The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Genocide Toll in Somalia Revised Upward | Glen Ford

A new study shows that twice as many people died in 2011, in Somalia, than previously reported. The British government had estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 Somalis succumbed to hunger during the great drought, but the new study concludes that 260,000 died, half of them under the age of six.

As usual, corporate media coverage of the mass starvation puts the blame on the Shabaab fighters who have been resisting the United States and its allies’ war against the Somali people when, in fact, the death toll represents an American crime against humanity; just one chapter in an ongoing genocide that began in December, 2006. That’s when the U.S. and Ethiopia invaded Somalia to overthrow a broad-based Islamic Courts government that had defeated warlords supported by the United States. The savage assault from air, land and sea created what UN observers described as “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.” It was a bloodbath engineered in George Bush’s Washington, and which has continued under President Obama.

The initial cause of the holocaust was not drought, but the savage slaughter of civilians by the invading Ethiopians and the resultant collapse of Somali agriculture. Mogadishu, the capital city, was put under a siege that would last for half a decade, while civilians were chased across the countryside by Ethiopian armor and bombed by U.S. aircraft. The United Nations Children’s Fund representative for Somalia spoke of the “dirtiness” of a conflict in which “children are the real target.”

Nevertheless, in the first years the war did not go well for Washington, whose Ethiopian allies who were forced to withdraw from much of the country after heavy losses. The Americans then turned to mass starvation as a weapon of war – a calculated act of genocide.

By late 2009, the U.S. began withholding food aid to the humanitarian relief agencies on which half of Somalis in the south and central parts of the country depended for survival, endangering three million people. The main sources of food were warehouses under U.S. control in neighboring Kenya, but the Americans drastically restricted the flow, complaining that too much food was going to Shabaab fighters. In effect, the U.S. tried to break the resistance by starving out the people – a genocide by any legal definition. By early 2011, the worst drought in decades was gripping the region, adding a natural layer of disaster to the manmade catastrophe that had begun in late 2006.

The scale of the horror was tremendous, made worse by the escalation of war and the entrance of Kenya into the carnage as an American client. Yet, the British claimed that only 50,000 to 100,000 died, and the United States declined to produce any official estimate. Finally, six and a half years after the U.S. plunged Somalia into hell, international officials are admitting that at least a quarter of a million people perished during just one period of the U.S.-backed invasion – all of them on President Obama’s watch.

The United States is an infernal killing machine, no matter the color of the criminal in the White House.

'There's No Turning Back': My Interview With a Hunted American Jihadist | Spencer Ackerman

Omar Hammami, the most prominent American jihadi left alive, probably should be running. When Hammami came to Somalia for jihad in 2006, he never anticipated that al-Qaida’s local affiliate would pledge to kill its former propaganda asset. And last month, the U.S. government put a $5 million bounty on the head of the 28-year-old Alabama native. These could be the last moments of Hammami’s life.

But Hammami tells Danger Room in an extremely rare and exclusive interview that he’s staying put. From an undisclosed location in Somalia, he grows vegetables, helps his wives around the house, and trolls his one-time colleagues in al-Shebab on Twitter, his newfound passion. As @abumamerican, he’s tweeting his ongoing jihad in 140-character installments, and is happy to debate it with U.S. national security professionals. Uniquely among jihadis, Hammami shoots the breeze with the people whose job it is to study and even hunt people like him.

That’s caused a cognitive and emotional dissonance within U.S. counterterrorism circles. Several openly say they like the charismatic Hammami, who’s quick with a joke and a touch of irony. Their Twitter interactions with him have led to a worry about his well-being, and a dim hope that maybe, just maybe, they can convince Hammami to give up a path that seems to promise a violent and imminent end. “It’s just a process of talking about what it is he believes and trying to understand it,” says J.M. Berger, Hammami’s main interlocutor, “and seeing if there’s an escape hatch for him from this life.”

That natural, human affection for Hammami risks obscuring something basic: Hammami isn’t looking for an escape hatch. He’s broken with al-Shebab, not jihad. “I believe in attacking u.s. Interests everywhere,” he tells me, through Twitter’s direct message function, the only means through which he consented to a week-long running interview. “No 2nd thoughts and no turning back.” Sentiments like that make it likely that Hammami will be the next American killed in a U.S. drone strike. [continue]

March 2013 Update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Two strikes hit Pakistan, ending a month-long pause between attacks.

There were no reported US drone strikes in Yemen in March, marking the longest pause between covert attacks in three years.

No strikes were again recorded in Somalia.

That’s goodish news. Maybe Obama and Brennan finally realized they took the drone program too far? (or maybe they’re just biding their time until they get the "legal" cover they need to continue the program).

In other news, the frequency of drone strikes in Afghanistan is increasing.

US, West Chasing Non-Threats in Africa

As the France-led military intervention in Mali enters its second week, a growing chorus of Western governments, from Britain to the US, are voicing strong support for it by systematically exaggerating the threat posed by militants in Africa’s Sahel region.

