Somalia


East Africa’s Great Rift includes four rift systems that promise to hold significant deposits of oil. Africa Oil Corporation has been exploring and drilling here, and prepared a report that includes a number of excellent maps and graphics of seismic data. I’ve selected a few to show you here, but you can see them in greater clarity and detail in the PDF report Hunting Elephants In East Africa’s Rift Basins = January 2012 PDF.

Four major rift systems in East Africa.


four rifts key


-

The four rift systems from different geologic time are illustrated above and below. You can click the maps to enlarge enough to read.
Tertiary Rift: runs through Uganda Kenya Ethiopia
Cretaceous Rift: runs through Sudan Kenya Mali
Jurassic Rift: crosses to include Yemen and the Puntland region of Somalia
Permian Triassic Rift: crosses the sea from Ethiopia through southern Somalia to Madagascar

The Tertiary Rift

Tertiary Rift Uganda Kenya Ethiopia: Tullow's Uganda discoveries now at 2.5+ billion barrels of reserves. Tertiary rift in Kenya/Ethiopia contains the same source and reservoir system as Uganda as confirmed by Leperot discovery by Shell in 1992.

The Cretaceous Rift

Cretaceous Rift Kenya Mali Sudan: Over 6 billion barrels of oil discovered on trend in the analogous system in Sudan. Thick oil stained section in the 1980s vintage Amoco/Total wells confirms hydrocarbon system.

The Jurassic Rift

Jurassic Rift Yemen Somalia: Prolific, proven play in Yemen expected to extend into Puntland, which shares a common geologic history. Yemen fields produce from high quality Cretaceous and Jurassic reservoirs and source rocks. Numerous oil shows from wells drilled by previous operators confirm Jurassic source rock.

The Permian Triassic Rift

Permo-Triassic Rift Ethiopia Madagascar: Multi-TCF gas reserves have been discovered in Triassic sandstones. Light oil has been tested in fractured Jurassic carbonates. El Kuran field discovered by Tenneco in the 1970s confirmed oil and gas in both systems.

Here is some detail of the Dharoor block in Puntland Somalia.

Dharoor Puntland Somalia

Here is some detail on Block 10A in Kenya where they are beginning to drill.

Block 10A Kenya

A seismic cross section of the Pai Pai prospect, site of drilling in Block 10A.

Pai Pai prospect Block 10A

A map of East Africa suggesting the underlying petroleum system.

East Africa petroleum system

These are the local totals for potential barrels of oil that Africa Oil Corporation expects to be able to recover from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Puntland in Somalia.

Potential

This is the total size of the potential oil prize in both barrels of oil and dollars.

Size of the prize in billions of barrels

Do note the caveat:

There is no certainty that any portion of the resources will be discovered. If discovered there is no certainty the the discovery will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the resources.

All of these countries and locations mapped are of interest to the United States and its Africa Command, AFRICOM. Many aspects of that interest have been covered here in this blog.

These earlier posts, along with their comments, are particularly relevant to East African oil.
Uganda – Stepping On the Mission Creep Accelerator
If Uganda Has Oil It Must Need The Pentagon’s Democracy
Uganda – Oil Reserves To Rival Saudi Arabia?

There was a pause after Iran captured a US drone in early December, but Predator Reaper drone strikes have resumed in Somalia. I’ll continue to update the list of drone strikes in this post as more occur.

US Air Force General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper ordinance

Drone photo from James Gordon on flickr where you will find diagrams and more background information.

I have recorded details of the previous drone strikes occurring October 9 through December 2, plus background information here:
Bombing The Starving For Target Practice In Somalia

You’ll find more background on the drone use in Africa in this post:
Political Assassin Robots Flying In African Skies
 

Drone Strikes in Somalia:

US drone attack kills 38 in Somalia
Fri May 11, 2012

Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters say a US assassination drone attack has left at least 38 people dead and dozens of others wounded in the Horn of Africa state, Press TV reports.

The airstrike is said to have taken place in Somalia’s southwestern district of Badade, a Press TV correspondent reported

US drone strike kills 22 in Somalia
Fri Apr 27, 2012

A US assassination drone has pounded Somalia’s southwestern region of Gedo, killing at least 22 people in the attack, Press TV reports.

The attack was carried out on Friday when the unmanned aerial vehicle fired missiles at an area near Gedo’s Dhobley town.

Authorities say dozens of people have been wounded in the airstrike

US drone raid kills 31 in Somalia
Tue Apr 17, 2012

At least 31 people have been killed in the latest attack by two US assassination drones near Somalia’s southern town of Afmadow, Press TV reports.

Abdishakur Ahmed Madoobe, a Somali military official, confirmed the attack, adding that the aerial strike took place on Monday.

US terror drones kill 35 in Somalia
Sat Apr 14, 2012

At least 35 people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in a missile attack by two US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The casualties come after an unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab training bases located between the country’s capital city of Mogadishu and its neighboring city Afgoye on Thursday.

Captain Mohamed Haruun, a military official from the Halane military base, confirmed the attack, saying two US assassination drones were sent from the base late at night.

Haruun added that dozens of Somali troops were later deployed to seize the control of the damaged bases to from al-Shabab fighters.

US drone crashes in central Somalia  Tue Apr 3, 2012

An American assassination drone has crashed in Somalia’s central province of Galgaduud, causing a “massive explosion,” Press TV reports.

Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu says the unmanned aircraft went down near El-Bur town early Tuesday and caused “a massive explosion.”

The US military uses drones in several Muslim countries including Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though they have mostly resulted in civilian casualties.

El Bur has been serving as a key command and control base for al-Shabab fighters in the region for the past three years.

Residents of El-Bur told Press TV that hundreds of al-Shabab fighters left the town March 24.

US terror drone kills 18 in southern Somalia Saturday March 31, 2012

At least 18 people have been killed and a dozen others injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The causalities come after an unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Daynile District in west Mogadishu on Saturday.

Hussein Mohamed Uraag, a Somali military official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike happened early in the morning.

The US military uses remote-controlled drones in Somalia to carry out reconnaissance operations and targeted killings.

US terror drone kills 30 in southern Somalia Tue Mar 13, 2012

At least 30 people have been killed and a dozen injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Dayniile district of south Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Sheik Ibrahim Jaabar, a senior al-Shabab official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike caused major damage to the group’s positions.

US terror drone crashes in Somalia’s Hobyo seaport Wed Mar 7, 2012

Another US assassination drone has crashed in Mudug region near Somalia’s seaport city of Hobyo, Press TV reports.

A Somali officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that the US spy drone had flown from nearby USS Taylor warship.

This is while the main objective of USS Taylor warship which headed towards Somalia from the Suez canal is to hunt kidnappers who abducted US citizens in Somalia’s Puntland Region.

US terror drone crashes in Somalia Mon Mar 5, 2012

Another US assassination drone has crashed near Central Somalia’s Mudug Province, Press TV reports.

According to local witnesses, the US drone crashed in the sea near the town of Harardheere.

The incident took place as the USS Taylor warship was reportedly heading towards the African nation from the Suez Canal.

The town of Harardheere has become notorious for being a pirate base in war-torn Somalia.

Recently, the US is using a new kind of drone, called a kamikaze drone, in Somalia. It functions both as a missile and an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance aircraft.

Scores killed in US drone attack in Somalia Feb. 29, 2012

A US assassination drone has killed scores of people in an attack on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Press TV reports.

Also on Tuesday night, the unmanned American spy planes attacked a number of targets in southern Mogadishu.

In another incident a US spy drone crashed near Halane military base in southern Mogadishu.

Somali officials confirmed that the US drone crashed on Wednesday in the southern part of the capital.

US terror drone crashes in Somalia
Sat Feb 4, 2012

A non-UN-sanctioned US assassination drone has crashed into a refugee camp in the Somali capital Mogadishu, Press TVreports.

Refugees and soldiers in Mogadishu’s Badbado camp say they watched the unmanned aircraft crash into a hut on Friday.

Shortly after the incident, forces from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) closed down the refugee camp, which is in the Dharkenley district of southern Mogadishu, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

Somali government officials and African Union forces found the drone after the crash and took it away.

A police officer told the media that the drone was shaped like a small plane.

The US is using a new kind of drone, called a kamikaze drone, in Somalia. It functions both as a missile and an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance aircraft.

A very British execution? Jan 25th 2012, by J.L.

BILAL AL-BERJAWI was British, but no friend of Britain. Lebanese, he grew up in London. He went to Afghanistan to fight as a mujahid. In 2006, he pitched up in Somalia. In recent years he was said to be involved in logistics for the al-Qaeda linked Shabab militia. Last year, he was stripped of his British citizenship. His family deny the allegations. They say Berjawi wanted to appeal the decision but feared any phone call would be tracked and followed by a drone strike.

