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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Must Akufo Addo Come Out Clear On USAfriCom?

First, I received the following comment on twitter after the publication of my latest article "Akufo Addo Must Come Out Clear On USAfriCom":

# FaisalIbrahim1 @TheOdikro Even tho Nanas opinion matters on this(USAfricom), the right person to answer this question is the President. 10:06 AM Feb 28th via web in reply to TheOdikro * Reply * Retweet #

I responded:

Please, do you know who set up the Danquah Institute? If they are advocating something we don't like, can't we ask him since he wants power?"
twitter.com/TheOdikro about 23 hours ago.

This was followed by a second comment by the same author on Ghanaweb:

Comment: MISDIRECTED, Comment to: Akufo Addo Must Come Out Clear On USAfricom:

"I have told you, your article is misdirected.
We currently have a situation where USAfricom is making positive in roads in our country with all the PR. Ghanaian Journalists have been taken for a tour at the USAfricom Secretariat in Germany.I hope you know the implication of that on the possibility of the based being established here in Ghana or otherwise.

Even though Nanas view is important, it is unnecessary now. You are close to the people with the political power to agree or otherwise with the base being established here. You should be asking the President, National Security Advisor, National Security Cordinator or Minister of Defence this question, what Nana thinks is unneccessary now. That will be of more relevance to Ghanaians than asking a politucally powerless individual!Direct the pressure some where else.
I know you interest is to "HAUNT DOWN" the NPP but please ask the right people this very important national question."
- Author: Faisal, Date: 2010-03-02 06:14:36

So I responded:

Hi Faisal,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. It has been a very busy day for me! I have a few minutes to respond so forgive my typos! I tried to explain my point on twitter when you asked me the same question but with a maximum of 140 words, it was obviously not that easy! Here is what I sent to you:

Please, do you know who set up the Danquah Institute? If they are advocating something we don't like, can't we ask him since he wants power?"
twitter.com/TheOdikro about 23 hours ago.

The reason why I am Akufo Addo's neck is because it is his right hand man who is advocating the idea in Ghana. The Danquah Institute is full of people like that. Okoampa is more Catholic than the Pope on this issue. He even condemned the US embassy for openly denying that they were not interested in establishing US Military bases in Ghana.

On the other hand, the NDC has already come out clearly on the issue. I was at least satisfied by the assurances given by Mr. James Victor Gbeho, ex-diplomat and adviser to President J.E.A. Mills on Foreign Policy,

Please read:

Gbeho: US can’t force AFRICOM on Ghana

Gbeho: US can’t force AFRICOM on Ghana

Audio Attachment: Listen to Amabassador Victor Gbeho as he explains issues with host, Moro Awudu.

Mr. James Victor Gbeho, ex-diplomat and adviser to President J.E.A. Mills on Foreign Policy, has assured the public that government has its head properly screwed on and will not enter into any agreement with the United States of America if the people do not approve of it.

Ambassador Gbeho, as he is popularly called, was speaking on the planned visit of US President Barack Obama to Ghana on July 10 and 11, 2009, and what the visit portends for the nation.

Sections of Ghanaians have publicly objected to the US government’s desire to base its continental military force, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), in Ghana.

Speaking on Citi FM’s breakfast show Monday, Gbeho said Ghanaians have some justification to be apprehensive about the country’s relations with the United States, given the way the latter has conducted its affairs in Latin America, in Asia and other parts of the world.

“…there is a genuine fear; a fear that came to the forefront just before the visit of President Bush to this country recently; a fear that was articulated not by government but by the Ghanaian people through the media and so on; and which forced President Bush to deny a few things.”

Assessing public dissent against the AFRICOM project, he said far from being a done deal, the people can rest assured that the government has its head properly screwed on and would not betray the people’s trust.

“I think that the Americans know quite well that Ghanaian governments are terribly independent and that if we do not want the construction of a base, a military base on our territory, that will not happen. They would want it, they are looking desperately for bases in Africa because of the changing dynamics of international relations and they have approached a number of countries that have said no, largely because the regional organization that we all belong to, that is the African Union…, has it as one of its cornerstones that member countries shall not permit the construction of foreign military bases on the soil of Africa. Some countries have failed; they were not able to prevent this, but not Ghana and the United States knows that whatever it does with Ghana can be only in partnership approved of by Ghanaians and not by force or by coercion or through political chicanery.

“No, we will discuss these things very carefully; if it is in our common interest, Ghanaians will consider it and it will be of public interest … the present government of Ghana has promised to be transparent, it will put it on the table to be discussed nationally and a decision taken. But as of now, such a proposal has not come from the United States. The United States on the contrary has extended a hand of friendship and we will take it but assuring our people that this government has all its faculties in place and will protect the interest of this land of ours.”

