December 2009


Obama used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to defend making war:

Glenn Greenwald is absolutely right to note that both the Democratic president’s speech and the bipartisan praise for it goes a long way to baking permanent militarism into our political debate. It’s hard to argue anymore that militarism is merely a Bush-ian or Republican ideology – it’s now become a consensus within our political establishment.
David Sirota

pen in a coffin

One of the reasons that militarism has become a mostly unquestioned consensus within the United States is the interrelationship between the military, their corporate partners, and the corporate media. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff have written Inside the Military Media Industrial Complex: Impacts on Movements for Peace and Social Justice

In the United States today, the rift between reality and reporting has peaked. There is no longer a mere credibility gap, but rather a literal Truth Emergency in which the most important information affecting people is concealed from view. Many Americans, relying on the mainstream corporate media, have serious difficulty accessing the truth while still believing that the information they receive is the reality. A Truth Emergency reflects cumulative failures of the fourth estate to act as a truly free press.


A long thread of sociological research documents the existence of a dominant ruling class in the US, which sets policy and determines national political priorities. C. Wright Mills, in his 1956 book The Power Elite, documented how World War II solidified a trinity of power in the US that comprised corporate, military and government elites in a centralized power structure working in unison through “higher circles” of contact and agreement.[vi] This power has grown through the Cold War and, after 9/11, the Global War on Terror.

At present, the global dominance agenda includes penetration into the boardrooms of the corporate media in the US. Only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. Four of the top 10 media corporations share board director positions with the major defense contractors including:

William Kennard: New York Times, Carlyle Group
Douglas Warner III, GE (NBC), Bechtel
John Bryson: Disney (ABC), Boeing
Alwyn Lewis: Disney (ABC), Halliburton
Douglas McCorkindale: Gannett, Lockheed-Martin
.

Given an interlocked media network of connections with defense and other economic sectors, big media in the United States effectively represent the interests of corporate America. …
The media elite, a key component of the Higher Circle Policy Elite in the US, are the watchdogs of acceptable ideological messages, the controllers of news and information content, and the decision makers regarding media resources. Their goal is to create symbiotic global news distribution in a deliberate attempt to control the news and information available to society. The two most prominent methods used to accomplish this task are censorship and propaganda.

Sometimes the sensationalist and narrow media coverage of news is blamed upon the need to meet a low level of public taste and thereby capture the eyes of a sufficient market to lure advertisers and to make a profit. But another goal of cornering the marketplace on what news and views will be aired is also prominent. Billionaire Rupert Murdoch loses $50 million a year on the NY Post, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife loses $2 to $3 million a year on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, billionaire Philip Anschutz loses around $5 million a year on The Weekly Standard, and billionaire Sun Myung Moon has lost $2 to $3 billion on The Washington Times. The losses in supporting conservative media are part of a strategy of ideological control. They also buy bulk quantities of ultra-conservative books bringing them to the top of the NY Times bestseller list and then give away copies to “subscribers” to their websites and publications. They fund conservative “think tanks” like Heritage and Cato with hundreds of millions of dollars a year. All this buys them respectability and a megaphone. Even though William Kristol’s publication, the Standard, is a money-loser, his association with it has often gotten him on TV talk shows and a column with The New York Times. Sponsorships of groups like Grover Norquist’s anti-tax “Americans for Tax Reform” regularly get people like him front-and-center in any debate on taxation in the United States. This has contributed to extensive tax cuts for the wealthy and the most unfair tax laws of any industrialized country – all found acceptable by a public relying upon sound-bites about the dangers of ‘big government.’ Hence media corporation officials and others in the health care, energy and weapons industries remain wealthier than ordinary people can imagine. Their expenditures for molding opinion are better understood as investments in a conservative public ideology.

By the time of the Gulf War in 1991, retired colonels, generals and admirals had become mainstays in network TV studios during wartime. Language such as “collateral damage” and “smart bombs” flowed effortlessly between journalists and military men, who shared perspectives on the occasionally mentioned but more rarely seen civilians killed by U.S. firepower. This clearly foreshadowed the structure of “embedded” reporting in the second Iraq War, where mainstream corporate journalists literally lived with the troops and had to submit all reports for military review.[xiii] A related militarization of news studies by Diane Farsetta at the Center for Media Democracy documented a related introduction of bias. These investigations showed Pentagon propaganda penetration on mainstream corporate news in the guise of retired Generals as “experts” or pundits who turned out to be nothing more than paid shills for government war policy.[xiv]

The problem then becomes more complex. What happens to a society that begins to believe such lies as truth? The run up to the 2003 war in Iraq concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) is a case in point. It illustrates the power of propaganda in creating not only public support for an ill-begotten war, but also reduces the possibility of a peace movement, even when fueled by the truth, to stop a war based on falsehoods. The current war in Iraq was the most globally protested war in recorded history. This did nothing to stop it and has done little to end it even under a Democratic president who promised such on the campaign trail. The candidate of “hope and change,” with peace groups in tow, has proven to be dependent upon the same interests in foreign policy that got the US into war in the first place.

As to the change from Obama the liberal campaigner to Obama the corporatist and militarist president, Cenk Uygur has some thoughts for the people who elected Obama:

The core of Obama is a man who is a cautious politician. That is what he is at his center. He can’t help himself. Asking him to be something else is asking a rock to be a little less hard. He is what he is.

So, what Obama does by his nature is find the middle ground. As an excellent innate politician, he will find the political center of any field and rush to it. That’s where elections are won – the center. So, that’s why he sounded so progressive during the primaries, because that was the center of the left. And why he sounded like such a reformer during the general election because the great majority of Americans desperately wanted change.

So, what happened to that Obama? The country is the same, so why did Obama drop the progressive reformer angle and go toward the right and corporate America? Because his field changed. He went from campaigning all across the country to being in the middle of Washington, DC. The center of Washington is very different than the center of the country.

The Washington bubble leans far more to the right than the rest of the country (poll after poll indicates this). The corporate media in Washington are pros at protecting the status quo and view people who challenge the system as fringe players. A natural politician would naturally move right to accommodate this new environment. Obama can’t help himself. Why does a scorpion sting, why does a horse gallop? Because they were made to. Hoping Obama snaps out of it is hoping against reason and nature.