His fears were not entirely misplaced. Last year he was said to have been injured in an air strike on a Shabab base in south Somalia. His wife, who had been with him in Somalia, returned to Britain. Three days ago, she gave birth at a London hospital. Berjawi took a chance and called her. That telephone call seems to have been traced by British intelligence and the coordinates passed on to the Americans. Within a few hours, three missiles from an American drone were fired at a Shabab checkpoint on the edge of Mogadishu. Berjawi was killed instantly, along with several other Shabab fighters. The Shabab issued their own propaganda. “The martyr received what he wished for and what he went out for, as we consider of him and Allah knows him best, when, in the afternoon today, brother Bilal al-Berjawi was exposed to bombing in an outskirt of Mogadishu from a drone that is believed to be American.” The Shabab spokesperson, Ali Mohamed Rage, promised revenge.

The efficiency of the attack was, in Baobab‘s opinion, offset by its lack of transparency. Questions abound. Who was Berjawi? What threat did he pose? Was the British connection a coincidence or a cool calculation? Did British politicians have any knowledge of the action? And what are the ramifications of drone attacks in Somalia? Will they break the jihadists, or deepen the cult of martyrology that may become evident in suicide bombings across the region?

In mid December a drone crashed in the Seychelles: U.S. military drone crashes in Seychelles

US terror drone, Kenya strike Somalia Fri Jan 6, 2012

At least 30 people have been killed after a US assassination drone launched an aerial attack on southern Somalia near the Indian Ocean coast as Kenyan fighter aircraft pounded another location in the south, Press TV reports.

Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the remotely-controlled aerial vehicle had fired several missiles at the town of Kuda from Kismayo, a strategically important port city on the Somali coast, located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Friday morning.

They added that 11 houses had also been razed to rubble in the strike.

Somalia is the sixth country, where the United States has used drones to launch deadly missile strikes. The US military has also employed the aircraft in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.

On October 28, the United States admitted to flying the terror aircraft from a base in Ethiopia.

“The US has unarmed and unmanned aircraft at a facility there (Ethiopia) to be used only for surveillance as part of a broad, sustained integrated campaign to counter terrorism,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby.

The confirmation appeared a day after The Washington Post revealed in a report that the US flied ‘armed’ drones from an airfield in Ethiopia’s southern city of Arba Minch.

Meanwhile, Kenyan fighter jets carried out airstrikes on villages in Somalia’s southern region of Gedo.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, the country remains among those generating the highest number of refugees and internally-displaced persons in the world.

Do It Yourself Drones

DIY Drones, for those with some serious curiousity about drones.
This is the home for everything about amateur Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Use the tabs and drop-down menus to navigate the site.
 

Drone Background and History

“The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (originally the Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Royal Air Force, and the Italian Air Force. The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the U.S. Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.

The MQ-9 is a larger and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator (other than loiter time), and it can be controlled by the same ground systems used to control MQ-1s. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator’s 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The increase in power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance and cruise at three times the speed of the MQ-1. The aircraft is always monitored or controlled by aircrew in the Ground Control Station (GCS) and weapons employment is always commanded by the flight crew.

In 2008 the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing began the transition from F-16 piloted fighters to MQ-9 Reapers, becoming the first fighter squadron conversion to an all-UCAV attack squadron.As of March 2011, the U.S. Air Force was training more pilots for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles than for any other single weapons system.

Then U.S. Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley said, We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.

DevelopmentWith the success of the MQ-1 in combat, General Atomics anticipated the Air Force’s desire for an upgraded aircraft and, using its own funds, set about redesigning Predator.

Prototype Predator B”General Atomics began development of the Reaper with the “Predator B-001, a proof-of-concept aircraft, which first flew on 2 February 2001. The B-001 was powered by an Allied Signal Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-10T turboprop engine with 950 shp (712 kW). It had an airframe that was based on the standard Predator airframe, except with an enlarged fuselage and the wings were lengthened from 48 feet (14.6 m) to 66 feet (20 m). The B-001 had a speed of 220 knots (390 km/h) and could carry a payload of 750 pounds (340 kilograms) to an altitude of 50,000 feet (15.2 kilometers) with an endurance of 30 hours.

The company refined the design, taking it in two separate directions. The first was a jet-powered version; Predator B-002 was fitted with a Williams FJ44-2A turbofan engine with 10.2 kN (2,300 lbf, 1,040 kgf) thrust. It had payload capacity of 475 pounds (215 kilograms), a ceiling of 60,000 feet (18.3 kilometers) and endurance of 12 hours. The U.S. Air Force ordered two airframes for evaluation, delivered in 2007. The first two airframes delivered with prototypes B-001 and B-002 (now in the USAF museum at Wright-Patterson AFB). B-002 was originally equipped with the FJ-44 engine but it was removed and a TPE-331-10T was installed so that the USAF could take delivery of two aircraft in the same configuration.

The second direction the design took was the Predator B-003, referred to by GA as the Altair, which has a new airframe with an 84-foot (25.6 m) wingspan and a takeoff weight of about 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg). Like the Predator B-001, it is powered by a TP-331-10T turboprop. This variant has a payload capacity of 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg), a maximum ceiling of 52,000 feet (15.8 km), and an endurance of 36 hours.

Version for U.S. Air Force
First MQ-9 arrives at Creech AFB, March 2007.In October 2001, the U.S. Air Force signed a contract with GA to purchase an initial pair of Predator B-003s for evaluation, with follow-up orders for production machines. The first test MQ-9s were delivered to the Air Force in 2002. The name Altair did not follow the aircraft into testing, with the Air Force continuing to refer to the system as “Predator B” until it was renamed Reaper (Altair instead became the designation for the unarmed NASA version); this is confusing, however, as the manufacturer uses the term to refer to the smaller B-001 prototype.

Operators, stationed at bases such as Creech Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, can hunt for targets and observe terrain using a number of sensors, including a thermal camera. One estimate has the on-board camera able to read a license plate from two miles (3 km) away. An operator’s command takes 1.2 seconds to reach the drone via a satellite link. The MQ-9 is fitted with six stores pylons. The inner stores pylons can carry a maximum of 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) each and allow carriage of external fuel tanks. The mid-wing stores pylons can carry a maximum of 600 pounds (270 kilograms) each, while the outer stores pylons can carry a maximum of 200 pounds (90 kilograms) each. An MQ-9 with two 1,000 pound (450 kilogram) external fuel tanks and a thousand pounds of munitions has an endurance of 42 hours.

The Reaper has an endurance of 14 hours when fully loaded with munitions. The MQ-9 carries a variety of weapons including the GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb, the AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles, the AIM-9 Sidewinder, and recently, the GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). Tests are underway to allow for the addition of the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile.
The Air Force believes that the Predator B will give the service an improved “deadly persistence” capability, with the RPV flying over a combat area night and day waiting for a target to present itself. In this role an armed RPV neatly complements piloted strike aircraft. A piloted strike aircraft can be used to drop larger quantities of ordnance on a target while a cheaper RPV can be kept in operation almost continuously, with ground controllers working in shifts, carrying a lighter ordnance load to destroy targets. In March, 2011 U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that, while manned aircraft are needed, the Air Force must recognize “the enormous strategic and cultural implications of the vast expansion in remotely piloted vehicles” that already play a major role over Afghanistan and Iraq. “The view still lingers in some corners that, once I depart as secretary and once U.S. forces draw down from Iraq and Afghanistan in accordance with the president’s and NATO’s strategy, things can get back to what some consider to be real Air Force normal, he said. “This must not happen. Even as it buys new manned fighters and bombers, the Air Force must give equal weight to unmanned drones and “the service’s important role in the cyber and space domains.
By October 2007 the U.S. Air Force owned nine Reapers, and by December 2010 owned 57 with plans to buy another 272, for a total buy of 329 Reapers. On 18 May 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a certificate of authorization that allows the MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft to fly in U.S. civilian airspace to search for survivors of disasters. Requests had been made in 2005 for the aircraft to be used in search and rescue operations following Hurricane Katrina but, because there was no FAA authorization in place at the time, the planes were not used.

In September 2007, the MQ-9 deployed into Iraq at Balad, the largest U.S. air base in Iraq. On 28 October 2007 the Air Force Times reported an MQ-9 had achieved its first “kill”, firing a Hellfire missile against “Afghanistan insurgents in the Deh Rawood region of the mountainous Oruzgan province. The strike was ‘successful’,” the United States Central Command Air Forces said.

Critics have stated that the USAF’s insistence on qualified pilots flying RPVs is a bottleneck to expanding their deployment. Air Force Major General William Rew stated on 5 August 2008, For the way we fly them right now”—fully integrated into air operations and often flying missions alongside manned aircraft—”we want pilots to fly them. This may be exacerbating losses of Air Force aircraft, in comparison with US Army operations.
The typical MQ-9 system consists of multiple aircraft, ground control station, communications equipment and links, maintenance spares, and military (or contractor) personnel. The crew consists of a pilot and sensor operator. To meet combat requirements, the MQ-9 tailors its capabilities using mission kits of various combinations of weapons and sensors payloads. The Raytheon AN/AAS-52 multi-spectral targeting sensor suite includes a color/monochrome daylight TV, infrared, and image-intensified TV with laser rangefinder/target designator to designate targets for laser guided munitions. The Synthetic Aperture Radar system enables GBU-38 JDAM targeting, is capable of very fine resolution in both spotlight and strip modes, and has ground moving target indicator capability.