Agreeing to US assertions that Ghana is one of its trusted partners globally, Victor Gbeho said there are a lot of positive developments in Ghana that should foster stronger cooperation between the two countries- the move from military to civilian rule, growing democracy, five successful elections, peace, security and stability, bilateral relations and cooperation with the US such as on AGOA and Ghana’s involvement in global peace.

Plus, he said, the fact that Ghana has also discovered oil and soon will be part of the big leagues - all account for the growing trust in the country.

He said Ghana has had a checkered history with the US, which predates independence in 1957.

It saw the US supporting Ghana’s construction of the Akosombo Hydroelectric Project, and later fell out because while the US wanted Ghana on her side of the Cold War, President Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s Founder, chose socialism and aligned with the East, and followed up later by joining the Non Aligned Movement.

Gbeho recalled that a time the US government protested against the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defence Council government’s ties with Libya and its leader, Muamar Al-Qathafi. That, he said was unfortunate, saying there was nothing anybody could do about it.

“The cornerstone of our foreign policy is that we will remain independent in our thoughts and in our deeds and that whatever we felt was good for this country was what we are going to do and not the bidding of another country.”

He also recalled that after the 1979 coup, Nigeria cut off oil supply to Ghana and “it was Libya that gave succor to this country (Ghana) in her moment of stress.”

“I don’t think it was right for any country to come from anywhere, no matter how powerful or influential, to come and say cut your relations with that country, and so we continued. All was not well with our relations with Libya at the time, not a hundred per cent, but, it was none of the business of the United States to tell us who to associate with and who not to associate with.”

He said sadly also, the US was busy “aiding and abetting” some Ghanaians to overthrow the PNDC government in the mid-80s for whatever purpose, until it realized that the government was doing better than any government they could establish. Eventually the US decided cooperation, leading to economic and political reforms, and the relation has been growing since the days of President Bill Clinton.

Story by Isaac Yeboah/Myjoyonline.com



Ghanaians Discuss AFRICOM & Obama's Visit

By crossedcrocodiles.wordpress.com
Feature Article | Thu, 04 Jun 2009

"This is something that no one among us has the power to do with our sovereignty. It amounts to the attempted robbery of the nation by the force of arms. In a fundamental matter such as this, that has serious implications on our status as an independent nation, that could even mean life or death to Ghanaians, as we have seen in the bombs that continue to fall on marriage ceremonies in Afghanistan, the minimum expectation ought to have been an open democratic national debate and not secretive and conspiratorial manoeuvres."

Nana Akyea Mensah

US MILITARY BASE IN GHANA: From "Baloney!" To "What's In It For Us"? Part One,
Feature Article | Sat, 30 May 2009

TAKORADI, Ghana - A traditional fishing boat sails in the Gulf of Guinea near the fishing village of Takoradi, west of Ghana's capital, Accra, on March 2, 2009. U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, met with local fishermen to discuss ways that maritime security programs can protect fishing stocks, which are a vital source of food in West Africa. Inset: Nana Ekow Akon, chief of the Takoradi fishing community, speaks with U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, on March 2, 2009. Yates visited West Africa to discuss international cooperation in illegal fishing, counter-narcotics and illicit trafficking. (Photos by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)

TAKORADI, Ghana - A traditional fishing boat sails in the Gulf of Guinea near the fishing village of Takoradi, west of Ghana's capital, Accra, on March 2, 2009. U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, met with local fishermen to discuss ways that maritime security programs can protect fishing stocks, which are a vital source of food in West Africa. Inset: Nana Ekow Akon, chief of the Takoradi fishing community, speaks with U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, on March 2, 2009. Yates visited West Africa to discuss international cooperation in illegal fishing, counter-narcotics and illicit trafficking. (Photos by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)

Nana Akyea Mensah writes in US Military Base In Ghana in response to a feature article on GhanaWeb by Asare Otchere-Darko, Obama's Visit – What's In It For Us And U.S.? Otchere-Darko's article describes and implies that Kufuor did a deal with Bush and General Ward, bringing the Africa Command into Ghana without informing the Ghanaian people.

… in August 2007 Major-General Ward, who was later confirmed as AFRICOM's first commander, visited Accra. He held discussions with President Kufuor on “ways of strengthening military cooperation.” His high-powered secret meetings with the President, Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff triggered huge speculation. Much was made of Maj Gen J B Danquah's public statement about the visit when he said Maj Gen Ward had 'done enough to resolve' Ghana's concerns about AFRICOM, adding, “I have had the chance to hear [Ward] explain what is the reasoning behind the command, and it's all about partnership.”

This passage is preceded by:

At the moment the Americans say they are happy to keep the U.S. Africa Command headquarters in Germany, to coordinate all U.S. military and security interests throughout the African continent. But any reasonable assessment must conclude that this can be nothing but a temporary address and arrangement. Ghana should welcome that it is thus the target of America's desire – and we should make the most of this, using it for our own advantage. After all, the process has already started.