For people living and voting in the US:

So, our only hope is to move the island. We have to move his center. If we can move what he perceives to be the center, he will naturally flow to it. …

The next time Obama pushes a corporate agenda, progressives have to knock him upside the head. Deny him. Or as the kids would say, send his shit. And make a big stink out of it. Draw everyone’s attention to how far right Obama is and how out of whack he is with the American people.

If that scares you and you start to worry about damaging a Democratic president, you’re never going to win at this game. You’re never going to get the policies you want. They don’t listen to reason, they listen to power.

If you don’t move the island, the rest is futile. You have to shift the ground underneath them. And the only way to do that is to create such a strong and aggressive progressive movement that they cannot help but notice it – and respond to it. Move the center and you’ll move Obama. And he’ll move the country. There is no other choice.

Added December 29:

Cenk Ugyur is right about trying to move the center. His prescriptions are more short term and tactical rather than taking the long view. As b real says in the comments, Chris Hedges comes closer to describing the current state of American media and American democracy.

From an interview with Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”

It’s the story of an America that has transferred its allegiance to spectacle, to pseudo-events, that no longer can determine what is real and what is illusion, that confuses how they’re made to feel with knowledge, that confuses propaganda with ideology, and that’s exceedingly dangerous. All totalitarian societies are image-based societies, and that’s what our society has become.

… newspapers are dying, the publishing industry is dying, you have 42 million Americans who are illiterate. You have another 50 million Americans who are semi literate, meaning they read at a 4th of 5th grade level. And then you have people who are functionally literate, but they don’t read. There are tremendous consequences for that, because as you well know, having worked in the advertising industry, these images are not benign. They are skillfully orchestrated and manipulated by for-profit corporations to get us to do a lot of things that are not in our interests. And of course, this all ties into the rise of celebrity culture, well on display with our 3 week coverage of the death of Michael Jackson.

Sheldon Wolin, the great political philosopher who taught at Berkeley and later Princeton, now 86, has written his sort of magnum opus called, “Democracy Incorporated.” And he argues that we live in a system that he calls inverted totalitarianism. The classical totalitarianism, in classical totalitarianism, like fascism or communism, economics is always subordinate to politics. But in inverted totalitarianism, politics is subordinate to economics. And with a rise of the consumer society, with the commodification of everything, including human beings and natural resources, you have built into it a form, an inevitable form of self annihilation. Because nothing has intrinsic value when society is no longer recognized as sacred. You exhaust everything for their, for its ability to make money. No matter how much human misery you create, no matter how much you go, how far you go to destroy the ecosystem that is sustaining the human species. And that with the rise of celebrity culture, of consumer culture, and on federate capitalism, you get what Benjamin Demott has called, I think quite correctly, junk politics.

Karl Polanyi, this great economist in 1944, wrote a book called “The Great Transformation” in which he said that a society that no longer recognizes the sacred, that exhausts everything for profit, always kills itself. And I think that’s what we’re seeing. And as an economist, he actually used the word sacred. That human beings have an intrinsic worth, that the natural world has an intrinsic worth, beyond it’s potential to generate profit.

We live in a corporate state. We live in a state that no longer responds to the interests of its citizens, but does the bidding of corporations. There is no shortage of examples of that, from the largest transference of wealth upwards in American history, to the so-called healthcare debate, where for profit healthcare industries are literally profiting off of death, any debate about healthcare must begin from the factual understanding that the for profit healthcare industry is the problem. Then we can debate what we do. But unfortunately, and many, many citizens know that, across the floor, but we can’t have it because we are completely controlled. We’ve undergone a kind of coup d‘etat in slow motion. We live in a kind of inverted totalitarianism where the façade of democracy and the constitution are held up as an ideal but the actual levers of power are driven by very destructive forces.

From Chris Hedges’ video address:

These corporate forces will never permit real reform. It would mean their extinction.

Herewith a holiday greeting going out to all the shareholders, management, and corporate board members of the PMSCs, the private military and security companies around the world. It comes from this link a friend sent:

War is Christmas with bloodshed.

* * * * * * * *

________

Some links regarding PMSCs I recently ran across:

States, Citizens and the Privatization of Security PDF
Recent years have seen a growing role for private military contractors in national and international security. To understand the reasons for this, Elke Krahmann examines changing models of the state, the citizen and the soldier in the UK, the USA and Germany. She focuses on the national differences both with regard to the outsourcing of military services to private companies and their specific consequences for democratic control over the legitimate use of armed force. Tracing developments and debates from the late eighteenth century to the present, she explains the transition from the centralized warfare state of the Cold War era to privatized and fragmented security governance, and the different national attitudes to the privatization of force.
Book

Codes of Conduct for Private Military and Security Companies
The state of self regulation in the industry PDF

A document from PRIV-WAR
PRIV-WAR is a collaborative research project (European Community’s 7th Framework Programme – Theme 8: Socioeconomics sciences and humanities) coordinated by the European University Institute through the Academy of European Law in cooperation with LUISS “Guido Carli” (Rome) and the other project partners: Justus Liebig Universität Giessen; Riga Graduate School of Law; Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), Centre Thucydide; University of Sheffield and Utrecht University. The project will assess the impact of the increasing use of private military companies and security companies (PMCs/PSCs) in situations of armed conflict. It will examine the regulatory framework at national, European and international levels, with a view to ensuring improved compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights. Launched in January 2008, the project will run for three years.

There have been a number of looks back for the US and Europe in 1989. Koranteng has written an elegant and informative essay on Africa 1989. Fela realeased Beasts of No Nation that year, a title and album that continues to resonate.

In the background on the album cover are Thatcher, Botha, and Reagan.

Call it politics with an insistent groove, 28 minutes of delicious afro-beat. Fela wrote his sign of the times, broadening his usual critique of the Nigerian government with a fierce attack on apartheid and its enablers (see Reagan, Thatcher and P.W. Botha on the album cover) in particular, and more generally on many leaders: “animals in human skin” was his characterization. The lyrics include a detour on the United Nations and its relevance for Africa.