DesignThe typical MQ-9 system is composed of multiple aircraft, ground-control stations, satellites, and flight and maintenance crews. The aircraft is powered by a 950 horsepower turboprop, with a maximum speed of about 260 knots (300 miles per hour) and a cruising speed of 150-170 knots. With a 66 foot wingspan, and a maximum payload of 3800 lbs, the MQ-9 can be armed with a variety of weaponry, including Hellfire missiles and 500-lb laser-guided bomb units. The 3200 nm range of the MQ-9, and its 50,000 ft operational altitude, make it especially useful for long-term loitering operations, both for surveillance and support of ground troops.

Operational history U.S. Air Force
MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan in 2007On 1 May 2007, the 432d Wing of the U.S. Air Force was activated to operate MQ-9 Reaper as well as MQ-1 Predator UAVs at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. The pilots first flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the summer of 2007. In October 2007 the USAF was flying operational missions in Afghanistan.[14] As of 6 March 2008, according to USAF Lieutenant General Gary North, the Reaper has attacked 16 targets in Afghanistan using 500 lb (230 kg) bombs and Hellfire missiles. On 4 February 2008 the MQ-9 dropped a bomb on a truck carrying an insurgent mortar and team near Kandahar.

On 17 July 2008, the Air Force began flying Reaper missions within Iraq from Balad Air Base. It was reported on August 11, 2008 that the 174th Fighter Wing of the USAF will consist entirely of Reapers. By March 2009 the U.S. Air Force had 28 operational Reapers.

On 13 September 2009, an MQ-9 was flying a combat mission over Afghanistan when positive control of the aircraft was lost resulting in the drone flying out of control towards the Afghan border with Tajikistan. An F-15E Strike Eagle was sent to destroy it; the Reaper’s engine was disabled with an AIM-9 missile. The satellite link with the vehicle was restored immediately after, leaving the operator no option other than to steer it into a mountainside along with its ordnance. It was the first time a US drone was destroyed intentionally by allied forces.

Beginning in September 2009, Reapers were deployed by the Africa Command to The Seychelles for use in Indian Ocean anti-piracy patrols.

As of July 2010, 38 Predators and Reapers have been lost during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, with another 9 crashing during training operations in the U.S. The U.S. Air Force conducted more than 33,000 close-air-support- mission flights in 2010, an increase of more than 20 percent compared with 2009. As of March, 2011, the U.S. Air Force had 48 Predator and Reaper combat air patrols flying in Iraq and Afghanistan compared with 18 in 2007.

As of March, 2011, the U.S. Air Force was training more pilots for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles than for any other single weapons system.
In October 2011 the U.S. Air Force began operating Reapers out of Arba Minch in Ethiopia. It has been reported that these shall be used for surveillance only operations over Somalia.

NASA had initially expressed some interest in a production version of the B-002 turbofan-powered variant,[12] but instead has leased an unarmed version of the Reaper, which carries the GA-ASI company name “Altair”. Altair is one of the first 3 “Predator-B” airframes. The other 2 airframes, known as “Predator-B 001″ and “Predator-B 002″, had a maximum gross weight of 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg). Altair differs from these models in that it has an 86-foot (26 m) long wingspan (20 feet greater than early and current MQ-9s). The Altair has enhanced avionics systems to better enable it to fly in FAA-controlled civil airspace and demonstrate “over-the-horizon” command and control capability from a ground station. These aircraft are used by NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise as part of the NASA ERAST Program to perform on-location science missions.

In November 2006, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center obtained an MQ-9 from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The aircraft has been named Ikhana and its main goal is the Suborbital Science Program within the Science Mission Directorate. NASA also acquired a ground control station in a mobile trailer. This aircraft was used extensively to survey the Southern California wildfires in 2007. The data was used to deploy firefighters to areas of the highest need.

The California Office of Emergency Services requested NASA support for the Esperanza Fire, and in under 24 hours the General Atomics Altair (NASA variant of the Predator B) was launched on a 16 hour mission to map the perimeter of the fire. The Altair had just returned from a test mission a day before the Esperanza Fire started. The fire mapping research is a joint project with NASA and the US Forest Service.

US Homeland Security
UAV Operators at Joint Base Balad (LSA Anaconda), Iraq, April 20, 2005The United States Department of Homeland Security initially ordered one Reaper for border patrol duty, referred to as MQ-9 CBP-101. It began operations 4 October 2005, but on 25 April 2006, this aircraft crashed in the Arizona desert. The NTSB determined (Record Identification: CHI06MA121) that the cause of the crash was most likely a pilot error by the aircraft’s ground-based pilot in the use of a checklist. During its operational period, the aircraft flew 959 hours on patrol and had a part in 2,309 arrests. It also contributed to the seizure of four vehicles and 8,267 pounds (3,750 kg) of marijuana.[40] Because of these successes, a second Reaper, called CBP-104 (initially referred to as “CBP-102″), was delivered in September 2006, and commenced limited border protection operations on 18 October 2006. The program was further expanded on 16 February 2009, including Canadian border patrols where US officials were concerned about the exploitation of the border by drug smugglers, migrants and terrorists.

The CBP-101 was equipped with the Lynx SAR, AX-15 payload, ARC-210 radios, and other sensors and communications equipment; CBP-104 was enhanced with Ku band satellite command and control link and MTS-A EO/IR sensors.

The President’s FY 2006 Emergency Supplemental budget request added $45 million for the Reaper program, and the FY 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations bill adds an additional $20 million. In October 2006, GA-ASI announced a $33.9 million contract to supply two more Reaper systems by Fall 2007.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has six operational MQ-9s. In 2009, one was based in North Dakota, at the UAS Operations Center in Grand Forks, four in Arizona, at the UAS Operations Center in Sierra Vista and one based at Fort Drum, New York. The aircraft are equipped with GA-ASI’s Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (Lynx SAR info/web page) and Raytheon’s MTS-B ElectroOptical/Infrared sensors.

On 25 April 2006, an MQ-9 operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection crashed near Nogales, Arizona. The pilot, remotely operating the vehicle from Sierra Vista Municipal Airport, reported a momentary lockup of the displays on the primary control console. The pilot switched control to a secondary console, and in doing so inadvertently shut down the vehicle’s engine, causing it to descend out of reach of communications and ultimately crash.

TestbedThe Reaper is being used as a testbed for Gorgon Stare, a wide-area surveillance sensor system.

Non-US use[edit] AustraliaIn September 2006, the General Atomics Mariner demonstrator aircraft was operated by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in an exercise designed to evaluate the aircraft’s ability to aid in efforts to stem illegal fishing, drug running and illegal immigration. The Mariner operated from RAAF bases Edinburgh, South Australia and Learmonth, Western Australia in conjunction with a Royal Australian Navy Armidale class patrol boat, the Joint Offshore Protection Command and the Pilbara Regiment.

United KingdomOn 27 September 2006, the U.S. Congress was notified by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency that the United Kingdom was seeking to purchase a pair of MQ-9 Reapers. They are operated by No. 39 Squadron RAF from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.[49] A third MQ-9 was in the process of being purchased by the RAF in 2007.[49] In December 2010, the UK Ministry of Defence announced that it would increase its fleet of Reapers to 10.

On 9 November 2007, the UK Ministry of Defence announced that its MQ-9 Reapers had begun operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban. In April 2008, following the crash of one of the UK’s two Reapers, British special forces were sent to recover sensitive material from the wreckage before it was blown up to prevent the enemy from obtaining it.

Germany
Germany has made a request to purchase five Reapers and four ground control stations, plus related support material and training. The request, being made through the Foreign Military Sales process, was presented to Congress through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on 1 August 2008 and is valued at US$205 million. However, Germany did not go through with this procurement for the time being and decided to lease the IAI Heron offered by IAI and Rheinmetall instead, initially for the duration of one year, representing a stop-gap measure before a long-term decision on a MALE-system is being made.
On August 1, 2008, Italy submitted a FMS request through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency for four aircraft, four ground stations and five years of maintenance support, all valued at US$330 million. Italy ordered two more aircraft in November, 2009.

Variants
Naval versionGeneral Atomics designed a naval version of the Reaper, named the “Mariner”, for the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program requirements. The design would have an increased fuel capacity in order to have an endurance of up to 49 hours. Proposed variations on the ultimate design included one designed for carrier operations with folding wings for carrier storage, shorter and more rugged landing gear, an arresting hook, cut-down or eliminated ventral flight surfaces and six stores pylons with a total load of 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms).
The US Customs and Border Protection has ordered a “Maritime Variant” of the MQ-9.”

________

MQ Reaper drone background and history from James Gordon on flickr, where you will find photos, diagrams, and history of this and other UAVs.

The dumbest war ever continues.

When we thought Dubya had waged enough dumb wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have kenya army with 2,000 infrantry invading a lawless somalia with apparently no plan; no objective;no real mandate from constitution or international law; no real support from international bodies; no support from somalis; no nothing. Just a shadowy suspicious dumb “war”. RV Pundit

The competition for the dumbest war ever is fierce, but the Kenyan invasion of Somalia is certainly in the running. The problem is, if they “win” what then? Who governs Somalia? And how?

