US hires Nigerians as spies

Publié le par hort

http://www.tribune.com.ng/29072007/news/news1.html

US hires Nigerians as spies
 29.07.2007

In a significant and strategic move to shore-up its intelligence gathering potentials and also to conduct a successful war on terrorism, the US government, through its Defence Department and the intelligence community, has started hiring US-based translators of Nigeria’s three major languages as part of what security experts would simply describe as a spy network.

Authoritative US sources confirmed to Empowered Newswire, a US-based Nigerian news agency, that the three major languages the American government are hiring translators for are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, and those to be hired must be current US citizens, who nonetheless must have lived in Nigeria for at least 18 years. The recruitment is not limited to Nigeria, however.

But the US government’s concern over possible infiltration of radical and extremist Islamic fundamentalists into Nigeria is said to be driving this recruitment of translators who would work closely and for the US top spy agencies. For instance in its annual report to the US congress this year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom proposed that the US government should provide “adequate Embassy and Consular staff with appropriate local language skills.”  Instructively, many of those who will qualify for the job would be Nigerians who are now based in the US and have adopted the dual citizenship of the United States.

The National Security Agency, NSA, a largely secretive intelligence gathering arm of the US government based in the state of Maryland, very close to the US capital city of Washington, DC, is said to be the agency that would be using the services of such translators. But the translators are being hired on behalf of the US government by a private Maryland based employment agency known as the Ansell Group based in Maryland, USA.

According to an email circulated by the employment agency among Nigerian professionals in the US recently, translators who get the job would be paid between $40,000 and $70,000 per year for the full time job, besides the other benefits which normally come with such government jobs in the US. Such benefits may include health insurance and an investment package that sets aside part of the monthly payment and a different contribution from the employer into an investment for the worker’s retirement. In the US it is called 401-K. The employment notice added that the job is located in Maryland and identifies the Ansell Group, as the recruiting agency for the job on behalf of the US Defense Department.

The employment notice said there are “several full-time openings for Translators and Linguists to work for a government Contractor in support of a large project for the Department of Defense. These positions involve both verbal translation and written transcription of documents. All work will be performed at a government agency here in Maryland about 15 miles outside Baltimore. The notice also stated that the minimum requirements for the position, which all applicants must meet prior to applying for the job include the following:

1) Candidates must be extremely fluent in both English and their native language.
2) All candidates must have lived in their native country for at least 18 years (no exceptions) and be a current US citizen.
3) All out of state applicants must be willing and able to relocate to Maryland at their own expense.
Under desired skills, the job notice added that “prior translation experience is desired but not necessarily required.” Interested candidates are asked to send their resumes with salary preferences.

But there would also be a background checking process which can take seven to 12 months because it involves some critical security checks that most people working for such US government sensitive jobs must pass. People working in US government jobs normally have to get varying levels of security clearance, depending on the sensitivity level of the assignment. The duties of a translator under the US Defense Department is considered a high-level security job.

That job is under the National Security Agency of the US government. The NSA is an arm of the US Defense Department and is the US government’s cryptologic organization that was officially established in 1952. The NSA is responsible “for the collection and analysis of foreign communications, it coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to produce foreign signals intelligence information.” The agency for which the translators would be working for is also responsible for protecting U.S. government communications and information systems from similar agencies elsewhere, which involves a significant amount of cryptography.Leadership of the US NSA is vested in a 3-star US military officer, and although the NSA is not aswidely known as the US Central Intelligence Agecny, CIA, it is said to be a larger US government agency.

TRANSLATORS ARE NEEDED IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGES:
Arabic Dinka (Bor), Pashto (preferably W. Dari), Somali Tigrinya/Amharic, Urdu (with Punjabi and/or Hindi), Acholi Baluchi Brahui (w/Urdu), Hausa (with or without Yoruba), Yoruba (with or without Hausa), Igbo, Nuer, Swahili, Tajik (w/Uzbek), Zhosa.
 
 
Africom - Wrong for Liberia, Disastrous for the Continent

Fahamu (Oxford)
OPINION
24 July 2007
By Ezekiel Pajibo And Emira Woods
 
February 2007, just 2 months after U.S. aerial bombardments began in Somalia, the Bush Administration solidified its militaristic engagement with Africa when the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the creation of a new U.S. Africa Command infrastructure, code name AFRICOM, to "coordinate all U.S. military and security interests throughout the continent."
 
President Bush said in a White House statement, "This new command will strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa." Ordering that AFRICOM be created by September 30, 2008, Bush said, "Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa" [1] The general assumption of this policy is that prioritising security through a unilateral framework will somehow bring health, education and development, and that the Department of Defense can best serve as architect and arbiter of U.S. Africa policy. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, director of the AFRICOM transition team, emphasised that "By creating AFRICOM, the Defense Department will be able to coordinate better its own activities in Africa as well as help coordinate the work of other U.S. government agencies, particularly the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development" [2]  
This military driven U.S. engagement with Africa reflects the desperation of the Bush Administration in its efforts to control the increasingly strategic natural resources on the African continent, especially oil, gas and uranium. In what is becoming a multi-polar world with increased competition from China, among other countries, for those resources, the U.S. wants above all else to strengthen its foothold in resource-rich regions of Africa.
 
