CJTF-HOA


The crab does not bite, it is the handshake that hurts. – Proverb

Somalia belongs to HOA Phase Zero of AFRICOM’s activities in Africa according to a CJTF-HOA slideshow. You don’t see any mention of partnerships or listening to African partners on this list of Phases from the beginning of the slideshow. If you look at the Phases listed on the slide, Phase 1 is to Deter, Phase 2 is Seize. Anything the US is seizing in Africa does not belong to the United States. Phase 3 is to Dominate, followed by Phase 4, Stabilize. That is what stability operations are, keeping the dominated stabilized and under control, aka peacekeeping, and then, Phase 5, Enabling them to serve the dominant, or enabling them to get out of the way of dominant interests. For all these Phases in Africa, AFRICOM needs proxies, proxy soldiers and proxy governments. That is what Africans solving Africa’s problems means. It means solving local and continental problems to the advantage of the United States, and arranging the business of government to serve the US and the West through the use of proxies and client governments.

Phase Zero

Roger Pociask linked to the DTIC pdf slideshow from his blog. He has some important observations for the US Africa Command, he says:

In spite of the good things that AFRICOM has accomplished across the continent, by and large you have been viewed by the natives as nothing but an embarrassment to be mistrusted across Africa. Your self-declared benevolence (or security cooperation) is absolutely NOT believed by anyone. They smile and nod and readily accept millions of U.S. dollars.

CJTF-HOA strategic objectives

Above you see a list of CJTF-HOA strategic objectives over the banner Africans Solving Africa’s Problems. Nothing on the itemized list is specifically African other than The middle item, Engage African Union. The items are all about the Africa Command. To what purpose does the Africa Command engage the African Union? The US has certainly done its best to marginalize and ignore the African Union on the subject of Libya, AFRICOM’s first war in Africa. The US also made quite cynical use of the African Union in the post electoral conflict in Ivory Coast this year.

Mark Fancher at Black Agenda Report writes With Friends Like AFRICOM, Who Needs Enemies?

The crab does not bite, it is the handshake that hurts.

Beware of Americans bearing gifts, guns, and an AFRICOM patch; their embrace can turn fatal. “One minute, Gadhafi was America’s best friend in northern Africa and in the next minute he was an evil menace.” The turnabout can be sudden.

Public statements issued by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) frequently refer to Africa’s governments and military forces as “our African partners.” The following AFRICOM website excerpts are typical:

“An important part of this approach is that we learn from our African partners what is important to them.”

“Our African partners have expressed four common, defense-oriented goals that are consistent with U.S. interests and AFRICOM objectives…”

“U.S. AFRICOM’s programs and activities support the development of capable, professional partner military forces…”

Partnerships typically involve trust, mutual respect and shared decision-making. These may be hard to find in relationships that AFRICOM has with Africa’s armies because history and circumstances have determined that Africa’s true, best interests and U.S. interests will always diverge. Consequently, in any relationship between Africa and the U.S., one set of interests will likely dominate the other.

For its part, AFRICOM has declared: “As a military organization, our responsibility to the American people is to support U.S. national security priorities.” Africa’s security priorities were forced to yield to so-called U.S. national security priorities when AFRICOM initiated military attacks against Libya at the same time that the African Union was calling for dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts in that country. This provides the best clue that if an African “partner” were to attempt to give African interests priority over U.S. objectives, the partnership would be short-lived.

Historically U.S. imperialism has embraced selected governments as “allies,” or “friends,” or “partners” when there is something to be gained from the relationship. But when these “friends” in some way jump ship, the U.S. turns on them like an enraged schizophrenic. Libya is the latest example.

when it comes to fickle friends, the U.S. has no peer, and this should give pause to any African country considering a relationship with AFRICOM.

Lest any would-be AFRICOM “partner” assume that Libya is an aberration, it is important to recall that Gadhafi is not the only African leader to be kicked to the curb. Robert Mugabe too has been romanced by imperialism and then jilted.

Mobutu in the Congo was a long time client of the US until it turned against him. Saddam Hussain in Iraq was another US client the US turned against. Uganda’s Museveni and Rwanda’s Kagame are currently US favorites for their military cooperation, and for their incursions into the Congo that advantage US, Canadian, and other Western mineral and mining interests. This has led to the deaths of millions of citizens in the Congo, as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Congolese Army, and various militias vie for control of the mineral trade. It has led to the use of rape on an unimaginble scale as a weapon of terror and war. Recent oil discoveries and projected discoveries are likely to exacerbate the violence and conflicts. The US spends a lot of money on training the Ugandan and Rwandan militaries. And the US has recently begun training the DRC Congo military as well.

Fancher continues:

African countries considering “partnerships” would do well to engage in sober analysis when AFRICOM arrives bearing gifts of humanitarian assistance and military training. Given the treatment accorded other U.S. “friends” who have fallen out of favor, it is worth contemplating the dangers of having to tell AFRICOM “no” if one day a request is made to participate in a mission that is clearly contrary to Africa’s best interests. This is not a far-fetched potential dilemma.

AFRICOM announced that one of its exercises for this summer is called “Shared Accord.” Its purpose is to train “… U.S. and African forces to conduct peacekeeping operations in sub-Saharan Africa.” Once trained, who will be the targets of these “peace keepers”? Will they include the Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta (MEND)? According to reports, MEND recently vowed to attack facilities of an Italian company that MEND accuses of theft of Nigeria’s oil. MEND claims its attacks are in solidarity with Libyans enduring imperialist attacks by Italy and others.

Or then again, perhaps AFRICOM will decide to move militarily against Robert Mugabe. Whatever the target, if prospective “partners” don’t have the stomach for anti-African imperialist missions, or the wherewithal to resist U.S. retaliation for refusing to cooperate, they should probably refuse to answer the door when AFRICOM comes a knocking.

The US has clearly and frequently taken sides in internal conflicts in African countries, Libya, Ivory Coast, Somalia, are just a few of the most recent. The DJTF-HOA slideshow pictures the post election violence in Kenya as one of the things it wishes to protect against. It ignores the US role in subverting the counting of the votes that led to the violence.

And the US fear of Shabab in Somalia is not really about growing terrorism but about a political threat to what the US sees as its interests. As Johnnie Carson told us last July in Kamapala”

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.

