United States secret military presence in Somalia war


This video from the USA is called Jeremy Scahill on Libya and Somalia – We are making future enemies!

From Reuters:

US Reveals Secret Somalia Military Presence, Up To 120 Troops: Report

July 02 2014 7:22 PM

U.S. military advisers

‘Military advisers’. Like in the Vietnam war.

have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.

The comments are the first detailed public acknowledgement of a U.S. military presence in Somalia dating back since the U.S. administration of George W. Bush and add to other signs of a deepening U.S. commitment to Somalia’s government, which the Obama administration recognized last year.

The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon’s January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisers in October. That was seen at the time as the first assignment of U.S. troops to Somalia since 1993 when two U.S. helicopters were shot down and 18 American troops killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster.

The plans to further expand U.S. military assistance coincide with increasing efforts by the Somali government and African Union peacekeepers to counter a bloody seven-year insurgent campaign by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab to impose strict Islamic law inside Somalia.

Those U.S. plans include greater military engagement and new funds for training and assistance for the Somali National Army (SNA), after years of working with the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, which has about 22,000 troops in the country from Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

“What you’ll see with this upcoming fiscal year is the beginning of engagement with the SNA proper,” said a U.S. defense official, who declined to be identified. The next fiscal year starts in October.

An Obama administration official told Reuters there were currently up to 120 U.S. military personnel on the ground throughout Somalia and described them as trainers and advisers.

“They’re not involved in combat,” the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that until last year, U.S. military advisers had been working with AMISOM troop contributors, as opposed to Somali forces.

President Barack Obama last year determined that Somalia could receive U.S. military assistance.

Another official said American forces over the years had provided advice and assistance in areas related to mission planning, small unit tactics, medical care, human rights and communications. The official said U.S. forces in Somalia have also facilitated coordination, planning and communication between AMISOM troop contributors and Somali security forces.

SPECIAL OPS

The comments expand upon a little noticed section of a speech given early in June by Wendy Sherman, under secretary of state for political affairs. She publicly acknowledged that a “small contingent of U.S. military personnel” including special operations forces had been present in parts of Somalia for several years.

Still, it was not immediately clear from her remarks the extent to which U.S. personnel had been operating.

U.S. special operations forces have staged high-profile raids in the past in Somalia, including an aborted attempt in October to capture an al Shabaab operative in the militant group’s stronghold of Barawe. U.S. officials have acknowledged Washington’s support for AMISOM and Somalia’s struggle against al Shabaab.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials have been known to operate in the country.

U.S. troop numbers on the ground in Somalia vary over time, the officials told Reuters. Deployments are “staggered” and “short-term,” one official said. But the Obama administration official added that there was overlap in the deployments to allow for a persistent presence on the ground.

Asked about where U.S. forces were deployed, the administration official said they were “in locations throughout Somalia” but declined to elaborate further for security reasons.

The official declined to say precisely when the first U.S. military forces went back into Somalia, saying: “It was around 2007″ and in support of AMISOM.

Asked about why Sherman chose to disclose the information, a State Department official told Reuters: “In the past, our assessment of the security situation in Somalia informed our decision to err on the side of force protection concerns and not divulge their presence.”

That’s changed, the official said. “We do not currently believe that acknowledging the U.S. presence will increase the already high threat to our personnel and citizens operating in Somalia.”

The announcement also reflects a deepening of the U.S.-Somali relationship and comes as the United States prepares to name its first ambassador for Somalia since 1993, who would initially be based out of the country due to security concerns.

“Absolutely there’s been a shift” in the relationship, an Obama administration official said.

Military trainers from the European Union are already on the ground in Somalia training soldiers after shifting their operations at the end of last year to Mogadishu from Uganda, where troops were previously drilled.

See also here.

Dutch government helps US drone assassinations


This video from the USA is called Confirmed: American Citizens Killed By U.S. Drones.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“The Netherlands provides metadata for drones

Update: Thursday 24 Apr 2014 13:43

The U.S. uses Dutch metadata for liquidations by drones in Somalia. Thus says a former drone pilot in daily NRC Handelsblad.

Metadata provide information about who is calling whom and when. Such information is essential for the Americans says former pilot Brandon Bryant. They are even more important than what exactly was discussed, he said.

Bryant calls it naïve and incorrect to think that such information would not be used. Various political parties in the House asked for guarantees against that last night during a debate with Minister of Defense Hennis.

Minister Hennis claimed during that parliamentary debate that the data were not used. A false claim, according to Bryant.

No ‘war crimes’ to see here, please move along. On ignoring the human rights and legal emergency that is the Obama drone killing program: here.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday released a redacted version of the hitherto secret Obama administration memo arguing for the legality of presidential assassinations, without charges or trial, of US citizens. The 47-page memo, dating from July 2010, was drafted and signed by then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, David Barron, and addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder: here.

Racist murder of refugee in the Netherlands


This video is called Never Before Seen Footage – Somalia war.