As a headline in the East African put it: Kenya’s headache: Al Shabaab goes, then what?

Cartoon by Amin Amir of Kenyan troops trying to figure out the way forward in Somalia.

Kenya’s troops are untested and it isn’t clear if they are prepared for a long-term occupation requiring counterinsurgency skills — a scenario that ended U.S. and Ethiopian interventions during Somalia’s 20-year-old civil war. The Somalia operation is Kenya’s biggest foreign military commitment since independence in 1963. (Garowe online)

According to the same article the French are continuing their imperial military adventuring in Somalia:

Kenya on Sunday said that France’s navy bombed a town in Somalia near a stronghold of al-Shabab, the first confirmation that a Western military force is involved in the latest push against the Islamist militia.

Kenyan military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy bombed the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo on Saturday night. A Nairobi-based diplomat told The Associated Press last week that France was carrying out military attacks in Somalia; French officials in Paris denied French forces were carrying out any attacks.

The Ethiopians have returned: Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia

And the Israelis are getting involved: Israeli terror drones kill 17 in Somalia Thu Nov 24, 2011

This invasion certainly looks like the Kenyans are going into Somalia as US proxies. Although the article says this:

U.S. officials told AP last week that the United States had been pressuring Kenya to “do something” in response to a string of security incidents along the Kenya-Somalia border, but that Kenya’s invasion of Somalia took the U.S. by surprise.

I think I’ll maintain some skepticism about the US being surprised.

The same US/Anglo/French imperialists that used NATO and the UN to destroy Libya are at work on Somalia and Kenya. The Brits are staging their own commando raids into Somalia. British commandos raided into Somalia to snatch a clan leader for discussions. The Brits also claim Somalia is training UK born terrorists. The Chinese are meddling in Somalia as well.

The US has taken the opportunity created by the Kenyan invasion to practice the use of its assassination drones. There has been about one strike per day since the Kenyan invasion began on October 16. I am listing them here: Bombing The Starving For Target Practice In Somalia

From On Kenya’s war against Al-Shabaab by Abena Afia:

The invasion has already helped to revive Shabaab’s fading appeal, enabling them to appear as genuine freedom fighters to Somalis. Press statements released by the extremist group display a distinct and deliberate departure from their usual fundamentalist rhetoric, employing a more nationalistic approach that has earned them a growing support. Unanimity on their call could establish the ascent of Shabaab domination.

Somalis have resisted occupation from previous foreign interventions, the US in 1992 and Ethiopia in 2006, ending in humiliating withdrawals. Provisions in the road map would have allowed Kenya to hold a significant stake in Somali resources. If Somalia was occupied and annexed by Kenya, tourism and business would again flourish. The decision to resurrect Somalia’s territorial claims caused anxiety to its neighbours.

Deals long exist between Kenya and multinational petroleum companies for offshore exploration blocks; of particular interest is block L5, thought to have the highest concentration of oil. Pursuit of this part of the block lying within the perimeters of Somali territorial waters is illegal.

In accordance with Article 10 of Somali Law No. 37 Territorial Sea and Ports (1972), Somalia has the right to territorial waters of 200 nautical miles (nm) and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nm provided in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

It seems of little coincidence then that an invasion has taken place following the fall of the roadmap, reinforcement of Somali law and protection of its sea.

… Kenya has not sought permission to enter and war crimes increase each day that they remain. Somalis already in a desperate situation continue to suffer.

Somalia, a current hotspot for international interest owing to its East African coastal location, oil explorations and other ‘free for all’ attractions such as illegal fishing and lucrative international piracy activity, now hosts Blackwater and Saracen mercenaries who have built base in Puntland. The unsettling presence of such ‘private security firms’ could see the orchestration of Somalia’s current internal war handled and controlled by more lawless but “professional” killers, whose interests do not coincide with those of Somalis.

The calamity engulfing Somalia is often blamed on an inability to manage its own country but active aggressors play a major role in its stagnation and underdevelopment.

Meanwhile, there is another pressing issue in Kenya that everyone is ignoring. Somalia is not an ideal breeding ground for terrorists. There is little infrastructure and strangers stand out. Kenya on the other hand does provide an ideal breeding ground for terrorists:

Kenya: Perfect breeding ground for Al-Shabaab terrorists by Rasna Warah

Kenya is a perfect breeding ground for terrorists and suicide bombers because it has the two ingredients that make recruitment to terrorist organisations so attractive – a high unemployment rate among youth and widespread corruption.

Impressionable and unemployed youth who have nothing much to look forward to can be easily lured to become terrorists, if presented with incentives such as money or a better afterlife.

Jobless, dejected and disillusioned youth may find the idea of becoming a martyr to a cause attractive. Some may become terrorists just for adventure.

Corruption ensures that would-be terrorists escape the security dragnet easily. I wonder how many Al-Shabaab have got away scot-free at police checks and border posts by parting with as little as Sh200.

Corruption, incompetence and lack of respect for ordinary citizens are the conditions under which terrorism thrives.

In addition to the corruption and high youth unemployment, Kenya has a third feature making it a welcoming environment for terrorists. Kenya has a diverse population and many urban environments into which people can blend or disappear far more easily than in Somalia.

William Oeri | NATION Kenyan troops heading to Amuma border entry point to flush out al Shabaab militants. The army captured a pirates haven of Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia on October 20, 2011 and were advancing towards the al Shabaab stronghold of Kismayu.

Regarding the coverage of the war, Henry Makori writes: Kenya’s media in bed with the military

These are the daily media images of the Kenyan war in Somalia. A clean war. Not a drop of blood. There have been frequent reports of killings of al-Shabaab militiamen and bombing of their bases. But no one has seen any images of the ‘frontline gains’ as NTV once described the army’s progress.

The headlines on TV and in the newspapers have been entirely celebratory since the fighting began on 16 October 2011 – except on those days when suspected retaliatory grenade attacks rocked Nairobi; the media has played down subsequent grenade attacks in other parts of the country.

Some observers believe Kenya decided to enter Somalia after a plan to create a new state (Azania) in the south of the country to act as a buffer between Kenya and al-Shabaab-controlled areas failed. The question that has not been openly asked – or answered in the military and political briefings – is why Kenya decided to pursue al-Shabaab inside Somalia and not the other militias inside other neighbouring countries which have for years attacked, killed and robbed Kenyans living near the national borders.

The invasion was said to be in response to the kidnapping of some Western tourists by al-Shabaab. But the militia group never claimed responsibility for those kidnappings, but actually denied the allegations.

One could get an idea of what is going on at the ‘frontline’ by speaking to reporters who have been there. Patrick Injendi, a journalist with Citizen TV, spent three weeks with the soldiers. The media has been reporting that the Kenyan army has ‘captured’ or ‘liberated’ town after town in Somalia apparently with little resistance from al shabaab as the soldiers make their way to the militia’s stronghold in the port city of Kismayu. But Injendi says the only ‘towns’ he ever saw were settlements with two or three buildings.

How do the reporters get their ‘frontline’ stories? ‘There is no freedom of movement’, Injendi says. ‘You couldn’t just wake up and decide you were going to look for news in a certain place. You must be accompanied by soldiers for security.’ That means the media reports are merely what the soldiers tell the reporters.

What about Somali civilians killed in the bombings? How many are they so far? No numbers have been published, or even the mention of civilian deaths.

The vice-chair of the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights, Hassan Omar says the anger may not be reported in the Kenyan media but it is there, boiling in blogs run by Somalis. … ‘There is a lot of anger there. Don’t ever underestimate it because of the fact that it is not reaching the Kenyan media.’

Because of civilian casualties, says Omar, the Kenyan army could end up facing charges of war crimes.

Radio journalist Kassim Mohammed who has reported on Somalia … ‘The Kenyan media has failed in reporting this war. On the other hand, the Somali media has done very well: they question, they criticise a lot of the things going on.

there is no doubt that the truth about what is exactly happening will eventually come to light. Trouble is, immense damage would already have been done.

With no real plan and no truthful reporting in Kenya, there is a lot of supportive evidence to RV Pundit’s observation that this is the dumbest war ever.

“Somalia is a counterterrorism planner`s dream … It`s far, far harder to do counterterrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan than in Somalia” (NYT)

Anyone who thinks the US is “surgically striking” only hardcore badguys in Somalia is living in a western corporate media induced dream world. The US is practicing and expanding its use of robot drones, practicing on real people, real lives, real deaths, real maiming. The Somali people have no one to stand up for them, which leaves them open to being abused and experimented on in this way. The US and its proxies, in this case mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, allege they are representing Somali interests. Yet they are the ones inflicting the most harm on Somalis.

Somalia surrounded by predators as illustrated by talented cartoonist Amin Amir of aminarts.com

Somalia is experiencing a severe famine. It’s government is a creation of the US and the western “international community”, and is so weak that it barely exists. Most members of the government live outside Somalia, hardly a representative government. Listed below is the sort of “aid” the US is providing.

“We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.” (U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley)

Drones: Predator MQ-9 Reaper

There are drone bases in Djibouti, the Seychelles and in Ethiopia, and more are planned. These may not be an HQ, but they are AFRICOM bases in Africa.

