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Opinions of Thursday, 18 January 2007

Columnist: Ocran, Kobbi V. Kra

Voluntary Re-Colonization of Ghana to Be Strengthened With US Military Base


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There is an African proverb which says that, "truth is like pregnancy. You can not hide it for ever. It will eventually get exposed". The agenda of building US military base(s) in Ghana has now been exposed.  

Months gone by a number of our Ghanaians drowned on the Volta Lake when they were forcibly removed from a forest reserve they called home. The reasons that the State gave to the Ghanaian public, at the time of tragedy was that, the victims were cutting down trees in the forest reserve. Not much was done for the survivors by our Government. Ghanaweb users contributed to the victims' cause by donating monies to help them deal with their afflictions. My thanks to citizens who helped raise donations and donated to the cause.    

Contrary to the official version of the event, certain citizens leaked disturbing information, which alleged that the Ghanaian government was planning to use the area to build forward bases for the US military. Equally troublingly is the fact that, the Afram Plains is the nation's breadbasket. It stretches along some of the most fertile lands needed for food production.    

Why Afram plains many might ask? The reason is simply. It will be ideal for military bases. The bases will easily have access to fresh water, via the Volta Lake. The Afram Plains is a flat land, which makes it a suitable environment for the construction of airstrips. There are no hills or forests to hide enemies, whether real or imaginary. The lake serves as an easy and reliable route to transport heavy munitions, personnel and vital supplies such as food to the bases. From what this writer has read and seen the US military plans to open up an entrance, via Volta Region and Ada, for their frigates and other small to medium naval vessels.  

The government of Ghana did deny and still denies that, there are any such plans for the US forces in Ghana. It must also be taken into account that, in years gone by, several top US military personnel have visited Ghana in quick succession. Are these visitations a twist of fate or coincidence? Unfortunately for our government, its attempt to shield the truth from the Ghanaian public was exposed by recent interviews granted by US military officials and strategist who are now openly talking about building bases in Senegal, Uganda, Ghana, Djibouti, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. In one such interviews, which was reported by the Insight newspaper, one official stated that, "The United States of America is seriously considering the establishment of a military base in Ghana for the sole purpose of protecting its access to West African oil." Marine General James L. Jones, Head of the US European Command, who made the disclosure said the Pentagon was seeking to acquire access to two kinds of bases in Senegal, Ghana, Mali and Kenya and other African Countries (Source: The Centre for Research on Globalization. (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars and activists. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada).  

 The major risks associated with hosting US military installation include terrorist attacks, the destruction of national culture and more direct US control over the lives of their hosts. Tamale Airport, according to speculation is to be turned into a US air force base if current consultations are concluded."  (Source: The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars and activists. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada).  

  For those of you who follow world trends, please add your thought(s) to this issue, and which I feel needs a national debate. Currently the US buys approximately 15% of its oil from West Africa mainly from Nigeria, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea. The US plans to buy at least 30% of its oil from West Africa, which has vast reserves of unexplored petroleum. We might have to ask Sir Sam Jonah for more details, as a major shareholder in Equator Exploration, a major oil exploration company that owns rights to many of West Africa’s oilfields. USA’s reason is simple. It needs to reduce its risk of being held hostage by oil producing countries in the Middle East and Russia; a reason which makes perfect economic sense. It is also important to US national security.

Africa is a rising player in the world energy field, with North African oil and gas flowing mostly into the EU and rapid rising stocks from West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea to North America and Asia. Africa provided 25% of all new oil and gas discoveries in the world in the last 5 years. Africa’s 300 billion barrels of oil will account for a third of the total global oil production in the next five years adding a whopping 3.5 million barrels per day between 2006 and 2010. Source: BP review of world energy information. Africa is awash with oil and world events are now shifting the spot light onto the continent’s oil and gas reserves.