Currently for the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia: U.S. Sends in the Marines and More Drones

Even as U.S. militarization of the Horn of Africa has contributed massively to the threatened starvation of millions, the Americans have announced an escalation of drone attacks against Somalia and the establishment of a Marine task force for the region. A United Nations spokesman describes the food and refugee emergency in Somalia as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” with millions at immediate risk. Not coincidentally, the epicenter of the disaster is the area where Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia meet – which is also a focus of U.S. Special Forces, surveillance and logistics activity.

Whenever the U.S. rachets up its armed interventions in Somalia, disaster follows.

In addition to the famine in which 3.7 million people are in crisis and more than 10 million affected, two current major stories about Somalia are Jeremy Scahill’s The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia and the creation of AFRICOM Marine task force to help train militaries fighting al-Qaida-linked groups in Somalia, Maghreb region For more background and analysis on these two stories and Somalia’s situation in general, please see africa comments.

AFRICOM continues its incursions into Africa. Roger Pociask calls our attention to a brief article in the Indian Ocean Newsletter, for which he provides a screenshot:

AFRICOM in Juba South Sudan, click to enlarge

South Sudan is on the western borders of Ethiopia and Kenya while Somalia is on their eastern borders. South Sudan is the target of intense US military interest and part of the reason for military buildup in the region. There is significant oil there. South Sudan is also where US investors have been making highly questionable purchases of large tracts of land without much or any reference to the people who are actually living on and using the land, who are its ancestral owners. For the new colonial “landowners” to enforce their purchases, they intend to use force. As the head of Jarch Capital LLC said:

“You have to go to the guns, this is Africa,” Mr Heilberg said by phone from New York.

[He is] backed by former CIA and state department officials

AFRICOM will be getting busy training proxies in South Sudan to look after Mr. Heilberg’s land acquisitions as well as those of other US investors such as Nile Trading. The proxy armies it is training can evict any of the present local inhabitants from their ancestral land if they object or are in the way, in Sudan, or in other countries.

The government of South Sudan barely exists, there is little or no infrastructure and little or nothing in the way of government institutions, as this report from AlJazeera English describes. If AFRICOM comes in for “partnering” and training, the armed forces will be by far the strongest institution in the country, unless there are other equally well funded efforts to build the institutions that do the real business of government. I don’t see any signs of that at present. It should be fairly easy to install a US client military government and keep it starved for anything other than more military buildup. The people who worked and voted for independence may discover they have brought themselves a harsh colonial client dictatorship instead. They may stand to lose more than they have gained.

Returning to AFRICOM’s CJTF-HOA slide show, take a look at the last two slides in succession:

Africans (pictured as children) solving African problems, CJTF-HOA Overview Summary

CJTF-HOA asking if there are any questions

The Summary looks more about AFRICOM than Africa, but the banner says Africans solving Africa’s problems. The Africans pictured are all children. It looks like there may be one US soldier at the back of a classroom holding up a child. The children are huddled together in order to be in the shot, but they look huddled together. Are these children supposed to be Africa’s problems? Or are they supposed to solve Africa’s problems? There are no African adults pictured as problem solvers. If you look at just the graphics in the two slides below you will see how the US and AFRICOM see Africans and the US role in Africa, a bunch of children facing the military might of the United States arrayed before them, perhaps I should say arrayed against them. Questions?

CJTF-HOA images on the last two slides

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… the command doesn’t evaluate the effects of these programs. Its rapid personnel turnover rate, at times as little as 4 months, lead to cultural missteps, and difficulties tracking projects.

TANGA, Tanzania - Tanga Regional Commissioner Said Said Kalembo (right) and U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso Lenhardt pump water from a newly-constructed well at Putini-Chonoleani Village, March 9, 2010. This is one of six wells that was constructed by Tanzanian contract company Hydrotech and financed by the U.S. government. (Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Wilson, CJTF-HOA)

MORONI, Comoros - Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Kleffel and Petty Officer 2nd Class Duncan Keller assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion begin constructing the Hamramba Primary School in Moroni on the East African island nation of Comoros, November 20, 2009. NMCB 3 is deployed to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Kulp, CJTF-HOA)

Military Still Fumbling Humanitarian Projects

The U.S. military has been conducting development-like activities in Africa regularly since the Pentagon stood up the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in 2002 – and we’re still building white elephants.

Today the Government Accountability Agency released a report evaluating CJTF-HOA’s activities, finding that though most of its activities revolved around “civil affairs projects such as community medical care and bridge construction,” the command doesn’t evaluate the effects of these programs. Its rapid personnel turnover rate, at times as little as 4 months, lead to cultural missteps, and difficulties tracking projects.

Recently CJTF-HOA discovered they had previously built a school only to lose track of it, now finding that it had fallen into disrepair. On another occasion a well had been constructed but the local community hadn’t been trained to maintain it. CJTF-HOA has now added to its internal program nomination form a description of who will maintain the project in the long-term. Again, CJTF-HOA has been stationed in Djibouti since 2003.

The report itself is a one page document:

DOD Needs to Determine the Future of Its Horn of Africa Task Force (PDF)
GAO-10-504

Why GAO Did This Study

Originally established in 2002 to fight terrorism, the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), based at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, is the military’s main operational presence in Africa. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), created in 2007 to focus on stability in Africa, has been assessing existing activities—as well as CJTF-HOA—against its mission of sustained security engagement in Africa. This report discusses: (1) AFRICOM’s decisions on CJTF-HOA’s future and whether CJTF-HOA’s activities align with the command’s mission, and (2) benefits of the task force and challenges it faces. For its review, GAO analyzed AFRICOM and CJTF-HOA guidance, conducted interviews at the command’s and task force’s headquarters, and obtained perspectives from U.S. embassies in the region.