What follows is a list of killer drone strikes and drone crashes in Somalia. There are a lot of crashes, Either some drones are being brought down, or they are still an unreliable technology, or both.

December 8 2011: The Iranians captured a US spy drone announced on December 4, and put it on display in Iran on December 8. There is no record of any drone strikes in Somalia since the one below on December 2. I’ll watch to see how this continues.  So far the strikes on Somalia seem to have stopped, or at least paused.   This is also interesting:  US Keeps Losing Control Of Its Drones, regarding another drone that came down in the Seychelles.

Funny how these drones keep experiencing failures in areas where they’re engaging in a covert war …

One of the Air Force’s premier drones crashed Tuesday morning in the Seychelles, the Indian Ocean archipelago that serves as a base for anti-piracy operations, as well as U.S. surveillance missions over Somalia.

Prior to the downing of the spy drone in Iran, these are the drone strikes in Somalia.  These strikes occurred more recently than the original posting date of this article:

US terror drones kill 24 in Somalia Fri Dec 2, 2011

At least 24 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia, near the border with Kenya, Press TV reports.
Abdi Hirsi, a Somali military officer, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Buzar village, which is located close to El Wak city in Somalia’s southwestern region of Gedo, on Friday morning.
He added that dozens of people were also injured in the strikes.

US terror drones kill 11 more in Somalia Thu Dec 1, 2011

At least 11 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reports.
Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Thursday morning.
They added that over 50 people were also injured in the strikes.

US drone raid kills 9 Somali civilians Wed Nov 30, 2011

A US assassination drone attack has killed at least 9 civilians and left 28 others wounded in south Somalia, Press TV reports.
According to witnesses, the terror attack took place near the southern Somali town of Kulbiyow on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, informed sources at the southern border town of Dhobley have confirmed that more than 700 Kenyan forces that had entered Somalia to fight al-Shabab militants are retreating towards the Kenyan territory following threats of retaliation.
Last month, Kenya dispatched soldiers over its border into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab militants, who have been accused of being behind the kidnapping of several foreigners on its territory. Al-Shabab has denied any involvement in such incidents.
Additionally on Sunday, United Nations Political Office for Somalia met with the country’s civil society and rights groups in a bid to solve the decades-long crisis in the war-torn nation.

US terror drone kills 18 in Somalia Mon Nov 28, 2011

A US assassination drone has killed at least 18 al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia, injuring dozens more, Press TV reports.
According to a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officer, the incident occurred in an al-Shabab training camp in the town of Badade.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia has met with the country’s civil society and rights groups in a bid to solve the war-torn nation’s crisis.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains among the ones generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.

US terror drones kill 39 more in Somalia Sun Nov 27, 2011

At least 39 people have been killed after US assassination drones launch aerial attacks on southern Somalia near the Indian Ocean coast, Press TV has reported.
Dozens of others were also injured after the remotely-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles, Somali tribal elders told Press TV on Saturday evening.
The incident took place on the outskirts of Kismayo — a strategically important port city on the Somali coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the country’s capital Mogadishu.

The following strikes were recorded in this original article:

US drone attacks kill 21 in Somalia Fri Nov 25, 2011

At least 21 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Friday morning.
They added that 21 people were killed and scores of others injured in the drone attacks.
The aerial attacks followed US terror drone strikes against the same area on Thursday evening.
Witnesses told Press TV that at least 14 people were killed and 37 others injured in the strikes.

US terror drones kill 14 more in Somalia Fri Nov 25, 2011
This is the Thursday evening Thanksgiving Day strike mentioned above.

At least 14 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
Somali tribal elders told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Thursday evening.
They added that 37 people were also injured in the strikes.

This report shows the Israelis are getting in a bit of targeted robot killing practice too.
Israeli terror drones kill 17 in Somalia Thu Nov 24, 2011

At least 17 people have been killed after Israeli assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
Somali military officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at the town of Kuda along the coast from Kismayo, a strategically important port city on Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Thursday morning.
They added that more than 60 others were also injured in the strikes.
Israel has reportedly deployed five unmanned aerial vehicles in a Kenyan military base near the border with neighboring Somalia, and has also passed a considerable amount of heavy weapons to Kenya. The Israeli regime has even sent thirteen trainers to Kenya to provide the Kenyan army with technical training or assistance related to Nairobi’s military operations in war-torn Somalia.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga recently requested Tel Aviv’s assistance in carrying out intensified offensives inside Somalia.
Israeli President Shimon Peres, in response to the request, has vowed to aid Kenya with whatever it needs in its fight against al-Shabab fighters.
Hundreds of families have been fleeing towns in southern Somalia in the wake of Kenyan military’s aerial strikes.
Residents in Kismayo as well as in Buale, Jilib, and Afmadow towns have been leaving their homes over the past weeks for fear of their lives.
Last month, Kenya dispatched soldiers over its border into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab militants, which it accuses of being behind the kidnapping of several foreigners on its territory. Al-Shabab has denied involvement.
Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed has said his UN-backed transitional government was opposed to the military incursion, which is reportedly being contributed to by the US and France.

US drone raid kills 7 in Somalia Wed Nov 23, 2011

A US assassination drone attack has killed at least seven civilians and injured several others in Somalia, Press TV reports.
The US drone carried out the assassination attacks Wednesday morning in Hiiraan region near Kalaberka of central Somalia.
The US has expanded the number of its aerial assassination attacks by unmanned remote-controlled aircraft in Somalia. Consequently, many civilians have fallen victim to the non-UN-sanctioned assaults.

US spy drone crashes in Somalia Mon Nov 21, 2011

An American remote-controlled reconnaissance drone went down on the outskirts of Kismayo, a strategically important port city on Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Monday.
Local residents said that they heard a massive explosion after the aircraft crashed and caught fire.
They added that that the remains of the spy drone were collected by al-Shabab fighters.

US terror drone kills 25 Somalis Sun Nov 20, 2011

The attack took place near Bardera city in the southern Gedo region of the African nation, leaving many others injured.
The incident follows an attack last night, which also left at least 18 others dead and tens of others wounded between Kismayo and Afmadow

US terror drones kill 46 more in Somalia Fri Nov 18, 2011

Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles on the outskirts of Afmadow city, which is situated in the middle of the Juba region and 620 kilometers (385 miles) south of Mogadishu, on Friday.
They said that 15 people were killed and several others wounded in the strikes.
The aerial attacks came as US assassination drones had struck Balanbale district in Somalia’s central region of Galguduud earlier in the day.

US terror drones kill 13 in south Somalia Thu Nov 17, 2011

Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Buzar village, which is located close to El Wak city in Somalia’s southwestern region of Gedo, on Thursday.
They added that dozens of people were also injured in the strikes.
The aerial attacks came as US assassination drones had struck Buzar village a day earlier. At least 26 people were killed and dozens more were also wounded in Wednesday’s drone attacks.

US drone crashes in central Somalia Thu Nov 17, 2011

The remote-controlled aerial vehicle went down on the outskirts of Feer town, which is located in Somalia’s central region of Middle Shabelle, on Thursday.
A Somali military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that 15 people were injured in the incident.
Local residents also said that they heard a massive explosion after the aircraft crashed and caught fire

US terror drones kill 35 more in Somalia Wed Nov 16, 2011

A Somali military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles struck the outskirts of Kismayo, a strategically important port city on Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Wednesday morning.
He added that dozens of people were also injured in the attacks

US drone strike kills 17 in Somalia Tue Nov 15, 2011

The attack occurred in a civilian region near the town of Dhobley in southern Somalia on Tuesday.

US terror drones kill 36 more in Somalia Sat Nov 12, 2011.

At least 36 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
Somali tribal elders, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Haawina village, which is located in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia, on Saturday evening.
dozens of people were also injured in the attacks, the tribal elders added.
Somalia is the sixth country where the United States has used assassination drones.
The US military has also used drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.
On October 28, the United States admitted to flying the terror aircraft from a base in Ethiopia.

US terror drones kill 146 in two days Fri Nov 11, 2011

Seventy-nine more people have been killed in US assassination drone attacks in southern Somalia, bringing the death toll to 146 over the past two days, Press TV reported.
The US military launched terror drone attacks on Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, on Friday. At least 79 people were killed and several others were injured in the strikes.
The aerial attacks followed US terror drone strikes against Afmadow city, which is situated in the middle of the Juba region and 620 kilometers (385 miles) south of Mogadishu.
Witnesses told Press TV that at least 29 people were killed and 43 others were also injured in the aerial assassination attacks.
Meanwhile, at least 38 people were killed and over 66 others were wounded after US remote-controlled terror drones launched attacks on Tabataa town, which is located in the southern Lower Juba region of Somalia.

2 US terror drones crash in Somalia Fri Nov 11, 2011

Two US military assassination drones have crashed separately in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reports.
One of the American remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles went down on the outskirts of Dhoobley town, situated 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Kenyan border and about 500 kilometers (312 miles) southwest of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, on Thursday.
Local residents said that they heard a massive explosion after the aircraft crashed and caught fire.
Later in the day, another US terror drone reportedly crashed near Dhoobley town. Locals said they had witnessed the aircraft crashing in outskirts of the town.