Nigeria is the fifth largest exporter of oil to the U.S. The West African region currently provides nearly 20 percent of the U.S. supply of hydrocarbons, up from 15 percent just five years ago and well on the way to a 25-percent share forecast for 2015.[3] While the Bush Administration endlessly beats the drums for its "global war on terror," the African context underscores that the real interests of the Neoconservatives is less Al Quaeda and more access and control of extractive industries, particularly oil. Responsibility for operations on the African continent is currently divided among three distinct Commands: U.S. European Command, which has responsibility for nearly 43 African countries; U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya; and U.S. Pacific Command, which has responsibility for Madagascar, the Seychelles and the countries off the coast of the Indian Ocean.[4] All three existing Commands have maintained a relatively low-key presence, often using elite special operations forces to train, equip and work alongside national militaries. [5]  A new Africa Command, based potentially in or near oil-rich West Africa would consolidate these existing operations while also bringing core avenues of international engagement from development (USAID) to diplomacy (State Department) even more in line with U.S. military objectives.
 
Africom - Liberia?
 
Africom's first public links with the West African country of Liberia was through a Washington Post oped written by the African-American businessman Robert L. Johnson, "Liberia's Moment of Opportunity." Johnson forcefully endorsed Africom and urged that it be based in Liberia. Then came an unprecedented allAfrica.com guest column from Liberia's president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, "Africom Can Help Governments Willing To Help Themselves," touting Africom's potential to "help" Africa "develop a stable environment in which civil society can flourish and the quality of life for Africans can be improved."  Let's be clear, consolidation and expansion of U.S. military power on the African continent is misguided and could lead to disastrous outcomes. Remember, Liberia's 26-year descent into chaos started when the Reagan administration prioritised military engagement and funneled military hardware, training and financing to the regime of the ruthless dictator Samuel K. Doe. This military "aid," seen as "soft power" at that time, built the machinery of repression that led to the deaths of an estimated 250,000 Liberians.
 
Basing Africom in Liberia will put Liberians at risk now and in the future. Liberia's national threat level will dramatically increase as the country becomes a target of those interested in attacking U.S. assets. This will severely jeopardise Liberia's national security interests while creating new problems for the country's fragile peace and its nascent democracy.  The Bush Administration has already been given the exclusive role of restructuring the Armed Forces of Liberia. A U.S. private military contractor, DYNCORP, was tasked to carry out this function. After more than two years in Liberia and an estimated $800,000 budget allocated, DYNCORP has not only failed to train the 2,000 men it was contracted to train, it has also not engaged Liberia's National Legislature nor civil society in defining the nature, content or character of the new army. DYNCORP allotted itself the prerogative to determine the amount of men/women to be trained and the kind of training it would conduct, (exclusively infantry training), even though Liberia had not elaborated a national security plan nor developed a comprehensive military doctrine. In fact, the creation of Liberia's new army has been the responsibility of another sovereign state, the United States of America, in total disregard to Liberia's constitution, which empowers the National Legislature to raise the national army.
 
This pattern of abuse and incompetence with the U.S. military and its surrogate contractors suggests that if Africom is based in Liberia, the Bush Administration will have an unacceptable amount of power to dictate Liberia's security interests and orchestrate how the country manages those interests. By placing a military base in Liberia, the U.S. could systematically interfere in Liberian politics in order to ensure that those who succeed in obtaining power are subservient to U.S. national security and other interests. If this is not neo-colonialism, then what is?
 
The Bush Administration's new obsession with Africom and its militaristic approach leads to an Africa policy that brings U.S. interference in the affairs of Africa along with more weapons, equipment, and military hardware than schools. By helping to build machineries of repression, these policies reinforce undemocratic practices and reward leaders responsive not to the interests or needs of their people but to the demands and dictates of U.S. military agents. Making military force a higher priority than development and diplomacy creates an imbalance that can encourage irresponsible regimes to use U.S. sourced military might to oppress their own people, now or potentially in the future. These fatally flawed policies create instability, foment tensions, and lead to a less secure world.
 
What Africa needs least is U.S. military expansion on the continent (and elsewhere in the world). What Africa needs most is its own mechanism to respond to peacemaking priorities. Fifty years ago, Kwame Nkrumah sounded the clarion call for a "United States of Africa." One central feature of his call was for an Africa Military High Command. Today, as the African Union deliberates continental governance, there could not be a better time to reject U.S. military expansion and push forward African responses to Africa's priorities. 
 
 Africom must be rejected at all cost. Further, Liberia, long suffering the effects of militaristic "assistance" from the United States, would be the worst possible base.
 
* Ezekiel Pajibo is executive director of the Liberia-based Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE).
* Emira Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies
 
Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org 


Straight talk from Hort 

What amazes me about Africa is that after so many centuries of oppression and destruction it still has not learnt any lessons from its past and so we can only predict more suffering for this continent. 

I do not know what is wrong with our people but there is a major flaw in the way we perceive the world. This is not a new phenomenon, it goes way back to ancient Egypt.  Our ancestors, the ancient egyptians never truly understood that they were surrounded by people who only loved war and so they failed to take the necessary military measures to ensure that they obtained  permanent peace, although they had the means to do so. They never understood that "if you want peace, you must prepare for war." What is worse is that when the Arabs finally drove Africans out of Egypt, there was no modification in their behavior and thus Africa was left wide open for further Arab conquest and eventually enslavement and colonisation by Europeans. It was because of the inaction of our ancestors and their lack of discernment that Africa has had to undergo slavery, colonization, neocolonization and all the other consequences that we know of today.

Present day Africans unfortunately have inherited those same flaws and since independence have taken no measures whatsoever to either protect our defend themselves from our enemies. In fact, we continue to leave our defense in their hands which is nothing but suicidal. Africans had better begin to plan their own defense because those who defend us have already enslaved us and it may happen again.

Publié dans geostrategy

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