FROM: Colonel Tom Davis
Director, U.S. Africa Command Office of Public Affairs
Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany
TO: Prof. Michel Chossudovsky,
President and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
Editor of GlobalResearch.ca
Dear Dr. Chossudovsky,
While articles critical of the United States and our military are a regular element of the Centre for Research on Globalization, which by doing your organization, and others, play a vital function in the check and balances of free societies, I take exception with the distortions and complete disregard for the actual facts of U.S. Africa Command's activities made in the Oct. 13 article "America's Secret War in Africa" and in the referenced earlier article "Covert Ops In Nigeria."
U.S. Africa Command supports U.S. foreign policy as we work to strengthen the defense capabilities of our African partners, including strengthening of regional cooperation through the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other cooperative efforts. "Balkanization" is exactly contrary to our mission to protect and defend the national security interests of the United States by strengthening the defense capabilities of African states and regional organizations, and, when directed, conducting military operations, in order to deter and defeat transnational threats and to provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development.
The well known facts, which have been reported on extensively, of U.S. Africa Command's activities are that we have consistently engaged with our African partner nations to help them act cooperatively to strengthen their security. We have been helping Gulf of Guinea states, including Nigeria, through ECOWAS and other regional organizations to cooperatively develop maritime safety and security systems to protect fisheries, stop resource theft, counter piracy, and catch smugglers. We also take part in military exercises that promote cross-border cooperation and coordination. Our annual Flintlock exercise is designed to help nations in West and North Africa cooperate more effectively on cross-border threats from illegal traffickers and violent extremist groups. Another major annual exercise, Africa Endeavor, brings together African nations to coordinate their communications technology. U.S. Africa Command also supports training for AU countries that provide peacekeepers for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). These are only a few examples of our many activities that aim to build greater security and stability through cooperation in Africa.
The author's claim that "America's clandestine army will resort to drone warfare to assert control over the African resources" is a completely erroneous supposition, unsupported in any way, and frankly remarkably poor journalism.
The reuse of a five year old quote from Vice Admiral Moeller to mischaracterize the role of natural resources similarly shows poor journalistic work. There are current statements that clearly depict our mission and intent. While indeed the free flow of natural resources between Africa and global market is important the U.S., as it is to Africans, it is only one of many factors that link us together and make improving stability and security our shared goal. Our actions noted above show our intent, as stated by Gen. Ham, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, to "enable our African partners to create a security environment that promotes stability, improved governance, and continued development," and do not involve exerting control over resources.
Lastly, the author seems to intentionally mischaracterize the recent quote from Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, that military action in Mali must be well planned, well organized, well resourced and well thought through, and be agreed upon by those who are going to be most affected by it. This statement clearly referred to a proposed ECOWAS led military effort, and not about unilateral U.S. military operations as the author misstated. As we have often noted, and have demonstrated, we believe it is Africans who are best able to address African security challenges, and we support those efforts. Carson's quote reinforces that principle.
Further clarifying intentions regarding Mali, Gen. Ham said at a Oct. 3 press conference in Algiers: "We think it is primarily the responsibility of the neighboring countries to help Mali address their challenges, and the United States, I think, will assess how the United States may be able to help after the Security Council and others decide what path shall be followed. And if I may, just one final statement: the one course of action that we are not considering is U.S. boots on the ground in Mali. ...And again, we believe that this is a matter that is best resolved by Mali and by its regional neighbors. ...Ultimately, the situation in northern Mali can only be resolved politically or diplomatically. In my view, there is - there is likely to be some military component to address the concerns in northern Mali, but the military component will be - is not sufficient, nor will it be decisive. ...What I do know is that the situation in Mali is extraordinarily complex, and it will require the best efforts of the Malian people, the regional states and the international community to address this challenge."
As you continue the important work of the Centre for Research on Globalization, I hope you and your authors will take greater effort to ensure what you publish meet the basic standards of truthfulness and journalistic standards. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my Chief of Media Engagement, Ben Benson, for any assistance and if you have specific questions about our activities.
COL Tom Davis
Director of Public Affairs