Dem call the place, the “United Nations”
Hear-oh another animal talk
Wetin united inside “United Nations”?
Who & who unite, for “United Nations”?
No be there Thatcher and Argentina dey?
No be there Reagan and Libya dey?
Is-i-rael versus Lebanon
Iran-i-oh versus Iraq-i
East West Block versus West Block East
No be there dem dey oh- United Nations?
Dis “united” United Nations
One veto vote is equal to 92 (Or more, or more)
What kind sense be dat, na animal sense? (2x)

Koranteng quotes:

Item

Although political transformation in the 90s proved to be of variable intensity and longevity, often turned out to be new wine in old bottles, the change on the continent has been lasting. The incidence of military coups has dropped so far as to become negligible and there is an indisputable increase in functional democracies. In 1989 only three countries in Africa could claim to have democratic governments.

— Akwe Amosu musing on Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends and Transitions (pdf) in 2007

Dig:

I’ve often wondered what it was like to attend, say, an OAU meeting circa 1989. That must surely have been a rogues gallery sans pareil. Could you shake hands with everyone in that room and look at yourself in the mirror the next day? For that matter, could you sleep that night? And what did the small talk of the nifty fifty sound like? Scratch that, what exactly was their big talk? Inquiring minds want to know.

Excellent Discussions

Yet there were hopeful signs in 1989:

The global conversation in 1989 was all about democracy. Mali led the way in Africa. Their president, Moussa Traoré, was your garden variety military ruler: no ideology to speak of save for the unvarnished exercise of power. With Mali being a poor landlocked country, he must have figured that he would have free reign. There would be no strategic interest for the Americans or the Soviet Union, the colonial power, France, had bigger and more lucrative fish to fry, and neighbouring countries only cared if refugees started streaming over the border. Everything seemed perfect and the years passed. 1989 must have been a rude awakening (1990 would be a nightmare, and 1991 would be the end). The Malian body politic and social compact reacted to his rule as if to an emetic. Malians were simply fed up with military rule and the attendant violence and arbitrariness. Slowly and systematically from 1988 on, they organized themselves to take back their country. It was a truly impressive sight throughout 1989. No external motivation was needed, a society simply decided to change its direction and moved.

But the ravages of the Cold War and the flood of arms in its aftermath continued to burn across Africa. As Koranteng notes:

We must never forget that Ronald Reagan, George Bush the first, Margaret Thatcher and their bagmen, still saw themselves as allies of the apartheid regime.

And I would add, as allies of both Jonas Savimbi and Renamo.

To their dying day, they should be tarred with their association, nay commision, with some of the most awful lot in history. There were many misadventures and much blood spilled in the Great Games of the Cold War; the support by the these governments for apartheid is unambiguously egregious.

Koranteng notes the quote of the year for 1989:

It is worth dwelling on the Angolan case. Jonas Savimbi broke the barely 2 month old ceasefire, the fruit of years of negotiations, and resumed the civil war in Angola. Master of the huhudious, Savimbi declared:

The Angolan people, to their infinite sorrow, accept that the war has restarted.

That, without any doubt, has to be the quote of the year 1989. He was the one who decided to break the peace, he didn’t ask anyone, he presented the Angolan people with war as a fait accompli. He was to deepen their infinite sorrow for another 13 years.

There was much more going on during 1989 in Africa throughout the whole continent. If you are old enough to remember that year Koranteng’s essay cannot help but resonate. If you are younger, there is much to learn from this rare and valuable recollection. I strongly recommend you read the entire post: Africa 1989.

In his Nobel acceptance speech President Obama said:

… the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.

Stream crossing on the road to Tunis shows a by-pass built by engineers after enemy blew up an ancient stone bridge near the mill beyond. Strange procession of jeeps, peeps, half-tracks, tanks, oxcarts, Arabs and soldiers moves across the waterway, which is several miles behind the front lines. Light traffic uses the timber roadbed and steel bridge, while heavier vehicles ford the stream. Soldiers strip and wash away the dust of a campaign.

US forces in Tunisia 1943, illustration by Fletcher Martin, click to enlarge and read caption. (link provided below)

Over at Open Left, Paul Rosenberg examines Obama’s claim:

Just take a look [at the list below], and ask yourself, is this what global security looks like? Or is it a confused mish-mash best explained not as a defense of freedom and global security, but as the unaccountable workings of empire? Remember, not a single one of the interventions listed … was authorized by a congressional declaration of war–the legally prescribed process under the Constitution. UN Security Council approval–required under international law, which is also binding under the US Constitution–has been almost as rare, meaning that virtually everything listed below is a specific collective national act of lawless violence, carrying with it countless individual acts of violence as well. But this is the record of ‘underwriting global security’ that Obama blithely claims as justification for yet more of the same lawless violence in the name of ‘peace.’ Here’ the table of contents from Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II by William Blum:

