by Manlio Dinucci
Many industries and service companies are failing or downsizing due to the lockdown and subsequent crisis. Instead, there are those who gained from all this. Facebook, Google (YouTube owner), Microsoft, Apple and Amazon – The New York Times writes – ” since the coronavirus pandemic has made them almost essential services, they are aggressively making new bets “. All these “Tech Giants” are from the United States.
Facebook – is no longer defined as social network but “ecosystem”, also includes WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger – has exceeded 3 billion monthly users. Therefore in the midst of a coronavirus crisis, no wonder that Facebook launches the project of one of the largest submarine cable networks, 2Africa: 37,000 km long (almost the Earth maximum circumference), it will surround the entire African continent connecting it to the North to Europe and to the East to the Middle East.
There will initially be 23 interconnected countries. Starting from Great Britain, the network will connect Portugal before starting its circle around Africa through Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Gabon, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, Egypt. In the latter section, the network will be connected to Oman and Saudi Arabia. Then, across the Mediterranean, it will arrive in Italy and from here to France and Spain.
This large-capacity network – explains Facebook – will be “the pillar of a huge expansion of Internet in Africa: economies flourish when there is a widely accessible Internet for business. The network will allow hundreds of million people access to broadband up to 5G. ” This, in summary, the official motivation of the project. One fact is enough to cast doubt on it: in sub-Saharan Africa about 600 million people do not have access to electricity, equivalent to more than half the population.
What will the broadband network be used for? African elites who represent their interests in the richest countries for raw materials will be more closely connected to the multinationals’ parent company, while confrontation with China, who is strengthening its economic presence in Africa, is growing.
The network will also serve other purposes. Two years ago, in May 2018, Facebook established a partnership with the Atlantic Council, an influential Washington-based “nopartisan organization” that “promotes US leadership and commitment in the world, together with US allies. ». The specific purpose of this partnership is to guarantee “the correct use of Facebook in elections worldwide by monitoring disinformation and foreign interference, helping to educate citizens and civil society”.
The reliability of the Atlantic Council, particularly active in Africa, can be deduced from the official list of contributors who finance it: Pentagon and NATO, Lockheed Martin and other war industries (including Italian Leonardo), ExxonMobil and other multinationals; Bank of America and other financial groups, the Rockefeller and Soros foundations.
The network will connect 16 African countries to 5 European NATO Allies under US command, and to 2 US Allies in the Middle East, and might play a role not only in economic terms, but also political and strategic. The Atlantic Council’s “Digital Forensic Research Laboratory”, through Facebook, will be able to communicate to African media and politicians every day which news is “fake” and which is “true”. Facebook’s personal information and tracking systems can be used to control and target opposition movements. Broadband, even in 5G, can be used by US and other special forces in their operations in Africa.
Announcing its project, Facebook stresses that Africa is “the least connected continent” and the problem will be solved by its 37,000 km of cables. They can be used, however, as a modern version of the old colonial chains.
(the manifesto, 16 June 2020)