“Washington inevitably and automatically magnifies every hiccup internationally into a threat, mobilizing massive resources that lead to the proverbial flea being smashed with a sledge hammer,” writes former CIA analyst and Antiwar.com columnist Phil Giraldi.

“The fall of Timbuktu to extremists who have a local agenda does not actually threaten the United States and the ability of such groups to strike the U.S. is nil, so one might well plausibly decide that Washington has no real interest in Mali at all,” Giraldi adds.

Still, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the intervention in Mali as a response to “a very serious, ongoing threat” posed by militants allegedly associated with al Qaeda.

“We are in for a struggle but it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven,” Clinton insisted.

The militants in Mali – with no stated or implicit intent to attack the US – are not the only non-threat Washington has been chasing in Africa: al-Shabab in Somalia is one of the most prominent scare stories.

“The group poses no direct threat to the security of the United States,” writes Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute. “However, exaggerated claims about the specter of al Qaeda could produce policy decisions that exacerbate a localized, regional problem into a global one.”

Even the Obama administration has quietly acknowledged the fact that military involvement in Somalia may create more problems than it solves, with one administration official telling the Washington Post last year there is a “concern that a broader campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.”

The Nigerian group Boko Haram, although weak and ineffectual, is also an inflated threat on Washington’s radar. A Congressional report issued at the very beginning of December said ”Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland.”

But Patrick Meehan, chairman of the US Congressional committee that drew up the report, said “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen.”

Washington’s interest in Africa goes back at least to 2007, when the Pentagon’s AFRICOM was formed, long before rebels in Libya or militants in Mali were a threats to exaggerate.

The dominant way of thinking in Washington is that the US should be involved in every corner of the planet, and the pressure to always “do something” is intense.

But as Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations recently commented with regards to the intervention in Mali, “Some things that happen on the other 94% of the earth that isn’t the US, has nothing to do with the US, nor requires a US response.”

(Source: jayaprada)

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare

The drone strikes are just one part of the horror.

Rick Rowley:

[We’re] flooded with details about [the bin Laden] raid, the—on May 2nd, 2011. We know everything about it. We know how many SEALs were in the helicopters. We know what kind of helicopters they were. We know what kind of rifles they were carrying. We know that they had a dog with them that was a Belgian Malinois named Cairo. We know everything about this raid. But that same year, there were 30,000 other night raids in Afghanistan. So, we know everything about this [one raid], but those—those are all hidden from us.

Watch.

So far, the UK and Sweden have illustrated their intentions to cooperate fully with the United States in rendering Muslim men even with insufficient evidence. Is Julian Assange paranoid to believe that if he were to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has sought refuge after having been granted political asylum, he would easily be whisked to the United States with the cooperation of the Swedish and British governments? Swedish Government Lodges No Protest in the Rendition of 2 Swedish Citizens

Obama’s Embrace of Rendition & the Appearance of Three Men with Somali Roots in Federal Court | Kevin Gosztola

[The] three men picked up in Somalia are wanted for fighting in a group that the US has designated as a “terrorist organization” against forces backed by the US. There is no evidence of the time that they plotted any attacks or were coming to America with al-Shabaab fighters intent on carrying out some kind of nefarious plot. This means a court is going to try and prosecute these men essentially for being on what the US government considers to be the wrong side of a conflict in Somalia.

The FBI claims they were on their way to Yemen. Suppose they were, in fact, headed to Yemen and headed to fight alongside militants, they would be facing charges that stem from the suspicion that they would be fighting on the wrong side of the conflict in Yemen and against US interests.

The involvement of British and Swedish agents or intelligence agencies is unknown, but it appears these men were being tracked. They would not submit to the agenda of the US national security state and consequently were swept up, sent to Djibouti, held in detention and disappeared and then, after being indicted secretly, moved from Djibouti to New York.

And, if it is true the men are being charged for their engagement in militant activities or intent to engage in militant activities that the US considers terrorism, then the Obama administration should have to reconcile this with the use of drones to extrajudicially assassinate people.

Why didn’t the Obama administration just attack these men with a drone and report them as “militants” who needed to be turned into bugsplat?

Writer Falguni Sheth explored this question:

Why suddenly render these three Somalis to the US and have them appear publicly in a NY Federal Court? If they were “accidentally” killed, there might be a small roar of protest, but the US government has stood tall in the face of much worse uproars. Most likely, it is useful to make a public example of them to ordinary Muslim migrants who are interested in sending money to relatives or for charitable purposes, in the face of dubious restrictions. It has been a standard practice for the Obama Administration to prosecute Muslims for charitable donations, as the family of Dr. Shakir Hamoodi and members of the Holy Land Foundation will attest.

