Monday, February 23, 2015

Victory at Debaltsevo

        Victory at Dabaltsevo Despite New Minsk 2.0 "Ceasefire"

Novorossia won yet another decisive victory this time at Debaltsevo. Appropriately as I write Novorossia is celebrating Defenders of the Fatherland day a holiday that celebrates the fight of of the red army against the nazis. Now their Grandchildren can celebrate yet another victory over the fascists in Kiev. The Debaltsevo (aka Debalcevo) Cauldron originated last fall as the Debaltsevo Bridgehead a massively fortified position that aimed to disrupt communication between Donetsk and Lugansk they hoped that many NAF lives would be wasted trying to recapture it and that it could then be used to launch an offensive aimed at cutting the two Novorossian Republics the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples republics off from each other. Instead they were cut off and were forced into a sudden  humiliating retreat while others perished trying to fight their way out. The victory itself was fairly predictable what was a surprise was that it was allowed to take place despite the diplomatic deal reached at Minsk. In my last article on Novorossia "Debaltsevo & Diplomacy" I predicted that only a sudden diplomatic surprise could save Ukraine from another major disaster but the victory at Debaltsevo happened even though a ceasefire was signed at Minsk. Of course this "Ceasefire" will prove to be just like the one last fall. In other words fighting will continue, the shelling of Novorossiyan civilians by the Ukrainian army will also continue but there won't be a major offensive again for a little while. However at least this Minsk 2.0 was not as disruptive to the Novorossiyan war effort as the last one which saved the Ukrainian army while in full rout and stopped the NAF from making some easy territorial gains. Because of Poroshenko's complete disconnection from reality Minsk 2.0 did nothing to save the Ukrainianian troops in  Debaltsevo from a humiliating defeat although it doubtless saved a number of their lives. Actually footage surfaced in which the NAF were forced to battle one faction of the Ukrainian army determined to kill their own troops rather then allow them to be evacuated by the NAF after they had surrendered. Yet another reminder of the insanity that now rules Fascist Ukraine.
    First I'll deal with the battle itself. Last Fall ignoring the Ceasefire lines Ukraine seized the town of Debaltsevo an important rail hub between Donetsk and Lugansk. They used the Ceasefire to dig in here as they did all along the lines of battle. An amusing detail both sides in this conflict use lord of the Rings imagery in their propaganda. Thus it was amusing to see the Ukrainian army living like real life hobbits digging out extensive underground homes for themselves with chimneys emerging from beneath the ground. The Kazzura You tube channel had a number of video's of Novorossiyan forces searching through their enemies former homes. In many cases their fires were still burning and it was clear the UA (Ukrainian Army) had fled only moments before. But I'm skipping ahead of course. The point is they were comfortably dug in for the winter. They had built up a massive artillery force to defend themselves and terrorize  the locals.
     However after capturing the Donetsk airport and smashing a massive Ukrainian counterattack the NAF (Novorossiyan Armed Forces) went on the offensive. Although the NAF advances were slow and costly on some fronts the attempt to cut off the Debaltsevo bridgehead made slow and steady progress. According to the indispensable Colonel Cassad  After a failed offensive at Svetlodarsk the decisive  blow came with the capture of Uglegorsk by the NAF. Logvinovo was captured by Olkhon's group. This became the lid of the "cauldron" and the defense was turned over to DPR special forces who managed in a fierce battle to repel the attempt by Ukraine to recapture Logvinovo and unblock the lid of the cauldron. Five of them were killed 30 wounded but they managed to destroy the mechanized forces sent to recapture the town. Trapped and cut off from supplies the UA forces trapped in the cauldron either surrendered leaving behind their tanks, artillery, and APC's or fought disastrous attempts at breaking through which were crushed. An interesting rumor swirling around was that a large number of the "Ukrainain" troops at Debaltsevo were actually foreign mercenaries and even special forces from various NATO countries. Supposedly this contributed to Hollande and Merkel's eagerness to reach an agreement in defiance of the US. Who knows. However there have definitely been western mercenaries operating in Ukraine since the beginning of the war and occasionally english speaking troops get caught on tape. Some of the abandoned Ukrainian equipment captured in Debaltsevo was covered in graffiti in english. Regardless of whether they were they were Ukrainians, mercenaries or NATO Special forces between one and three thousand lost their lives due to the disastrous decision to try to hold onto the Debaltsevo pocket when it was clearly encircled. Massive amounts of their equipment were captured including a bunch of fancy western equipment supplied by the US. Amusingly they transferred equipment from Iraq and crates of rockets marked property of the Iraqi government were among the loot. Novorossia also achieved a major propaganda victory. As with the capture of the Airport Ukraine responded by merely denying the obvious and claiming that there was no Debaltsevo cauldron and their troops were perfectly fine. Now they were faced with a massive embarrassment.  Of course comically Poroshenko claimed that it was all a planned and quite ordinary retreat taking place after another series of glorious victories for Ukraine but I'm sure only the most delusional of his citizens were able to believe that. There was no disguising the massive victory.
    I should mention that the DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko was himself injured in the battle of Debaltsevo when he went down to the front line to inspect the fighting in person. Not many world leaders would risk such danger it should be said. After a brief hospital stay he has seemingly recovered. Also Graham Phillips was Recently warned by the British Foreign office to leave Ukraine clearly certain infamous pro Ukrainian media figures have been trying to get him in trouble and possibly even charged with terrorism for daring to report the truth from Novorossia. He assured his government that he only wore an NAF uniform so as not to attract attention and had only taken weapons training for educational purposes.
    Now to turn our attention to the diplomatic game. Ukraine is only a part of a much greater struggle between Europe, the US, and Russia over the future of Europe. The US seized on the Ukraine as a means of forcing Europe to cut ties with Russia. This is from the US perspective great because it damages the economy of their competitors in Europe, and they hope will it force them to cement their ties with NATO meaning buy more US weapons. They hope to destabilize Russia by Isolating it and have launched an Economic war against it. They want Putin overthrown and eventually Russia itself broken up. Russia meanwhile hopes to use the Crisis to demonstrate yet again how crazy the Americans are. Their current style of war always seems to aim at producing a failed state (Inspiring Pepe Escobar to coin the phrase empire of Chaos) . With no end in sight to the current war there is no telling how far America's newest branch of it's "Arc of Crisis" will spread. If Europe doesn't come to it's senses after a decade or two it may start to experience Iraqification to coin a term. Europe "whole and free" could become a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by fascist warlords. Thus Lavrov must explain again and again to the europeans that the US is clearly creating a series of disasters where ever it intervenes Iraq Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, the list goes on and on. Now Ukraine is well on it's way to becoming a failed state and just like Iraq could begin to destabilize it's neighbors in the long term.
    Actually I've recently been reading the Father of Geostrategy Halford J. Mackinder writing a hundred years ago right after World War 1. Back then the chief British goal was to prevent a possible German Russian alliance. Bismarck had succeeded in establishing one earlier but his advice was disregarded after he was forced to retire and instead they would be on opposite sides in both world wars. The German's well remember this fact and so with the end of the Cold War Germany and Russia began to form close business ties. It's an open secret that a faction in Germany secretly would like to ally with Russia. Together they would have the power to dominate all of Eurasia according to Mackinder. A strong Russia is already a major danger because it is located in what Mackinder calls the Heartland of Eurasia. It was equally dangerous to have a Russia under German domination. Russia's resources combined with German industry would have made them an unbeatable power. This incidentally is why Hitler wanted to conquer the Soviet Union. After that according to Geostrategic theory he really would have been able to dominate the world. However especially dangerous would be any alliance between Russia and Germany since free from worrying about being attacked from the East, Germany  would have been able to dominate western Europe. A hundred years later the same game is being played. The US wants at all cost to keep Europe divided from Russia. Personally I think they should be worrying more about the way they have pushed Russia and China together but instead this is what they are worried about. The US plans to create a cold war to keep Russia and Europe Isolated from each other have created a backlash in Paris and Berlin. Observers  like Pepe Escobar saw the Minsk 2 agreement as evidence that Europe is moving closer to the Russian position. The US made this obvious by announcing plans to ship weapons to Ukraine at the same time that Russia France and Germany were trying to arrange a peace deal. In other words they were clearly at that moment moving in opposite directions. Others like Joaquin Flores even believe that Minsk 2.0 was intentionally written so as to allow the Debaltsevo Cauldron to be cleared. What is certain is that Poroshenko's refusal to acknowledge the existence of the Debaltsevo Cauldron meant that the issue wasn't clearly addressed in the Minsk accords allowing the victory at Debaltsevo to occur despite the ceasefire. The NAF claimed that since the Debaltsevo was officially in territory under their control that they had the right to resist any attacks aimed at breaking out or breaking in. Personally I am a bit skeptical that France or Germany will be breaking from the US orbit any time soon. If they ever got up the courage We'd probably see a presidential plane crash, assassination, or even a western european color revolution.
   The Minsk 2.0 agreements should be seen merely as another move in what will prove a very long diplomatic game over the war in Ukraine. Last time I obsessed over the details and worked myself into a panic over the various clauses that could be interpreted to mean a practical surrender. However the worst never occurred the NAF were never disarmed for instance. Thus this time instead I'll go by what happened in the last Ceasefire rather than by a bunch of protocols that will probably never be implemented. It is the final peace treaty that will be important and who knows how many years this war will last. The US has consistently shown they are only interested in escalating the situation further.  All this ceasefire will mean is a slight decrease in activity until Ukraine regroups and launches it's next offensive. However so far the NAF have proven to be able not just to defend Novorossia but to score brilliant victories. So long as their Success holds out Novorossia will survive a symbol of resistance to Fascism and Imperialism. So i salute the brave defenders of Novorossia on their victory. And I salute the brave people of Novorossia stubbornly refusing to leave their homes despite all the hardships of this war from the shelling by the Ukrainian army to the hunger and cold.


