[IRecent years have seen the insertion of imperialist forces and inter-imperialist hegemonic claims into every corner of the world, under the guise of “humanitarianism” or “disaster capitalism.” The US has been most prominently displayed in this practice, having honed the method as a public doctrine after failing the “winning hearts and minds” test in the Vietnam war, and then doing medical rescues in the period of recovering from the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” (ie, reversing the functional anger and opposition to imperialist wars). In recent years, as the world imperialist system has become more crisis-ridden and internally contentious, other imperial powers have entered the “humanitarian imperialist” contest as well. Today, the new “scramble for Africa” is focused on the struggle to rescue the Nigerian girls abducted by the diabolical and malevolent “Boko Haram” gang which grew in the vacuum of elite corruption and sectarian power, and mass poverty in Nigeria, which are the fruits of colonialism and neo-colonialism, and of a regime that cannot or will not keep Nigerian people out of harms way. The US has drones from its nearby drone base in Niger, and some troops and “advisors” from AFRICOM; France has some forces on the ground, a legacy from the French colonial (and more recent neo-colonial) wars in neighboring countries; Britain has some surveillance planes; Israel has sent Special Forces commandos/shock troops, at Goodluck Jonathon’s invitation; and China, not one to be left out or to forget their massive recent Nigerian investments, has sent a PLA frigate, and given a new satellite to Nigeria to run their media and tele-communications and surveillance ops. See the 4 articles below for more self-determination-breaking-news on these opportunist/imperialist relief efforts from the US, China, Israel. — Frontlines ed.]
Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa
by Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford
The “humanitarian” U.S. military occupation of Africa has been very successful, thus far. “The Chibok abductions have served the same U.S. foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa.” Imagine: the superpower that financed the genocide of six million in Congo, claims to be a defender of teenage girls and human rights on the continent. If you believe that, then you are probably a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“The Boko Haram, like other jihadists, had become more dangerous in a post-Gaddafi Africa – thus justifying a larger military presence for the Americans.”A chorus of outraged public opinion demands that the “international community” and the Nigerian military “Do something!” about the abduction by Boko Haram of 280 teenage girls. It is difficult to fault the average U.S. consumer of packaged “news” products for knowing next to nothing about what the Nigerian army has actually been “doing” to suppress the Muslim fundamentalist rebels since, as senior columnist Margaret Kimberley  pointed out in these pages, last week, the three U.S. broadcast networks carried “not a single television news story about Boko Haram” in all of 2013. (Nor did the misinformation corporations provide a nanosecond of coverage of the bloodshed in the Central African Republic, where thousands died and a million were made homeless by communal fighting over the past year.) But, that doesn’t mean the Nigerian army hasn’t been bombing, strafing, and indiscriminately slaughtering thousands of, mainly, young men in the country’s mostly Muslim north.
The newly aware U.S. public may or may not be screaming for blood, but rivers of blood have already flowed in the region. Those Americans who read – which, presumably, includes First Lady Michelle Obama, who took her husband’s place on radio  last weekend to pledge U.S. help in the hunt for the girls – would have learned in the New York Times of the army’s savage offensive near the Niger border, last May and June. In the town of Bosso, the Nigerian army killed hundreds of young men in traditional Muslim garb “Without Asking Who They Are,” according to the NYT headline . “They don’t ask any questions,” said a witness who later fled for his life, like thousands of others. “When they see young men in traditional robes, they shoot them on the spot,” said a student. “They catch many of the others and take them away, and we don’t hear from them again.”
“When they see young men in traditional robes, they shoot them on the spot.”
The Times’ Adam Nossiter interviewed many refugees from the army’s “all-out land and air campaign to crush the Boko Haram insurgency.” He reported:
“All spoke of a climate of terror that had pushed them, in the thousands, to flee for miles through the harsh and baking semidesert, sometimes on foot, to Niger. A few blamed Boko Haram — a shadowy, rarely glimpsed presence for most residents — for the violence. But the overwhelming majority blamed the military, saying they had fled their country because of it.”
In just one village, 200 people were killed by the military.
In March of this year , fighters who were assumed to be from Boko Haram attacked a barracks and jail in the northern city of Maiduguri. Hundreds of prisoners fled, but 200 youths were rounded up and made to lie on the ground. A witness told the Times: “The soldiers made some calls and a few minutes later they started shooting the people on the ground. I counted 198 people killed at that checkpoint.”