What GAO Found

AFRICOM has been evaluating CJTF-HOA, but it has not yet made decisions on the future of the task force—including whether CJTF-HOA should continue to exist as a joint task force, and if so, whether changes are needed to the task force’s mission, structure, and resources to best support the command’s mission of sustained security engagement in Africa. AFRICOM officials said that decisions are pending but did not share details of their evaluation or provide a target date for decisions. Since the task force moved under AFRICOM, its status has not changed significantly. As of March 2010, CJTF-HOA had about 1,650 personnel. The Navy continues to fund the majority of its approximately $80 million budget as well as most of Camp Lemonnier’s $238 million budget. The task force’s activities have evolved over the years to focus on building relationships and fostering stability; for example, about 60 percent of its activities are civil affairs projects, such as community medical care and bridge construction. Other activities include military-to-military activities, peace support operations, personnel recovery, and counter-piracy activities. However, CJTF-HOA is currently not performing long-term follow up on activities to determine whether they are having their intended effects or whether modifications are needed to best align with AFRICOM’s mission. Additionally, the task force is generally not setting specific, achievable, and measurable goals for activities. Some activities, such as military-to-military efforts, appear to support AFRICOM’s mission. Others, such as a school built by CJTF-HOA but later found dilapidated, could have unintended consequences. Without long-term assessments of activities, it is difficult for AFRICOM to determine the effectiveness of CJTF-HOA, which is critical for overall planning efforts and decisions on the task force’s future.
CJTF-HOA’s force presence in the Horn of Africa provides several benefits, but the task force also faces challenges carrying out activities. CJTF-HOA’s presence in Africa offers benefits such as its ability to respond to contingencies, provide forces for AFRICOM activities, and build U.S.-African relationships. However, the task force’s sustainability is uncertain because AFRICOM, in concert with the Department of Defense or the Navy, has not developed options for funding the task force over the long term. It currently relies on overseas contingency operations appropriations, and GAO has previously encouraged that the projected costs of such ongoing operations be included in the military’s base budget requests. Moreover, task force staff have made cultural missteps because they did not understand local religious customs and may have unintentionally burdened embassies that must continuously train new staff on procedures. These problems may be exacerbated by limited training and compounded by short tour lengths (generally 4-12 months). Should AFRICOM opt to retain the task force, addressing challenges associated with long-term funding and staff skills would help ensure that it is effectively supporting U.S. efforts in Africa with the appropriate resources and trained personnel.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that AFRICOM, as part of its planning efforts, complete its evaluation of CJTF-HOA and determine the task force’s future. If the Department of Defense determines that sustaining the task force is consistent with its goals, GAO recommends long-term activity assessments, a funding plan, and training guidance for the task force. The Department of Defense generally agreed with the recommendations.

This rather confirms my view that the Africa Command’s humanitarian projects are primarily photo op projects to put a humanitarian face on the Africa Command’s frenzied efforts to militarize and disrupt the continent.  The soldiers who are working on humanitarian projects are probably optimistic about them, but since there is no staff continuity due to turnover, once finished the projects are forgotten. This is bumper sticker humanitarianism, random acts of kindness with no purpose and no follow through.   The only comprehensive and inclusive US development plan is to develop local militaries to proxy for the US.  Plus, the cost of military installations and operations needs to be in the budget and visible to US voters.

Meanwhile, forget humanitarian:

WASHINGTONThe top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

… Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to “prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document said. …

Officials said that many top commanders, General Petraeus among them, have advocated an expansive interpretation of the military’s role around the world, arguing that troops need to operate beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to better fight militant groups.

The order, which an official said was drafted in close coordination with Adm. Eric T. Olson, the officer in charge of the United States Special Operations Command, calls for clandestine activities that “cannot or will not be accomplished” by conventional military operations or “interagency activities,” a reference to American spy agencies.

While the C.I.A. and the Pentagon have often been at odds over expansion of clandestine military activity, most recently over intelligence gathering by Pentagon contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there does not appear to have been a significant dispute over the September order.

Unlike covert actions undertaken by the C.I.A., such clandestine activity does not require the president’s approval or regular reports to Congress, although Pentagon officials have said that any significant ventures are cleared through the National Security Council.

More than ever the Department of Defense, not the State Department, perhaps not even the President, is creating and running US foreign policy.  Most African countries would like to be friends with the US.  But the US is treating them all like enemies or potential enemies or dupes to be manipulated and used against each other.  Clandestine disruption and destruction operations that are not subject to review and approval of the President or the Congress, or not even reported to them, create enormous risk for the United States and its citizens both at home an abroad.  No amount of random humanitarian photo ops will change that.  Actions that impact the lives and safety of US citizens need the review of elected officials who will ultimately have to face the voters they represent.  Without that, you don’t have democracy, and you are well on your way to military government.

wreckage from the plane

wreckage from the Ilyushin 76, photo/Reuters

On March 9 an Ilyushin cargo plane, S9-SAB, Soviet era plane, owned by Aerolift, known gunrunners, and chartered by Dyncorp, one of the largest suppliers of mercenaries, burst into flames and crashed into Lake Victoria. Supposedly it was carrying tents and water purification equipment to the AMISOM, African Union Mission in Somalia, soldiers in Somalia. Reports say 11 people on the plane were killed. Dyncorp is currently under contract with the US Department of State.

From Uganda’s New Vision, a description of the crash:
Entebbe place crash kills eleven

The accident occurred moments after the Ilyushin cargo plane, S9-SAB, operated by Aerolift left the airport. Dynacorp, an American company, had chartered the plane.

The aircraft plunged into the water at a place referred to as Magombe, loosely translated as graveyard, owing to the disasters that have occurred there in the past. Several boats have reportedly capsized in the area, fishermen disclosed.

Magombe, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority, is about 5.5 nautical miles (9.9km) south of the airport. The plane burst into flames before it hurtled into the water and got submerged, witnesses said.

“It left the airport after a Kenya Airways flight but it made an awkward sound. It caught fire soon after it got off the ground,” an officer at Kigungu Police post said.

A policeman, Gerald Ssesanga, who resides near the airport, said he saw the blaze but thought it was a fire lit along the shore. Juma Kalanzi, a fisherman, also saw the fire but initially thought it was on the nearby Nsaze Island.

“I realised it was a plane when the fire started spreading on the lake,” he stated.

So big was the blaze that it caught the attention of the early risers along the shores of the lake.

A search and rescue team comprising the army, the Police and CAA staff rescued two tired fishermen, Karim Mubajje, and another only identified as Deo. Mubajje and Deo narrowly survived after their boat capsized as the blazing plane plunged into the lake where they were fishing.

Mubajje recounted hearing a loud explosion as they drew nets out of the water. “In a few seconds, the plane spun several times and tumbled into the water, capsizing our boat,” he said.

They held onto the wooden pieces of their boat for four hours until they were rescued.

