U.S. Imperialism Announces New Covert Action Plan in Africa

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U.S. Imperialism Announces New Covert Action Initiative in Africa

More interference planned in the internal affairs of the continent

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Recent international press reports indicate that the U.S. military has

started a renewed covert action plan to send special operations

commandos into areas of the Horn of Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.

The objective of the covert action policy is in part to carry out

targeted assassinations against people considered enemies of the United

The secret directive was issued and signed in September 2009 by Gen.

David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Military Central Command. The

seven-page document has been described as both the Joint Unconventional

Warfare Task Force Executive Order as well as the Joint Unconventional

Warfare Task Force Execute Order.
Even though the reports claim that the Task Force will go after al-Qaeda

and its affiliates, the Order will target areas in the Horn of Africa

where resistance forces are operating against U.S.-backed regimes in

Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. In Somalia, the fragile Transitional

Federal Government (TFG) has received substantial financial and military

assistance from the U.S. administrations of both George W. Bush and

Barack Obama.
In a New York Times article published on May 24, Mark Mazzetti reported

that “While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine

military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is

intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials

said. Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt,

defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to

“prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local

military forces, the document said. The order, however, does not appear

to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries.” (New York

Times, May 24)
This recent revelation related to U.S. covert operations seems to

designate to the Pentagon tasks which were previously carried out by the

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA has voiced no opposition to

the Petraeus order which continues the pattern of covert operations such

as drone attacks and other forms of targeted assassinations against

those considered enemies of the United States.
According to the document quoted in the New York Times, “The order from

Central Command is focused on gathering intelligence in the target

countries 'by American troops, foreign businesspeople, academics or

others, 'to pinpoint threats, identify militants and forge persistent

situational awareness'.” (Associated Press, May 25)

This document confirms the increasing aggressive military and

intelligence operations on the part of the Obama administration. The

United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) has received additional funding

under Obama while increased military maneuvers and joint operations have

been carried out in West Africa and off shore in the Gulf of Guinea.

U.S. foreign policy in Africa has targeted Somalia in order to prevent

the resistance forces of Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabab from taking power

from the U.S.-backed TFG. Also the neighboring Ethiopian government of

Meles Zenawi has been closely allied with the U.S. and receives

significant military assistance from Washington.
In Djibouti both France and the U.S. maintain military bases inside the

country. Off shore in the Gulf of Aden, the U.S., the European Union and

other states have flotillas of warships designed to prevent attacks on

vessels flowing through one of most lucrative shipping lanes in the

Other states targeted for U.S. covert operations include Sudan in

central Africa where the government has come under pressure for its

efforts to quell a rebel insurgency in the western region of Darfur. The

International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued warrants for the arrests

of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other leading government

Even though the United States is not party to the ICC, the foreign

policy of the Obama administration and the European Union is designed to

bring about regime-change in Sudan. An internationally-supervised

election in Sudan during April that resulted in the victory of the

ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the southern-based Sudan

People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), did not halt the efforts to

undermine this African state.
In the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, the United States has

continued its plans to topple President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe

African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) from the national unity

government that has included the western-backed Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC-T and MDC-M) political factions. Economic sanctions remain

against Zimbabwe and a recent diplomatic assault by U.S. Undersecretary

for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, resulted in a rebuke by the

Zimbabwean Ambassador to the United States. (Zimbabwe Herald, May 26)

In Nigeria, the Obama administration has placed nationals from the

oil-producing West African state on a list that requires special

scrutiny at airports for flights bound for the United States. In a

recent statement, the U.S. made demands on how the electoral commission

should be structured inside Nigeria saying that preparations for

national elections were not moving fast enough. (News Agency of Nigeria,

May 31)
Such actions by the United States illustrates clearly that this

imperialist state is stepping up its efforts to further control the

internal affairs of various African states as well as influence and

dominate developments in the Middle-East and Central Asia as mandated by

the Joint Unconventional Warfare Taskforce.
A History of U.S. Covert Operations in Africa
Covert action aimed at influencing events in Africa has been a hallmark

of U.S. foreign policy towards the continent. In areas where there was a

perceived threat of genuine political independence and a movement

towards socialism, the United States has utilized the Central

Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon, the State Department and other organs

of the imperialist state to undermine sovereignty and national

In Congo during 1960 the Eisenhower administration plotted to isolate,

overthrow and assassinate Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. These covert

action plans against Lumumba were revealed during Congressional hearings

held in 1975 that resulted in the formation of the Senate Select

Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Idaho Democratic Senator, Frank

One former National Security staffer, Robert Johnson, testified at these

hearings about a high level meeting between President Eisenhower and top

ranking intelligence officers in 1960 where a decision was made to

assassinate Patrice Lumumba. As a result of Lumumba's assassination and

other destabilization activities, the country has never been able to

achieve genuine national independence over a period of five decades.

(The Congo Cables, Madelaine Kalb, 1982, p. 54)
In February 1966, the revolutionary and socialist-oriented government of

President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was overthrown by lower-ranking

officers of the military and the police. The operation was influenced

and coordinated by the U.S. State Department and the Central

Intelligence Agency (CIA).
After Nkrumah published his book “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of

Imperialism” in 1965, a formal protest was launched by the U.S.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, former Michigan

Governor G. Mennen Williams. In a cable delivered to the then Ghanaian

Ambassador to the United States, Miguel Augustus Ribeiro, it stated that

“The United States has noted with profound alarm the attacks against the

United States in President Nkrumah's book…. The book appears to have

been designed for the specific purpose of creating in the minds of its

readers suspicion and distrust of the motives, intentions and actions of

the United States. (Kwame Nkrumah, Revolutionary Path, 1973, pp.

In 1969, the U.S. administration under Richard Nixon issued the National

Security Study Memorandum No. 39 which was designed to rationalize an

escalation of support for Portuguese colonial rule in Africa as well as

to fortify the political and economic positions of white

settler-colonial regimes then operating in Rhodesia, South-West Africa

and South Africa. When the South African Defense Forces intervened in

Angola to stop the consolidation of power by the Popular Movement for

the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the U.S. worked in collaboration with

the SADF through the CIA and private mercenaries.
It was this set of circumstances that prompted the Cuban

internationalists coming to the aid of the MPLA and other fraternal

African states and liberation movements resulting in the defeat of the

SADF over the period between 1975-1988. The United States has never

supported any genuine liberation movement in Africa or in other regions

of the world.
Anti-Imperialist Must Oppose Covert Action
The adoption of this new covert action initiative on the part of the

Pentagon must be opposed by anti-war and anti-imperialist groups inside

the United States. These practices will ultimately lead to the deaths of

many nationals from the states targeted and the stifling of oppressed

and colonial peoples right to self-determination.
Although in 2010 the focus of attention for U.S. imperialism is what

they call “Islamic extremism or terrorism,” the ultimate objectives of

this interference in the internal affairs of African states and other

geo-political regions is the same as it was during the 1960s through the

1980s and that is to ensure the political and economic dominance of

world capitalism over the resources of the planet.

People inside the U.S. and other imperialist countries must demonstrate

their principled solidarity by opposing these military operations.

Anti-Imperialists must also advance the right of all oppressed people to

independence and sovereignty.

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