Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

The Master as “Guest”: The U.S. Military Swarms Over Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The 2nd Brigade’s deployment is a much larger assignment, aimed at making all of Africa a theater of U.S. military operations.”

2013 is the year the U.S. kicks off its wholesale military occupation of Africa. The escalation should come as no surprise, since the Army Times newspaper reported, back in June, that a U.S. brigade of at least 3,000 troops would become a permanent presence on the continent in the new year. On Christmas Eve, the Pentagon announced that 3,500 soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade, in Fort Riley, Kansas, will be sent to Africa, supposedly to confront a threat from al-Qaida in Mali, where Islamists have seized the northern part of the country. But the 2nd Brigade is scheduled to hold more than 100 military exercises in 35 countries, most of which have no al-Qaida presence. So, although there is no doubt that the U.S. will be deeply involved in the impending military operation in Mali, the 2nd Brigade’s deployment is a much larger assignment, aimed at making all of Africa a theater of U.S. military operations. The situation in Mali is simply a convenient, after-the-fact rationale for a long-planned expansion of the U.S. military footprint in Africa.

The Pentagon’s larger purpose in placing an army brigade on roving duty all across the continent is to acclimate African commanders to hosting a permanent, large scale U.S. presence. This is a very different kind of invasion – more like an infiltration-in-force. The Pentagon’s strategy is designed to reinforce relationships that the U.S. Africa Command has been cultivating with African militaries since the establishment of AFRICOM during George Bush’s last year in office. As an infiltrating force, AFRICOM has been a phenomenal success.

Militarily, the West Africans are totally dependent.”

Militarily speaking, the African Union has become an annex of the Pentagon. The AU’s biggest operation, in Somalia, is armed, financed and directed by the U.S. military and CIA. The 17,000 African troops on so-called peace-keeping duty in Somalia are, for all practical purposes, mercenaries for the Americans – although poorly paid ones. Ethiopian and Kenyan forces act as extensions of U.S. power in the East Africa. U.S. Special Forces roam the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic – ostensibly looking for the fugitive warlord Joseph Kony but, in reality, establishing a web of U.S. military infrastructures throughout center of the continent. Uganda and Rwanda keep the eastern Congo’s mineral riches safe for U.S. and European corporations – at the cost of 6 million Congolese lives. Their militaries are on the Pentagon’s payroll.

In northwest Africa, the 16 nations of the region’s economic community await the intervention of the United Nations – which really means the United States and France – to expel the Islamist forces from Mali. Militarily, the West Africans are totally dependent. But, more importantly, they show no political will to escape this dependency – especially after the demise of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

The creeping, continental U.S. expeditionary force, soon to be spearheaded by the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade, will bunk down in African military bases throughout the continent, not as invaders, but as guests. Guests who pay the bills and provide the weapons for African armies whose mission has nothing to do with national independence and self-determination. Three generations after the beginnings of decolonization, the African soldier is once again bowing to the foreign master.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130109_gf_USTroopsAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Wall Street’s Untouchables

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The feds did what the government always does with Wall Street criminals: they settled.”

The federal government and the nation’s biggest banks have reached yet another settlement in the Crime Of The Century – or, one of those crimes that are supposed to come around only once a century but seem to pop up every year or so nowadays, as finance capitalism rushes towards its final collapse. The $8.5 billion deal is the second settlement in what was called the robo-signing scandal, in which banksters took possession of homes whose mortgages they could not prove they actually owned.

If ever there were a capital corporate crime, this was it – a mega-theft so monstrously destructive it merited French Revolution-style justice, with hundreds of one-way trips to the guillotine. Instead, what we got was presidential intervention, during Obama’s last State of the Union address, when he announced that there would be a settlement with the states to avoid state prosecutions of the banks. The robo-signing investigation would pass into the gentle hands of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whom the bankers had no reason to fear, and the states would divide up $25 billion, much of which would never reach victimized homeowners.

This week’s second settlement of the same scandal is a bizarre derivative of the first deal. The banks had agreed to hire outside consultants to pour through their books to determine how many homes had been unlawfully seized, loan modifications wrongfully denied, and fees improperly charged. By late last year, the consultants were nowhere near finished, when federal regulators called off the exercise, calling it hopeless and too expensive. So, the feds did what the government always does with Wall Street criminals. They settled, this time for $8.5 billion – while consumer advocates say the actual damage to homeowners was many times that.

The banks’ books are vast crime scenes.”

It’s an educated guess that the independent auditors took so long sifting through the records because the banks’ books are vast crime scenes, covered in the life’s-blood of millions of consumers. Not the kind of treasure trove of criminal evidence that one should rush through, if one is seeking justice. However, what this administration seeks is not justice, but settlements that allow the banksters to pay a fine, stay out of jail, and get on with crime as usual.

Eric Holder is the Settler-in-Chief. That’s his job. Remember that other Crime Of The Century, the LIBOR interest rate-fixing scandal, the one that reached into every crease and crevice of the world economy. Attorney General Holder vowed to build criminal cases against the perpetrators, which included virtually the entire U.S. and European banking cartel. What he did was give out so many immunities from prosecution he looked like Abraham Lincoln on Emancipation Day. In this way, lots of evidence is gathered, but nobody goes to jail.

Eric Holder is actually the Get Out of Jail Attorney General. Not Get Out of Jail Free – the banks do have to pay a fine, which is called a settlement, and is viewed as a cost of doing business. And since the only business Wall Street knows how to do is crime, it’s back on the roller coaster for another screaming ride – until, finally, the whole contraption goes off the rails. How long? Not long.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20130109_gf_BankSettlements.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EDT