It's always a good Idea to read imperial planners once in a while. Thus let me recommend "Democratic Ideals and Reality" by Halford John Mackinder. He will give you a major lesson in Geography, History, and Geo-Strategy. Brezinski used many of his ideas in the infamous "Grand Chessboard" I learned about him from Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (See my June Alternative Media Spotlight 2) I also recently read "The Twenty Years Crisis 1919-1939" by Edward Hallet Carr which is an excellent introduction to geopolitics. His analysis of the inherent Hypocrisy of the Anglo-Americans is priceless and just as relevant today.

Colonel Cassad on the Debaltsevo Cauldron any one wanting a much more detailed account of the war in Ukraine should regularly read this blog translating his work into english.

Colonel Cassad on Graham Phillips

Pepe Escobar on Germany

Joaquin Flores is a brilliant but controversial analyst those obsessed with the Ukraine crisis should definitely see what he has to say. He is a sort of post-modern Machiavelli. His work does have it's sinister side. However he's just too interesting to ignore. In this essay he examines the scenario of a failed state in Ukraine

and here He discusses the new Minsk agreements

Zhakharchenko in Debaltsevo

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cuba Fought To Free South Africa

           The War in Angola How Cuba Helped Liberate Southern Africa

   The War in Angola is little remembered today yet it played an important role in the history of the world. It would lead to the end of Apartheid in Southern Africa including in South Africa itself. Actually it would have quite shocking unforeseen consequences a topic I discussed at the end of my last article on Angola the February 2015 "CIA in Africa" the war in Angola would lead to the war on terror itself. This article is the fourth entry in a series on the war in Angola and Cuba's role in Africa. The First was the September 2014 Che Guevara in the Congo examining Cuba's early involvement in Africa which included Che Guevara's failed effort to aid the Simba's in the Congo, and Cuba's successful efforts to aid the PAIGC guerrillas under the leadership of the brilliant Amilcar Cabral in liberating Guinea Bissau from Portugal. The Second Article also in September 2014 "Castro vs. Kissinger in Angola" dealt with the first year of the war in Angola when Castro sent aid to the MPLA the most popular of the three factions in battling it's rivals the CIA and Mobutu backed FNLA and the CIA and South African Backed UNITA. Then Cuba sent thousands of troops to Angola in order to help it resist a South African invasion launched with the secret encouragement of the US. Both these articles relied on Piero Gleijeses excellent book "Conflicting Missions." The third the CIA in Africa examined the War in Angola as depicted by CIA whistleblower John Stockwell in his classic book "In Search of Enemies." Now this Article will bring the story of Cuban involvement in Angola to it's conclusion relying on Piero Gleijeses second book on the topic "Visions of Freedom."
    To briefly summarize the strain of fighting multiple wars in Africa to hold onto it's colonies proved to much for Fascist Portugal and the government was over thrown in the Carnation revolution. The new government announced that it would grant it's colonies independence. In Angola there were three armed movements vying for control. However the MPLA was the most popular and competent of the three. During the struggle for independence Cuba had helped train some MPLA troops and the two had become allies. Thus with independence approaching they decided to help aid the MPLA. The FNLA was lead by Holden Roberto who was Mobutu's the then Dictator of Zaire Son in law. (Zaire is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo where 10 million have died as a result of an invasion from US proxies Rwanda and Uganda see my February 2014 "Uganda, Rwanda, Congo") The FNLA would never recover from their disastrous defeat in the first year of the war and would become irrelevant even loosing Mobutu's support. UNITA was lead by Jonas Savimbi a ruthless and Charismatic figure. He was infamous for  having the wives and children of his political opponent publicly burned at the stake. During the war for independence he had been working with the Portuguese and he was equally willing to work with Apartheid South Africa and the CIA. However unlike Holden Roberto Savimbi was an experienced fighter and so would end up receiving massive support from South Africa and the US in waging a terror campaign aimed at destabilizing Angola.  Savimbi and South Africa hoped this would lead to his eventual rule over Angola.
    South Africa had the most powerful military in Africa. It's primary concern was to preserve it's system of Apartheid whereby a prosperous white minority lived in luxury through the exploitation of the black majority who were used for cheap labor, had no rights and who were the victims of a constant terror campaign by South Africa's government meant to maintain the status quo through the usual methods of torture and murder. South Africa had watched with concern as more and more of the continent had fallen under black rule. They had  cooperated with Portugal in suppressing black revolutionary movements in Angola. With the fall of Portugal's empire in Africa they hoped to maintain Apartheid control of two countries to their north Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) and Namibia (they called it Southwest Africa.) They also were waging a covert war in Mozambique during the same time period supporting the brutal RENAMO. The MPLA were determined to aid the movements seeking to liberate Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa itself. In Cuba was equally committed to helping these movements. In Namibia there was SWAPO and they relied on bases in Angola to train fighters to infiltrate Namibia. In Rhodesia there were ZANU and ZAPU Cuba and Angola helped train ZAPU but skipping ahead it was the Robert Mugabe lead ZANU that would end up ruling the country when it finally held free elections. The sight of radical groups ruling in Zimbabwe made South Africa all the more determined to prevent a similar scenario in Namibia. In addition the South African's were determined to stamp out the ANC and their armed wing the MK. Cuba and MPLA lead Angola were equally determined to aid them in their struggle and provided training camps in Angola for them. Thus South Africa was motivated through ought the war by the hope of gaining control of Angola so that it could destroy SWAPO and the ANC. Fidel Castro had correctly seen the importance of Angola and correctly predicted that a defeat for South Africa here would eventually lead to the liberation of all of southern Africa. Thus Cuba was in Angola to liberate southern Africa while South Africa was intervening to keep it enslaved.
    The US motivation would shift. Initially it would be a desire by Kissinger in the wake of the fall of Saigon only months before to demonstrate that the US was still willing to protect it's interests any where in the world. Ironically it's actual economic interests were not threatened by the MPLA who were desperate for foreign investment to develop their country which had been kept purposely poor, uneducated and backwards during Portuguese rule. However Kissinger was mostly doing it all for symbolic reasons. Since the USSR were supplying weapons to the MPLA the US would supply the other two groups. However since the MPLA was still winning the civil war despite massive CIA support for it's enemies the US through backchannels encouraged South Africa to invade. However Cuba which already had advisers in the country helping to train the MPLA caught wind of the whole thing and Fidel Castro after consulting with the MPLA sent 30,000 Cuban troops to help Angola resist the South African invasion. Cuba and the MPLA would manage to stop the South African invasion and then force them out. Thus Kissinger's attempt to demonstrate American prestige had ended in humiliating failure. By a wonderful coincidence shortly after I finished my second article discussing all this a New York times article came out revealing that after his failure Kissinger had flown into a rage and had actually considered attacking Cuba in retaliation.
    The new American goal was to get the Cuban's to leave. However the South African's had a large force stationed in Namibia from which it could launch an attack on Angola at any time. Cuba promised the MPLA that they would remain in Angola to help defend against any future invasion so long as the MPLA wanted them to remain. Actually here I should mention one of the most Charming features of "Visions of Freedom" is that with his access to the Cuban archives he is able to reconstruct exactly what Cuba's relations were with the various players in minute detail and what emerges is a surprising picture to those used to following the cynical strategies of American officials. Cuba really is run by idealists although idealists who have learned pragmatism and realism through hard experience they remain at core idealists. Thus on the one hand Cuba showed a surprising deference to their weaker allies in Angola even though their aid was vital to the governments very survival. They also showed a surprising independence from the Stronger Soviets even though Soviet aid was vital in their survival. The Soviets for their part tolerated a great deal of independence from Cuba even in the dark days of Gorbachev's rule when he was eager to win US good will by betraying his allies in places like Afghanistan and Nicaragua. The Cuban's also showed unbelievable courage in the face of threats from the US. Basically You'll have to read the book to get the full flavor but it is wonderful to read with what courtesy and integrity Cuba always behaved throughout the years of the war. Cuba's aid was not only military they also sent thousands of doctors, teachers, and construction workers. They also opened special schools in Cuba providing education for over 50,000 African students and today many of Africa's doctors were trained in Cuba.
    The primary US goal became to get the Cubans to leave. In the Carter years there was conflict in the administration between Cyrus Vance and infamous geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Vance hoped to restore the US reputation in the world by ending it's alliances with some of the most notorious regimes in the world. Brzezinski on the other hand was more concerned with expanding US power and battling the soviets. Thus while Carter opposed South Africa personally after a few early statements condemning apartheid he ended up doing nothing to pressure them to change since Brzezinski convinced him it would be a bad idea to put sanctions on South Africa while it was opposing the Cubans. South Africa was illegally occupying Namibia and the UN had passed resolution 435 ordering them to leave but the US made sure there would be no penalties for their refusal. Officially however the US demanded that South Africa end it's illegal occupation in Namibia.  Carter had considered normalizing relations with Angola but wanted a cuban withdrawal in return. The MPLA were not about to force their only protection against South Africa to leave. Carter had also toyed with the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba but since one of their conditions was Cuban withdrawal from  Africa it never happened. In addition Cuba later intervened to stop a Somalian invasion of the Ogaden in Ethiopia which ruined all chances of a deal. During most of Carter's administration the war was confined to the Illegal support of UNITA by the CIA and South Africa. It was Illegal because after the scandal that broke after the Initial defat of US efforts in Angola congress had passed the Clark Amendment forbidding covert US involvement in Angola. UNITA used the money to terrorize the country in cooperation with South African special Forces. The South African's tried to hide their involvement by painting their skins black and by leading specially trained black troops known as buffalo soldiers. Thus the war was mostly low intensity throughout the Carter years until 1979 when South Africa launched a major attack on Angola bombing a Namibian refugee camp and also sending a land invasion. It was to be the first of many invasions of Angola South Africa would launch. It had airbases in Namibia and was able to maintain air superiority over southern Angolan through most of the war. The west did nothing to condemn the attack. Basically during the Carter years the war continued but Carter was unenthusiastic and uncomfortable with being allied with South Africa which alienated even close US allies in Africa.