In Somalia, there is bloody war. Not to promote human rights, like imperialists usually claim about their wars; but war about oil.

Many Somalis try to flee the bloodshed. Sometimes, they land in a torture jail in NATO’s ‘brave new’ Libya. Sometimes, they drown in the Meditteranean.

If Somali refugees manage to reach a country like the Netherlands, are their problems over then? No, they may be falsely accused of and arrested for terrorism.

They may become homeless.

They may be murdered.

Translated from NOS TV:

Suspect of killing Somali arrested

Wednesday 9 May 2014, 11:30 (Update: 09-04-14, 11:41)

Police have arrested a suspect in a deadly assault in Groningen. He is a 23-year-old resident of Leek.

A 40-year-old homeless Somali man this Monday was beaten up in Groningen. He was seriously injured and died yesterday from his injuries.

Information from witnesses who were in the vicinity of the assault led the police to the man from Leek. The police arrested him overnight in his house.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NSA, Dutch military spy on millions of Somalis for drone attacks


This video says about itself:

Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen & Somalia include targeting Rescuers and Funerals

US Drone Strike statistics based on research by a team of journalists of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

(As of October 10, 2012)

CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 349
Obama strikes: 297
Total reported killed: 2,593-3,365
Civilians reported killed: 474-884
Children reported killed: 176
Total reported injured: 1,249-1,389

For latest Pakistan strike data click here.

US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 — 2012:

Total confirmed US operations (all): 52-62
Total confirmed US drone strikes: 40-50
Possible additional US operations: 119-138
Possible additional US drone strikes: 63-76
Total reported killed (all): 357-1,038
Total civilians killed (all): 60-163
Children killed (all): 24-34

For latest data from Yemen click here.

US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 10-23
Total US drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 58-170
Civilians reported killed: 11-57
Children reported killed: 1-3

For complete data on Somalia click here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saturday 8 March 2014, 03:46 (Update: 08-03-14, 09:17 AM)

Dutch data may be used to carry out drone attacks on targets in Somalia. This turns out, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, from documents of the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service(MIVD) intercepted the telephone messages of millions of Somalis and shared that information with the US American security service NSA.

From Snowden‘s documents it would appear that the Americans have no access to the local telephone network in Somalia. According to the NSA, the MIVD does have access to those data, the newspaper writes.

Civilians

The information from the MIVD according to NRC Handelsblad is used in the drone attacks on Somalia. The U.S. military is currently engaged in attacks on members of the terrorist group al- Shabaab. The drone attacks are controversial, as in those attacks often innocent civilians are killed as well.

The Dutch Department of Defense says Dutch information may be used in the attacks, but if at all, that would probably be to a very limited degree.

US drone strikes in Somalia part of drive to control Horn of Africa: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saudi Arabia deports refugees to dangerous Somalia


This video says about itself:

MaximsNewsNetwork: 25 August 2010 – UNHCR: Mogadishu, Somalia – The ongoing conflict between the transitional government and the Al-Shabaab militants has displaced over a million Somalis and pushed hundreds of thousands to neighbouring countries seeking asylum; the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, reports that as many as 4,000 Somalis had been deported from Saudi Arabia over the previous year.

Somali citizens are among thousands recently deported from Saudi Arabia. Many have left because of the ongoing fighting between government troops and Islamist insurgents.

Asha Ahmed Abukar left Mogadishu six years ago to escape the anarchy and violence that has plagued Somalia for years. She lived, married and had her four children in Saudi Arabia, but recently she was sent back by the authorities.

Asha ended up here — in this derelict world of makeshift cloth huts — near Mogadishu along with another 150 deportees.

Fartun Ali Mohamed’s story is similar. She was sent back to Somalia after nine months.

Asho is here alone too. Her husband stayed in Saudi Arabia to work. But now he is in hiding because he has no legal papers.

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Asho Ahmed, deported Somali:

“I was captured on my way to do laundry for the people I was working for and sent to a deportation centre. My children were brought to me. I was there for 15 days and then I was deported to Somalia eight months ago.”

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Fartun Ali Mohamed, deported Somali:

“I suffered a lot during my deportation. I was pregnant and had a child in hand. My husband got sick and died. Now we are in the bush in a refugee camp, we suffered a lot.”

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Asho Ahmed, deported Somali:

“If there is peace I would like to stay in Somalia. There is nothing I like more than my country.”

From Human Rights Watch:

Saudi Arabia: 12,000 Somalis Expelled

Mass Deportations without Considering Refugee Claims

February 18, 2014

(Nairobi) – Saudi authorities have deported more than 12,000 people to Somalia since January 1, 2014, including hundreds of women and children, without allowing any to make refugee claims. Saudi Arabia should end the summary deportations, which risk violating its international obligations not to return anyone to a place where their life or freedom is threatened or where they face other serious harm.

Seven Somalis recently deported from Saudi Arabia told Human Rights Watch researchers in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, that the Saudi authorities had detained them for weeks in appalling conditions and some said Saudi security personnel beat them. None had been allowed to speak with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss possible refugee claims before being deported. UNHCR said in mid-January that “south central Somalia is a very dangerous place.” UNHCR also said the Saudi authorities have denied its staff access to detained Somalis in the country.