1. China – 1945 to 1960s: Was Mao Tse-tung just paranoid?
2. Italy – 1947-1948: Free elections, Hollywood style
3. Greece – 1947 to early 1950s: From cradle of democracy to client state
4. The Philippines – 1940s and 1950s: America’s oldest colony
5. Korea – 1945-1953: Was it all that it appeared to be?
6. Albania – 1949-1953: The proper English spy
7. Eastern Europe – 1948-1956: Operation Splinter Factor
8. Germany – 1950s: Everything from juvenile delinquency to terrorism
9. Iran – 1953: Making it safe for the King of Kings
10. Guatemala – 1953-1954: While the world watched
11. Costa Rica – Mid-1950s: Trying to topple an ally – Part 1
12. Syria – 1956-1957: Purchasing a new government
13. Middle East – 1957-1958: The Eisenhower Doctrine claims another backyard for America
14. Indonesia – 1957-1958: War and pornography
15. Western Europe – 1950s and 1960s: Fronts within fronts within fronts
16. British Guiana – 1953-1964: The CIA’s international labor mafia
17. Soviet Union – Late 1940s to 1960s: From spy planes to book publishing
18. Italy – 1950s to 1970s: Supporting the Cardinal’s orphans and techno-fascism
19. Vietnam – 1950-1973: The Hearts and Minds Circus
20. Cambodia – 1955-1973: Prince Sihanouk walks the high-wire of neutralism
21. Laos – 1957-1973: L’Armée Clandestine
22. Haiti – 1959-1963: The Marines land, again
23. Guatemala – 1960: One good coup deserves another
24. France/Algeria – 1960s: L’état, c’est la CIA
25. Ecuador – 1960-1963: A text book of dirty tricks
26. The Congo – 1960-1964: The assassination of Patrice Lumumba
27. Brazil – 1961-1964: Introducing the marvelous new world of death squads
28. Peru – 1960-1965: Fort Bragg moves to the jungle
29. Dominican Republic – 1960-1966: Saving democracy from communism by getting rid of democracy
30. Cuba – 1959 to 1980s: The unforgivable revolution
31. Indonesia – 1965: Liquidating President Sukarno … and 500,000 others
East Timor – 1975: And 200,000 more
32. Ghana – 1966: Kwame Nkrumah steps out of line
33. Uruguay – 1964-1970: Torture — as American as apple pie
34. Chile – 1964-1973: A hammer and sickle stamped on your child’s forehead
35. Greece – 1964-1974: “Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution,” said
the President of the United States
36. Bolivia – 1964-1975: Tracking down Che Guevara in the land of coup d’etat
37. Guatemala – 1962 to 1980s: A less publicized “final solution”
38. Costa Rica – 1970-1971: Trying to topple an ally — Part 2
39. Iraq – 1972-1975: Covert action should not be confused with missionary work
40. Australia – 1973-1975: Another free election bites the dust
41. Angola – 1975 to 1980s: The Great Powers Poker Game
42. Zaire – 1975-1978: Mobutu and the CIA, a marriage made in heaven
43. Jamaica – 1976-1980: Kissinger’s ultimatum
44. Seychelles – 1979-1981: Yet another area of great strategic importance
45. Grenada – 1979-1984: Lying — one of the few growth industries in Washington
46. Morocco – 1983: A video nasty
47. Suriname – 1982-1984: Once again, the Cuban bogeyman
48. Libya – 1981-1989: Ronald Reagan meets his match
49. Nicaragua – 1981-1990: Destabilization in slow motion
50. Panama – 1969-1991: Double-crossing our drug supplier
51. Bulgaria 1990/Albania 1991: Teaching communists what democracy is all about
52. Iraq – 1990-1991: Desert holocaust
53. Afghanistan – 1979-1992: America’s Jihad
54. El Salvador – 1980-1994: Human rights, Washington style
55. Haiti – 1986-1994: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?
56. The American Empire – 1992 to present
Notes
Appendix I: This is How the Money Goes Round
Appendix II: Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945
Appendix III: U. S. Government Assassination Plots
Index

* * * * *

Reaching farther back Zoltán Grossman provides:
FROM WOUNDED KNEE TO IRAQ:
A CENTURY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION

table and commentary at the link.