All told, according to Amnesty International, more than 600 people were extrajudicially murdered, “most of them unarmed, escaped detainees, around Maiduguri.” An additional 950 prisoners were killed  in the first half of 2013 in detention facilities run by Nigeria’s military Joint Task Force, many at the same barracks in Maiduguri. Amnesty International quotes a senior officer in the Nigerian Army, speaking anonymously: “Hundreds have been killed in detention either by shooting them or by suffocation,” he said. “There are times when people are brought out on a daily basis and killed. About five people, on average, are killed nearly on a daily basis.”
Chibok, where the teenage girls were abducted, is 80 miles from Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.
In 2009, when the Boko Haram had not yet been transformed into a fully armed opposition, the military summarily executed their handcuffed leader and killed at least 1,000 accused members in the states of Borno, Yobe, Kano and Bauchi, many of them apparently simply youths from suspect neighborhoods. A gruesome video  shows the military at work. “In the video, a number of unarmed men are seen being made to lie down in the road outside a building before they are shot,” Al Jazeera reports in text accompanying the video. “As one man is brought out to face death, one of the officers can be heard urging his colleague to ‘shoot him in the chest not the head – I want his hat.’”
“950 prisoners were killed in the first half of 2013 in detention facilities run by Nigeria’s military.”
These are only snapshots of the army’s response to Boko Haram – atrocities that are part of the context of Boko Haram’s ghastly behavior. The military has refused the group’s offer to exchange the kidnapped girls for imprisoned Boko Haram members. (We should not assume that everyone detained as Boko Haram is actually a member – only that all detainees face imminent and arbitrary execution.)
None of the above is meant to tell Boko Haram’s “side” in this grisly story (fundamentalist religious jihadists find no favor at BAR), but to emphasize the Nigerian military’s culpability in the group’s mad trajectory – the same military that many newly-minted “Save Our Girls” activists demand take more decisive action in Borno.
The bush to which the Boko Haram retreated with their captives was already a free-fire zone, where anything that moves is subject to obliteration by government aircraft. Nigerian air forces have now been joined by U.S. surveillance planes  operating out of the new U.S. drone base in neighboring Niger, further entrenching AFRICOM/CIA in the continental landscape. Last week it was announced that, for the first time,AFRICOM troops will train a Nigerian ranger battalion in counterinsurgency warfare.
The Chibok abductions have served the same U.S. foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa, which were conjured-up to justify the permanent stationing of U.S Special Forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, in 2011, on humanitarian interventionist grounds. (This past March, the U.S. sent 150 more Special Ops  troops to the region, claiming to have again spotted Kony, who is said to be deathly ill, holed up with a small band of followers somewhere in the Central African Republic.) The United States (and France and Britain, plus the rest of NATO, if need be) must maintain a deepening and permanent presence in Africa to defend the continent from…Africans.
When the crowd yells that America “Do something!” somewhere in Africa, the U.S. military is likely to already be there.
“AFRICOM troops will train a Nigerian ranger battalion in counterinsurgency warfare.”
Barack Obama certainly needs no encouragement to intervention; his presidency is roughly coterminous with AFRICOM’s founding and explosive expansion. Obama broadened the war against Somalia that was launched by George Bush in partnership with the genocidal Ethiopian regime, in 2006 (an invasion that led directly to what the United Nations called “the worst humanitarian crisis is Africa”). He built on Bill Clinton and George Bush’s legacies in the Congo, where U.S. client states Uganda and Rwanda caused the slaughter of 6 million people since 1996 – the greatest genocide of the post War World II era. He welcomed South Sudan as the world’s newest nation – the culmination of a decades-long project of the U.S., Britain and Israel to dismember Africa’s largest country, but which has now fallen into a bloody chaos, as does everything the U.S. touches, these days.
Most relevant to the plight of Chibok’s young women, Obama led “from behind” NATO’s regime change in Libya, removing the anti-jihadist bulwark Muamar Gaddafi (“We came, we saw, he died,” said Hillary Clinton) and destabilizing the whole Sahelian tier of the continent, all the way down to northern Nigeria. As BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka writes in the current issue, “Boko Haram benefited from the destabilization of various countries across the Sahel following the Libya conflict.” The once-“shadowy” group now sported new weapons and vehicles and was clearly better trained and disciplined. In short, the Boko Haram, like other jihadists, had become more dangerous in a post-Gaddafi Africa – thus justifying a larger military presence for the same Americansand (mainly French) Europeans who had brought these convulsions to the region.
