blue as the camouflage-clad men walked to the open door and tumbled out into nothing. One moment members... Read More
When AFRICOM Evaluates Itself, the News Is Grim
It’s rare to hear one top military commander publicly badmouth another, call attention to his faults, or simply point out his shortcomings. Despite a seemingly endless supply of debacles from strategic setbacks to quagmire conflicts since 9/11, the top brass rarely criticize each other or, even in retirement, utter a word about the failings of... Read More
Someday, someone will write a history of the U.S. national security state in the twenty-first century and, if the first decade and a half are any yardstick, it will be called something likeState of Failure. After all, almost 15 years after the U.S. invaded the Taliban’s Afghanistan, launching the second American Afghan War of the... Read More
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How I Met the Ghosts of My Own Work in a Local Multiplex
Some time ago I wrote a book about one of the great crimes of the last 150 years: the conquest and exploitation of the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium. When King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa was published, I thought I had found all the major... Read More
One of the strangest news developments of our time is the way the media now focus for days, if not weeks, 24/7, on a single event and its ramifications. Omar Mateen’s slaughter of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando is only the latest example of this. If no other calamitous or eye-catching event... Read More
AFRICOM Clams Up After Commander Peddles Contradictory Statements to Congress
General David Rodriguez might be a modern military celebrity -- if he hadn’t spent his career ducking the spotlight. After graduating from West Point in 1976, he began his long march up the chain of command, serving in Operation Just Cause (the U.S. invasion of Panama) and Operation Desert Storm (Iraq War 1.0) before becoming... Read More
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Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee for 2016, has something in common with Donald Trump: Sinophobia. During a 2011 visit to Zambia, she warned about “a new colonialism in Africa.” This time, the Chinese were to blame. As Clinton sees it, the Chinese are extracting wealth from the continent by buying its raw... Read More
Colonel Mark Cheadle, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), recently made a startling disclosure to Voice of America (VOA). AFRICOM, he said, is currently mulling over 11 possible locations for its second base on the continent. If, however, there was a frontrunner among them Cheadle wasn’t about to disclose it. All he would say... Read More
Chanda Chisala has been producing pile after pile of nonsense for quite some time. At first, I was content with simply leaving comments at his posts refuting his rubbish because it was rather easy to point out where he was full of baloney. Since then, I've been banned by him, mostly for my signature flair.... Read More
As I’ve written elsewhere, what Chalmers Johnson called America’s “empire of bases” was “not so much our little secret as a secret we kept even from ourselves” -- at least until Johnson broke the silence and his book Blowback became a bestseller in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In those years, however, if (like... Read More
AFRICOM’s New Math, the U.S. Base Bonanza, and “Scarier” Times Ahead in Africa
In the shadows of what was once called the “dark continent," a scramble has come and gone. If you heard nothing about it, that was by design. But look hard enough and -- north to south, east to west -- you’ll find the fruits of that effort: a network of bases, compounds, and other sites... Read More
U.S. Special Ops Missions in Africa Fail to Stem Rising Tide of Terror Groups, Coups, and Human Rights Abuses
"Africa is a challenging place today and one that, if left unattended, is likely to be the birthplace of many more challenges in the future,” Army Secretary John McHugh said recently. Since 9/11, in fact, the continent has increasingly been viewed by the Pentagon as a place of problems to be remedied by military means.... Read More
The subject of our latest Two Minutes Hate: 55-year-old Dr. Walter Palmer, a dental practitioner from the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie. Early in July, Dr. Palmer, on a hunting vacation inZimbabwe, killed a lion. Now he’s in hiding, his office is under siege by furious mobs, and his patients have all deserted him. All... Read More
What image comes into your mind when you hear the phrase “white supremacy”? If you are a modern American, well-socialized into the current reigning ideology, the image is probably an old monochrome news picture from the Civil Rights era featuring leering white cops assaulting helpless blacks withbilly clubs, attack dogs, or fire hoses. For non-Americans... Read More
Will Americans Support Them?