COUNTRY OR STATE || Dates of intervention || Forces || Comments
SOUTH DAKOTA || 1890 (-?) || Troops || 300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee.
ARGENTINA || 1890 || Troops || Buenos Aires interests protected.
CHILE || 1891 || Troops || Marines clash with nationalist rebels.
HAITI || 1891 || Troops || Black revolt on Navassa defeated.
IDAHO || 1892 || Troops || Army suppresses silver miners’ strike.
HAWAII || 1893 (-?) || Naval, troops || Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.
CHICAGO || 1894 || Troops || Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.
NICARAGUA || 1894 || Troops || Month-long occupation of Bluefields.
CHINA || 1894-95 || Naval, troops || Marines land in Sino-Japanese War
KOREA || 1894-96 || Troops || Marines kept in Seoul during war.
PANAMA || 1895 || Troops, naval || Marines land in Colombian province.
NICARAGUA || 1896 || Troops || Marines land in port of Corinto.
CHINA || 1898-1900 || Troops || Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.
PHILIPPINES || 1898-1910 (-?) || Naval, troops || Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
CUBA || 1898-1902 (-?) || Naval, troops || Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.
PUERTO RICO || 1898 (-?) || Naval, troops || Seized from Spain, occupation continues.
GUAM || 1898 (-?) || Naval, troops || Seized from Spain, still use as base.
MINNESOTA || 1898 (-?) || Troops || Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.
NICARAGUA || 1898 || Troops || Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.
SAMOA || 1899 (-?) || Troops || Battle over succession to throne.
NICARAGUA || 1899 || Troops || Marines land at port of Bluefields.
IDAHO || 1899-1901 || Troops || Army occupies Coeur d’Alene mining region.
OKLAHOMA || 1901 || Troops || Army battles Creek Indian revolt.
PANAMA || 1901-14 || Naval, troops || Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone 1914.
HONDURAS || 1903 || Troops || Marines intervene in revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC || 1903-04 || Troops || U.S. interests protected in Revolution.
KOREA || 1904-05 || Troops || Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.
CUBA || 1906-09 || Troops || Marines land in democratic election.
NICARAGUA || 1907 || Troops || “Dollar Diplomacy” protectorate set up.
HONDURAS || 1907 || Troops || Marines land during war with Nicaragua
PANAMA || 1908 || Troops || Marines intervene in election contest.
NICARAGUA || 1910 || Troops || Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
HONDURAS || 1911 || Troops || U.S. interests protected in civil war.
CHINA || 1911-41 || Naval, troops || Continuous occupation with flare-ups.
CUBA || 1912 || Troops || U.S. interests protected in civil war.
PANAMA || 1912 || Troops || Marines land during heated election.
HONDURAS || 1912 || Troops || Marines protect U.S. economic interests.
NICARAGUA || 1912-33 || Troops, bombing || 10-year occupation, fought guerillas
MEXICO || 1913 || Naval || Americans evacuated during revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC || 1914 || Naval || Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.
COLORADO || 1914 || Troops || Breaking of miners’ strike by Army.
MEXICO || 1914-18 || Naval, troops || Series of interventions against nationalists.
HAITI || 1914-34 || Troops, || bombing 19-year occupation after revolts.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC || 1916-24 || Troops || 8-year Marine occupation.
CUBA || 1917-33 || Troops || Military occupation, economic protectorate.
WORLD WAR I || 1917-18 || Naval, troops || Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1 1/2 years.
RUSSIA || 1918-22 || Naval, troops || Five landings to fight Bolsheviks
PANAMA || 1918-20 || Troops || “Police duty” during unrest after elections.
HONDURAS || 1919 || Troops || Marines land during election campaign.
YUGOSLAVIA || 1919 || Troops/Marines || intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.
GUATEMALA || 1920 || Troops || 2-week intervention against unionists.
WEST VIRGINIA || 1920-21 || Troops, bombing || Army intervenes against mineworkers.
TURKEY || 1922 || Troops || Fought nationalists in Smyrna.
CHINA || 1922-27 || Naval, troops || Deployment during nationalist revolt.
HONDURAS || 1924-25 || Troops || Landed twice during election strife.
PANAMA || 1925 || Troops || Marines suppress general strike.
CHINA || 1927-34 || Troops || Marines stationed throughout the country.
EL SALVADOR || 1932 || Naval || Warships send during Marti revolt.
WASHINGTON DC || 1932 || Troops || Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.
WORLD WAR II || 1941-45 || Naval, troops, bombing, nuclear || Hawaii bombed, fought Japan, Italy and Germay for 3 years; first nuclear war.
DETROIT || 1943 || Troops || Army put down Black rebellion.
IRAN || 1946 || Nuclear threat || Soviet troops told to leave north.
YUGOSLAVIA || 1946 || Nuclear threat, naval || Response to shoot-down of US plane.
URUGUAY || 1947 || Nuclear threat || Bombers deployed as show of strength.
GREECE || 1947-49 || Command operation || U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.
GERMANY || 1948 || Nuclear Threat || Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.
CHINA || 1948-49 || Troops/Marines || evacuate Americans before Communist victory.
PHILIPPINES || 1948-54 || Command operation || CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.
PUERTO RICO || 1950 || Command operation || Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.
KOREA || 1951-53 (-?) || Troops, naval, bombing , nuclear threats || U.S./So. Korea fights China/No. Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and against China in 1953. Still have bases.
IRAN || 1953 || Command Operation || CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.
VIETNAM || 1954 || Nuclear threat || French offered bombs to use against seige.
GUATEMALA || 1954 || Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat || CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalized U.S. company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.
EGYPT || 1956 || Nuclear threat, troops || Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners.
LEBANON || 1958 || Troops, naval || Marine occupation against rebels.
IRAQ || 1958 || Nuclear threat || Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.
CHINA || l958 || Nuclear threat || China told not to move on Taiwan isles.
PANAMA || 1958 || Troops || Flag protests erupt into confrontation.
VIETNAM || 1960-75 || Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats || Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; one million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.
CUBA || l961 || Command operation || CIA-directed exile invasion fails.
GERMANY || l961 || Nuclear threat || Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.
LAOS || 1962 || Command operation || Military buildup during guerrilla war.
CUBA || l962 || Nuclear threat, naval || Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.
IRAQ || 1963 || Command operation || CIA organizes coup that killed president, brings Ba’ath Party to power, and Saddam Hussein back from exile to be head of the secret service.
PANAMA || l964 || Troops || Panamanians shot for urging canal’s return.
INDONESIA || l965 || Command operation || Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC || 1965-66 || Troops, bombing || Marines land during election campaign.
GUATEMALA || l966-67 || Command operation || Green Berets intervene against rebels.
DETROIT || l967 || Troops || Army battles African Americans, 43 killed.
UNITED STATES || l968 || Troops || After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.
CAMBODIA || l969-75 || Bombing, troops, naval || Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos.
OMAN || l970 || Command operation || U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.
LAOS || l971-73 || Command operation, bombing || U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; “carpet-bombs” countryside.
SOUTH DAKOTA || l973 || Command operation || Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.
MIDEAST || 1973 || Nuclear threat || World-wide alert during Mideast War.
CHILE || 1973 || Command operation || CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.
CAMBODIA || l975 || Troops, bombing || Gas captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.
ANGOLA || l976-92 || Command operation || CIA assists South African-backed rebels.
IRAN || l980 || Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing || Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.
LIBYA || l981 || Naval jets || Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.
EL SALVADOR || l981-92 || Command operation, troops || Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash.
NICARAGUA || l981-90 || Command operation, naval || CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution.
LEBANON || l982-84 || Naval, bombing, troops || Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.
GRENADA || l983-84 || Troops, bombing || Invasion four years after revolution.
HONDURAS || l983-89 || Troops || Maneuvers help build bases near borders.
IRAN || l984 || Jets || Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf.
LIBYA || l986 || Bombing, naval || Air strikes to topple nationalist gov’t.
BOLIVIA || 1986 || Troops || Army assists raids on cocaine region.
IRAN || l987-88 || Naval, bombing || US intervenes on side of Iraq in war.
LIBYA || 1989 || Naval jets || Two Libyan jets shot down.
VIRGIN ISLANDS || 1989 || Troops || St. Croix Black unrest after storm.
PHILIPPINES || 1989 || Jets || Air cover provided for government against coup.
PANAMA || 1989 (-?) || Troops, bombing || Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed.
LIBERIA || 1990 || Troops || Foreigners evacuated during civil war.
SAUDI ARABIA || 1990-91 || Troops, jets || Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.
IRAQ || 1990-? || Bombing, troops, naval || Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; no-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south, large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.
KUWAIT || 1991 || Naval, bombing, troops || Kuwait royal family returned to throne.
LOS ANGELES || 1992 || Troops Army, || Marines deployed against anti-police uprising.
SOMALIA || 1992-94 || Troops, naval, bombing || U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.
YUGOSLAVIA || 1992-94 || Naval || NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
BOSNIA || 1993-? || Jets, bombing || No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.
HAITI || 1994 Troops, naval || Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.
ZAIRE (CONGO) || 1996-97 || Troops || Marines at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.
LIBERIA || 1997 || Troops || Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
ALBANIA || 1997 || Troops || Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
SUDAN || 1998 || Missiles || Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.
AFGHANISTAN || 1998 || Missiles || Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.
IRAQ || 1998-? || Bombing, Missiles || Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.
YUGOSLAVIA || 1999 || Bombing, Missiles || Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. NATO occupation of Kosovo.
YEMEN || 2000 || Naval || USS Cole, docked in Aden, bombed.
MACEDONIA || || 2001 Troops || NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.
UNITED STATES || 2001 || Jets, naval || Reaction to hijacker attacks on New York, DC
AFGHANISTAN || 2001-? || Troops, bombing, missiles || Massive U.S. mobilization to overthrow Taliban, hunt Al Qaeda fighters, install Karzai regime, and battle Taliban insurgency. More than 30,000 U.S. troops and numerous private security contractors carry our occupation.
YEMEN || 2002 || Missiles || Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.
PHILIPPINES || 2002-? || Troops, naval || Training mission for Philippine military fighting Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into combat missions in Sulu Archipelago, west of Mindanao.
COLOMBIA || 2003-? || Troops || US special forces sent to rebel zone to back up Colombian military protecting oil pipeline.
IRAQ || 2003-? || Troops, naval, bombing, missiles || Saddam regime toppled in Baghdad. More than 250,000 U.S. personnel participate in invasion. US and UK forces occupy country and battle Sunni and Shi’ite insurgencies. More than 160,000 troops and numerous private contractors carry out occupation and build large permanent bases.
LIBERIA || 2003 || Troops || Brief involvement in peacekeeping force as rebels drove out leader.
HAITI || 2004-05 || Troops, naval || Marines land after right-wing rebels oust elected President Aristide, who was advised to leave by Washington.
PAKISTAN || 2005-? || Missiles, bombing, covert operation || CIA missile and air strikes and Special Forces raids on alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban refuge villages kill multiple civilians.
SOMALIA || 2006-? || Missiles, naval, covert operation || Special Forces advise Ethiopian invasion that topples Islamist government; AC-130 strikes and Cruise missile attacks against Islamist rebels; naval blockade against “pirates” and insurgents.
SYRIA || 2008 || Troops || Special Forces in helicopter raid 5 miles from Iraq kill 8 Syrian civilians

