18.09.2023 Author: Seth Ferris

Spy in the Sky for “French Fries” in French West Africa & Freedom Fries for American GIs!

The US is shifting to Africa, walking away from one car pileup after another! It is ironic, too, especially now that it is helping the French. It is equally sad to witness to what lengths and the “stretch-of-the-imagination” that the US government will go to in deploying troops to faraway places. Most of these young men and women, at least those from America, would not even know where to start looking to find such remote and unheard of spots on a map, especially now with a long list of countries in Africa that is now in the crosshairs of US and French hegemonic interests—and that is for starters!

But nothing is newsworthy until it makes Prime Time, CNN and BBC, and is talked about by learned American pundits, who pretend as if it came as a total surprise. To cut to the chase, now the free world must make Africa safe for Democracy.

And from their perspectives and commentaries, for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come out with the statement, “Calling on ECOWAS to Use Diplomacy in Niger,” goes beyond the pale and shows an unacceptable level of Russian audacity in the view of the West.

It is worth listening to the comments of Horace Campbell, in a recent interview on Democracy Now. He is a professor of African Studies at a NY university, and he is in firm opposition to any military intervention in Niger and describes the disastrous US/French role on the continent, and succinctly pulls it all together from a historical perspective.

The coup “is a consequence of the militarization of Niger society” by the United States and France, which both have strong military presence in the region, explains Horace Campbell, chair of the Global Pan-African Movement, North American delegation.

He notes anti-French sentiment is a powerful force in Niger and across Africa. The population is rejecting the former colonizer’s influence: “The French are inordinately dependent on the exploitation and plunder of Africa.”

And it is not looking for a new Great White Savior to replace the honorable French anytime soon.

So what else is new?

It is now all starting to show its ugly head, French and American Imperialism in its nastiest form, and this latest “shacking up” of a couple, makes the 1956 Suez Crisis look like a cakewalk. It was a time when the French, British and even Israelis joined up forces to seize the Suez Cannel. Thank God that Dwight Eisenhower had the foresight to put them all in their place, making them withdraw their forces from an illegal and a bloody intervention. But where can we find a modern Eisenhower for what is heating up in Africa. The military coups to date are but a sample of what is to come.

Colonizer France, and together with a seedy “coalition of the willing”, at least in their rabid statements, have threatened to use military force in Mali if their deadline for restoration of the former elected government. Despite the rhetoric, however, not all are in agreement with what should come next, as the senate in Nigeria, also, a member of ECOWAS, has said that military force should only be used as a last resort, should diplomacy fail, which is the same position as the Russian Federation.

Neighboring Mali and Bukhina Faso, both ruled by coup leaders who ejected French forces from their respective countries, have said that any military action would be taken as an attack on their countries as well. Many Nigerians have taken to the streets since the July 26th coup to show support for their military and to voice opposition to any foreign intervention.

The coup leadership has accused France of violating its airspace – and as Niger Army spokesperson Colonel Amadu Adraman describes, These security disruptions planned by the French forces were also the case in Mali and Burkina Faso aimed to discredit the CNSP, the newly-formed National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), ruling body, and to create a rupture with the people who supported its actions, or to create the atmosphere of general insecurity among the populace.

So for now, neighboring ECOWAS counties imposed a wide range of sanctions and power cuts on a fledgling democracy that have hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the import of food and consumer items. It is interesting that many of the officers trained by the US military took part in a total of 11 coups in West Africa.

At least they were able to put their training to a good use for self-determination, much to the dismay of the Biden Administration, including Burkina Faso and Mali.

Horace Campbell, who is also professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University and Chairperson of the Global pan-African movement in the US, goes further to explain about ECOWAS and what is actually going on.

For him, the meaning of standing up to military intervention means to oppose the policies of France and the US and their blatant militarization of the region. The recent destruction of civilian power, in his view, and civilian leadership in Niger is one of the results stemming from the execution events in the war on terror in that region.

It is noteworthy how he describes how the fabrication of terror lead to the intervention of the United States and France in the region, and how the consequences of the destruction of Libya by NATO and the US, and the financing of military groups in the region by France. Now, this military takeover in Niger is a consequence of the militarization of Nigerian society. At a time when Nigerian society needs social and economic reconstruction, the United States has pumped more than one billion dollars into this region, and into military facilities and military programs—and supporting elements in this region. And in Niger alone, the US has spent half a billion dollars building a military base, a military drone facility in Agadez to support French exploitation of the mineral and human resources of Niger.