PIBOR, South Sudan -- “I’ve never been a soldier,” I say to the wide-eyed, lanky-limbed veteran sitting across from me. “Tell me about military life. What’s it like?” He looks up as if the answer can be found in the blazing blue sky above, shoots me a sheepish grin, and then fixes his gaze on... Read More
It’s been an incredibly quiet show. In recent years, the U.S. military has moved onto the African continent in a big way -- and essentially, with the exception of Nick Turse (and Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post), just about no one has noticed. In a sense, it’s a reporter’s dream story. Something major is... Read More
President Obama couldn’t have been more eloquent. Addressing the Clinton Global Initiative, for instance, he said: “When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed -- that’s slavery.” Denouncing Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and offering aid to Uganda and its neighbors in tracking Kony... Read More
Presidential Waivers, Child Soldiers, and an American-Made Army in Africa
MALAKAL, South Sudan -- I didn’t really think he was going to shoot me. There was no anger in his eyes. His finger may not have been anywhere near the trigger. He didn’t draw a bead on me. Still, he was a boy and he was holding an AK-47 and it was pointed in my... Read More
Off Lampedusa, February 2014 Nine years ago, when illegal aliens were coming out of the shadows to stage huge marches demanding “rights,” I wrote a column forNational Review (!!!) with the title The Future Comes Apace. I took those words from Shakespeare’s play Timon of Athens. The title character of the play is a wealthy... Read More
What U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know
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... Read More
There were those secret service agents sent to Colombia to protect the president on a summit trip and the prostitutes they brought back to their hotel rooms. There was the Air Force general on a major bender in Moscow (with more women involved). There were those Drug Enforcement Administration agents and their “sex parties” abroad... Read More
Years ago, Chalmers Johnson took a term of CIA tradecraft, “blowback,” and put it into our language. Originally, it was meant to describe CIA operations so secret that, when they blew back on this country, Americans would be incapable of tracing the connection or grasping that the U.S. had anything to do with what hit... Read More
Military Missions Reach Record Levels After U.S. Inks Deal to Remain in Africa for Decades
For three days, wearing a kaleidoscope of camouflage patterns, they huddled together on a military base in Florida. They came from U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Army Special Operations Command, from France and Norway, from Denmark, Germany, and Canada: 13 nations in all. They came to plan a years-long “Special Operations-centric” military campaign... Read More
African district, Guangzhou (Wikicommons: Anna Frodesiak)
Long a land of emigration, China has become one of immigration. Surprising? Not really. Life is now better there than in most of the Third World. Meanwhile, with fewer people leaving the Chinese countryside for the cities, employers have to offer higher wages and better working conditions ... or get their labor elsewhere. Finally, with... Read More
Sometimes, to see the big picture you need to focus on the smallest part of it, as Nick Turse does in the latest of his dispatches on the U.S. military in Africa. He takes a look at that military in Chad. Yep, I said “in Chad.” At least 99% of Americans are undoubtedly unfamiliar with... Read More
A Base Camp, an Authoritarian Regime, and the Future of U.S. Blowback in Africa
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,... Read More
Having watched the taxpayer and Federal Reserve bailout of the financial institutions, the criminal actions of which had collapsed the economy, he realized that the financial system and its regulators were corrupt and committed to protecting the house of cards that corruption had created. The flood of liquidity that was on its way would drive... Read More
Skull from Broken Hill (Kabwe), Zambia.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Archaic humans were still around when the Neanderthals were going extinct in Europe
East Africa, 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. The relative stasis of early humans was being shaken by a series of population expansions. The last one went global, spreading out of Africa, into Eurasia and, eventually, throughout the whole world (Watson et al., 1997). Those humans became us. This expansion took place at the expense of... Read More
In the Face of Rising Maritime Insecurity, AFRICOM Claims Success and Obama Embraces a Strongman
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.] “The Gulf of Guinea is the most insecure waterway, globally,” says Loic Moudouma. And he should know. Trained at the U.S. Naval War College, the lead maritime security expert of the... Read More
As American hysteria over events in the Middle East rises, news about whatever grim video the Islamic State (IS) has just released jostles for attention with U.S. bombing runs in Iraq, prospective ones in Syria, and endless confusing statements out of Washington about what the next seat-of-the-pants version of its strategy might be. These days,... Read More
Hushed Pentagon Investigation Slaps U.S. Africa Command’s Humanitarian Activities
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.] DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- Movie night in Mouloud, Djibouti. Skype lessons in Ethiopia. Veterinary training assistance in Garissa, Kenya. And in this country on the east coast of Africa, work... Read More
In light of recent history, perhaps it’s time to update that classic U.S. Army recruitment campaignslogan from “be all that you can be” to “build all that you can build.” Consider it an irony that, in an era when Congress struggles to raise enough money to give America’s potholed, overcrowded highways a helping hand, building... Read More
Those of us who hark back nostalgically to the glory days of Anglophone financial journalism in the 1960s and 1970s know that little of that tradition survives. For the most part the great newspapers of those days have fallen prey to bureaucracy and cost-cutting. Worse, their editors seem to care more about pandering to the... Read More
On return from his recent reporting trip to Africa, Nick Turse told me the following tale, which catches something of the nature of our battered world. At a hotel bar in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, he attended an informal briefing with a representative of a major nongovernmental organization (NGO). At one point, the... Read More
The Limits of America’s African Experiment in Nation Building
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.] Juba, South Sudan -- The soft glow of the dancing white lights is a dead giveaway. It’s Christmas in July at the U.S. Embassy compound. Behind high walls topped with fierce-looking... Read More
For the last two years, TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse has been following the Pentagon and the latest U.S. global command, AFRICOM, as they oversaw the expanding operations of the American military across that continent: drones, a special ops surge, interventions, training missions, bases (even if not called bases), proxy wars. Short of a major... Read More
Is the Conflict in South Sudan the Opening Salvo in the Battle for a Continent?
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.] Juba, South Sudan -- Is this country the first hot battlefield in a new cold war? Is the conflict tearing this new nation apart actually a proxy fight between the world’s... Read More
Amid the horrific headlines about the fanatical Islamist sect Boko Haram that should make Nigerians cringe, here’s a line from a recent Guardian article that should make Americans do the same, as the U.S. military continues its “pivot” to Africa: “[U.S.] defense officials are looking to Washington’s alliance with Yemen, with its close intelligence cooperation... Read More
A Secret African Mission and an African Mission that’s No Secret
What is Operation New Normal? It’s a question without an answer, a riddle the U.S. military refuses to solve. It’s a secret operation in Africa that no one knows anything about. Except that someone does. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee Magee. He lives and breathes Operation New Normal. But he doesn’t want... Read More
Let me explain why writing the introduction to today’s post by TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse is such a problem. In these intros, I tend to riff off the ripples of news that regularly surround whatever subject an author might be focusing on. So when it comes to the U.S. military, if you happen to... Read More
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Once as a colonial project, now as a moral playground, the ancient continent remains the object of Great Power maneuvering