The U.S. and Ghanaian militaries have cooperated in numerous joint training exercises, including the African Crisis Response Initiative, an international activity in which the U.S. facilitates the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. And the head of AFRICOM has already reaffirmed Washington's commitment to assisting the Ghana Armed Forces “to become more robust”. There is also the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program. Beyond that, Ghana and the U.S. have an active bilateral International Military Education and Training program. In 2007, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, the Managing Editor of The Insight newspaper and the energy behind the pressure group Socialist Forum, warned Ghanaians against what he saw to be the looming danger of a U.S. military base in Ghana. He cited, inter alia, the erection of the huge American Embassy complex in Cantonments as evidence of this.

And Otchere-Darko follows it with this:

General T. Hobbins, head of the U.S. Air Forces Europe, has held discussions with his counterparts here on the possibility of establishing “lily pads”, landing and rapid airlift facilities in otherwise deserted terrain in certain strategic sites in Africa. Tamale Airport has come up as one of the “forward operating sites” targeted. That airport is said to have a runway capacity of accommodating massive U.S. C-3 cargo planes and troop transports.

Ghana is also already the site of a U.S.-European Command-funded Exercise Reception Facility that was established to facilitate troop deployments for exercises or crisis response within the region. The direct link to our oil is only too apparent: the Facility came out of Ghana's partnership with the United States on what is termed a Fuel Hub Initiative. It may sound like a mere gas station for the troops. But the choice of stable, imminently oil-rich Ghana as a Fuel Hub reflects a greater strategic interest in the country than as merely a filling station.

The Americans have not been shy in establishing a clear economic link alongside their military cooperation.

There are already lily pads and a robust American military presence in Ghana, which I have written about previously in this blog.

Kwesi Pratt was one of the first to raise the alarm about oil and US military bases in Africa. In a 2007 interview he said:

Kwesi Pratt: I am very alarmed after reading what is called the Cheney Report. When Bush came to power, he set up a committee chaired by Dick Cheney his Vice President to assess America's energy requirements up to the year 2015. The Cheney Report actually says that by the year 2015, twenty percent of American oil requirements will be supplied by West Africa and therefore it is important to maintain a foothold in West Africa in order to ensure that oil supplies from West Africa to the United States of America will not be interrupted.

Consequently, the United States is planning to establish military bases across West Africa including Ghana. And I am very worried that at a time when we are celebrating our national independence we are going to tolerate the establishment of foreign military bases, especially American military bases on our soil. The great Osageyfo Dr. Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture, and all of them emphasized that Africa ought to be free from foreign military bases and weapons of mass destruction. We cannot allow that dream to die.

That is why, it is important for us to resist all attempts to establish foreign military bases on African soil especially forces of the United States, must be prevented from establishing on African soil. Clearly because they are not on African soil to protect our interests, they are on African soil to facilitate the exploitation of our resources for the benefit of the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people and who are sitting on top of this world exploiting the Chicanos, exploiting the African Americans and exploiting all of the other independent and healthy forces in the United States on America. We have to resist all attempts to build U.S. military bases in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa.

Nana Akyea Mensah writes:

I feel greatly incensed by the casual manner Mr. Ochere-Darko breaks this news as though it is simply a matter of business, and not even making any attempt to explain the basis of the conspiracy that he confesses in the article. What does this mean? According to Asare Ochere Darko, even though the NPP government did not allow Ghanaians to have a say in whether or not they want a US military base on our soil, it is too late for the Atta-Mills government to say “No”! In other words, without any national debate, whether we like it or not the process has already been started and they cannot be reversed, so we are as good as being already occupied by a foreign power!

Is this supposed to mean that the NPP government was simply throwing dust into our eyes whilst plotting secretly to undermine our national independence and sell us to the Americans? Fortunately for Ghana and Africa, the elections did not go their way. From the article under discussion, it seems to me that with Obama and Atta-Mills in power, the same special interests behind the establishment of the military base in Ghana, the military industrial complex of the USA, are acting as ventriloquists, using their local stooges, to revive their diabolic plot, and rope the two newcomers into the deal. Who else could fit better in the role of selling Ghana to the imperialists more than the very right hand man of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, the great Asare Ochere-Darko, himself? If you should ask me what it was that worried me most in the article, I believe I would put my finger on the following seven words written by Mr. Ochere-Darko: “After all, the process has already started.” Most of us are still dazed by the question. What this man is virtually telling Ghanaians is that for months, the NPP has been secretly plotting with foreign powers to establish military bases on our lands without letting out a word about it to the Ghanaian public.