    However with Reagan's election the US approach became more aggressive. Reagan strongly supported both South Africa and Savimbi. His administration was also the scene of conflict between realist hawks Chester Crocker and His bosses the Secretaries of State first Alexander Haig and then George Schulz vs what the Author misleadingly labels true Reaganites better known today as Neo-Conservatives. Israel and South Africa were close allies and Israel used it's Powerful lobby in Washington on South Africa's behalf. Angola became a pet cause of the Neo-Conservatives in the 80's and they adored Jonas Savimbi and UNITA as well. Although Reagan shared these beliefs his secretaries of State were able to win the power struggle on this Issue and Chester Crocker was allowed to control Angola policy during the entire Reagan administration. His strategy was known as Linkage he decided to link the Cuban withdrawal from Angola with a South African withdrawal from Namibia. This ignored the fact that South Africa had been illegally Occupying Namibia long before the Cubans had arrived and that the Cubans had arrived because of a South African invasion from Namibia. Basically it served to justify the illegal occupation of Namibia.  South Africa Ruled by the hardliner PW Botha had no intention of ever leaving Namibia and allowing free elections because it was unwilling to tolerate a SWAPO victory which it's spies in BOSS assured them would be the result in fair elections. However they were happy to have diplomatic cover to remain in Namibia. The Cubans were not going to withdraw until South Africa did and so the war continued. However during the entire war Crocker played a complex diplomatic game that would in the end bear fruit Ironically because of Cuban victories not his tireless diplomacy.
   South Africa continued to launch periodic invasions and along with the CIA funded and trained an ever growing UNITA. Because of South African air superiority in Southern Angola the Cubans were forced to withdraw to a defensive line further north where they lived in underground tunnels prepared to resist a south African attempt to take the capital. Luckily for Angola the south of the country was sparsely populated and mostly a wasteland. Much of the South of Angola fell under South African and UNITA control and Savimbi established a base near the Namibian border from which he directed a terror campaign against Angola. One tactic he used was to plant land mines in the fields so that the peasants would be to frightened to harvest their crops or to farm. By wars end the UN estimated that 50,000 Angolan's had been killed or injured by these mines. He also launched attacks against vital infrastructure blowing up bridges and paralyzing the railroad. The MPLA was given conflicting advice on what to do. The Cuban's advised them to concentrate on training their forces to fight a counter-insurgency war against Angola. Cuba would prevent an attempt by South Africa to invade the north of the country. The Soviets however advised them to train a conventional force that would be able to resist South Africa. The Soviets had little experience with Guerrilla war after World War 2 and this would prove to be disastrous to them in Afghanistan and would also lead them to give bad advice in Angola. The Cubans on the other hand had fought a successful guerrilla war ending in a victorious revolution. They had then put down a CIA backed terror campaign aimed at overthrowing their new regime. They had also been involved in a highly successful Guerrilla war in Guinea-Bissau. Thus through out the war the Cuban advice would prove correct while the soviets were wrong. The FAPLA Angola's army took the soviet advice and neglected the UNITA threat. UNITA continued to expand it's area of operations. Meanwhile FAPLA would prove no match for South Africa although they often managed to mount a stubborn and brave resistance.
    Once it became obvious that the Cuban's had proved right about the danger of UNITA the soviets again gave the MPLA some bad advice urging FAPLA to launch an offensive far into the south to seize the UNITA base at Mavinga eventually planning to take Jamba. The Cuban's warned that this would be too dangerous without air support to fend off the South African air force but were ignored and after some initial success against UNITA they were attacked by South Africa loosing many men and barely managing to retreat. Then strangely the whole scenario was repeated again a couple years later with the same ignored warnings from Cuba. This time after intervening to save UNITA south Africa decided to seize the strategic town of Cuito Cuanavale in the North. South Africa hoped that it could replace linkage over Namibia with Linkage over Angola. South Africa would force cuban troops to leave and force the MPLA to reach a power sharing agreement with UNITA. For Years Cuba had lobbied the Soviets to provide them with enough air defense equipment that they could both protect Cuba and end South Africa's control of the skies of Southern Angola. The Soviets had put them off. Reagan had announced his hope to invade Cuba early in his administration and US diplomats had even threatened Cuba with all out war if they refused to withdraw from Africa but despite the danger the Cubans had stood firm. However during most of the Reagan administration they constantly worried about the possibility of invasion. However by the time of the siege at Cuito Cuanavale the Iran Contra scandal had occurred Reagan had been forced to fire many hardliners and Cuba decided it was much less likely that the US would invade Cuba. Castro decided to take a major gamble. He Shipped many of Cuba's own anti-Air defenses and it's best planes to Angola along with a major force of reinforcements. Since he knew the soviets would disapprove since Gorbachev was trying to negotiate a nuclear disarmament treaty with the US he decided not to tell them until it was already under way. Castro actually personally planned the entire campaign that followed and the strategy behind it. First he sent enough Cuban reinforcements to encourage the FAPLA defenders of Cuito Cuanavale to successfully hold out under siege then he launched a surprise offensive deep into the southwest. Accompanied by FAPLA troops and SWAPO guerrillas the Cubans began to frantically construct an airbase in Southern Angola close enough not just to protect southern Angola but also to strike the south African Airbases in Namibia. While the airport was under construction the Cuban's were able to protect their forces with mobile anti-Air defenses and slowly pushed the south Africans south back towards Namibia. Eventually the Airport was completed and South Africa found itself with the tables completely turned. The Cubans fought several successful clashes with the South African's and they were forced to retreat back to Namibia. One of the funniest scenes in the book was when the returning troops were greeted as victors and had to stand around disgusted and depressed as their humiliating defeat was celebrated as a wonderful victory. Meanwhile Castro used the victory for full political advantage bluffing the South African's into believing that he might be willing to invade Namibia.
   Here diplomacy came into play and Chester Crocker was finally able to negotiate his linkage. Cuba was extremely lucky with the timing they were able to negotiate from a position of strength since no one suspected how quickly things would begin to unravel in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact. Castro was able to force the South Africans to withdraw from Namibia so that they could no longer directly menace Angola. Since he closely followed the events in South Africa he correctly guessed that apartheid would fall soon. The first victory over South Africa had inspired  a massive wave of revolt among the black population and the movement had been steadily growing finally gaining support even in the US where sanctions had finally passed a couple years before despite Reagan's Veto. Earlier he had come up with a linkage of his own Cuba would stay in Angola until the fall of Apartheid. Now with South Africa defeated he correctly saw that it's plans for hegemony over southern Africa ruined it was only a matter of time before they would be forced to admit defeat and negotiate with the ANC. Cuba agreed that it would withdraw over a two year schedule. South Africa agreed to withdraw from Namibia and hold elections. Although they tried a bunch of dirty tricks and tried to leave behind a proxy death squad within the police force SWAPO emerged victorious. There was however a tragic incident before then when SWAPO tried to return to the country fully armed although with orders not to engage Namibian or South African forces. The US managed to gain UN authorization for South Africa to respond and they launched attacks killing a number of SWAPO members. In the end though SWAPO won the elections.
    In the US Crocker received all the credit for events in Namibia. The Cuban role in the fall of Apartheid is still largely unknown. In South Africa once the ANC was victorious they erected a wall to commemorate those who died in the struggle against South Africa they included the names of the more then two thousand Cubans who gave their lives in Angola. They are the only foreign names included. When Nelson Mandela won south Africa's first free elections he invited Fidel Castro as a guest of Honor to his inauguration. Fidel Castro had outsmarted Kissinger and Brzezinski and helped finally liberate all of southern Africa. It was one of his proudest moments. Every one of the thousands of Cubans who served in Angola had been a volunteer hopefully articles like this one will see that there contributions are finally remembered. Today Cuba no longer sends troops out on internationalist missions but it still sends thousands of doctors and teachers around the world. Most recently they have played a vital role in trying to fight ebola in Africa.
    The war in Angola once again reveals the false rhetoric clothing the American empire as utter hypocrisy. Despite it's constant talk of freedom it supported Portuguese efforts to crush independence movements seeking to liberate their countries from foreign domination. Portugal was a lFascist country. They then Allied with south Africa in it's attempts to maintain Apartheid over southern Africa. They supported Savimbi a ruthless warlord as he terrorized his country. Ironically even after the peace agreement they continued to support Savimbi and he would maintain his war for many more years.
    This brings us to Angola as part of the settlement the MPLA agreed to hold elections with UNITA allowed to run. Ironically these elections would have taken place long before if the CIA hadn't decided to launch a covert war in Angola to prevent an MPLA victory. The MPLA gradually became corrupted after there original leader Agostinho Neto died in 1979. Although it relied on Soviet and Cuban aid for survival the majority of it's trade was with the west. It fell prey to neocolonialism and is unfortunately today just another of Africa's corrupt governments in thrall to Multinational corporations. Namibia today still suffers under an informal form of Apartheid while ironically South Africa is according to Andre Vltchek fairly integrated and finally making some much needed efforts in trying to improve the lot of the majority of the population. Unfortunately the final liberation of Africa from colonial settler rule coincided with the fall of the Soviet Union and so today Africa is in a neocolonial bondage with only a few rays of hope Like Eritrea. Today the new Cold War in Africa is between Chinese business and America's network of armies organized under Africom. The US is massively expanding it's military presence on the Continent. Unfortunately it is clear that Africa will have to fight to liberate itself all over again.
    Cuba meanwhile survives. After the fall of the Soviet Union the US redoubled it's efforts to destroy Cuba pressuring Russia to cut aid while waging a brutal economic war. Only through a truly heroic effort were the Cuban people able to survive and adapt during the 90's. However at the end of the 90's a wonderful surprise happened. In the Early days of the Cuban revolution Cuba had hoped to liberate Latin America. It had trained revolutionaries and sent out small numbers of advisers to aid revolutionary groups throughout Latin America. The efforts had seemed to be a failure in fact this failure was one reason Cuba turned it's attention to Africa. However many years later they had born fruit. In Venezuela Cuba had inspired and aided an attempted revolution it had initially failed but the influence of the former fighters had spread throughout Venezuela and Hugo Chavez inspired by many of their Ideas eventually took power. The Cuban example had finally been emulated. Now all of Latin America threatens to break out of the US orbit while the US is preoccupied with trying to conquer Eurasia.
   Recently the US has finally announced that it wants to normalize relations with Cuba. Of course at the same time it admits that this is merely to attempt to overthrow it. US politicians lecture Cuba about human right they even had the Arrogance to claim that Mexico Canada and the US would help "reform" Cuba. Canada with it's secret genocides against it's indigenous population. Mexico where a 100,000 people have died in what is oversimplified into a drug war. Yet many are victims of the same sorts of right wing death squads the US is notorious for training throughout Latin America. The whole thing covertly fueled by the US. Finally we have the US worst of all waging war on the entire planet funding Nazis in Ukraine, Jihadi's in Syria, sparking tensions all across the pacific, waging war in Colombia, Africa, and too many places to name. We must defend Cuba from such insane hypocrisy. We must remember the proud role Cuba has played in freeing Africa from the brutal oppression of Apartheid and Colonialism an oppression fully supported by America and it's European allies. The proud role it has played in freeing Latin America. The tiny Island of Cuba provides a bright light of hope in our dark world.

