The United States uses military bases to maintain a colonial presence in countries around the world. The US version of the colony is the military base. The US press has carried very little news or discussion about Africom. And the citizens of the US need to know a lot more about what their government is doing in their name. US news media tend to be insular and cover very little news outside the US, and continue this pattern in their non-coverage of Africom.

When Africom was established, Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, said:

“Instead of the United States being reactive, … we want to be more proactive in promoting security, to build African capacity to build their own environments and not be subject to the instability that has toppled governments and caused so much pain on the continent.”

And yet hardly was the announcement made when the Bush administration organized the overthrow of the first stable government Somalia has had since 1991, stirring up a hornet’s nest of regional rivalries in the strategic Horn of Africa.

This does not bode well for the direction of US policy. The US news media that I saw generally reported this Somalia action as a positive or “anti-terrorist” action supported by the US. As usual, there was little to no background or analysis.

The Bush-Cheney administration cannot be trusted for two reasons. The first is that they are incompetent. The other is their intentions are bad. Controlling oil, and oil profits, and maximising defense industry profits, often at the expense of the US soldiers and citizens, has been their most visible goal.

With Africa expected to provide a quarter of all U.S. oil imports by 2015, a major focus of AFRICOM will be the Gulf of Guinea. The gulf countries of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the Congo Republic all possess enormous oil reserves. Some of them are plagued by exactly the kind of “instability” that AFRICOM was created to address.

The US is using its naval presence in lieu of building a large land base. Right now the US probably does not have the money to build a large new base. It has blown too much on the attempted occupation of Iraq. Instead:

The White House’s plans for Africa
, which reach far beyond the Horn, are part of a general militarization of U.S. foreign policy. A recent congressional report found that “some embassies have effectively become command posts, with military personnel in those countries all but supplanting the role of ambassadors in conducting American foreign policy.” . . . A major U.S. base in Djibouti houses some 1,800 troops and played an important role in the Somali invasion.

(This) has blurred chains of command and has the potential to backfire by weakening American relationships abroad and setting back American counterterrorism efforts

And –
according to Nigerian journalist Dulue Mbachu, “that increased U.S. military presence in Africa may simply serve to protect unpopular regimes that are friendly to its interests, as was the case during the Cold War, while Africa slips further into poverty.”

Once again, Bush has embarked on an ostensibly legitimate mission – greater security for America and Africa, and fighting terrorism – with methods that will accomplish the opposite.

Chernobyl, site of the worlds worst nuclear accident.
20 years later the population still suffers terrible health problems.

Energy experts” are recommending nuclear energy for Ghana. There is renewed interest around the world in nuclear energy, which is perceived as the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to increase electrical supply in a country.

Nuclear power is a big mistake.

Until now, nobody, in any country, has figured out a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste from nuclear plants.

This, along with the health hazards, are what stopped the construction of nuclear plants in the United States. Nuclear waste is accumulating in the existing plants and causing health problems in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Bush administration has tried to get nuclear construction started again, but there is still no solution to the waste. It was all supposed to be transported to Nevada and buried. But transporting it across country is terribly dangerous. And there is no way to guarantee that once buried, it will not get into the surrounding land and ground water. Citizens of Nevada and around the country are fighting this with the Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force.

European countries are already using African countries, and the oceans off the coast of Africa as dumping grounds for nuclear waste.

. . . for the past 15 years or so, European companies and others have used Somalia as a dumping ground for a wide array of nuclear and hazardous wastes.

“There’s uranium radioactive waste, there’s leads, there’s heavy metals like cadmium and mercury, there’s industrial wastes, and there’s hospital wastes, chemical wastes, you name it,” he said. “It’s not rocket science to know why they’re doing it because of the instability there.”

. . .

The Asian tsunami dislodged and smashed open the drums, barrels, and other containers, spreading the contaminants as far away as 10 or more kilometers inland.

. . .

The results of the contamination on coastal populations, Mr. Nuttall says, have been disastrous.

“These problems range from acute respiratory infections to dry, heavy coughing, mouth bleedings, abdominal hemorrhages, what they described as unusual skin chemical reactions,” he noted. “So there’s a whole variety of ailments that people are reporting from these villages where we had a chance to look. We need to go much further and farther in finding out the real scale of this problem.”

And –

Poor countries are victims of that illegal trade, which constitutes a threat to their biodiversity and culture, and hurts their chances for development.

In addition, what guarantees do we have that the plants will be well managed and that inspectors can not be bribed? Accountability is a problem in the United States, which has fairly good inspection regulations and law enforcement. The people who operate the plants in the US are still not always as careful about safety as they should be. They most certainly cannot be trusted without reliable oversight.

Two thirds of the energy produced by nuclear power is waste in the form of heat. It creates thermal pollution in the water supply, such as the Hudson River in New York state. Do we want more water pollution in Ghana?

Ghana should turn thumbs down to nuclear power.

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