If Obama has his way, it will be a very long war – the better to grow AFRICOM – with some very unsavory allies (from both the Nigerian and American perspectives).
Whatever Obama does to deepen the U.S. presence in Nigeria and the rest of the continent, he can count on the Congressional Black Caucus, including its most “progressive” member, Barbara Lee (D-CA), the only member of the U.S. Congress to vote against the invasion of Afghanistan, in 2001. Lee, along with Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and fellow Californian Karen Bass, who is the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on African, gave cart blanch to Obama  to “Do something!” in Nigeria. “And so our first command and demand is to use all resources to bring the terrorist thugs to justice,” they said.
A year and a half ago, when then UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s prospects for promotion to top U.S. diplomat were being torpedoed by the Benghazi controversy, a dozen Black congresspersons scurried to her defense. “We will not allow a brilliant public servant’s record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state,” said Washington, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
As persons who are presumed to read, Black Caucus members were certainly aware of the messy diplomatic scandal around Rice’s role in suppressing United Nation’s reports on U.S. allies’ Rwanda and Uganda’s genocidal acts against the Congolese people. Of all the high profile politicians from both the corporate parties, Rice – the rabid interventionist – is most intimately implicated in the Congo holocaust, dating back to the policy’s formulation under Clinton. Apparently, that’s not the part of Rice’s record that counts to Delegate Norton and the rest of the Black Caucus. Genocide against Africans does not move them one bit.
So, why are we to believe that they are really so concerned about the girls of Chibok?
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .
and here, what the “Stars and Stripes” has to say, and has to avoid saying:
US conducting surveillance over Nigeria
By John Vandiver and Chris Carroll
At the request of the Nigerian government, the U.S. has conducted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights with fixed wing military aircraft Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Tuesday. The flights are focusing on the northeastern area of the country, Warren said.
Boko Haram kidnapped the girls in a raid on a school in the northeastern town of Chibok last month.
Warren would not specify the number or types of aircraft involved, nor discuss what country they took off from.
“They’ve been in Africa, so we didn’t move assets onto the continent from outside of the continent, but that’s all we’re going to get into” he said.
On Monday, U.S. officials said the U.S. was flying manned surveillance aircraft in support of the international effort to find and rescue the girls, whose abduction has galvanized a worldwide response.
It was not clear whether drones were part of that effort.
U.S. Africa Command operates a drone base in neighboring Niger where the mission has been focused on assisting French troops operating against Islamic militants in Mali. Surveillance aircraft also have been utilized in central Africa in the search for warlord Joseph Kony, the leader of the long-hunted Lord’s Resistance Army.
Nigeria is the 14th largest country in Africa, with a land mass of more than 350,000 square miles — or roughly twice the size of California.
Aircraft, either manned or unmanned, will be particularly helpful if officials have a general idea of the girls’ location, said Samuel J. Brannen, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an expert on unmanned systems.
“If you really don’t know where they are, then it’s just a needle in a haystack,” Brannen said. “But if you have a general sense of where they are, it’s a good way to survey a huge amount of territory. We’ve gotten very good over the last 10 years at finding groups hostile to our interests in austere environments.”
Resources for conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, are limited, however, particularly in Africa, he said.
“We know that the demand signal, globally, for ISR far exceeds the supply, and that especially is the case in AFRICOM,” Brannen said.
Boko Haram has been operating in Nigeria for several years now, but the group has steadily become more violent, conducting scores of bombings across Nigeria in the past year. The group also has a record of targeting children. In February, Boko Haram — which stands for “western education is sinful” — is believed to have killed 59 boys in an attack on a school in northern Nigeria.
On Monday, a Boko Haram leader suggested in an unauthenticated video message that the girls could be freed in exchange for the release of imprisoned militants being held by Nigerian authorities. So far, the Nigerian government hasn’t indicated whether it would accept the offer. The U.S. generally opposes such swaps.