US terror drone raid kills 6 in Somalia Wed Nov 9, 2011

A US assassination drone attack has killed at least six civilians and injured several others in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.
The terror drone raid was carried out Wednesday morning near Kismayo in southern Somalia, leaving six people dead and 70 women and girls that were fleeing the area toward Kismayo wounded.
The US has expanded the number of its aerial assassination attacks by unmanned remote-controlled aircraft in Somalia, which is suffering a disastrous famine.
Consequently, many civilians have fallen victim to the non-UN-sanctioned assassination assaults.

US, Kenya airstrikes kill 64 in Somalia Sun Nov 6, 2011

US assassination drone attacks and Kenya airstrikes have claimed the lives of at least 64 people in southern Somalia, as violence continues to intensify in the war-torn African nation, Press TV reports.
A US drone strike killed at least 29 civilians near the town of Hoosingow in Jubbada Hoose district, while Kenya jet fighters bombed an area near the town of Afmadow, killing at least 35 al-Shabab fighters.
Witnesses say dozens of civilians were injured in both attacks.
The incident comes hours after an earlier US assassination drone attack on the town of Kuda along the coast of Kismayo, which left at least 24 Somalis dead.
The US has deployed bombing and intelligence drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though most such attacks have resulted in civilian casualties.
These attacks are authorized by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Meanwhile, tension has been growing between the Somali government backed by Kenyan troops and al-Shabab fighters since they engaged in fierce battle over control of towns in south Somalia.

US terror drones kill 24 more in Somalia Sun Nov 6, 2011

At least 24 Somalis have been killed in a US assassination drone attack near the country’s border with Kenya, Press TV reports.
The remotely-controlled drones launched an aerial attack on the town of Kuda along the coast of Kismayo, a strategically-important port city located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu on Saturday evening.
The attack followed two similar US assassination strikes against Bardera city and Burdhubo town in the southern Gedo region. At least 75 people were killed and over 80 others wounded in the two strikes.

US drone attacks kill dozens in Somalia Sat Nov 5, 2011

Two US assassination drone attacks have left at least 75 people dead and about 80 others wounded in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.
The first strike happened in the southern city of Bardera on Saturday, killing nearly 45 people, witnesses said.
In the second attack, more than 30 people were killed in Burdhubo town, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Nearly 80 civilians were also injured in the attacks.
Hundreds of Somali troops entered Bardera city following the US assassination drone strike.

US terror drones kill 38 more Somalis Thu Nov 3, 2011

At least 38 Somali civilians have been killed in a US assassination drone attack near the country’s border with Ethiopia, Press TV reports.
Two US terror drones carried out airstrikes in Qeydar and Marodile towns near Somalia-Ethiopia borders on Wednesday, killing 38 people and injuring 74 others.
The aerial attacks come few days after the prominent US daily Washington Post revealed in a report that the US flies “armed” drones from a secret airfield in Ethiopia’s southern city of Arba Minch.
The US Air Force has spent millions of dollars to improve the airfield in Ethiopia to accommodate a fleet of Reaper drones that carry Hellfire missiles and precision-guided bombs, the report said.
A day after the report was published, the Americans admitted to flying unmanned aerial vehicles from Ethiopia, claiming that the assassination drones merely conduct surveillance missions in the Horn of Africa.
Although the United States has tried to downplay its military and intelligence presence in the Horn of Africa region, the US military has carried out numerous terror drone strikes in Somalia in the past few months, killing hundreds of people, most of them civilians.
Somalia is the sixth country where the US military has engaged in unauthorized aerial bombing campaigns through the use of its remote-controlled aircraft.
The United States has also deployed its assassination drones for aerial attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.
Washington claims the airstrikes target anti-American militants, though a far greater number of victims of such attacks have been civilians.

US terror drones kill 41 more in Somalia Thu Nov 3, 2011

At least 41 people have been killed in a US assassination drone attack near the country’s border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
The US remote-controlled drones launched an aerial attack on the outskirts of Hoomboy town, which is situated in Somalia’s southern region of the Middle Juba.
The aerial attack followed a US assassination strike against Jamame town in Somalia’s southern Jubbada Hoose region earlier on Thursday. At least 28 people were killed and dozens more were wounded.

US drone attack kills 28 in south Somalia Thu Nov 3, 2011

At least 28 people have been killed after US remote-controlled drones launched an aerial attack in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
Witnesses told Press TV that the unmanned aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Jamame town, which is situated in Somalia’s southern region of Jubbada Hoose.
They added that dozens more people were also injured in the strike.

US drone strikes kill 38 in Somalia Wed Nov 2, 2011

At least 38 people have been killed after US remote-controlled drones launched aerial attacks in central Somalia near the border with Ethiopia, Press TV reported.
Witnesses told Press TV that the unmanned aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Qeydar and Marodile villages, which are situated between Guriceel and Balanbale districts in Somalia’s central region of Galguduud.
Somali tribal elders said that more than 74 people were also injured in the strikes.
Earlier in the day, 20 people were killed and 60 others were injured after a US drone struck the outskirts of Kismayo, a strategically important port city on Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Somalia is the sixth country where the United States has used remote-controlled drone aircraft to launch deadly missile strikes.

US drone strikes kill 38 in Somalia Wed Nov 2, 2011

At least 38 people have been killed after US remote-controlled drones launched aerial attacks in central Somalia near the border with Ethiopia, Press TV reported.
Witnesses told Press TV that the unmanned aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Qeydar and Marodile villages, which are situated between Guriceel and Balanbale districts in Somalia’s central region of Galguduud.
Somali tribal elders said that more than 74 people were also injured in the strikes.
Earlier in the day, 20 people were killed and 60 others were injured after a US drone struck the outskirts of Kismayo, a strategically important port city on Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

US drone attack kill 20 Somalis Wed Nov 2, 2011

A US drone attack has killed 20 civilians and injured 60 others in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.
The US assassination drone carried out the attacks on Wednesday morning on the outskirts of Kismayo city, leaving 20 people dead and 60 others, mostly women and children, injured.
Somali security sources have also told Press TV that another drone attack in Kismayo killed dozens of al-Shabab fighters.

US drone strike kills eight in Somalia Tue Nov 1, 2011

At least eight people have been killed and several others have been wounded in a US assassination drone attack in Somalia, Press TV reports.
Witnesses said the strike happened in Mussa Haji district of south Kismayo town on Tuesday, a Press TV correspondent said.

US drone kills 28 in south Somalia Sun Oct 30, 2011

Another attack by a US assassination drone has claimed the lives of at least 28 civilians, while injuring dozens of others in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.
The incident took place in the town of Gilib, 350 kilometers south of Mogadishu, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.
Meanwhile, other US drones also crashed near the Balet Weyne Town in Hiiraan. Further details have not been released yet.

US terror drone kills 21 in Somalia Sun Oct 30, 2011

A US assassination drone attack has killed at least 21 civilians and injured several others in southern Somalia, Press TVreports.
The US drone carried out attacks Sunday morning near Kismayo city in southern Somalia, leaving 21 people dead and 67 others wounded.

US drone crashes in south Somalia. Sun Oct 30, 2011

An unmanned aerial vehicle operated by the US military has crashed in southern Somalia near the Horn of African country’s border with Kenya, Press TV has reported.
The remotely-controlled aircraft went down on the outskirts of Kalaberka town, which is located in Somalia’s south-central region of Hiiran, on Saturday.
Local residents said that they heard a massive explosion after the aircraft crashed and caught fire.
Earlier on Saturday, 16 civilians were killed and 19 others injured after one such drone fired several missiles at Kulbiyow village in the Lower Juba region in the south of the country.

US drone strike kills 49 in Somalia Sat Oct 22, 2011

An unmanned US drone strike has killed at least 49 people in famine-stricken in southern Somalia, while injuring at least 68 others, Press TV reported.
According to Somali military officials, the attack took place near the town of Bilis Qooqani hours ago, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday.
Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though most such attacks have resulted in civilian casualties in Somalia.
The developments come as witnesses say hundreds of Somali families are fleeing from the troubled area.
Drone strikes in Somalia make the lawless state the sixth country where the US military has used remote-controlled aircraft to conduct such lethal strikes.

US strike kills 11 civilians in Somalia Sat Oct 22, 2011

The Saturday attack took place near Hoosingow district in the south of the country, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Meanwhile, another US drone also crashed near Bilis Qooqani town located in the south of the country, leaving three people injured.

Two US drones crash in south Somalia Sat Oct 22, 2011

A Somali military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled drones went down in close proximity to Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, late on Saturday.
He added that he heard massive explosions after the aircraft crashed and caught fire.
Earlier in the day, 49 people were killed and 68 others were injured after a US drone fired several missiles that landed on the outskirts of Bilis Qooqaani town

US drone attacks kill 26 in Somalia Thu Oct 20, 2011

Somali military officers said a US drone carried out attacks Thursday morning near the Taabto and Bilis Qooqani districts in southern Somalia, resulting in the casualties.
Meanwhile, Somali troops have said that they have collected the remains of two US drones that crashed near Bilis Qooqani within the last 24 hours.
On Wednesday, at least 46 people were killed after a US drone struck a city in southern Somalia near the Kenyan border.
The unmanned aircraft fired several missiles into the outskirts of Kismayo, a port and capital of the Lower Juba region located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Thousands of local residents are fleeing Kismayo city in face of the American UAV attacks, as the Somali people are already struggling with famine in their country.
Earlier on Wednesday, 18 civilians were killed and 37 others wounded in another US drone strike on Musa Haji district in southern Somalia.