There is also the Indo-Chino effects, as China and India are now competing with USA for access to energy. The US is doing exactly what China is doing in places such as Angola and Sudan, where China is drilling, transporting and protecting oil facilities for its own use. Sudan currently supplies China 7% of its daily oil needs of about 700, 000 barrels a day for which China has a 24/7 Chinese military presence in Sudan protecting oil fields and pipelines. The world now knows that China protects Sudan at the UN, using its veto to block UN Security Council Resolution on West Darfur because of access to oil. 

  We are all aware of problems in the Nigerian oil producing areas especially in the Delta region. The situation is not about change any time soon. According to some predictions, Nigeria will experience the spasms of a potential civil war as the nation's general elections come closer. There will be a bloodbath should different powerful factions decide to use violence to extort and preserve their power, and does look more probable so by the day. This unsavoury situation will affect oil production, availability for the world. The US knows this, hence, the need for military bases on the West African subcontinent to guarantee oil shipments to US and rest of the world.  

Where else in West Africa can the US operate its military base(s) in peace except Ghana? Nigeria is too unpredictable and Nigerians by nature do not take kindly to foreign occupation of their land. Other English-speaking West Africa countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone are too unstable to host military bases. France will not allow a US base in any of the former colonies. The France still controls lives of its former colonies and US bases in former colonies will be too close for comfort. This leaves Ghana as the only stable country willing to accommodate US military bases. At present, the US is building a new embassy in Cantonments, which is believed to be the biggest of its kind in Africa. One of the huge complexes on the site will be the new African Headquarters and Communication Monitoring Centre for the Central Intelligence Agency. 

At 50, Ghana is still reeling under neo-colonialism. Decedents of the very citizens who aided the West to over throw Nkrumah are now helping the US and other powers to re-colonize us. These traitors parade around in Armani suits, dine in international hotels, smoke the best Cuban cigars and binge on the finest whisky. We now have Western monitors and consultants sitting in on meetings by senior civil servants, all in the name of monitoring developmental funding and capacity building. They tell the nation's policymakers how to spend our resources, price our primary commodity exports. They also dictate to us whom we sell our nation's raw materials and act as agents.

  Ghana has a non reciprocal agreement with the US where on the behest of America, a Ghanaian can be extradited to face charges in the US. The opposite is the case when an American citizen commits a crime in Ghana.. By allowing foreign military bases on our lands, just think of all the possible crimes these unruly GIs will get away with.

  The question is; will American military be protecting oil supplies for the good of the world or solely in America's interest? If the UK, the most trusted and closest ally of the US has not gained from US exploitation, how can Ghana? It is against the backdrop of these stated facts that I oppose any foreign military base in Ghana.  

The US can still protect its oil supplies without relying on Ghana. After all the USA has always maintained a naval battle group on the coast of North Africa, West Africa and South Africa within international waters since the end of the second world war; so why can't it continue to maintain this policy or operate from the joint UK/US base on Diego Garcia?  

There are those who will argue that such a base will create jobs. To them, I say dream on. Temporary manual jobs are not long term economic opportunities. Others may say that the US military bases in Japan, South Korea and Germany helped these countries to develop. This contrary to the truth, those countries have been paying hundred’s of billions to the US in the name of so called helping to protect those nations from enemies.  

Think of the secret CIA prisons and torture camps across Europe, Middle East, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Zanzibar, Djibouti and South East Asia. Ghana could potentially become one of these countries if we allow the US to build a military base on our territory.

 An American military base in Ghana should not be politicized. We need a national and parliamentary debate. I am against it period. Algeria has just recently turned down a request to host the headquarters for US Military operation in Africa. So why is our government so eager to allow bases(s) in Ghana when others are turning away from such installations? 

I might be wrong in my analysis. Let's start a genuine debate and take it all the way to parliament. In my estimation, the NPP government is weak and has failed to weigh the implications that attend hosting military bases on one's soil.

Kobbi V. Kra Ocran

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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