[News] World Cup Domination & Entertaining the Empire

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 18 10:49:03 EDT 2010

Nima Shirazi – World Cup Domination & 
Entertaining the Empire: One Aim Changes Everything

Shirazi • Jun 17th, 2010 at 21:39 •

"Our situation is like a football match. The 
superpower countries are the players, and we are 
just the ball to be kicked around."
young Pakistani civilian, North Waziristan

The Great Game is indeed alive and thriving. This 
summer's World Cup tournament is providing yet 
another way for the United States to project its 
power across the globe, though not as a result of 
the American national team's action on the pitch.

Rather, this year, the subjugation will be televised.

While the presence of U.S. Marine Corps 
recruiting advertisements at each and every 
commercial break is perhaps mundane at this 
point, far more surprising is the frequent, 
scripted announcement by various British and 
Scottish play-by-play commentators calling the 
games for ESPN that "we'd like to welcome our men 
and women in uniform, serving in over 175 
countries and territories, watching today's 2010 
FIFA World Cup match on AFN, the American Forces 
Network." Other various comments have also been 
made about how proud the ESPN color men are of 
the American troops, what a fine job they are 
doing, and that the commentators "sincerely hope 
[the soldiers] are enjoying the broadcast."

Beyond the surreal fact that 
from the UK, like Adrian Healey, Martin Tyler, 
and Ian Darke, are eagerly praising American 
soldiers and sailors during the broadcast as 
their own ("our brave men and women
"), how can 
the rest be said with a straight face or without 
the most shameful sense of hypocrisy? That there 
are US troops 
in over 175 countries around the world is a 
stunning fact in itself – although well-known by 
now if you've been paying attention at all for 
the past decade. At this point, there's probably an 'App' for that.

But again, this is the World Cup, and overseas 
ESPN announcers are lauding the attention, 
entertainment, and service of U.S. world 
domination forces, a military that has invaded, 
occupied, overthrown, exploited, bombed, blasted, 
burned, and reduced to rubble many – if not most 
– of the countries that now vie for the cup of 
all cups. The same Armed Force that now gets to 
enjoy the harmonious excitement of the 'beautiful 
game' in all its High Def glory has 
<http://www.zompist.com/latam.html>stoked tension 
and supported instability (to say the least) in 
countries like Greece (1947-49, over 500 U.S. 
armed forces military advisers sent to administer 
hundreds of millions of dollars in their civil 
war), Brazil (1964, U.S. backs a coup d'etat to 
overthrow popular president João Goulart), Chile 
(1973, U.S.-supported military coup overthrows – 
and murders – democratically-elected president 
Salvador Allende and brings dictatorship of 
Pinochet to power), Uruguay (1973, U.S.-backed 
coup brings military dictatorship to power), 
Argentina (1976, military junta deposes 
government of Isabel Perón with U.S. knowledge 
and support), Honduras (besides past 
interventions in 1905, 1907, 1911, and 1943, in 
1983 over 1000 troops and National Guard members 
were deployed to help the contra fight against 
Nicaragua, not to mention the U.S. support for 
last year's coup), Slovenia and Serbia (1992-6, 
U.S. Navy joins in a naval blockade of Yugoslavia 
in Adriatic waters; 1999, U.S. participated in 
months of air bombing and cruise missile strikes in Kosovo 'war').

The U.S military is essentially still occupying 
Germany (52,440 troops in over 
installations), Japan (35,688 
with an additional 5,500 American civilians 
employed by the DoD – oh yeah, and Japan pays 
about $2 billion each year for the US to be there 
as part of the 
Yosan,' or 'compassion budget'), and South Korea 
(28,500 U.S. troops). There are 9,660 U.S troops 
still stationed in Italy, 9,015 in the United 
Kingdom, over 1,300 in Serbia and over 1,200 in Spain.

Furthermore, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, 
France, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, 
Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, 
Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, South 
Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, 
Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay all suffer the 
presence of at least a few American soldiers who 
are officially stationed there (some of these 
countries are forced to host 400-800 US troops). 
All told, there are about 78,000 American 
military personnel in Europe, along with 
approximately 47,240 in East Asia and the 
Pacific, 3,360 in North Africa, the Near East, 
and South Asia (obviously not including the 
92,000 troops in 
and about 
in Afghanistan and Pakistan), 1,355 in 
sub-Saharan Africa, and an additional 1,940 in 
the Western Hemisphere outside the United States itself.

Literally, the only country in this year's World 
Cup proceedings without any sort of token or 
actual United States military presence is – 
surprise surprise – North Korea. And even this 
might change if Obama gets 
way. That would put American troops in every 
single one of the 32 countries currently 
competing in South Africa, along with over 140 others.

release distributed by U.S. Africa Command (US 
AFRICOM) this week excitedly reports, "Through 
the cooperation of a host of international 
television licensees, the American Forces Network 
Broadcast Center (AFN-BC) has been granted 
permission by the Fédération Internationale de 
Football Association (FIFA) to distribute the 
full complement of matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa."

A recent 
in Stars and Stripes, quotes Lt. Col. Steve 
Berger, an intelligence planner with U.S. Army 
Africa stationed in Vicenza, Italy, as saying, 
"It’s really great for the soldiers to see, 
especially for an emerging sport in the U.S.” 
(And especially so that they can get a glimpse of 
the kinds of people they'll be ordered to kill 
next!)  Even more exciting is the fact that, 
"Because AFN doesn’t pay for programming, it was 
important that it receive the rights to the World 
Cup for free, AFN chief of affiliate relations Larry Sichter said."
Apparently, the U.S. military can invade your 
country and station troops there indefinitely, 
but it sure as hell won't pay for television 
broadcasting! Especially not with the $531 
billion allocated this fiscal year for U.S. 
(a total which is expected to 
by $18 billion next year along with an additional 
$272 billion for the ongoing occupation of Iraq, 
the escalation in Afghanistan, the 
predator drone bombings in Pakistan, and 
a nuclear arsenal in clear violation of the 
requirements of the NPT). The U.S. armed forces just can't spare a square.

FIFA probably had no choice but to comply with 
the requests of the U.S. military for fear of 
having their offices occupied or 
to pieces. What a relief a deal was struck! How 
global! How peaceful! How imperial! How obvious, 
unsurprising, and embarrassing.

"Having the most-watched sports event on the 
planet play out on AFN is a real feather in our 
cap," notes Jeff White, Executive Director of 
AFN-BC, in the text of the military press release 
filed from Riverdale, CA via Stuttgart, Germany. 
"But more importantly," White continues, "we'll 
be able to deliver the entire compliment of 
matches to the side that means the most ­ our 
brave men and women in uniform serving their 
country overseas and in harm's way. It doesn't get any better than this."

That, out of the planetary pride, representation, 
and unification that the World Cup is supposed to 
be all about, the U.S. military would be "the 
side that means the most" is in itself upsetting 
– but hey, it's a military press release and the guy's name is White after all.

But White is wholly wrong about "it" not getting 
"any better than this." There is a very simple 
way for things to be much, much better. If the 
U.S. reduced its dominating and destructive 
presence and aggressive involvement around the 
world and dismantled the 
of foreign installations that keep the rest of 
the world in submissive subjugation and under 
American occupation, these brave men and women in 
uniform could – and should – be watching these 64 
soccer games from the comfort of their own homes 
in the United States, on the couch with their families.

For the sake of the entire world, it truly wouldn't get any better than that.

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