Responding to a question on whether the crash was the work of terrorists, Masiko remarked: “I am not ruling out anything and I am not including anything. Don’t speculate. Let us wait for the investigations.”

On the plane’s airworthiness, the minister disclosed that it was okay, adding that it flew to Somalia 20 times in February.

There are only 28 days in February, that means this plane, chartered by Dyncorp, was making almost daily flights to Somalia during February. What was it carrying? Who was paying for the cargo? Was it in violation of the UN Arms Embargo? And was it only flying these trips in February, did it start before that? Does Dyncorp continue to charter Soviet era Aerolift planes registered in Sao Tome for flights back and forth to Somalia?

Further description of the crash from Uganda’s Daily Monitor:

Mr Yusuf Buga, a fisherman, said he heard an explosion first and then about 10 miles away from where he was winding up his fishing, a fireball fell from the sky into the lake.
“It was not a plane that plunged into the water; by the time it hit the water, it was a fireball that continued to burn on the water surface for about an hour,” Mr Buga says.
Mr Charles Kiwanuka, 19, seems to have seen even more action than Mr Buga.

“By 5:00am, we were all packing up because we fish at night. From our boat we heard an explosion and, on looking up, saw a fireball headed for the waters where two other fishermen dozed on their canoe. The aircraft exploded from the air before falling into the lake as a fire.”

The two fishermen Mr Kiwanuka refers to, who survived by holding onto a piece of crap from the shattered aircraft …

Also from Uganda’s Daily Monitor: Crashed plane ‘not inspected’

The Illyushin-76 cargo plane carrying 16 tonnes of supplies including tents and water-purification equipment for Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers in Somalia plunged into Lake Victoria soon after take-off from Entebbe Airport.

The aircraft was on a support flight carrying water purifiers and other equipment for ugandan peacekeeping troops in Somalia.” It seems unlikely that the plane was carrying 16 tonnes of just tents and water purification equipment for the 3700 AMISOM troops. So what else was on the plane? Additionally, three high ranking Burundian officers were in the plane, including a brigadier general and a colonel.

SA plane crash victim identified

Duncan Rykaart, a former special forces operator and colonel, was one of 11 people aboard a Ilyushin 76 cargo plane that crashed into Lake Victoria on Monday.

He had been working for Bancroft Global Development, an American company specialising in research on explosive devices and landmines, since January. The company advises the African Union’s peacekeeping troops in Somalia.

Regarding Mr. Rykaart’s history:

November 2001: Guns for hire again

A born-again Executive Outcomes operation is at the centre of allegations of a military contract between ex-South African Defence Force soldiers and the Sudanese army.

We hear South African security has established a link between a local company known as NFD and the Sudan contract.

NFD’s directors include Duncan Rykaart (ex- colonel in the SA Defence Force’s Five Recce Brigade)

NFD Operations Manager Rykaart denies any knowledge of the Sudan contract, though SA military sources pinpoint him as taking the lead role in the negotiations with Khartoum. … Rykaart insists his company has no foreign security contracts currently, although the NFD website boasts a client base in Egypt, Congo-Brazzaville, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Angola and Bulgaria.

As b real points out:

all of the training & arming of somalis on all sides continues in violation of the arms embargo. that’s part of what makes the 20 flights into mogadishu so interesting. and the u.s. sponsored training by the ugandans, rwandans, and kenyans (and possibly even south africans)

He adds some relevant background material on Dyncorp, and its contract with the Department of State:

US hires military contractor to support peacekeeping mission in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya: The United States has hired a major military contractor to provide equipment and logistical support to the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, bringing U.S. dependence on private military companies in several hot spots to a particularly troubled corner of Africa. The DynCorp International contract is the latest in a series of deals that allow the United States to play a greater role in African military matters, without having to use uniformed troops…

The company is on standby to provide services anywhere on the continent to include “support of peacekeeping missions by training specific countries’ armed services to enhance their ability to deploy through air and sea, provide logistics supports to mission and work with regional organization to prevent and resolve conflict,” according to bid documents.

If everything was legit, why was Dyncorp using an uninspected Aerolift plane? The old Russian planes were supposed to be banned in Uganda in 2005, plus, the crew of the plane may have been drunk:

Queries raised over ‘condemned’ aircraft that plunged into Lake Victoria

..as efforts to recover the wreckage and the bodies continued into the weekend, reports were emerging that the aircraft should not have been in Ugandan airspace in the first place because the Civil Aviation Authority had banned aged Russian-type planes from operating in the country in 2005.

Even more intriguing were reports from patrons of a popular pub in Entebbe that the crew drank well into the night before their 5.14 am departure on the flight.

Conceding that the authority suffers from political interference that limits its capacity for safety oversight over ad-hoc operators, highly placed sources in the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority told The EastAfrican that the flying coffins were back in force, operating on the authority of powerful political figures who exert considerable pressure on the regulator.

So far AFRICOM, the US Africa Command, has not been named in this story. But it officially enters the picture in the efforts to recover the wreckage from the lake:

US Army to help Uganda in plane crash recovery
The US government is scheduled to assist the government of Uganda in conducting search and recovery operations of human remains and the flight data recorder from the wreckage of an Ilyushin 76 aircraft that crashed in Lake Victoria recently.

Service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, a US body based in Djibouti are expected in Uganda to help in the rescue mission, according to a press statement from the body.

This follows a request by the U.S. Embassy in Uganda and the government of Uganda for U.S. military assistance in recovery operations at the crash site. …

AFRICOM and the Ugandans work on recovering the wreckage:

Ugandan, US divers recover plane wreckage

The Americans have been tasked to retrieve the remains of the dead, recover the black box and advise the investigation team based at the Civil Aviation Authority offices in Entebbe. “US service members are in the Horn of Africa to build relationships with partner nations,” Anthony Kurta, a US commander, said.

“We have deployed a team to support Ugandans in the operations. We work beside Ugandan military forces on a regular basis as part of our efforts to strengthen their own security capacity,” he added.

Two Russians; a captain and the co-pilot, two Ukrainians, three senior Burundian army officers, two Ugandans, a South African and an Indian died in the March 9 incident.

The remains of the Ugandans, Burundians and Ukrainians have been buried.