* * * * *

The picture at the top from Tunisia in 1943 is by Fletcher Martin, war artist for Life magazine. This picture appeared along with others in the December 1943 issue. Although it comes out of the past, it speaks to the present as well, showing American soldiers in an African country, amongst the traditional architecture and culture of that country. Martin is a superb illustrator. His portraits of soldiers faces, if you follow the link, could have come from Iraq or Afghanistan today as easily as from Tunisia in 1943, though being 1943, only white soldiers are pictured.

The question yet to be answered in this century is what is the US fighting for today, why is it fighting. There have been lots of misleading explanations, and even more speculation. But we have no genuine and truthful answers as to what? and why?

The US Africa Command, AFRICOM, is just the latest expression of the historical process delineated in the lists above.

Tsatsu Tsikata and George Owusu have been extraordinarily influential in guiding and developing the quest for oil in Ghana.

Oil rig from GhanaWeb photo archive

I recently came across articles that praise each of them and will copy both complete articles below.Both are puff pieces in that they speak only to the good in their subjects, and address none of the questionable issues. There is much more to the stories of both men. Most of the published information about either man is heavily slanted by political opinion. So one has to read a great many stories, and then try to read between the lines and sort out what looks like the truth. Nevertheless, despite obvious bias, both articles below are interesting and informative.

I am fairly certain Ghana’s current oil finds were enabled by the fact that the technology now exists for deep water drilling, and the price of oil makes deep water wells economically practical. Without those two features in place, credit or blame for Ghana producing oil or not are somewhat irrelevant.

The Kufuor NPP government spent 6 years trying to put Tsatsu Tsikata in jail. They finally did near the end of their term, but he has since been released.

More recently George Owusu has encountered difficulties with the current NDC government. I am not certain about the accuracy of the information in the linked story about Kosmos’ share, dated Nov. 16. It presents a rather interesting picture of what has been happening regarding the Ghana government, Kosmos, Exxon and the Chinese.

Herewith, the two profile articles describing these giants of Ghana oil:

Oil find in Ghana – Sam Jonah Praises GNPC
16 September 2009
Sam Jonah

I have followed with keen interest the news of a commercial oil find in Ghana and the optimism that it has engendered in the country.

There is a welcome buoyancy in the mood of many Ghanaians as they look forward to being an oil-producing country.

There are many people and institutions that deserve credit for the oil find — members of staff of the GNPC through to its present staff and of course to the public that patiently supported the difficult, protracted but unavoidable exploration effort.

There is indeed enough credit to go round.

I cannot therefore help being disappointed that amidst all the celebrations, no mention is made of the pioneering role of Tsatsu Tsikata.

When I compare the exciting prospects generated by the discovery with the state of affairs 20-odd years ago, I am reminded of the contrast between the situation of the mining sector before and after the implementation of the reforms of the mid-1980s.

I first joined the board of the Minerals Commission in September 1984. At that time, the mining sector was in a parlous state.

As a result of the work done by a few dedicated people under the leadership of Kofi Ansah, the sector was completely transformed in less than a decade.

In the mining sector, we at least had the benefit of over 100 years of mining and considerable technical expertise.

The oil sector in the early 1980s did not enjoy any such stature. I recall the scepticism with which prospects of Ghana finding oil in commercial quantities was greeted at the time.

I remember in 1985, while on a trip to the U.S., asking a chief executive of one of the major oil companies why they were not showing interest in searching for oil in Ghana.

His response was that their geophysicists had told them that our geological structures were too tight and too badly faulted to host significant reservoirs.

Today, we know just how wrong those geophysicists were. One man who defied the prevailing scepticism of the time and, with a persistence bordering on stubbornness, led the efforts to get us where we are today, is Tsatsu Tsikata.

Indeed, when I shared with him, shortly after it was made, the observation by the chief executive of the oil major, Tsatsu’s response was: “Let’s all wait and see”.

Tsatsu led in the rethinking of petroleum sector policy. He led in crafting the petroleum (Exploration and Production) law that was the “investment code” for the oil sector.

He led in drafting model exploration agreements including fiscal regime and Accounting Guide that is still state-of-the-art 20 years later.

He led in the development of a specific Petroleum Income Tax Law.

Beyond this intellectual and professional contribution Tsatsu emerged as a corporate leader — building GNPC itself from the ground up.

His vision was sufficiently infectious to attract even hard-nosed oil men to work on Ghana’s potential, often with very little reward.

However, it is in his identification, recruitment and promotion of local talent that Tsatsu truly excelled.

He was truly passionate about building the capacity of Ghanaian professionals in the sector.

Companies and government’s that had dealings with GNPC were pressured into funding scholarships and providing or funding attachments for GNPC staff and even staff from related MDAs.

Tsatsu foresaw that this investment would in its own way be as valuable to Ghana as any oil find. And history has proved him right.

Today, even before the first oil has flowed, Ghana has a solid cadre of industry professionals ready, given the opportunity, to lead us into the next phase of oil industry development.