It is impossible to discuss what is going on in Niger without discussing the call by the African people for the expulsion of France from West Africa.

It should come as no surprise that the foreign minister of Mali has called upon the United Nations to investigate France in the region. The former PM of Italy has called for sanctions against France, and it is the Right-Wing Conservative forces in the United States that are supporting France, to the point where we now see the Conservative wing of the Biden Administration led by Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken leading the discussions on Africa.

Why is she so involved, if not for some nefarious reason, that Victoria Nuland was in Niger and then flies to South Africa? It is not as if the Biden administration does not have an African expert, as Johnny Carson was named their expert on Africa at the last US-African Summit. Victoria Nuland is the hawk that flies around stirring conflicts, and who wants to “militarize the planet Earth” and is a rabid militarist who is now flying between Nigeria, Niger, and South Africa carrying out US policies.

The task to be accomplished is for left and progressive forces in this country to call for the removal of the US Africa Command from the continent, the closing of the US military facilities in Niger and to support the people of Niger in removing French armed forces and political influence, just as the people of Burkina Faso and Mali have done. And we should support the call for Federation between Mali, Niger and BF.

The history of Niger and French colonialism is where the problem lies, and is a reference point to grasp what is going on there now. Niger is one of those states that have long suffered from French military intervention and destruction in the region. The French are “inordinately dependent” on the exploitation and plunder of Africa. They have military personnel in Niger, and when the military personal were thrown out of Mali and BF, they were redeployed to Niger. It is interesting how they were welcomed to their new assignment, “they were stoned by the locals on the way to their bases in Niger”.

The French have exploited the mineral and natural resources of the country, and the French uranium mines in Niger have not only exploited the resources but the French have closed mines and left hazardous radioactive material strewn around without regard to the Nigerian people.

It is understandable why almost everyone in the West of Africa is calling for the ending of the CFA Franc, and/or French Monetary Imperialism in Africa.  The CFA franc is the common currency of the 14 African countries belonging to the Franc Zone, and the domination of the economies of West Africa by France.

The regional governments are also calling for the removal of the 240,000 French personnel in West Africa, and in the case of Niger, you can only shake your head in dismay at how France is opposed to any plans for the reconstruction of the country.

Some West African countries want to go as far as to downgrade French as the official language, and replace it with one or more official language.

For them, the French are as bad as they come, as they are always against any serious investment or reconstruction, and who have “allegedly” been supporting terrorists groups in West Africa when the United States called for investigating Boko Haram. It was revealed in the Nigerian newspapers that the French had been supporting Boko Haram in Nigeria.

So the French create terrorist groups, like the Americans do, and then enter African countries to say they are fighting them. This kind of duplicity by France in fermenting terror and destruction has been challenged by the peoples of West Africa – and in every country in West Africa the public are calling for the ending of French economic, financial and military domination.

So we in this country must call on our representatives and our political forces – the progressive ones, for example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who claims to be a progressive member of Congress. When she was a student she went to Niger – why are they not raising their voices against the militarism and militarization of West Africa by the United States military and to call for investment in health, reconstruction, water supplies, and also the safety of the people in the region?

The United States and France are gung-ho about reversing a military coup in Niger.   And what about the Military coup in Sudan which was supported by the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates?

What about the destruction inflicted by the military in Sudan against the people of Sudan, calling for the restoration of democratic relations. We cannot be selective in opposition to militarism, we must oppose it – of all sorts in Africa, but the priority at this moment is the removal of France and the call on the UN to have sanctions against France for its “dastardly deeds” – for its destruction and militarism in Africa.

US Friendly Skies in Africa

As the title reflects, ironically, the US role involves drone bases, “Eyes on the Sky for ‘French Fries’ in West Africa or Freedom Fries for GIs,” with much history which helps to explain the symbolism and wordplay needed to comment on potential military engagement by France and the US in West Africa, a marriage of Imperialism, Militarism and Uranium.

The US has its agenda, even more so than France, its war on terror is a flimsy disguise for its real intentions. As in the words of Jerry McKinnon, “a fabrication in West Africa” – and those people who are called terrorists and in many cases are people who were supported by France. One only has to consider the destruction of Libya and its nexus to all what is now happening, the US and France removed Gaddafi, resulting in the collapse of the country and now the United States and France are fighting on both sides of the resulting civil war in Libya.  Some of the combatants left Libya and relocated to Mali, Niger and Bukina Faso and were alleged to be terrorists and this relocation was as a result of the US backed and funded counterterrorist operation.