Last week, the Obama administration ordered a team of U.S. experts to Nigeria to serve as advisers to the Nigerian government in areas such as intelligence analysis, logistics and hostage negotiations. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the team includes 10 Pentagon planners and advisers who already were in Nigeria, and an additional seven sent from AFRICOM, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
France, the United Kingdom and China also have pledged support.
Warren said AFRICOM commander Gen. David Rodriquez was in Nigeria on Monday and Tuesday to meet with U.S. and Nigerian officials. The trip, to discuss U.S.-Nigerian partnership on security matters, was planned before the kidnap of the girls, he said.
While Boko Haram is believed to have loose connections with other terror groups in Africa, the militants have shown no sign of launching attacks beyond Nigerian territory.
and China, not to be left behind:
The Chinese government said it is still committed towards assisting Nigeria secure the release of Nigerian school girls taken as hostage by the Boko Haram sect.
The Chinese Defence Attaché to Nigeria Colonel Ku Hang Li who restated his country’s commitment toward assisting Nigeria solve the problems of terrorism but declined comment on the details of the security intervention by China.
He lamented the abduction of the Chibok girls but added that his country will do everything within its power to assist Nigeria resolve the problems of Boko Haram and the abduction of the girls.
The statement came just as Colonel Ku Hang Li revealed that the People’s Liberation Army Naval Taskgroup would be deploying key Chinese Combat vessel to Nigeria next week on a diplomatic visit to Nigeria.
The Chinese frigate, he revealed were being deployed from Syria where they just finished an exercise assisting the Syrian government in the destruction of chemical weapon allegedly found in their arsenal.
He said that apart from Nigeria, the frigate would be visiting Tunisia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Angola, South Africa and Namibia.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade who received the Defence Attache said Nigeria and Chinese military cooperation has increased within the last two years, especially with the building of a war ship from China.
He said that the vessel christened NNS CENTENARY is expected in Nigeria in July while another vessel which will be built at the Nigerian Navy Ship Yard in Port Harcourt by the Chinese Ship Builiding Company had been initiated.
The China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company had earlier in the year launched the Nigerian Navy’s first of two P-18N offshore patrol vessels.
The vessel was assigned the pennant number F91 (the pennant number F90 is assigned to the NNS Thunder, an ex-US Coast Guard cutter). The offshore patrol vessel’s launched ceremony also marked the hull formation ceremony of the second vessel, F92.
Only the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) will be built entirely in China as between 50 and 70% of the second ship will be constructed in Nigeria in an effort to enhance local shipbuilding capability and provide technology transfer. Delivery of F91 is expected in the middle of this year and the second vessels is also expected to arrive sometime in 2014, and be completed either late this year or early 2015.
China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) has also signed a contract to upgrade the Nigerian Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt so that it can build OPVs and maintain vessels up to 10 000 dwt. Upgrades to the dockyard include a new jetty, a new dry dock and other additions.
and Israel, trying desperately to round up “humanitarian” credentials and bargaining credits in the world imperialist system:
Nigerian Girls Abduction: Israeli Anti-terrorism Team to Join Operation Against Boko Haram
By Vasudevan Sridharan , International Business Times, May 12, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan his country would send a team of specialists following a discussion on progress in the hunt to trace the girls.
Anti-terrorism experts from Tel Aviv will collaborate with the teams from the US and the UK. France, Canada and China have also offered to help Nigeria in the battle against Boko Haram.
Jonathan’s special adviser on media and publicity Reuben Abati said in a statement: “The President briefed Mr Netanyahu on actions already being taken by Nigeria’s armed forces and security agencies in the search and rescue operations, noting that Nigeria would be pleased to have Israel’s globally-acknowledged anti-terrorism expertise deployed in Nigeria.”
“Mr Netanyahu, who expressed Israel’s total condemnation of the mass abductions, said that the team of experts from his country, who will soon arrive in Nigeria, will work in collaboration with teams from the United States and Britain who are already in the country and their Nigerian counterparts to intensify the search for the girls.”
Netanyahu said in a statement: “Israel expresses its deep shock at the crime committed against the girls. We are willing to help assist in locating the girls and fighting the terror …”
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has said he is aware of the whereabouts of the girls and their Boko Haram captors.
Shettima said he has passed on the reports to the relevant authorities in the intelligence and the military for verification