Anyone interested in this topic should definitely read Piero Gleijeses "Conflicting Missions" and "Visions of Freedom." I also recommend John Stockwell's "In Search of Enemies" for an insider account of the early stages of the war in Angola. Read my June 2014 "Alternative Media Spotlight 2" for some great resources if you would like to understand current events in Africa. Also see my march 2014 "Israel Apartheid SouthAfrica" for a discussion of the Israeli Role which I briefly alluded too. Israel is launching a P.R. campaign to try to erase their role in this history. Read "Israeli Foreign Policy South Africa and Central America" by Jane Hunter for more on this topic.

Piero Gleijeses on Why South Africans love Cuba

Here is a great interview From Your World News with Piero Gleijeses on Cuba and Angola

An Article by Keith Harmon Snow on Angola's Brutal exploitation by the Diamond industry

A great Documentary on the Victory of Cuba over South Africa that ended the war

And a Documentary on Apartheid in Namibia

Andre Vltchek on South Africa

Andre Vltchek on Namibia

Another Article based on Piero Gleijeses books

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Debaltsevo & Diplomacy

          The War in Ukraine from Debaltsevo to Diplomacy

    The war in Ukraine has been heating up. Novorossiya is on the verge of yet another victory. As usual their successes have been greeted with the usual hypocritical outcry of horror from western politicians. Kiev's constant shelling of civilians throughout the so called cease fire were completely ignored but as soon as a counter-offensive is launched to attempt to capture the towns from which this shelling is taking place then suddenly the west begins to pay attention to events in Ukraine. Early in the renewed conflict this hypocrisy was especially on display when Mauripol was hit by shelling. Suddenly it became an international news story despite the fact that the constant attacks on civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk had been completely ignored. A disgraceful selective blindness in the media which reveals them yet again acting as propagandists on behalf of empire and worse apologists for the fascists in Kiev. More importantly this latest round of Novorossiyan successes inspired Merkel and Hollande to try to negotiate with the Russians to put the conflict on hold. The US on the other hand seemed determined to escalate things with John Kerry openly arguing for the overt support of the fascist Kiev regime.
    First let's turn to the newly intensified fighting in Ukraine. As I mentioned in my January article "Cuba Chechnya and Ukraine" after months of fighting during the illusory cease fire Donetsk airport was finally decisively captured an enormous symbolic blow to the Ukrainians who had mythologized it's forces there as cyborgs. Those interested in getting a feel for the tough battle for the airport should watch a great series of Documentaries on Kazzura's YouTube channel called Donbass Under Fire just click the playlists button and scroll down till you find them. The First and Third and last all feature long sections on the battle for the terminal. The second "The Separatists" is in many ways the best concentrating on the plight of the civilians under fire as they attempt to continue with their lives despite the constant shelling. One detail I hadn't thought of is how terrible it must be to have ones windows shatter because of shelling during the dead of winter. Repair brigades fight an endless battle to restore heat and electricity and to fix damaged houses. Truly a tragic and inspiring struggle to continue with life amidst war. To return to the battle for the Airport the Ukrainians were deep beneath the ground of the airport armed to the teeth and it was an extremely slow and dangerous process to clear them out. The two sides rarely saw each other and the Novorossiyan side mostly understood their enemy from the loot from each captured section the weapons and food they were forced to leave behind and the graffiti they scrawled all over the place. It was like fighting ghosts. After months of fighting they finally managed to clear the airport. Kiev panicked and sent a disastrous counter attack to attempt to recapture the airport which was completely destroyed the survivors paraded on TV and even before the enraged local citizens. Then Novorossiya announced it was going on the offensive. The NAF (Novorossiyan Armed Forces) attempted to capture the towns from which the shelling originated. However progress has been slow as the UAF (Ukrainian armed Forces) had plenty of time to dig in. Apparently these attempts have been very costly for both sides and the UAF have prevented much advance. However a Ukrainian offensive into Debaltsevo was gradually surrounded and is slowly being cut off with only a single road in or out the M103 that isn't cut off yet but vulnerable to NAF attacks. Yet again Novorossiya hopes to trap the Ukrainians in what is known as a cauldron. For those who haven't been paying attention Cauldron is a term popularized last summer for when the Ukrainians would launch an offensive that would then be surrounded and then cut off and mercilessly shelled until they were killed surrendered or often were eventually allowed to escape provided they left behind all their heavy weapons. No one knows exactly how many UAF forces perished last year in these massive cauldrons but it was thousands. Now in Debaltsevo the UAF is very close to suffering the same thing yet again. For the past couple of weeks the NAF has been successfully tightening the encirclement. Last week they managed to capture the town of Uglegorsk which provided a boost to morale. According to Colonel Cassad the Ukrainians have made the defense of Debaltsevo  another huge symbolic point and apparently various commanders and Defense department officials will loose their jobs if what seems likely to happen does happen and the town is captured. Also another thing Colonel Cassad pointed out is that in this war both sides are much better at defense then offense. Thus it isn't surprising that Kiev's latest disaster is the result of it's own offensive falling into the same trap they did last year.
    Of course in the world of the Mass media the opposite reality is portrayed. According to the New York times for example the Rebels broke the Ceasefire. In reality of course there never was a ceasefire in the literal sense fighting continued and more importantly kiev continued to fire artillery and rockets at it's former citizens throughout the fall and winter. It's only real signifigance is that it saved the Ukrainian army which had been routed and it stopped the NAF from seizing more territory most notably Mauripol. Basically Russia wanted to avoid the diplomatic heat that what come with too great a Novorossiyan victory. Every time the NAF is too successful the west starts shouting about the regular  Russian army invading Ukraine. Although in fairness Colonel Cassad admitted last year that this wasn't entirely without foundation during last falls massive victory at Illovask in paraphrasing his words the Voentorg ( a word signifying The mysterious process of supplying Novorossiya through private NGO's and covert support from the Russian government ) the Voentorg got angry and decided to fight. Although it was fun last spring to deny any Russian involvement and other then the captured APC last year there is little actual proof I doubt the state department would bother to to cite my blog as evidence and so I don't deny that there is covert support by Russia and on rare occasions they have actually sent reinforcements at certain vital times. In general though they prefer to maintain plausible deniability and most of the Russians fighting in Ukraine are volunteers (Although clearly the Russian army has adopted a policy whereby those wishing to fight in Ukraine are granted long leaves of absence so that they can join the NAF). The real issue is that Russia is sending volunteers to protect the people of Donbass while western countries are sending Fascist volunteers, Polish soldiers, Israeli volunteers (cynically fighting on behalf of Nazis because of Russia's support for Syria) NATO special forces, Academi (Formerly Blackwater) Mercenaries, CIA advisers, US Special forces etc are all there to help Ukraine commit mass murder of civilians aimed at ethnically cleansing the south East of the country. Russia isn't invading Ukraine it is helping to defend Novorossiya.