The picture above is of Mary Carlin Yates, AFRICOM's top civilian employee, promising that AFRICOM can help protect Ghana's fishing rights, and help protect against drugs. But money for these programs was cut from the Pentagon's budget. As Daniel Volman informs us in AFRICOM from Bush to Obama:

FRICAN COASTAL AND BORDER SECURITY PROGRAM (ACBS) – provides specialized equipment (such as patrol vessels and vehicles, communications equipment, night vision devices, and electronic monitors and sensors) to African countries to improve their ability to patrol and defend their own coastal waters and borders from terrorist operations, smuggling, and other illicit activities … No dedicated funding was requested for FY 2008 [or in 2007]

With this in mind, I cannot help thinking that Ms. Yates is, in the very best interpretation, being misleading.

Ms. Yates said in Washington on May 12th:

She disclosed that of the four major target areas of its mission-statement, which explicitly are, reducing conflict, improving security, defeating violent extremism and supporting crisis response. The three words that highlight the Command's activities are “sustained security engagement”.

“When I was U.S. Ambassador in Ghana, we had a robust military-to-military program. We started the State Partnership Program. What we want to do is to find the African partners who are looking to build peace and stability in their nations and in their regions – partnering with those African standby forces as they build their goal is to come online with battalions for each of the five geographic areas by 2010”.

Five battalions do not mean more peace. Just like lots of police in a neighborhood are an indication of crime and violence, lots of soldiers in a country or region are a sign of war and conflict. If it is not there already, they will bring it.

Open and democratic debate is the currency of democracy. It is sadly lacking in many places that call themselves democracies, including being far too lacking in the United States. Mr. Ochere-Darko says:

But we must not ignore America's interest. After all, whatever his connection to the African continent, Obama is President of America – and acts in the interest of its people at home above all else.

And so far, in terms of policies, Obama has shown himself to be a willing and enthusiastic supporter of the entrenced elites, what Kwesi Pratt calls the tiny minority that controls the wealth of the American people. Obama has allowed a certain amount of democracy theater in his political manueverings so far. But he has carefully closed off any areas of debate he does not wish to entertain. And President Obama seems to be continuing all the same military imperialist programs initiated by Mr. Bush.

I have been an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama. I made my own small contributions to his campaign. He is wildly and justifiably popular in Ghana and Africa. This should not blind us to what is going on. And it should not stop us from exercising our democratic responsibility to speak out and say what we see.

One Response to “Ghanaians Discuss AFRICOM & Obama's Visit”

Nana Akyea Mensah Says:
June 4, 2009 at 4:04 am
Good morning comrade,
What can I say? Thanks a lot for your tender care and concern for the well-being of all of us! I wish I could write the same thing to Obama one day!

We had an interesting discussion on Ghanaweb yesterday, and as usual an overwhelming consensus was a clear and mighty “NO TO AFRICOM!”

Obama cannot change that because we are used to black faces and 419 scams. Trust is good but control is necessary!

We do not even want Obama to say that it is up to us to decide whether we like AFRICOM or not! It is an automatic NO! And if that is what he wants from us, I want to make it very clear that he can go to any hell of his own choice!

Nana Akyea Mensah
Blog: nanaakyeamensah.blogspot.com/
Source: crossedcrocodiles.wordpress.com


Comment: Amazing! Astonishing! Shocking!
Author: Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
Date: 2010-03-02 15:07:47
Comment to: Re: Akufo Addo Must Come Out Clear On USAfricom

Hi Xcroc!

I like this one:

"… one of the [Africa] Command’s fundamental roles is indeed counterterror intelligence and disruption operations."

Disruption operations and debt manipulation are what the US used to bring down Nkrumah. As Nkrumah himself wrote:
"Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States … with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world …

The general objective … to achieve colonialism in fact while preaching independence."

And shall they always have their local stooges to carry out the nefarious plans? They do not even want their leader to tell us anything whatsoever about this! Amazing!!!

I am happy the traditional big mouths of the NPP have realised there is no way they can defend the Danquah Institute's attempt to sell us out. What a "think-tank"! The NPP is clearly in bed with the Americans! It is not for nothing that the CIA referred to them as "pathetically pro-Western".

Apart from asking me to ask President Mills, they have not even bothered to condemn the Danquah Institute's strange stance on our sovereignty!

Amazing! Astonishing! Shocking!

The CPP is going to take over from the NPP as the largest opposition in parliament in the 2012 elections! And if you like, we shall make our first real dash at it in 2016.

I can assure you however that from the level of growing political awareness in the country, it is very safe to assume that we shall be back in power by 2020! God willing! In the meanwhile, considering the balance of forces, and how evil the NPP has proved to be, we shall make sure that we do not rock the boat too much to let it slip again into their thieving hands!

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!

Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Nana-Akyea-Mensah
Blog: /nanaakyeamensah.blogspot.com/
Twitter: /twitter.com/TheOdikro
E-mail: nanaakyeamensah at gmail dot com

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