27 Somalis killed in US drone strike Mon Oct 17, 2011

Dozens of civilians were also injured after an American strike on the port town of Kismayo, about 500 kilometers south of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday, witnesses told Press TV.
A similar airstrike killed over a dozen people in another southern region on Saturday.

Two US drones crash in south Somalia Wed Oct 12, 2011

Two unmanned aerial vehicles operated by the US military have crashed in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reports.
A Somali government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the American remote-controlled drones went down in close proximity to Dhoobley town, situated 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Kenyan border and about 500 kilometers (312 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, late on Tuesday.
He added that the remains of the aircraft were retrieved by Somali government forces.

Three US drones crash in Somalia Sun Oct 9, 2011

Three unmanned US drones have crashed in the southern region of Somalia

h/t Pruning Shears who found and has been listing these reports from Press TV.

Whether we want more drones and more people killed by drones is becoming irrelevant. The CIA has promised and created a drone hunter killer career track. So drone killing will only continue and expand. People are being maimed and killed to feed the growing bureaucracy and the corporate drone manufacturers. Since Somalia is a counterterrorism planners dream, the people of Somalia will continue to pay for this program with their lives. US taxpayers will continue to pay in dollars in order to rain torture and death on Somali families.

Whether hunter-killer drones are effective or necessary is not what is driving their expanded use.

CIA’s Push for Drone War Driven by Internal Needs

[The CIA's] mission has changed in recent years from gathering and analysing intelligence to waging military campaigns through drone strikes in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and Somalia.

… CIA Director Michael Hayden lobbied hard for that expansion at a time when drone strikes seemed like a failed experiment.

The reason Hayden pushed for a much bigger drone war, it now appears, is that it [the CIA] had already created a whole bureaucracy in the anticipation of such a war.

The shift in the CIA mission’s has been reflected in the spectacular growth of its Counter-terrorism Center (CTC) from 300 employees in September 2001 to about 2,000 people today – 10 percent of the agency’s entire workforce, according to the Post report.


… In 2005, the agency had created a career track in targeting for the drone programme for analysts in the intelligence directorate, the Sep. 2 Post article revealed.

That decision meant that analysts who chose to specialise in targeting for CIA drone operations were promised that they could stay within that specialty and get promotions throughout their careers. Thus the agency had made far-reaching commitments to its own staff in the expectation that the drone war would grow far beyond the three strikes a year and that it would continue indefinitely.

By 2007, the agency realised that, in order to keep those commitments, it had to get the White House to change the rules by relaxing existing restrictions on drone strikes.

That’s when Hayden began lobbying President George W. Bush to dispense with the constraints limiting the targeting for drone attacks, according to the account in New York Times reporter David Sanger’s book “The Inheritance”. Hayden asked for permission to carry out strikes against houses or cars merely on the basis of behaviour that matched a “pattern of life” associated with Al-Qaeda or other groups.

… Leon Panetta, Obama’s new CIA director, was firmly committed to the drone war. He continued to present it to the public as a strategy to destroy Al-Qaeda, even though he knew the CIA was now striking mainly Afghan Taliban and their allies, not Al-Qaeda.

In his first press conference on Feb. 25, 2009, Panetta, in an indirect but obvious reference to the drone strikes, said that the effort to destabilise Al-Qaeda and destroy its leadership “have been successful”.

Under Panetta, the rate of drone strikes continued throughout 2009 at the same accelerated pace as in the second half of 2008. And in 2010 the number of strikes more than doubled from 53 in 2009 to 118.

The CIA finally had the major drone campaign it had originally anticipated.

Two years ago, Petraeus appeared to take a somewhat skeptical view of drone strikes in Pakistan. In a secret assessment as CENTCOM commander on May 27, 2009, which was leaked to the Washington Post, Petraeus warned that drone strikes were fueling anti-U.S. sentiments in Pakistan.

Now, however, Petraeus’s personal view of the drone war may no longer be relevant. The CIA’s institutional interests in continuing the drone war may have become so commanding that no director could afford to override those interests on the basis of his own analysis of how the drone strikes affect U.S. interests.

If the US were actually practicing counter terrorism, it might try to avoid giving people so many reasons to become terrorists.

For more discussion of drones and the legalities involved, see my earlier post: Political Assassin Robots Flying In African Skies

For background on the base in the Seychelles see Building A US Military Base In The Seychelles

I noted these selected paragraphs from articles I read today. The topics are most certainly related.

From an article in Nigeria’s Daily Independent:

On Sudan, my country Nigeria was made to ratify the break-up of that country into North and South so that the powerful nations can have access to the oil fields in the South which they currently cannot control under the incumbent regime. Will Nigeria allow UN to split it into North and South? Never! …

Gradually, White House is bringing Al Qaeda to Nigeria even when Nigeria has no issue with Al Qaeda. The US attempt to force its Africa Command (AFRICOM) base on Nigeria is responsible for the current bombings being tagged ‘Al Qaeda bombs’, so that Nigeria can accept the inevitability of US forces in Nigeria. What’s more, with CIA agents now prowling Nigeria, more bombings should be expected, as the US is determined to pursue its 2015 prediction that Nigeria will break-up. (Cornelius Segun Ojo)

——–

Which country has the biggest military budget per year?

——–

The US military budget in context

From the Narco News Bulletin:

State Department cables recently made public by WikiLeaks do seem to confirm that the U.S. government is very aware that much of the heavy firepower now in the hands of Mexican criminal organizations isn’t linked to mom-and-pop gun stores, but rather the result of blowback from U.S. arms-trading policies (both current and dating back to the Iran/Contra era) that put billions of dollars of deadly munitions into global trade stream annually.

As the death toll mounts in the drug war now raging in Mexico, it pays to remember that weapons trafficking, both government-sponsored and illegal, is a big business that feeds and profits off that carnage. Bellicose government policies, such as the U.S.-sponsored Merida Initiative, that are premised on further militarizing the effort to impose prohibition on civil society only serve to expand the profit margin on the bloodshed. (Pentagon Fingered as a Source of Narco-Firepower in Mexico)

There is an election this week in Uganda. Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire records some of her observations:

We have also seen Museveni try to tell the youth in the last few days, through the New Vision newspaper, which largely leads with his stories that they shouldn’t vote the opposition for it will sabotage a government plan to give them jobs. I don’t think Ugandan youth are fools to think that what a man has not done in 25 years can achieve in 5 years. Uganda produces about 400,000 graduates from higher institutions of learning every year but less than 50,000 jobs are created annually. President Museveni and his brother Salim Saleh have even gone into security business sending hundreds of Ugandan youth to Iraq and Afghanistan to reduce the numbers of idle youth. The truth is there’s no real plan for the youth and many will not be voting for the ruling party.

… But because many have for long trusted Museveni on security, few Ugandans bother to know or even ask why their sons are fighting in Somalia.

For a regime that has enjoyed such trust on security matters, there shouldn’t be thousands of police officers at every corner in Kampala right now. … no wonder people are now anxious …

We wait for the next three days and see if every home will have a policeman attached to it in the name of security.

Museveni is one of the US’s prized client dictators, sending proxy armies to Somalia and around the world, and also, a favorite of the US Africa Command.

Meanwhile, back at home in the US, the US government fails its own people and fails to do the job of governing:

Dear Poor People, Thank You for Going Without Heat So We Can Buy Another Week of War

As a result of your going without heat next winter, we will be able to afford almost one whole week of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost about $468 million a day. Although when you add in the many hidden costs like increased long-term veteran’s health care due to the conflicts, your sacrifice is probably only really going to cover maybe half a week.

I hope you understand that when we had to choose between providing basic necessities to our citizens or fighting about five more days in Iraq and Afghanistan because of [insert newest justification here], we clearly just had to choose the wars over you.

These few bits of news are worth considering in relation to each other. Our choices have consequences.

In a State Department briefing Johnnie Carson let us know the real reason for US involvement in Somalia, and the reason for sponsoring African proxies through AMISOM.

Somalia has dominated the 15th African Union summit in Uganda (AFP) July 2010

Not until the very end does Carson give an inkling of what the real U.S. fear is wrt Somalia, which is why the ICU’s revolution was crushed so violently.

It is important that the TFG be strengthened, for if it is not, Shabaab will continue to emerge as a significant political threat not only in the south, but also throughout the region.

They’re not really worried about ‘violent extremists’– after all, what’s more extreme than intentionally dropping bombs from remote control onto human beings as a matter of policy — they’re worried about popular control of political & economic power & authority, as are the regional dictators who understand the role model this would function as. (africa comments)

In other words, they are worried about the possible emergence of democracy, which is much more difficult for external actors to control, and a serious threat to dictators everywhere.