It definitely is a question to keep in mind as the case unfolds. This case could stir a lot of controversy internationally yet successfully prosecuting the men would send a clear message to Somali communities or any other individuals who might dare to be on the wrong side of US operations or involvement in foreign countries, especially in poor Middle Eastern or African countries.

Renditions continue under Obama, despite due-process concerns | Washington Post

The three European men with Somali roots were arrested on a murky pretext in August as they passed through the small African country of Djibouti. But the reason soon became clear when they were visited in their jail cells by a succession of American interrogators.

U.S. agents accused the men — two of them Swedes, the other a longtime resident of Britain — of supporting al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that Washington considers a terrorist group. Two months after their arrest, the prisoners were secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York, then clandestinely taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the United States to face trial.

The secret arrests and detentions came to light Dec. 21 when the suspects made a brief appearance in a Brooklyn courtroom.

The men are the latest example of how the Obama administration has embraced rendition — the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — despite widespread condemnation of the tactic in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. [++]

The Year in Quotes | Micah Zenko

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “I am not a military strategist, but I think I know enough to say air strikes [in Somalia] would not be a good idea and we have absolutely no reason to believe anyone, certainly not the United States, is considering that.” (Press Availability on the London Conference, Feb. 23, 2012.)

Hours after America’s chief diplomat said this, U.S. Joint Special Operation Command conducted a drone strike — confirmed by two U.S. officials — against vehicles in a convoy in southern Somalia, killing between four and seven suspected militants.

Statelessness, Renditions and Making Examples of Muslims: The Case of Mahdi Hashi | Translation Exercises

The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human.

–Hannah Arendt (1951)

When President Obama famously signed the executive order to end torture, he did not also sign an order to end the practice of renditions that had also become popular during the Bush Era. I suppose it is one of the many consistencies of the current Administration on which we can rely: drones, kill lists, renditions.

Perhaps that explains why we have a report of the mysterious appearance of 3 men of Somali descent in a Federal court in NY Friday morning, where they were charged with material support and arms violations in conjunction with Al-Shabaab, an Islamic group deemed a terrorist organization by the US. A Swedish interpreter was also present.

The men are Mohamed Yusuf, Ali Yasin Ahmed and Mahdi Hashi. Of Mohamed Yusuf, I can find nothing. Ali Yasin Ahmed appears to be a Swedish resident, if not a national, who owned a travel agency in Sweden and was charged with not keeping financial records. Apparently, he sent over US $1.5m to Somalia while in Sweden.

Hashi, 23, has been missing from his home in Somalia for over three months. Hashi was a British citizen. Hashi’s father reports that in the UK, Hashi and several others had been hounded to become informants for British intelligent agents. Hashi refused, before moving to Somalia some time later, where he got married and had a child.

A little over 4 months ago, Hashi was informed by mail that the UK had stripped him of his citizenship for his association “with terrorist activities.” He was given 4 weeks to challenge the decision. But according to his family, he disappeared before he could challenge the British government’s decision. Disappeared that is, until his appearance in Brooklyn last Friday morning. [continue reading]

This has all the hallmarks of a rendition whereby somebody is picked up secretly and transferred into secret detention and thereafter transferred to another jurisdiction and here it’s the Americans.

NF: This is a story I have been following for a while and interestingly enough, I knew of this polite and friendly young man here in London. It is very disturbing that things like this can happen to any human being without due process and I have never been more ashamed of being British; that your  own government can turn their backs and deprive you of all your rights. 

#FreeMahdi

(via newsflick)

(Source: newsflick)

The initial goal of US domination of Africa is outlined in the AFRICOM documents, and names the eviction of China from the continent as task number one.

 Africa Pulse spells it out: ‘Strong economic growth in the past decade among African countries rich in oil and minerals has failed to make a significant dent on their poverty levels, according to a World Bank report.’ 
In other words, the Anglo-American imperialists would like to eliminate competition for Africa’s bountiful resources, continuing a centuries-old policy of raping the Dark Continent and leaving nothing but perpetual internal strife and poverty behind.

Abdi Ali Diriye, Is AFRICOM Preparing for Another “Humanitarian” Military Intervention?

The peace prize president’s second term agenda for Africa is all set.

jayaprada:

US drone strikes listed and detailed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen

Are drone attacks becoming the face of modern warfare? The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has collected the comprehensive database of reported drone attacks.

It shows hundreds of attacks: up to 337 in Pakistan, largely along the tribal areas of Waziristan, especially in the northern part - something which becomes very obvious in the chart below.

Plus there are another 35-45 recorded in Yemen and up to nine in Somalia.

The data also records the number of deaths, which could be up to 3,247 across the three countries, including up to 852 civilians.

It comes as the MoD decides to start developing a new generation of armed drones for use in strikes across the world. It has told defence manufacturers it wants their help to develop drones “to provide greater support to maritime operations such as mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and missile defence”.

For the first time, the TBIJ have released its full data as a spreadsheet, for you to download via the Datablog. The full data is below. What can you do with it?

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)