And to keep the ball rolling, the US then went into Niger to build a military base and a drone base in Agadez, all with the purported intent to expand the war of convenience on terrorism. For the casual observer, all this is very murky because the Pentagon cannot account for what is happening—or does not want to know where the money went, like what happened in Afghanistan and what is happing in Ukraine. Congressional representatives say they do not know what is going on in Niger, and most likely the same is true in their own Congressional Districts.

Even when deployed United States Marines are killed on active duty at Tongatongo, in Niger, and when you look at the map to see where this place is, located right at the border between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, there is no still clarity. This ambush was back in 2017 and until this date, the Pentagon still cannot say what happened to them, and even ABC documentaries have discussed the murkiness and the involvement of intelligence agencies in the opaque operations of the Pentagon in Niger and the rest of West Africa.

This situation all the more reinforces the need for the US to remove its military forces from Africa and to support the peaceful and social-economic development of the region, including forces of social justice in Africa. The US is not a force for constructive activities, but for destruction to be inflicted against the peoples of Africa.

Already, it is “claimed” that ECOWAS leaders have finalized plans for a “potential” intervention in that former French Colony.  However, for the French, it is only a colony that tries to demand self-determination, one of those catchphrases that is sometimes used by diplomats and demagogues on an as needed basis. However, it does not apply to where it is most needed, and when used to describe the demands of the most exploited and dispossessed.

Much is up for grabs, in order to try to keep it away from the Chinese and Russians: Uranium, rare earth metals used in cell phones and batteries, gold, diamond, the teeth of working black men and women.

The French did not develop on the accord of their own “blood and sweat” back in France.  Whatever happened to that value based French government when US was so upset over France not supporting the illegal invasion of Iraq that resulted in the name change in the Congressional Cafeteria  from French Fries to Freedom Fries?

As always, the US military’s role is based on R2P and claims of promoting freedom, democracy and legitimate liberation of the locals, but only for those hand selected locals that are doing the bidding of the imperialists. The title is also a commentary on this tag team of France and the US that are closely monitoring the situation in West Africa, suggesting potential military or strategic action. It should be obvious the motivations of these nations are not purely altruistic, as there are hidden agendas or interests beneath the surface which are center stage.

“Freedom Fries for GIs” highlights the contradictions of the narrative of intervention for the sake of freedom, similar to previous military interventions justified as spreading democracy or liberating oppressed populations. It highlights the complexities, potential ulterior motives, and historical context of such engagements.

However, when you ask the authorities where they have deployed our kids, they just straight up lie. The only way to find out is to piece various newspaper articles together, and that still doesn’t give you any sort of reasonable number.

As I wrote to one source:

I will start from this end, “do you have the names of any units, and if it is just the Kentucky National Guard, or US Army Reserve Units as well?”

Traditionally, national guards units in the United States were for domestic use, such as unrests, natural disasters, and defense against foreign invaders, and only in extreme situations where they would be considered for outside deployments, especially in undeclared wars and questionable assignments, ones that few Americans even know about.  US guard and Army Reserve troops are not supposed to be used for undeclared wars. However, it seems that these are the only kind of wars that the US fights anymore, and without Congressional approval. Nowadays, the former purpose for the National Guard only exists in recruitment posters.

A lot of history is involved here, including State vs. Federal governmental Rights, and how once the National Guard was under the control of the governors of individual states:

When President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to stop the Southern cause he asked Kentucky to supply four regiments, Governor Beriah Magoffin flatly refused, stating, “I say, emphatically, Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states.”

What is happening now is more than wicked

That wouldn’t happen nowadays, a governor refusing the president, even Joe Biden, as America is no longer a free country with the cancelling of State Rights, and  only in name is any state a member of an equal union and an “independent player” in an erstwhile voluntary union.

Subsequently, the Kentucky governor was removed from office, forced to resign.  Any student of American history should be able to tell you the rest of the sordid story, and how the conduct of the bloody American Civil War, the manner in which most American States, and many individual, rights have been cancelled, and how this process continues until now.

I bet a lot of “good ole boys”, salt-of-the-earth “American Patriots”, would not join up or re-enlist if they knew they can be sent to make Africa Democratic at the bidding of Joe and Hunter Biden—part of an elite international class who care less for the plight of Africa and Africans.

It is also worth-nothing, in conclusion, that the last time America agreed with France about a troublesome colony was how to deal with Vietnam, and we can only wait and see “if they will get the same lesson again!”


Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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