And the nature of the plane’s cargo, and the recovery efforts take an even odder turn in this press release, with explanatory comments from b real:

From a press release by CJTF-HOA’s public affairs outfit: U.S. Horn of Africa Personnel Dive for Aircraft Wreckage in Lake Victoria

U.S. Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa have located the wreckage of an Ilyshin II 76 aircraft that crashed in Lake Victoria and are conducting diving operations to retrieve information.

The divers have found the aircraft tail.

“It was very tall, and it was in the flight path, so we splashed divers on it and there it was,” said Lieutenant Junior Grade Scott Bryant, the on-scene diving operations officer. “We also located portions of the fuselage, that are not enclosed, they are cracked open like an egg.”

According to Bryant, divers have also located both wings, landing gear with four tires and what they believe to be one of the engines. However they believe the other engines are sunk and will confirm over the next few days.

“Most of the heavy stuff is underneath the silt. We found parts of the tail that are sunk and the divers had to dig five feet under,” he said. “This is very difficult diving and potentially very hazardous. Probably some of the most difficult I’ve seen in 19 years of service. There is no visibility, especially once you touch the bottom; a powder, like talcum powder, floats up everywhere and you can’t see at all. Because of the wreckage, there are very sharp medal objects pointing everywhere and we have fishing nets to deal with.”

Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world. The wreckage is 80 feet under water, buried in approximately 15 feet of silt and 6.8 miles from the closest pier.

CJTF-HOA brought personnel and equipment to Uganda from Bahrain, Italy and Djibouti. Equipment includes sonar systems, self contained under water breathing apparatus (SCUBA) gear, surface-supply diving equipment, a hyperbaric chamber for emergencies and three boats. CJTF-HOA is part of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

As b real points out:

of course the pr piece omits any mention of dyncorp or its contract w/ DoS so that it can portray (“shape” is the popular term these days) the operation as assisting the ugandan govt.

that’s alot of expensive equipment to bring in for the recovery operations. fortunately for them nobody really is asking any important questions

Note the captions of the following pictures of the recovery operation taken from the CJTF-HOA photo gallery:

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Lieutenant (junior grade) Scott Bryant, assigned to U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 (EODMU 2), directs a team member to approach a safety boat provided by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority on Africa's Lake Victoria March 27, 2009. Bryant is the diving officer-in-charge of a search and recovery operation being conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and the government of Uganda. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Cory Drake)

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Lieutenant (junior grade) Scott Bryant, assigned to U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 (EODMU 2), directs a team member to approach a safety boat provided by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority on Africa's Lake Victoria March 27, 2009. Bryant is the diving officer-in-charge of a search and recovery operation being conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and the government of Uganda. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Cory Drake

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Petty Officer 2nd Class John Handrahan, assigned to the forward-deployed U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU 11), dives into Lake Victoria in Africa March 28, 2009 as part of a search and recovery operation being conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and the government of Uganda. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Cory Drake)

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Petty Officer 2nd Class John Handrahan, assigned to the forward-deployed U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU 11), dives into Lake Victoria in Africa March 28, 2009 as part of a search and recovery operation being conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and the government of Uganda. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Cory Drake

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Sailors assigned to U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, EODMU 2 and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 reflect upon a day of completed dives into Africa's Lake Victoria April 1, 2009. The units are diving as part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) mission to locate the wreckage of an Ilyushin 76 cargo aircraft which crashed into the lake on March 9 and retrieve information for the Ugandan government's investigation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dustin Q. Diaz)

ENTEBBE, Uganda - Sailors assigned to U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, EODMU 2 and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 reflect upon a day of completed dives into Africa's Lake Victoria April 1, 2009. The units are diving as part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) mission to locate the wreckage of an Ilyushin 76 cargo aircraft which crashed into the lake on March 9 and retrieve information for the Ugandan government's investigation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dustin Q. Diaz)

Recovery operations include U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, EODMU 2 and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, and U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU 11). Again from b real:

at least 3 EODMU units on the scene?

according to the website global security, this represents both “Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1” (EODGRU 1) and “Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two” (EODGRU 2)

on the former,

The mission of EODGRU 1 is to provide the Pacific Fleet with the capability to detect, identify, render safe, recover, evaluate, and dispose of explosive ordnance which has been fired, dropped, launched, projected, or placed in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to operations, installations, personnel, or material.

on the latter,

EODGRU 2’s mission is to provide combat ready EOD and Diving & Salvage forces to the Fleet per unit ROC & POEs. Eliminate ordnance hazards that jeopardize operations conducted in support of the national military strategy. Clear harbors and approaches of obstacles. Salvage/recover ships, aircraft and weapons lost or damaged in peacetime or combat.

nothing in either of those missions about recovering tents & water purifiers

which is more likely –

1. the EODMU’s are looking for evidence of sabotage
2. the EODMU’s are looking to recover ordnance

After this there is not much more information. At least two accounts say the black box was found, although there was one denial that it was found.  No statements about any information from the black box have been forthcoming.

no mention of dyncorp, dos, dyncorp, amisom, africom, the eodmu teams, ordnance disposal, etc…

okay, hold on a moment.

“The wreckage is still 80ft under the water and 15ft under silt in Lake Victoria that cannot enable the divers get the black box out of the wreckage,” The Air Force spokesperson Captain Tabaro Kiconco has said.

yet

Capt. Kiconco said that the divers had successfully mapped the area w[h]ere the wreckage was found and also retrieved the cracked open portion of the fuselage, plane wings, one of the engines and landing gear with four tyres.

what do you wanna bet that’s not all those divers from the different explosive ordnance disposal mobile units retrieved from the lake?

And that is where the story ends, or at least where the telling of the story ends. There are no serious answers on what caused the crash, or what the plane was carrying that required explosive ordnance disposal units to recover. There are no further questions asked or explanations given. There is no clue as to what those multiple Aerolift flights back and forth to Somalia were (perhaps are) carrying. In fact, no one has posed serious questions to the parties involved, and they are not volunteering any answers.

So all we get is: move along there, nothing to see here, move along, just keep moving. Everything is under control. And it certainly looks like everyone concerned is under very heavy manners. Unless someone with some clout asks some questions, and that does not seem likely, we are unlikely to learn AFRICOM’s Lake Victoria secret.

Note:
I am indebted to the extensive research on this incident by b real, and posted in the comment threads on these articles:
A Carrier Group to Attack Somalia
Somalia Thread
Africa Comments

b real continues these topics and more at his newer location
africa comments blog. 
If you want to follow events in Somalia and East Africa, I suggest you visit.

cjtf-hoa-djibouti

Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, seen from space, view it in Google Maps.

