Things Are Seldom What they Seem: Obama’s Trip to Ghana

 By Larry Jones

 I once heard a talk by Larry Everest in which he said, “Never believe what the government tells you.” I believe him even more now than I did then. President Bush hid the truth with outright lies. President Obama hides the truth with nuance and high sounding phrases.
Obama recently went to Ghana and talked about the progress in their government and their development. He called Ghana “a trusted partner,” and had his picture taken beside the Cape Coast Castle where tens of thousands of Africans were long ago boarded onto slave ships. He said, "It is reminiscent of the trip that I took to Buchenwald. It reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil. Sometimes we can tolerate and stand by great evil even as we think we are doing good," he said, and called for an end to war and corruption.
This was said, even as he is intensifying the war in Afghanistan and continues to have some 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq who are armed but now are called trainers. In both countries U.S. forces and innocent civilians continue to be killed. As the imperial Commander in Chief, Obama continues to head the drive for U.S. expansionism. Without doubt, the facts show that Obama continues to “stand by great evil” even as he thinks he is doing good.
Let’s assume we give Obama the benefit of the doubt and that he really believes he’s doing good, even though increasingly larger numbers of his progressive followers have come to believe he’s on the wrong path. He is bright and well read and has Africa specialists on his staff. Did he actually not know, for example, that Ghana has a horrific child slave trade, as the L.A. Times reported July 12? 
That he went to Ghana because of its good governance and development is something of a reality stretch. So what’s the real reason he went to Ghana?
Few in the mainstream media have asked this question. Thanks to Democracy Now (DN) and some independent media sources, the question is being asked and all World Can’t Wait readers should also look behind the appearance and see the essence of Obama’s trip to Ghana. 
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of DN asked some Ghanaian experts why they thought Obama went to Ghana and not Kenya. In short, their lucid answers were OIL, which was discovered in Ghana in 2007 and 2008.   Kwesi Pratt, editor of The Insight newspaper in Accra. Ghana, told DN that: “The official reason has been given of Ghana’s fledgling democracy, that the United States of America has a lot of confidence in Ghana’s fledgling democracy. But all of us know that the main interest is oil. If you read the Cheney Report*, the Cheney Report states very clearly that by 2015 American oil imports will move from 11% to 25%. The Cheney Report also makes a recommendation for the establishment of military bases in order to protect American interests and American oil. For me these are the two key reasons why the United States and Obama are interested in this. It has nothing to do with democracy, but the preservation of American interests.”
* The Cheney Report of May 17, 2001 was the product of the new President Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group headed by former oil services executive VP Dick Cheney. Upon its release it was called the NEP or National Energy Report. When Bush released it he said the NEP "reduces demand by promoting innovation and technology to make us the world leader in efficiency and conservation." The Bush/Cheney group talked about conservation, but they were more interested in more oil. They would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a great pristine wilderness in northeastern Alaska. And soon the Bush regime would go after Persian Gulf resources, notably Iraqi oil.
Remember: this report was issued just four months before the U.S. invaded Iraq when we were all lied to as to why. U.S. imperial hegemony in the region and oil were the real reasons which lay behind the appearance. In Chapter 8 of 8 chapters, the Cheney Report finally stated its major purpose, to call for exploitation of foreign oil in three continents, including West Africa, where Ghana is located.
George W. Bush wanted military assurance. Just prior to Obama’s inauguration Bush created AFRICOM (African Command) with a plan for it to be located on the African continent, but African nations don’t want it. Only Liberia has said it would accept its being located there. The rest of Africa’s nations totally reject the idea. In fact there is a website devoted solely to that stand. So AFRICOM has been based since 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany, but hopes to be on the African continent by 2011. African wishes be damned.
China is Africa’s second largest business partner, slightly behind the U.S. Neither nation is in Ghana because they have sympathy for the people or because they want to provide aid to help further the development of their rudimentary infrastructure, much of which was built in the colonial era for the benefit of the British colonialists. The country was led to national independence in 1957 under the guidance of Kwame Nkurmah. Now neo-colonialism, by both China and the U.S., is alive and well in Ghana. In fact, Obama was there to solidify the U.S./Ghana relationship with an eye toward more American oil contracts.
Oil offshore of Ghana was first discovered by a Britain’s Tullow Oil in 2007. In 2008, Kosmos Energy of Texas made the second oil discovery in Ghana. Just a few days ago, Tullow Oil said it had secured the deals it needs with its partners to move forward with production next year. Its partners are Anadarko Petroleum of Texas, Kosmos Energy or Texas, Sabre Oil of Texas, and GNPC (the Ghanaian State company), plus there is even a Ghanaian company owned and run by two Ghanaian natives, E.O. Group Limited.   It has a whopping 3.5% interest in the partnership.  
So even though Tullow gives the impression in their p.r. that they draw their people from West Africa, in fact the partnership is run by number of oil business elites from UK and Texas with a few African faces from the Ghana government and E.O. Group for show.
Since China is communist only in name but capitalist in reality, it needs more foreign oil to continue its industrialization, and sub-Sahara Africa, including Ghana, among a number of other African nations, seemed to be “under exploited,” as some oil executives put it. Under Mao, China was working to become self-reliant.
Don’t you just love the term “under-exploited?”
Kosmos, although part of the above-mentioned Tullow partnership, appears to ready to sell its shares to the Chinese. Said one official in the Ghana government: "The Chinese are prepared to offer good money and also participate strongly in Ghana's emerging oil industry, and government sees an opportunity for an early transfer of technology from the Chinese," said the official, according to a Ghana news source.
Kosmos is largely financed by American venture capitalists Warburg Pincus and Blackstone, from whom they have received $800 billion. Such equity firms buy and sell based on maximizing profits, with little regard for the consequences to others. That’s what capitalism is all about.
The economic battle between the U.S., with its private oil corporations, and China with its state-owned oil companies, will continue for a long time. We need to be continually informed about such developments, especially as U.S. imperialism, now with Obama at the helm, reaches its fangs further and further into the African continent.


Main Projects Organizers Larry Jones Things Are Seldom What they Seem: Obama’s Trip to Ghana


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