     Thus the issue of "Russian Aggression" is simply a ploy that is brought up whenever the Ukrainian side is loosing to pressure Moscow in the hopes that they will put pressure on the NAF to halt their advance. It was quite successful last fall and the Minsk protocol was widely condemned by Novorossiya's supporters (including this blogger) for stopping the NAF for taking advantage of their victory last fall. However I think we may have overestimated the importance of the actual terms and I am now more sympathetic to the view that it served to somewhat legitimize the existence of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Unfortunately it may probably take years  before an independent Novorossiya is recognized by at least some countries (It might take decades for the US and Europe I'm reminded of how stubbornly the west refused to acknowledge the fact the The People Republic of China was the legitimate government of China giving that title instead to the Tiny drug Dealing dictatorship in Taiwan for over 20 years) It's almost more likely that Ukraine will completely collapse before Novorossiya is ever left in peace. Thus we should take the long view of the conflict in Ukraine this war may last years and the diplomatic games will last even longer. However every year that Novorossiya survives the more likely it is that it will someday be recognized. A new nation born out of resistance to Fascism, Oligarchy and Globalization.
    The Diplomatic effort to put a halt to the escalated fighting has so far completely failed. Hollande and Merkel met privately with Putin but failed to come to an understanding. What exactly they talked about was secret and apparently they met in Moscow to avoid NSA wiretapping. A sad testament to their subservience to Washington. How amusing it would be to know just what is in those files the US uses to blackmail the various heads of state of the world. And what's in the files the intelligence agencies use to blackmail congress and the president. Oh well we can dream that some day there will some truly scandalous leaks. Of course now that I think about it It's not such a mystery what the files contain corrupt business deals, connections to organized crime, Affairs, Orgies, child molestation, Theft, bribery, Treason, epic levels of drug abuse, and of course murder. You just have to go by the intermittent scandals that rock our democracies on both the local and the national level.
   Whatever their secrets Hollande and Merkel sought try to make some sort of deal to stop the escalation of the conflict. On a Geostrategic level this conflict is ironically aimed just as much at Europe as at Russia or rather the whole point of it is to force Europe and Russia to cut off their business ties under the theory that what is bad for the EU is good for the US. It also serves to reassert US dominance over Europe's foreign policy. It all happened before when after World War 2 under the guise of protecting Europe from Soviet aggression the US basically colonized the continent although back then western Europe was far more independent with trouble makers like De Gaulle. The US views Europe as both an ally and a competitor. Thus smashing French and German ties to Russia is in US interests especially since it damages both Russia and Europe. However French and German business interests aren't happy about this cold war 2.0 and so Merkel and Hollande's visit was a desperate effort to reverse the process of using the war in Ukraine to fuel a cold war 2.0. Clearly however they weren't ready to make the necessary concessions and it all came to nothing. The West crazily thinks that even though Ukraine is loosing once again it can make even more demands then it did in Minsk and I've seen the idea floating around in western policy circles that the ceasefire should include allowing Ukraine to assure that Novorossiya is cut off from the Russian border which is highly unlikely. Another example of what Pepe Escobar calls the Drop Dead school of diplomacy. Instead Europe needs to rein in Poroshenko. Just as every passing month will give Novorossiya more legitimacy every passing month will make Kiev more illegitimate as more people discover that Ukraine actually is a Fascist state and that it's waging war on it's own citizens. There is only so long the narrative can be kept under control in the internet age. Of course from the military side the failed negotiations are a good thing. Novorossiya is on the verge of inflicting yet another major disaster upon Ukraine and really the only thing that can stop them is yet another Ceasefire. Furthermore Ukraine is foolishly committed to pouring more resources into the Debaltsevo cauldron if the NAF are lucky a victory here could weaken the UAF enough for them to be pushed back out of range of Donetsk.
   While France and Germany were seeking peace the US was in full on Empire of Chaos mode openly announcing that it was considering sending offensive weapons to Ukraine. In typical Orwellian fashion defensive weapons include things like stinger missiles and anti-tank tow missiles. Not exactly defensive at all. In reality like all US proxy wars whether the US itself covertly sends weapons itself is irrelevant it always has it's allies supply the weapons instead. Thus whatever the west says it has been funneling weapons into Ukraine from the start Poland being the most obvious example. The US itself is already sending weapons and advisers however. In fact it's worth remembering the infamous visit of the head of the CIA John Brennan just as the hostilities began. Last year according to the NAF an American adviser was actually killed. The major point of the announcement was actually intended just to throw gasoline on the fire and to sabotage the possibility of negotiations. However US policy seems to be backfiring as the announcement seemed to alienate the Europeans. Increasingly it is clear that their interests are opposed to US interests however it is equally clear that they lack the courage to act independently. Really it is a fitting punishment that after colonizing the planet Europe should find itself little more then a colony of the US.
    The only agreement so far has been a brief ceasefire to allow the citizens of Debaltsevo to  flee but apparently only 3000 actually left. They were worried about being attacked on the road like the bus that hit a Kiev Junta  which was then falsely blamed on the NAF. Some doubtless are willing to risk staying in the war zone in the hopes of being liberated by the NAF. They were supposed to be given a choice of evacuation routes but according to the NAF were only told of the option to flee towards kiev controlled territory. Those sympathetic to Novorossiya were trapped. Of course the UAF used the opportunity to resupply their forces and evacuate their wounded. On the diplomatic front the most recent action was another of Lavrov's priceless speeches. In which he summed up the past 20 years of history under the theme of when will you learn. But of course no one is likely to listen to reason any time soon. Barring some diplomatic surprise the current conflict will continue until Kiev suffers another major defeat and agrees to make peace simply because it is unable to make war until it can regroup again for the next attack of course. One could hope that they would learn not to launch these major offensives at Novorossiya which always seem to end in disaster but it is doubtless Washington that actually decides when these attacks will be launched and they are quite willing to see Ukraine destroyed so long as it weakens Russia in the process. Ukraine is only one theater in the US war on the planet another success story in the attempt to create an Arc of crisis around the world.
    For the moment however on the local level Ukraine has been handed yet another defeat and Novorossiya can hope for more victories in the near future provided diplomacy fails. The hope is that one day Ukraine's military defeats can be turned into an anti-fascist revolution at least in areas like Kharkov or Odessa. Of course there is equally a danger that Poroshenko may be discredited by defeat and overthrown by the more overtly fascist elements in Svoboda and Right sector doubtless they would. If only the Ukrainians could learn to switch off their TV sets and come to their senses. If only we all could. One day we in the west will face the same choice either this continued slow slide into fascism (a sort of neoliberal fascism lite authoritarian and militaristic in the name of "Freedom and "Peace") or revolution.