It looks like Camp Lemonier is on its way to becomming a permanent base. From the Stars and Stripes (you can see more photos in the article):

Camp Lemonier grows to support AFRICOM

… Increasing American activity in the Horn of Africa has propelled Lemonier from a sleepy 97-acre post to a 500-acre base that’s become one of the military’s major installations on the continent. Last year’s stand-up of U.S. Africa Command means the base is only going to get busier.

“As AFRICOM matures, Camp Lemonier will transition to supporting long-term [theater security cooperation] efforts and establishing strong and enduring regional relationships,” Gen. William “Kip” Ward, the AFRICOM commander, said during testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in March 2008. “Camp Lemonier will be a part of supporting and developing regional African capability and capacity; thus, its funding support must continue.”

… Congress has set aside more than $100 million for camp improvements between fiscal 2007 and 2010 …

… the most telling indicators of the camp’s larger role may be the new infrastructure that will allow it to serve as a support hub for Africa Command. Crews have already broken ground on new taxiways to increase its ability to manage aircraft. Leaders are considering putting in a “hot pad” that will allow planes to refuel, rearm and get back on their way quickly.

Lemonier is now set to be an enduring base of operations for Africa Command. Navy Capt. Patrick Gibbons, the base commander, envisions the camp as a forward staging base for troops making last minute preparations before a mission. It is already a logistics hub that supports ships working in the Gulf of Aden and aircraft flying counterpiracy missions there. Other teams are tasked to pick up anyone who needs to be rescued. Lemonier’s mission even extends beyond the Horn of Africa region where Djibouti lies.

“The camp is becoming an enduring mission” …

Unfortunately, to date, and aside from the development photo ops in Djibouti, Camp Lemonier has contributed to destabilizing both Somalia, and Kenya, and facilitated the invasion and occupation of one country by another, the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia, and involved in planning and funding the disastrous raid on the Lord’s Resistance Army by Uganda in December. These are all the actions of AFRICOM in East Africa. AFRICOM and Camp Lemonier contribute to propping up the dictator Meles in Ethiopia, as the US cozies up to Meles, funding his ambitions and excesses in the way that has discredited American good intentions and foreign policy around the world. It does not matter how real your politik, deeds tell the story. Mary Carlin Yates was just in Ethiopia planning further cooperation. The effect will be to destabilize, exploit, and oppress in Ethiopia and its neighbors:

March 25, 2009 (ENA) – Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday received and held talks with US Africa Command Civilian Deputy (AFRICOM), Ambassador Mary Yates.

Ambassador Yates said as Ethiopia is AFRICOM’s partner in security, the visit is intended to further scale up the relation.

Meles said Ethiopia and AFRICOM have been cooperating to ensure peace and security.

Accordingly, he said encouraging activities are being carried out in the area of military cooperation and capacity building.

The two parties have also discussed as to how to maintain the prevailing peace and security in Somalia, according to a senior government official who attended the discussion.

Of course step one to increase and maintain peace and security in Somalia would be to end Ethiopian involvement. There is nothing good Ethiopia can do in Somalia. It has no credibility. The history is so bad, that even if Ethiopians had good intentions, they would not be believed. That Ambassador Yates was discussing continued involvement in Somalia with Meles signals just how bad are US intentions, and how poorly informed is US planning.

AFRICOM is still looking for a permanent base in Africa. I doubt Camp Lemonier is seen as the permanent HQ, but it obviously is becoming permanent. Judging from a number of signals, including the very minor one, which parts of the archive of this blog are getting traffic, Ghana and Botswana are both under pressure and being seriously considered as potential home bases for AFRICOM. I surely hope Ghana can resist. The idea of hosting AFRICOM is not popular with any Ghanaians I know.

The US GAO, General Accounting Office, released a February report. From the New York Times

A report issued Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office acknowledged that the command had taken steps recently to win the trust of American diplomats and development experts, as well as African leaders. But it said the command must do a better job explaining what it does to build credibility among its United States government partners and with the African nations it is seeking to help.

“The military’s large size brings the promise of increased resources,” the report said, but that size also stirs concerns among African nations “about potential encroachment into civilian responsibilities like development and diplomacy.”

In an interview here on Monday, before the G.A.O. issued its report, Gen. William E. Ward, the head of the command, said many of the misperceptions about the command had been dispelled.

If General Ward believes the “misperceptions”, the products of realistic skepticism and knowledge of history, have been dispelled, he is living in a dream world. More likely he is continuing the same mistake AFRICOM planners have made all along, only listening to themselves, and those they have selected to agree with them.

The GAO report (PDF) on Africom makes clear that AFRICOM headquarters is still planned for the continent. It is one of the three main recommendations of the report:

• Include all appropriate audiences, encourage two-way communication, and ensure consistency of message related to AFRICOM’s mission and goals as it develops and implements its communications strategy.

• Seek formal commitments from contributing agencies to provide personnel as part of the command’s efforts to determine interagency personnel requirements, and develop alternative ways for AFRICOM to obtain interagency perspectives in the event that interagency personnel cannot be provided due to resource limitations.

• To determine the long-term fiscal investment for AFRICOM’s infrastructure, we recommend the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, as appropriate, conduct an assessment of possible locations for AFRICOM’s permanent headquarters and any supporting offices in Africa.

US Rwanda military training Nov. 2008

US Rwanda military training Nov. 2008

GABIRO, Rwanda – Soldiers from the Rwanda Defence Force practice target shooting with their U.S. counterparts during a military-to-military training event at the Rwanda School of Infantry in Kigali, Rwanda on November 21, 2008. (Photo by Sergeant First Class Jonathan Platt, U.S. Defence Attache Office)

 

Daniel Volman has written an updated overview of AFRICOM published at Pambazuka News, AFRICOM from Bush to Obama.

He discusses the following questions:

  • What is AFRICOM?
  • What is AFRICOM’s mission?
  • Why is AFRICOM being created now?
  • What will AFRICOM do?
  • Where will AFRICOM’s headquarters be based?
  • What is to be done with AFRICOM?