We have seasoned exploration geologists and geophysicists, drilling engineers, field development engineers.

We have specialised market and financial analysts and lawyers. In the late 1980s GNPC was already developing boat and helicopter services expertise for production operations. In the 1980s (20 years before the West African Gas Pipeline and before climate change became a global preoccupation), GNPC was training staff in the economics and management of natural gas.

Tsatsu was relentless, even obsessive, about the meticulous exploration of Ghana’s oil potential.

He recognised that geological and geophysical data were essential preconditions for any serious effort to attract private capital into exploration efforts.

He thus focused GNPC’s meagre resources on an ambitious data project.

GNPC scoured corporate and public archives around the world collecting geological and seismic materials, data and analysts from earlier exploration efforts.

GNPC then constructed the most complete database of seismic information about Ghana anywhere in the world.

Then through a joint venture with the Norwegian state oil company, GNPC seismologists began to reprocess and re-analyse this data using new technology. Tsatsu did not stop with old data.

He worked with state oil companies from Canada (Petro-Canada International), Norway (Statoil) and Brazil (Petrobras) and Nigeria (NNPC’s seismic subsidiary) to acquire new data.

Through these bilateral arrangements GNPC staff became familiar with modern technology such as “3-D” seismic surveys.

Eventually, Tsatsu persuaded these collaborators to support GNPC’s acquisition of the expensive computer technology to enable her Ghanaian explorationists to undertake much of this analysis in Ghana.

This in turn provided a platform for a massive upgrade of GNPC’s computer technology with positive impacts on all other sectors of its work and with distinct benefits for example for Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

It was the availability of this extensive database and the challenging analyses of old data by Ghanaian geophysicists working under Tsatsu that made Ghana such an attractive exploration destination in the mid-’80s despite earlier scepticism.

It was the ceaseless interpretation and re-interpretation of the GNPC’s growing geological and geophysical database inspired by and supervised by Tsatsu that identified many new prospects.

Tsatsu literally set the course of Ghana’s exploration drilling for an entire generation. Those who worked with him in the sector are in a better position than I to give further details.

But I saw enough to be able to say that his investment in institution building and in exploration have contributed immensely to the recent discoveries at Cape Three Points.

For the health of our nation, for the sake of posterity and the development of a culture that recognises selfless and dedicated service, we must all acknowledge the immense contribution that Tsatsu made to the development of the petroleum sector.

It is not too late to do so.

* * *

History of Oil Discovery In Ghana-The EO Groups Role!!!
19 November 2009
Afrikan Post USA (no author named)

Since independence it has been part of every government’s policy to explore Ghana’s hydrocarbon deposits.

Historically, exploration for oil and gas reserves in Ghana had been very limited due to the high risk nature of its terrain and low oil price environment in 2004 when the Kosmos /E.O group made initial contact with GNPC.

Between 1898 to the late nineties an estimated hundred exploration wells had been drilled in Ghana with no significant discovery except for the Saltpond oil find in 1970.

Our expert opinion on the recent oil discovery in Ghana is that it should be seen as a blessing that should serve as a catalyst to drive investment to the country.

It is imperative that we give credit to Ghanaians who have at various times facilitated the inflow of investors into Ghana.

It is an established historical fact that the US diasporans have been trail blazers of solid investment to Ghana. Tribute should be paid to Mr.Ken Ofori- Atta who established the Ghana stock exchange (Databank) in Ghana. Dr. Manny Tuffour who established the Aniwaa Hospital at a location near Kumasi, Mr. Kofi Amoah who brought Western Union to Ghana and many others in various professional disciplines.

Credit also goes to Mr.Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of GNPC, Mr.Sekyere Abankwah, Mr. Moses Boateng and the exploration team led by Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye and supported by the Mr.Thomas Manu for their untiring efforts in promoting Ghana’s hydrocarbon potential overseas in the past.

In recent times some noble Ghanaian professionals who have a clear and documented track record of Humanitarian assistance to Ghana dating back to the nineties during President Rawlings era are being placed under the political radar for their roles in facilitating investment in the oil sector. Their honorable reputation is being ripped apart when factual and verifiable information is available.

Here are some facts gathered from our expert investigations into the activities of E.O Group. The E.O group is wholly owned by two Ghanaians being Mr. George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Kwame Bawuah -Edusei.

Dr. Kwame Bawuah- Edusei is a physician trained in Ghana and specialized in Family Medicine in The US. He is a known community leader who worked as a private physician partner in various medical clinics until he opened his own in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1994 he took a medical team to Ghana to work in deprived areas and small villages around the Volta Lake, Buduburam refugee camp, Nima in Accra , Akwatia Zongo and other places.

Dr.Kwame Bawuah- Edusei later initiated medical missions to the Northern parts of Ghana as a follow up.

George Owusu on the other hand is a trained Environmental scientist and worked in the energy industry for about twenty years and rose to the rank of Commodity manager for Shell oil Company in the US. He was a known community leader in Houston, Texas at the time of his retirement.

It is on record that the E.O Group partners distributed ICT equipments, books, office furniture and others to various traditional bodies to the youth in Ghana in the late 1990.

Inspite of their humanitarian efforts the partners in 1999 embarked on a job creation venture to reduce poverty. Their first business venture was the formation of E-link Inc. in 1999 to use satellite technology to transfer data between West Africa and United States. The other partners in this venture were Mr. Kwabena Darko of Darko Farms and one Mr.Yaw Sarpong. The venture folded in 2001 due to some challenges.

Mr. George Yaw Owusu and Dr. Bawuah-Edusei regrouped to form the E.O group in 2002 to focus on the potential energy industry in Ghana.

The following companies had been to Ghana for exploration activities without success: NUEVO 1998, Dana 1999, Hunt oil 1999, Fusion oil and gas from Australia in 1999, Santa Fe, 2000. Unfortunately all the wells drilled by these companies yielded no viable commercial discoveries.

The oil industry worldwide therefore regarded Ghana as a place too risky and expensive and their petroleum agreements business unfriendly. It is against this background that the E.O Group sought to convince international oil companies to come to Ghana and overcome all the biases of Africa and invest in what had become known as the “grave yard”

In 2001 with the help of the Greater Houston Partnership, a major business group in Houston, Texas dedicated to the promotion of Business between Houston, Texas companies and the rest of the world,Mr. George Owusu organized a conference in Houston to enable Ghana’s energy experts from GNPC and the Energy ministry address the industry on the offshore hydrocarbon potentials in the Country. Many companies in Texas and the rest of the World attended the conference. The E.O Group facilitated a visit to Ghana by Vanco Energy.