The dictators and their US and EU sponsors do not want a political solution, do not want Somalis to be allowed to stabilize their own country. That is why the continued involvement and the continued destabilizing use of proxy force in Somalia.

In Uganda Carson changes position on Ugandan democracy:

New Vision: Museveni has not become a dictator — Carson
THE US assistant secretary of state for Africa, Johnny Carson, has said President Yoweri Museveni has not turned into a dictator as he had predicted five years ago.

In an article published in The Boston Globe in May 2005, Carson said “Africa’s success story” (Uganda) could return to the dictatorial past if Museveni continued his controversial push for the removal of presidential term limits from the Constitution.

Asked yesterday whether he still held the same view five years later, Carson said: “I don’t believe [there's that phrase again - AC] President Museveni is a dictator. He is a president duly elected in a free and fair election.” (h/t africa comments)

Karoli Ssemogerere tells us: Johnnie Carson has delivered early warning to the Opposition:

After the World Cup attacks, of course all sorts of help have been here. Washington sent Attorney General Eric Holder, their top law enforcement official, to Kampala. Carson has become a regular face in Kampala and this visit is as remarkable since on his last visit, he faced open rebuke from President Museveni and his Foreign Minister Sam Kuteesa for publicly supporting the replacement of the Electoral Commission.

A few weeks later, Carson rewrote the institutional memory …

One of the shortcomings of American foreign policy is its obsession with the status quo, predictability and who is on our side versus who is on their side mentality? Museveni, exhausted after two decades in power, seems to offer the reassurance that Uganda on its own can serve as a bulwark for American interests in the region and now backed by its newfound oil wealth, need not continue on a sustained path to greater democratisation and respect for human rights.

The Americans could not sustain the democratisation rhetoric in the face of oil and the “terrorist threat.” Neither can their public officials in the face of a well oiled lobbying machine that recruits former government officials at will.

Carson is saying in a few words, we understand the complexities of the system. We prefer to deal with the defined quantity Museveni, a product of years of experience, be nice to the opposition through cups of tea and other empty platitudes.

Democracy does not matter, human rights do not matter, American interests, mostly oil, are what matters. Of course in the long run, the big picture, genuine support for democracy and human rights would be far better protection for American interests. But nobody is thinking that way.

AFRICOM’s General Ward recently addressed the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). As b real describes in the comments on the previous post, Gen. Ward manages:

to make clear two main items –

economic development tops the list of opportunities for the u.s. in africa

and

sustained security engagement is required to create & exploit those opportunities

Sustained security engagement is the polite way of saying ever increasing militarization. Militarization is US policy in Africa.

90% of the revenue of Xe, formerly Blackwater, comes from the United States Government, which means it comes from United States taxpayers. What are taxpayers getting for their money?

Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight “terrorists” in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.

Is this the work of Blackwater/Xe? This is from the aftermath of a mosque bombed in Mogadishu May 1, 2010, bombed while people were at worship. I do not usually include pictures of horrors, I do not like to disrespect those people caught in the chaos. But we need to ask: Are US taxpayers paying for this? If we are, what are we getting for our money?

The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience .  The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.

Prince appears both clueless and contemptuous of Afghani and Pakistani opposition, calling them “barbarians” who “crawled out of the sewer.” This kind of COIN partnering will bring the US many more enemies. It is also unlikely to bring any victories, just more violent interludes. It seems unlikely that Prince and his company have any greater respect or concern for the people of Somalia than they do for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prince claims he has been operating under US contract in Pakistan. Although the US and Pakistani governments officially deny this.

“You know, people ask me that all the time, ‘Aren’t you concerned that you folks aren’t covered under the Geneva Convention in [operating] in the likes of Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan? And I say, ‘Absolutely not,’ because these people, they crawled out of the sewer and they have a 1200 AD mentality. They’re barbarians. They don’t know where Geneva is, let alone that there was a convention there.”

This kind of arrogance makes people blind. Blackwater/Xe was in charge of security at “the deadly suicide bombing on December 30 at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.” Did arrogance cause them to miss important clues, or skip security protocols?

Regarding the bombing of the mosque in Somalia:

A senior official of Somalia’s radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab, who was target of Mogadishu mosque blast that killed several people have accused American security companies of the attacks.

Sheikh Fu’ad Muhammad Khalaf aka Shongolo accused the Xe, formerly of Black Water, whom he alleges to based at Mogadishu airport of being behind the blast …

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which attracted condemnation from all quarters of the war-torn Somalia. (Garowe Online)

Generally some group claims credit for bomb attacks. Bombing a mosque with no claim for credit makes it appear more likely that foreign fighters are involved, foreigners who are not allied with the various Somali Islamist movements. The largest group of foreign fighters in Somalia are those sponsored by the donor countries, chiefly the US and EU, trying to prop up the TFG, Transitional Federal Government, the government installed primarily by the US, which is neither federal nor a government. It limps along under constant propping and pressure from the US.

Garowe Online: Somali warring sides condemn Mogadishu Mosque blasts

A twin bomb explosion that killed scores of people inside a mosque in Somalia ’s restive capital Mogadishu on Saturday has been strongly condemned by all warring sides involved in Somali conflict.

The attack took place inside a packed mosque in the main Bakara market, an area controlled by insurgent group Al-Shabaab.

The leader of Somalia’s Hizbul Islam Islamist militant Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said targets on worships are unheard off in Somalia but now seems to be getting its way into the country thanks to ‘foreign enemies’.

The fragile UN-backed [read: foreign-backed] Somali government termed the incident as ‘new foreign barbaric phenomena’ that totally dints the historic Islamic culture of Somalis.

Sheikh Abdullahi Abdirahman Abu Yusuf Al-Qadi, a spokesman for pro-government Ahlu-sunna Wal-jamaa group, which is involved in bloody war with insurgents groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam described the act as a foreign terror campaign that is finding its way into the Somali society.

Al Shabaab movement blamed the attacks on foreign security firms operating in Mogadishu. The group is waging war against the UN-backed Somali government and its backer African Union troops.

We know mercenary corporations are working for the US Government in Somalia. Dyncorp has its own offices in Mogadishu. Employing mercenaries, especially to commit acts of terrorism, will accomplish nothing, and earn the United States quite a few more enemies.

Prince and Blackwater/Xe also want to go into Nigeria where they could make even more enemies for the US. In his speech Prince spoke about this.

Prince also proposed using private armed contractors in the oil-rich African nation of Nigeria. Prince said that guerilla groups in the country are dramatically slowing oil production and extraction and stealing oil. “There’s more than a half million barrels a day stolen there, which is stolen and organized by very large criminal syndicates. There’s even some evidence it’s going to fund terrorist organizations,” Prince alleged. “These guerilla groups attack the pipeline, attack the pump house to knock it offline, which makes the pressure of the pipeline go soft. they cut that pipeline and they weld in their own patch with their own valves and they back a barge up into it. Ten thousand barrels at a time, take that oil, drive that 10,000 barrels out to sea and at $80 a barrel, that’s $800,000. That’s not a bad take for organized crime.” Prince made no mention of the nonviolent indigenous opposition to oil extraction and pollution, nor did he mention the notorious human rights abuses connected to multinational oil corporations in Nigeria that have sparked much of the resistance.

Prince fails to note that many members of Nigeria’s government are reputed to be involved in the illegal oil bunkering. And that the neglect and exploitation by both the oil companies and the Nigerian government, is responsible for much unrest and dissatisfaction in the Niger Delta. The only help Blackwater/Xe might provide is assisting in some temporary financial gain by the exploiters, and quite likely for itself as well. Of course with Prince’s contempt for local populations, he may see this as a plus.

Regardless of the income that comes from their employers, PMCs and their employees are ideally placed to deal in contraband, especially weapons, drugs, and slaves. All of these are traded and for sale in a war zone. Five Blackwater employees are currently under indictment for weapons charges.

Poppy production continues strong in Afghanistan. Much of the product is currently being marketed in Iran and Russia. A PMC operating in Afghanistan is perfectly placed to take advantage of this trade without any US stigma that might attach to dealing drugs to the United States. They might even regard themselves as engaging in a patriotic activity or carrying out the wishes of their employers, at the same time making a huge profit.  This is especially the case for Prince who characterizes Iran as the source of evil in his speech.

Prince claims:

“The overall defense budget is going to have to be cut and they’re going to look for ways, they’re going to have to have ways to become more efficient,” he said. “And there’s a lot of ways that the private sector can operate with a much smaller, much lighter footprint.”

The private sector also operates as a private sector, and can engage in additional enterprises including the trade in contraband to enhance and supplement their income. That is one way to be more efficient.

If Blackwater is engaged in acts of terror, such as bombing mosques or other places where people are gathered, it hurts the United States. If taxpayers are paying for it, they need to know what they are getting. And the US taxpayers have a right and responsibility to monitor the words and deeds of Prince and his companies wherever they operate at taxpayer expense, and wherever their actions threaten the security and reputation of the United States.

Artist's impression

Graphic h/t to Ado on The Darkest of Liquids

Photo credit from the bombing wardheernews.com PDF

h/t africa comments where there is more information on ongoing events in Somalia

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers