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Northrup-Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk



So, less than three weeks ago, I came across a photograph of a giant Asphalt laying machine surrounded by American civilian workers with hardly a word of explanation of why it was in the July edition of National Geographic’s story about immigrants making their way across a country in the western Sahara country of Niger (nigh-zhur’).

It was as if someone had poked me in the ribs and asked “Hey, what’s this all about?” I am positive that this photo elicited the same reaction from other Geographic readers, for I felt as did a border collie we once owned named Mandy. She could smell a herd of Javelina or one coyote from a mile away.

The fact that the story did not mention who the contractor was and what they were about, caused the hair on my neck to stand up.

What I have found since is that the USA has already spent $280-million on an air base located in the middle of Niger; adjacent to Agadez, a sun-baked  city with a population estimated to be 118,200 very poor people, just about all of whom descended from Berber and Taureg camel drivers.

Agadez is situated some 115 miles north and east of the Nigerian capital of Niamey and almost in the exact center of Niger.

Agadez air base will always belong to Niger, due to a contract with the Pentagon that calls for us to spend $30-million a year operating it.
I am not saying this is a bad thing. With it, The United states has hegemony over much of Africa.

That Asphalt crew in the Geographic was laying down extensive runways on Agadez base.

The control tower there directs a procession of giant, four engine Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Turboprop transport behemoths and a variety of manned and unmanned (drone) military aircraft such as the General Atomic’s MQ-9 drone, capable of flying 1,150-mile round trips. Of great interest is the Northrup Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk. It can fly 12000 miles, using a jet manufactured by Rolls-Royce. This is the model drone shot down by Iran recently. It could very well have come from Agadez. There are many more like it there. The RQ-4 is a huge thing, in my view too large to be launched from a carrier.

-– Phil Richardson, Editor

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

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Select each of the books below to see its Annual Summer book sale price on Amazon


Born to an addicted prostitute in a crime-ridden barrio, a man finds a love that transcends all obstacles and opens a new pathway to life beyond working for the Jefe of one of Mexico's brutal drug cartels. (In English)

Amazon Paperback
Tommy Ross follows his older brothers to be an apprentice in the hazardous trade of mining coal. It is doubly dangerous, for his father has been sent to organize a local union in a "company owned" coal camp. "The Prosperity Coal Company" is a novel based on actual events that occurred all across the coal belt, when America was on the cusp of the great depression, and union wars raged.

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Kashif Wazir, son of an Afghan Opium Lord and a small group of Taliban terrorists are sent to America by al-Qaida to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. Their intention is to detonate a nuclear bomb in the USA that they have brought to a Mexican port aboard a specially outfitted ship. When they cross the US-Mexico border with the bomb, Bill Lopez, a Special Agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and leader of a team of Native American trackers, called "Shadow Wolves," set off to interdict the intruders

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