As a result of the E.O groups interaction with industry experts in both Ghana and the USA they stepped up their effort to find a suitable partner for a prospecting lease with the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC). The group was able to partner with Ennex Energy of Ireland who came to Ghana but Ennex gave up on the deal as they evaluated Ghana too risky to invest. The EO group solicited interest from many companies including Texaco, Oxy, Shell, Hess, Addax Petroleum of Switzerland and the Chinese oil company but they were all reluctant due to the risk.

Talking about risk, it costs one million dollars a day to drill an oil well. It can cost up to 80 million dollars to drill one oil well.

In December 2003,Mr. George Owusu came into contact with the Technical personnel of Kosmos Energy whose primary focus was to explore for high risk petroleum prospects in Africa. This group all previously of Triton Energy found oil in Equatorial Guinea in 1999.

The E.O group and Kosmos then formed a partnership to review data in Ghana and initiate the negotiation of a Petroleum Agreement. When in 2004 the Kosmos / E.O group submitted an application for the West Cape Three Points Block, two other companies being Africa Petroleum and Sahara Petroleum submitted their applications for the same block. GNPC after the necessary due diligence approved the application from the Kosmos/E.O Group. The Kosmos /E.O Group therefore won on merit particularly due to their proven track record, financial base and the caliber of experts behind them.

The E.O Group and Kosmos on the sidelines entered into private negotiations and E.O was entitled to 3.5% working interest. They could have asked for a higher percentage in accordance with industry practice. The 3.5% is a private arrangement with Kosmos Energy and not the Ghana Government.

The agreement between Kosmos / E.O Group and GNPC was in accordance with the Ghana Petroleum Law and was approved by the GNPC Board, the ministry of Energy, and upon approval by Cabinet was presented for ratification by Parliament in July 2004.

Neither of the partners of the E.O group, Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei and Mr.George Yaw Owusu were party nor Government officials during these negotiations till approval in July 2004.

It took the Kosmos /EO Group three years from agreement signing in 2004 to oil find in the deep waters of Ghana in June 2007 which is now a record in Africa. It is also possibly one of the largest oil finds in the last decade offshore West Africa

All the four wells drilled by the Kosmos/E.O group encountered significant accumulation of hydrocarbons.

Later in 2006 Kosmos Energy added Anadarko Energy as partner to the WTCP block.

It is worth noting that after the negotiations and agreement was signed in July 2004 Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei sacrificed and took an appointment as Ambassador to UN in Geneva, Switzerland/Austria in August 2004 and in September 2006 he was made Ambassador to the United States.

As a physician in the Diaspora it was a big pay cut. His duty tour ended on February 15, 2009. Within these five years the E.O group had been inactive and Mr. George Owusu had taken over the few affairs of the Group.

Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei who a very respected and influential personality within the Ghanaian community has gone back to his medical practice in the Washington Metro Area. He has also moved back to the House he purchased about fourteen years ago where he lived before his appointment as Ambassador.

Our expect investigations have also revealed that Anadarko, one of the partners in the Jubilee field waited till oil discovery and requested a comprehensive review of Kosmos and the E.O group’s operations which both partners gave their maximum cooperation. The New Government in Ghana has also conducted their review which E.O Group has fully been cooperative. Prior to Dr.Kwame Bawuah-Edusei’s appointment he was in no doubt screened by Ghana, Swiss, Austria, United Nations and the United States security apparatus with a clean record. His tenure in the US was exemplary. The E.O Group has thus been transparent in all their activities.

Considering the undeniable facts in the midst of the political rumblings on the activities of the E.O group I believe the Government of Ghana should round it up and take a positive stance in ensuring that the Country would leap to a middle income status.

There is no need to politicize the good intentions of our honorable citizens because it makes it a disincentive to future investment prospects. Ghanaians living in the Diaspora have been involved in life saving events in Ghana and their efforts must be applauded.

Let us not crisscross corporate greed and misplaced politics to mar our God given potentials.

The E.O Group participation solidifies local content and must be lauded in our efforts to promote long and sustainable investment in Ghana.

“In the long run, it does seem to be both necessary and sufficient to have political and economic liberty to achieve broad based development,”

Selling bread in Ghana

A leading development aid skeptic has told a conference of African economists and academics the key to ending poverty in Africa is not better development strategies but greater individual liberty.

New York University Professor William Easterly stunned a conference dedicated to fostering development in Africa by saying, for the most part, development strategies don’t work.

Easterly [says] planners and strategists would do better to listen to the crowds of small and medium sized businesses that have traditionally been the engine of economic growth. He says the best plan is to have no plan. “I think way too much effort is wasted on the overall development strategy. Now does that mean there’s nothing professionals and experts can do. No. I don’t say that. What we learned from what we observe in successful development is that they depend not on the wisdom of a single individual but on the wisdom of the crowds. The crowds of entrepreneurs, political entrepreneurs, economic private sectors entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, aid entrepreneurs,” he said.

He says the main cause of poor performance is that most strategies are designed by foreign experts rather than by the people themselves. “One thing in common to all success is that they are all home grown programs. They did not give power to outside experts. The guidance of the program was homegrown and not driven by foreign experts,” he said.

… it would be difficult to build a prosperous society in the absence of economic freedom. “In the long run, it does seem to be both necessary and sufficient to have political and economic liberty to achieve broad based development,” he said.

I haven’t had much time to write or even think lately. Easterly is interesting and his views and experience deserve a lot more attention, certainly more than just these notes here.

His recommendations appear to address the real question, in the words of Florin Gheorghe in Slumdog engineers of Suame magazine:

“… what poor people need most is a way to make more money …”

Easterly’s blog makes interesting reading, check the archives. The blog is:
AIDWATCH just asking that aid benefit the poor
Other articles worth a look include:

The Imperial Origins of State-Led Development
How the British Invented “Development” to Keep the Empire and Substitute for Racism
Day of mourning for military Development

and for a laugh:
African leaders advise Bono on reform of U2

h/t africa comments

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