As part of what will AFRICOM do?, Volman lists the various programs that are part of AFRICOM, or are being folded into AFRICOM. There are a number of bilateral and multilateral joint training programs and military exercises (excerpted from his article):

FLINTLOCK 2005 AND 2007 – Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises … Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

TRANS-SAHARAN COUNTER-TERRORISM PARTNERSHIP (TSCTP) – links the United States with eight African countries: Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria.

EAST AFRICA COUNTER-TERRORISM INITIATIVE (EACTI) – the EACTI has provided training to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

AFRICA CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS TRAINING AND ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ACOTA) – training to African military forces. … By FY 2007, nineteen African countries were participating in the ACOTA program (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia).

INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM (IMET) – brings African military officers to military academies and other military educational institutions in the United States for professional training. Nearly all African countries participate in the program.

U.S. PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS IN AFRICA – [mostly] as part of the GPOI and ACOTA programs.

FOREIGN MILITARY SALES PROGRAM (FMS) – This program sells U.S. military equipment to African countries … The U.S. government provides loans to finance the purchase of virtually all of this equipment through the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF), but repayment of these loans by African governments is almost always waived, so that they amount to free grants.

DIRECT COMMERCIAL SALES PROGRAM (DCS) – the Office of Defense Trade Controls of the Department of State licenses the sale of police equipment (including pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, and crowd control chemicals) by private U.S. companies to foreign military forces, paramilitary units, police, and other government agencies.

AFRICAN COASTAL AND BORDER SECURITY PROGRAM (ACBS) – provides specialized equipment (such as patrol vessels and vehicles, communications equipment, night vision devices, and electronic monitors and sensors) to African countries to improve their ability to patrol and defend their own coastal waters and borders from terrorist operations, smuggling, and other illicit activities … No dedicated funding was requested for FY 2008

EXCESS DEFENSE ARTICLES PROGRAM (EDA) – ad hoc transfers of surplus U.S. military equipment to foreign governments. Transfers to African recipients have included the transfer of C-130 transport planes to South Africa and Botswana, trucks to Uganda, M-16 rifles to Senegal, and coastal patrol vessels to Nigeria.

ANTI-TERRORISM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ATA) – provide training, equipment, and technology to countries all around the world to support their participation in America’s Global War on Terrorism. … [includes] Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Niger, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Djibouti, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique.

SECTION 1206, 1207, AND 902 PROGRAMS – Section 1206 program—known as the Global Equip and Train program—was initiated in FY 2007 and permits the Pentagon—on its own initiative and with little congressional oversight—to provide training and equipment to foreign military, police, and other security forces to “combat terrorism and enhance stability.” …
The Section 1207 program—known as the Security and Stabilization Assistance program—was also started in FY 2007. It allows the Defense Department to transfer equipment, training, and other assistance to the State Department to enhance its operations. …
The Section 902 program—known as the Combatant Commanders’ Initiative Fund— can be used by the commanders of Africom and other combatant commands to fund their own relief and reconstruction projects, rather than relying on the State Department or the Agency for International Development to undertake these efforts.

COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE-HORN OF AFRICA (CJTF-HOA) – designed to conduct naval and aerial patrols in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the eastern Indian Ocean as part of the effort to detect and counter the activities of terrorist groups in the region.
… provided intelligence to Ethiopia in support of its invasion of Somalia in January 2007 and used military facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya to launch air raids and missile strikes in January and June of 2007 and May of 2008 against alleged al-Qaeda members involved in the Council of Islamic Courts in Somalia.

JOINT TASK FORCE AZTEC SILENCE (JTFAS) – carry out counter-terrorism operations in North and West Africa and to coordinate U.S. operations with those of countries in those regions.
… constitutes a major extension of the U.S. role in counter-insurgency warfare and highlights the dangers of America’s deepening involvement in the internal conflicts that persist in so many African countries

NAVAL OPERATIONS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA – Africom will also help coordinate naval operations along the African coastline.
… The U.S. Navy has been steadily increasing the level and pace of its operations in African waters in recent years …
… the United States—conducted what were described as “presence operations” in the Gulf of Guinea …

BASE ACCESS AGREEMENTS FOR COOPERATIVE SECURITY LOCATIONS AND FORWARD OPERATING SITES – Over the past few years, the Bush administration has negotiated base access agreements with the governments of Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierre Leone, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. Under these agreements, the United States gains access to local military bases and other facilities so that they can be used by American forces as transit bases or as forward operating bases for combat, surveillance, and other military operations. They remain the property of the host African government and are not American bases in a legal sense, so that U.S. government officials are telling the truth—at least technically—when they deny that the United States has bases in these countries.

Go and read the article, AFRICOM from Bush to Obama. There is a great deal more information there than I have included here, including the amounts of money involved in many of these programs.

As regards Obama’s thinking regarding AFRICOM, Vollman quotes Obama, and his spokesman Whitney Schneidman. Based on these public statements Volman writes:

… this suggests that the Obama administration will continue to expand the entire spectrum of U.S. military operations in Africa, including increasing U.S. military involvement in the internal affairs of African countries (including both counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations) and the direct use of U.S. combat troops to intervene in African conflicts.

Therefore, according to Whitney Schneidman, the Obama administration “will create a Shared Partnership Program to build the infrastructure to deliver effective counter-terrorism training, and to create a strong foundation for coordinated action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Africa and elsewhere.” He explained that the proposed program “will provide assistance with information sharing, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and the targeting of terrorist financing.” In particular, Schneidman argued “in the Niger Delta, we should become more engaged not only in maritime security, but in working with the Nigerian government, the European Union, the African Union, and other stakeholders to stabilize the region.”

This is not reassuring. But Volman includes some notes of hope and good advice:

… It is likely, therefore, that the Obama administration will continue the militarization of U.S. policy toward Africa unless it comes under pressure to change direction. However, members of the U.S. Congress are now beginning to give Africom the critical scrutiny it deserves and to express serious skepticism about its mission and operations. Moreover, a number of concerned organizations and individuals in the United States and in Africa—the Resist Africom Campaign—came together in August 2006 to educate the American people about Africom and to mobilize public and congressional opposition to the creation of the new command. And the Resist Africom Campaign will continue to press the Obama administration to abandon the Bush plan for Africom and pursue a policy toward Africa based on a genuine partnership with the people of Africa, multi-lateralism, democracy, human rights, and grass-roots development.