Colonel Cassad in English provides an excellent account of the recent fighting and should be followed regularly by those looking for an in depth account. Here is the most recent piece.

Pepe Escobar on the latest round of diplomacy

The Lavrov Speech

The Latest Donbass under Fire Documentary

The Donbass under fire episode about the plight of civilians

The Saker on the Danger to civilians in Debaltsevo

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The CIA in Africa

        The CIA in Africa: John Stockwell's "In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story"

    John Stockwell was one of the great Whistleblowers in American History. He was the Highest ranking CIA officer to come forward and attempt to expose the agencies criminal misdeeds. Thus the book he wrote in the aftermath of his resignation "In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story" is required reading for anyone seeking to look behind the curtain of the national security state. Although Philip Agee (See my February 2014 article Inside the CIA for more on Philip Agee) who preceded him was even more Radical aiming to use his book to blow the covers of as many CIA officers and their agents as he could, Stockwell had higher level access attending meetings of Henry Kissinger's 40 committee in charge of shaping America's foreign policy including responsibility for authorizing the CIA's covert operations. Thus his book is not just an expose of the CIA but of the whole foreign policy establishment. Amusingly he begins his story with the fate of Angola being decided by the interpretation of a single grunt by Henry Kissinger. The CIA had just briefed Kissinger on the situation there and hoped to receive authorization to expand it's covert operations against the MPLA one of the three groups vying for power in Angola and the one with the most broad based support in the country. However Kissinger was extremely busy back then practicing what was known as "shuttle diplomacy"  flying all over the place trying to manage the middle east, pursuing Detente with the Russians, and closer ties with the Chinese. Thus he only had time to grunt in response to the report before rushing out the door to catch his flight and the CIA spent all weekend analyzing the grunt trying to guess whether it meant yes or No.
    It's important to set the events in their context. The Year was 1975. The US had just lost the war in Vietnam a couple of months before forced to launch a hurried evacuation of Saigon as the South Vietnamese government collapsed. After Decades of fighting Vietnam had finally achieved it's independence after having defeated first the French and then the American's. Watergate had taken place a couple of years before and the country was mired in scandal. As the events in the book were taking place the CIA was under investigation by the Church Committee.  Yet despite the disaster in Vietnam which had grown out of a Covert CIA war there, and despite the Church committee the CIA were unrepentant and eager for their next adventure. Their Hopes rested on the meaning of Kissinger's grunt. It turned out Kissinger was equally unrepentant. In the past few years he had authorized the overthrow of Allende in Chile, Massive illegal and secret bombings in Cambodia, and given the green light to the genocidal invasion of East Timor by Indonesia, which would last decades and leave more the half a million dead. Now he was willing to plunge yet another country into war and misery merely to prove that Vietnam had not lessened western resolve to make war on any country on the planet that threatened to slip out of US control. Kissinger decided to authorize covert operations aimed at destabilizing the newly independent state of Angola and preventing the MPLA from achieving an "easy victory"
   John Stockwell had grown up in the Belgian Congo the children of missionaries, he had learned to speak the local language, and after serving as a marine had been recruited into the CIA.  At the time of his recruitment the CIA had assured him that they never engaged in Coups, assassinations, or  involvement with drugs. ( At The time the book takes place the CIA were publicly exposed as being involved in all three by the Church Committee)  After joining He had been stationed in a number of African countries. He has some interesting stories from his time in Africa he explains how he inadvertently started a coup in one country. He also repeats a chilling tale one of his superiors told him about driving around late at Night with the corpse of the legendary Patrice Lumumba in the trunk of his car. He also explains how the CIA managed to overthrow Kwame Nkrumah in defiance of orders simply by maintaining contact with certain plotters and dropping certain hints. Another of Africa's great potential leaders was overthrown as a result. After serving a number of years in Africa he was sent to Vietnam. There he had become increasingly disillusioned with the CIA and was considering quitting or alternatively simply living out his days as one of the many burnt out Case officers assigned to unimportant countries. According to both Agee and Stockwell this is the usual route embittered CIA officers take. However when he was offered the job of being in charge of the entire covert war in Angola he decided to take the job partially out of ambition but also because he was truly curious how things really worked. After years of familiarity with how the media are manipulated he knew enough not to trust the newspapers and wondered how things actually worked. How are the decisions that plunge whole nations into war actually made he wondered. Most of his career had been spent in the field and he was always trained not to question what he was doing or why. The higher ups supposedly had their reasons he was told. Now he would finally get to see how and why the decisions were made so he agreed to take the job. At the same time with the specter of watergate he worried that he might end up in jail for what he was about to do. The American Public were in no mood for another Vietnam yet everyone involved in launching the operation realized that the war in Angola had the potential to evolve into another Vietnam. In his portrayal of events he was constantly worried about avoiding a major scandal while his peers seemed sure of their immunity.
    I wrote a previous article on the war in Angola based on Piero Gleijese Excellent book  "Conflicting Missions" Concentrating on the Cuban Role in the war. It was called Castro vs. Kissinger in Angola (September 2014)  you may want to consult it for a more in depth account of the actual war. However the basics are that Angola was a former Portuguese Colony. The Portuguese had been the first Europeans to conquer parts of Africa back in the 1400's even before Columbus reached the new world. Most of Africa wasn't colonized until the 19th century. Not only were the Portuguese the first to found colonies in Africa they were the last to leave them. Britain and France were clever enough to seemingly grant independence to their colonies while using subtle economic forces to continue exploiting them a process known as neocolonialism. Portugal a Fascist country decided to fight brutal wars to keep their colonies where the black population  were not merely second class citizens but 9th and tenth class as the Portuguese had a system with ten different classes of people. However the strain of fighting endless counter insurgency wars, like the one in Guinea-Bissau where they faced the brilliant revolutionary and military strategist Amilcar Cabral, proved too much and there was a coup by low ranking officers aimed at ending the dictatorship and Portugal's wars in Africa. During those wars the US had supplied Portugal with weapons because it was an important ally because one of it's military bases had been vital in supplying Israel during it's latest war.  The Socialist countries the soviets, cubans, and Eastern Bloc states and even China and North Korea had supplied the various revolutionary groups with weapons and occasionally training. Actually the Russian's and Chinese were in competition rather then allies in supplying the groups. Thus the MPLA had received some support from the Soviets while UNITA had received support from the Chinese. UNITA had also been secretly allied with the Portuguese during the struggle for independence providing them with the intelligence to destroy the MPLA. However the Soviets never really trusted the MPLA who they saw as too close to the Chinese and too pro US. Thus contrary to the cold war  paranoia of the times the MPLA were not the pawns of the soviets. After the Coup in Portugal the new government announced that Angola would be given it's independence and the three groups began to compete for power ahead of the scheduled elections. The third force in Angola were the FNLA funded by Mobutu of Zaire (Formerly the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo) They were lead by Holden Roberto Mobutu's incompetent son in law. UNITA was lead by the ruthless and Charismatic Jonas Savimbi who was willing to ally with anyone in order to seize power. He received support from Zambia and South Africa. Lastly there was the MPLA Lead by Agostinho NETO scholar, poet and revolutionary which was the most  popular of the three and the only group with a clear vision for Angola's future even according to the CIA themselves. They wanted to develop Angola and since most of the population lived in complete poverty and 90 percent of them were illiterate the MPLA adopted a socialist model even though they were quite happy to do business with western corporations. In fact they were desperate for Foreign investment and Gulf oil (who had an oil concession there)  and Boeing (Which had already been paid to supply two passenger jets and and to build an airport) lobbied heavily against the war. During the war for independence the MPLA had made contact with the Cubans who had helped them train and arm a column of fighters and smuggle them across Zaire and into Angola. (See my September Article Che Guevara in the Congo for more on this) In addition to their ties with  Cuba, Yugoslavia, and the USSR the MPLA were strongly supportive of independence movements fighting to free the populace from South African Apartheid Client states in Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe)  and Namibia (Aka South West Africa) . South Africa considered these vital buffer states in maintaining the security of their State founded on racial Segregation, exploitation and oppression. Thus they were determined to crush the MPLA. The US was also determined to keep the MPLA from coming to power because of their relations with the soviets, and to please their allies Zaire and South Africa. Well actually as John Stockwell revealed they weren't so determined to win. They had three options according to the CIA. First they could go in decisively Stockwell recommended that they could bring in some gunships, massive planes armed with computerized machine guns able to cover the area the size of a football field with bullets every six inches which according to Stockwell had been quite "effective" in Vietnam and have been  recently used in Iraq and Afghanistan to slaughter the locals in the name of freeing them. However this would have made the American role too obvious.  The second option was that they could supply enough weapons to start a war but not to win one. The MPLA in Kissinger's words "must be denied an easy victory." The third option was to stay out of the whole thing. Kissinger decided on the second option. Although in the field the CIA were quite determined to win the war, they were constrained by the small budget provided. This cynical strategy would prove to be a disaster since the Cubans were motivated by the desire to insure the independence of Angola which they correctly saw as a vital step in Freeing all of southern Africa from Apartheid. Thus they wanted to win and fully committed themselves to do whatever was necessary to insure an MPLA victory. In the end this difference would prove decisive.
   John Stockwell decided to fly to Angola to meet the various parties. Ridiculously their chief intelligence assets in the country were the leaders of the FNLA and UNITA who were both seasoned liars who provided the CIA with a very distorted and self serving picture of events. They inflated the number of men they had and their successes. Stockwell decided to Fly over and see for himself first arriving in the capital of Zaire where he had a bit of a power struggle with the COS (Chief of Station) Actually one of the most amusing things about the book is the way Stockwell demythologizes the CIA. Instead of engaging in a life in death struggle with the KGB like in the movies, they are engaged in constant Bureaucratic turf wars with each other and the other branches of government. In one part he lays out who a Case officer truly fears.  according to Stockwell:
"Actually at least in more routine operations, Case officers most fear the U.S. Ambassador and his staff, then restrictive headquarters cables, then curious, gossipy neighbors in the local community, as potential threats to operations. Next would come the Local police, then the press. Last of all is the KGB in my twelve years of case officering I never saw or heard of a situation in which the KGB attacked or obstructed A CIA operation."
   So much for hollywood and it certainly puts recent event in Benghazi in perspective. Thus his primary problem in Zaire was dealing with the veteran COS there who didn't want Stockwell messing with his turf. Next Stockwell flew down to northern Angola where he was almost killed upon arrival because he was pretending to be a journalist. The FNLA was actually being advised by Portuguese Angolans and the Portuguese didn't want their faces in the paper because they worried their families might suffer reprisal. Stockwell defused the situation in a unusual way by tossing his expensive camera into the trash and loudly proclaiming he was CIA sent by Henry Kissinger himself to meet Holden Roberto. The FNLA politely retrieved his camera and treated him with all due respect from then on. Roberto was away at the front so first he talked to the FNLA's Portuguese and Brazilian advisers who were all to willing to bad mouth Roberto. Then he finally met Roberto and inspected the scene of a recent one sided battle where the FNLA had fired on a village that the MPLA had already deserted. Roberto had mistaken it for a major Battle but Stockwell had apparently gained a lot of experience in Vietnam assessing scenes of battle after the fact pieced together what actually happened. Stockwell decided Roberto was an amateur but was impressed by his enthusiasm as he ran around constantly giving orders and micromanaging everything. Of course this would prove disastrous when during the war he constantly ignored his advisers.
    Next Stockwell flew down and met Savimbi and was apparently quite impressed with him. Reading Stockwell's book you would never know Savimbi had once worked treacherously with the Portuguese. He is presented as a genuine revolutionary leader who only lost credibility because he sided with the South Africans. Stockwell attended a mass rally for Savimbi who was apparently quite popular among his native Ovimbundu tribe at the time. Stockwell actually wished he could trade places with him. He wished he could be leading a national liberation movement instead of constantly plotting to destroy them. Then he flew back to Washington where he got into another turf battle with his superior who wanted to control exactly what Stockwell would tell Kissinger's 40 committee. Stockwell wisely submitted and was rewarded with an invitation to a party with Washington's powerful foreign policy elite.
    Stockwell describes the massive weapons deliveries and how they were arranged in elaborate detail. Outside of San Antonio there was and apparently still is a massive warehouse of weapons from both Western and Soviet bloc countries. It is from this warehouse that the CIA has funneled weapons to fuel wars all over the planet. If they want to hide their role they either shipped out of date US weapons or soviet ones. For decades after the end of world war 2 the CIA was shipping world war 2 era weapons all over the place. In Angola their main problem was transportation  the Air Force or Navy would charge them quite a bit to transport the weapons and refused to risk flying into Angola itself. Mobutu loaned them one of his planes but the CIA worried what would happen if it got shot down. This actually happened eventually and the CIA had to pay Mobutu for the damages. Eventually to keep up with the massive flow of weapons the CIA organized hijackings using the FNLA of the corporate jets of the businessmen who made their fortune looting Africa. These were then used to deliver the weapons. The CIA managed to flood UNITA and the FNLA with weapons often pointlessly since their poorly trained troops didn't know how to use or maintain them and their weapons often were quickly rendered useless from neglect. Still the CIA was hopeful early on.
    In addition to funneling in weapons the CIA worked closely with South Africa whose intelligence service was the appropriately named BOSS. The US sought to publicly distance themselves from South Africa because it was so unpopular in Africa and indeed throughout the world. However the CIA got along very well with BOSS just like it usually does with secret police aiming to keep the corrupt status quo in place through torture and murder. BOSS knew well how to cloak their racist policies in anti-communist rhetoric and the CIA characteristically viewed the black populace of Southern Africa as dangerous subversives who needed to be kept in place by any means necessary. (They hold similar views about the populations of Latin America and Asia and even North America or Europe.) Thus Stockwell points out that they never took seriously the views the rest of Africa held regarding Apartheid South Africa dismissing them as irrational. Thus the CIA made an unofficial alliance with South Africa in the Angola war. Stockwell and some others had warned of the dangers but were over ruled. The South Africans were asked through some mysterious back channel to invade Angola. The CIA used it's pull with the press to insure that the south Africans were misidentified as mercenaries when in reality they were the South African Army. Upon learning of the South African invasion Fidel Castro decided to send not just advisors but thousands of troops.
    In addition to the South African's the CIA authorized the recruitment of groups of mercenaries. They funneled money to a Portuguese Angolan who claimed he had 300 men ready to jump into action at a moments notice. In the end he produced only a dozen or so. The CIA recruited notorious mercenary Bob Denard who demanded a small fortune up front in exchange for setting up a company of mercenaries. Most dramatically Roberto hired a man named George Cullen a complete psychopath. At first this worked to his advantage as he impressed Roberto by killing a bunch of MPLA members but then got him into trouble when he executed a dozen of his own men. He was forced to flee Roberto's wrath and was later captured by the MPLA tried for war crimes and executed.
     In addition to setting in motion the physical war the CIA was also involved in what we call today Information war but which was known back then as Psychological operations. Stockwell gives a great inside picture of how the CIA manipulates public opinion. It has journalists all over the world on it's payroll and they will plant false stories which the CIA has other journalists reprint in their papers, until the lies eventually spread all over the world. In Angola for instance the CIA completely fabricated a story in which cuban soldiers went on a rampage and raped a bunch of the local women. Then they fabricated another fake story in which the Cubans were caught and tried by the village and condemned to death. Not only did the CIA plant fake stories CIA agents would be coached on what to say to the press and then flown to New York or Washington while the CIA secretly paid for a press tour.(Contrary to popular belief CIA agents are the contract employees of the CIA actual CIA members are called officers) A delegation from UNITA (who were secretly CIA agents)  was quite successful in getting great PR coverage and even at lobbying congress. The CIA was quite devious in their attempts to manipulate congress. They privately assured them that no arms were being shipped directly to Angola by the CIA, and that there were no CIA advisers on the ground in Angola and that the goal was to prevent a conflict. All three assurances were blatant lies. In addition when Senator Clark decided to fly to Zaire and Angola to find out the truth the CIA found out his schedule and sent people ahead of him to coach everyone he planned to meet on what they should say. Luckily Senator Clark was able to see through it and actually managed to temporarily put a stop to the funding of the covert war in Angola. The CIA also concocted a white paper made up of the usual mix of information and disinformation that the FNLA presented as it's own and which was used to manipulate the press and politicians in the US and around the world. The CIA did not hesitate to break the rules regarding operating domestically or propagandizing the public. Today it is no doubt a hundred times worse as this was the CIA at it's most restrained. It was only in the 70's that any real attempt was made to restrain the CIA.(A little known fact is that Nixon had a private war with the CIA and fired around 400 of them.) Ever since the Reagan years they have been completely unaccountable as witnessed by the recent torture scandal for which no one was fired. So be careful when your reading the news you never know when you are being subjected to CIA black propaganda although given the current state of the media I wouldn't be surprised if reporters fabricate even more news then then the CIA these days.
    The war went badly for the CIA proxies. After advancing on the Capitol of Luanda the FNLA under Roberto along with a group of Mobutu's Zairean commandos were successfully ambushed at Quifangondo with a massive rocket attack and completely routed. After this they steadily retreated stopping only to terrorize the locals. Although initially successful the South African advance was eventually stopped by the MPLA and the their cuban allies. They too were slowly pushed out of the country. Once the south African invasion was exposed many of the African countries decided to recognize the MPLA as the legitimate government. There was a brief scandal in Washington and Congress voted to cut off aid for the war in Angola by Passing the Clark amendment on the advice of Senator Clark. Unknown to John Stockwell this would eventually lead to the formation of the Safari club which would covertly fund UNITA and more importantly would lead to the the creation of both the Iran Contra scandal and the funding of the group that would come to be known as Al Qaeda. Thus the War in Angola would not only lead to the eventual liberation of southern Africa from Apartheid (According to Andre Vltchek Namibia still suffers under an informal apartheid however) The war in Angola would also lead indirectly to the current war on terror. Ironically John Stockwell himself played a small part in this In 1977 he mailed a letter to the new director Stansfield Turner urging him to purge the (Covert) Operations part of the CIA. Turner have  actually taken his advice as he fired hundreds of agents. This would embitter those still left in the Agency against Carter and those fired began to form a privatized network that would play a role in the October Surprise and later the Iran Contra affair and all sorts of shady business. Thus the war in Angola now largely forgotten would have all sorts of important consequences.
    As for John Stockwell he decided to resign out of disgust and would spend years speaking around the country calling for an end to the CIA and trying to educate the public about the endless covert wars the US wages around the planet. He called the Cold War, World War 3 a war not  with the soviet union but upon the third world. He traveled to Cuba which completely shattered his cold war illusions and he became a staunch defender of the Cuban revolution. Unlike Philip Agee his book didn't seek to blow anyone's cover but the CIA sued him anyway eventually seizing all the royalties. In Response He wrote new books (which I Haven't read yet) . His Second book was A novel  "Red Sunset" that correctly predicted the Peaceful end of the cold War and his third was  a book exposing the crimes of the CIA called "The Praetorian Guard".

I Definitely recommend "In Search of Enemies" to anyone interested in the CIA or US foreign policy in general. I doubt whoever is in charge of the Covert wars on Libya or Syria will ever dare to write a tell all book about it so this is the one book that gives a first hand account of a Covert war from the top. I also Highly recommend you watch some of the great interviews and lectures Stockwell gave which are available free online. I've watched many hours of them and truthfully John Stockwell is one of the people who inspired me to launch this blog. His other books are the novel red sunset and the non-Fiction Praetorian Guard based on his lectures. I also recommend Phillip Agee's "Inside the Company" I also drew on the work of Peter Dale Scott for discussing some of the consequences of the war in Angola. I highly recommend his books "Road to 9/11" "American War Machine" and  "the American Deep State" although he only mentioned Angola in passing he goes into great detail about the Safari Club (Created in part to get around the Clark Amendment meant to end the War in Angola )and the privatized CIA created after Turner fired a bunch of CIA agents in the 70's. I also Highly recommend Jane Hunter's "Israeli Foreign Policy South Africa and Central America" for the usually omitted but extremely deep Israeli role in Southern Africa. For more on Angola I also recommend Piero Glejeses great "Conflicting Missions" and "Visions of Freedom"
This video includes a documentary film on Angola and John Stockwell at the beginning followed by an interview on the Media.

And this one is a long Lecture

A simple search for John Stockwell Youtube or will yield a wealth of lectures and interviews on all sorts of topics. In addition You can read some excerpts from his book "In Search of Enemies here

And some Excerpts from The Praetorian Guard here

Andrew Gavin Marshall Wrote a great piece based on Peter Dale Scott's work I recommend it if you want to learn more about the safari club and it's connection to 9/11.’s-drug-running-terrorists-and-the-“arc-of-crisis”/

Andre Vltchek on the current state of Namibia