If you are eligible to vote in the US, let your Congressional representatives know what you think about AFRICOM, and about militarizing the continent. There is still a lot of opportunity for change. But it needs a lot of push and pressure from the roots up. It may be that one can effectively change the policy without significantly changing the language. After all, a policy of “genuine partnership with the people of Africa, multi-lateralism, democracy, human rights, and grass-roots development” would do a lot more to fight terrorism and secure US access to resources than military expansion and recolonization can begin to touch. The Bush administration has had a rather one dimensional view of the word fight. Let us hope the Obama vision really is larger and more inclusive.

Read Volman’s article: AFRICOM from Bush to Obama


In the 19th century Europe claimed to be bringing the 3 Cs to Africa, commerce, christianity, and civilization. That certainly did not work out as promised.
The Bush administration claims AFRICOM will bring Africa 3 Ds, development, defense and diplomacy.
3 Fs look more likely, Foolery, Falacy, and Failure

A VOA article, New US Commander Prepares for Africa Assignment, announced:

Admiral Greene will head the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, based in Djibouti, providing training for African military forces and conducting humanitarian missions in 13 nearby countries. He told reporters in a conference call the goal is to help improve security and governance, and end poverty, in order to indirectly fight terrorism.

Among Admiral Greene’s remarks:

I see our role as to enable African solutions to African problems

(The objective of the mission) the three Ds,” development, defense and diplomacy


The 3 Ds?. I thought they had dropped speaking about the 3 Ds. To anyone who knows enough history to have heard of the 3 Cs, 3 Ds sound like a joke, or some weird form of mockery or parody. When I mentioned them to Omotaylor in the comments on a post at African Loft, she made me laugh and nailed it with her comment:

I see the 3 Fs in their endeavour, – Foolery, Fallacy and Failure (as the end result from any unholy liason posed by anyone on Africa).



In addition;

General Holman (current deputy commander of the U.S.-led Horn of Africa Task Force, Brigadier General Sanford Holman) says the Djbouti base facilitates some other military activities he won’t talk about. There have been reports of U.S. special operations forces working from the base on counter-terrorism missions in Somalia and elsewhere. But the general says those activities are not the base’s main purpose.

The activities he won’t talk about are probably ones he also characterizes as facilitating “African solutions to African problems”, such as the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, accompanied by massive bombing of civilians by US forces coordinated out by CJTF-HOA. That “African solution” destroyed the “African problem” of the only working government Somalia had in 15 years, replacing it with the hated warlords, Ethiopians, violence and death, more people killed and displaced than in Darfur.

After writing about how partnering with AFRICOM works, and what it means, in this blog, and at African Loft, and that Djibouti is the model, we hear the same thing from a former commander in Djibouti:

“As CJTF-HOA (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa) transitions to U.S. Africa Command, it will only enhance their ability to be more engaged and more perceptive as all of Africa comes under one command and one focus,” said Helland. “They can combine all of the assets and all of the energy and all of the resources that are available to focus on a unified, coordinated effort across Africa to enhance security and stability and to help the partner nations as they think they need to be helped.”

AFRICOM, will be structured as an inter-agency command with State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development officers filling positions usually reserved for uniformed personnel. A great deal of AFRICOM’s mission and focus will be determined by the countries in their area of responsibility — those on the African continent.

CJTF-HOA is positioned to serve as a model for AFRICOM

It was the CJTF-HOA that engineered the destruction of the only functioning government Somalia has had in 15 years. I wrote that the model for AFRICOM includes aid to win hearts and minds, and special forces, to enforce the Bush/neocon military agenda. If you look at the bottom of the story quoting the commander in Djibouti, you will see a list of related articles that indicate the aid activities, and some joint military training with Djiboutians. This is the happy face of partnering:

Related Articles:
CJTF-HOA vaccinates herds in civic action program
CJTF-HOA celebrates school dedication in Ali-Adde
Former commander visits CJTF-HOA, gives insight into future
CJTF-HOA partners with USAID to distribute medical supplies
CJTF-HOA personnel, French compete in Slim Cat challenge
Photos : Admiral Fallon visiting CJTF-HOA
Djibouti air force, Camp Lemonier work to build stronger partnership
Interview with 2nd Lt. Park
Marines Conduct Mil to Mil Training With Djiboutians
Djiboutians delight in the sounds of “Hot Brass”

But the good deeds, music, athletic competitions, and training exercises are only part of the story. The invasion and bombing of Somalia earlier this year was organized from Djibouti, the reason given was an attempt to catch al Qaeda members, although al Qaeda is not popular or welcome in Somalia. From my earlier post Proxy war in Somalia – another great leap backward:

Bush killed dozens of Somali civilians in bombing raids on fleeing civilians in an attempt to knock off a couple of the alleged dastards. He failed, of course; but at least the men, women and children who had their guts ripped out and their heads blown off and their limbs torn from their bodies died in a good cause. . .
. . .
It’s “worse than Darfur,” says the UN’s humanitarian chief, John Holmes.

But once again, terrorism had nothing to do with it, oil had everything to do with it:

Actually, there is no more reason to believe the Bush administration promoted this war, in clear violation of international law and the UN Charter, ‘to catch a handful of al-Qaeda men’, than that the invasion of Iraq was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. What has unfolded over the past three months flows from much larger strategic calculations in Washington.
. . .
On file are plans – put on hold amid continuing conflicts – for nearly two-thirds of Somalia’s oil fields to be allocated to the US oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips.
It was recently reported that the US-backed prime minister of Somalia has proposed enactment of a new oil law to encourage the return of foreign oil companies to the country.

Nigeria has a lot more oil than Somalia, at least from what is known to date. Bush must be thrilled to be partnering with Nigeria. And this partnering is already going on, with Nigeria, and a number of other countries. It was going on before Yar’Adua’s visit to the White House. You can see the pictures of partnering at work, training, conferring, and assisting, at the photogallery of the African Partnership Station, the USS Fort McHenry, currently deployed along the coast of West Africa, and partnering with a number of countries. You can type the name of a country into the search box on the upper right of the page, and see related pictures where the APS has visited. I don’t know if the USS Fort McHenry docked in Nigeria, but it did engage in some training activities with Nigerian military. AFRICOM is already in the neighborhood.

Note: Thanks to the article by Werther at antiwar.com for the title of this post.

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