“The Saudi authorities have deported thousands of men, women, and children to conflict-ridden Somalia, while denying them any chance to seek asylum,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher. “Saudi Arabia should allow anyone fearing serious ill-treatment at home to claim refugee status, with help from the UN, if needed.”

The head of Somalia’s Immigration and Naturalization Services told Human Rights Watch researchers on February 3 that Saudi Arabia had deported 12,332 Somalis to Mogadishu since January 1. According to UNHCR,a number of the deportees are not only from Mogadishu but also from other parts of south-central Somalia.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the Somali Interior Ministry expects Saudi Arabia to deport another 30,000 in the coming weeks. The deportations are part of a Saudi campaign to remove undocumented foreign workers.

Saudi Arabia should immediately introduce procedures allowing refugees, including those from Somalia, to seek asylum or other forms of protection. Children should not be detained because of their immigration status, and unaccompanied children – those traveling alone without caregivers – shouldnot be held with unrelated adults.If Saudi Arabia identifies anyone at risk of harm in Somalia the authorities should give them secure legal status and should work closely with UNHCR, if needed. It should also urgently improve detention conditions for people waiting to be deported, and only detain as necessary and proportional to that need.

The deported Somalis Human Rights Watch interviewed described severe overcrowding, lack of access to air and daylight, sweltering heat, and limited medical assistance in Saudi detention centers as they awaited deportation. All complained about the quality and quantity of the food. One deportee said prison guards beat him repeatedly, and another saw guards beating detainees who complained about conditions. With one exception, none of the detention centers had bedding and detainees slept on the floor.

Somalis said that beatings and other abusive treatment continued during the deportation process. A woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, Sadiyo, who was arrested and deported separately from her husband, told Human Rights Watch that a Saudi policewoman beat her on the back with a baton while she stood in line at Jeddah airport. She went into labor and gave birth on the cabin floor of the plane as it flew to Mogadishu.

“Saudi authorities should investigate allegations of abuse in detention and during deportation,” Simpson said. “The government should immediately improve its dreadful detention facilities.”

One deported Somali, Mohammed, said Saudi authorities detained him in five detention facilities for a total of 57 days before deporting him.

“In the first detention center in Riyadh [the Saudi capital], there was so little food, we fought over it so the strongest ate the most,” he said. “Guards told us to face the wall and then beat our backs with metal rods. In the second place, there were two toilets for 1,200 people, including dozens of children.”

The deportees may risk life-threatening situations or inhuman and degrading conditions in south-central Somalia. In Mogadishu, approximately 370,000 displaced people live in dire conditions in camps for people who have fled famine and violence elsewhere in the country, with inadequate security. Fighting continues in many parts of south-central Somalia. The Islamist armed group al-Shabaab still forcibly recruits adults and children.

Al-Shabaab bombings and other attacks in Mogadishu frequently target or otherwise kill and wound civilians. …

Customary international law prohibits refoulement, the return of anyone to a place where their life or freedom would be threatened or where they would face persecution, torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment.On January 17, UNHCR issued guidelines on returns to Somalia and called on countries not to return anyone before interviewing them and ensuring they do not face the threat of persecution or other serious harm if returned. Both UNHCR and IOM say that Saudi Arabia has not made any such determination before sending the Somalis back.

“Somalia is still wracked by violence that kills and maims civilians, while hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people are barely surviving in insecure camps,” Simpson said. “Saudi Arabia and other countries where Somalis are living should closely examine any refugee claims and other claims for protection Somalis may have.”

Saudi Arabia has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and does not have an asylum system. UNHCR, which has a small office in Riyadh, is not allowed to receive and review refugee claims, a process known as “Refugee Status Determination.” The Saudi authorities have no other procedures allowing Somalis or others who fear persecution or other harm in their home countries to seek protection in Saudi Arabia.

Major donors to UNHCR, including the European Union and the United States, should press Saudi Arabia to end its deportations of Somalis.

“The Saudi government is entitled to promote employment opportunities for its own citizens, but it needs to make sure it’s not sending people back to a life-threatening situation,” Simpson said. “Saudi Arabia has no excuse for not offering protection to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Somalis Describe Detention Conditions in Saudi Arabia

Several of the deportees who spoke to Human Rights Watch researchers said they developed chronic health problems in detention in Saudi, including persistent coughing. Some said they saw children detained with their relatives and other adults. One said he was detained with approximately 30 children who were in their young teens and who had no caregiver.

A health worker in Mogadishu told Human Rights Watch that she attended a one-year-old boy in a Mogadishu hospital for several weeks. The baby had been detained with his father for a month before being deported and was suffering from diarrhea, malnutrition, and anemia.

Saladu, 35, said the Saudi authorities detained her for nine days with her two children, ages seven and nine, and her sister’s three children before deporting them: “The room we stayed in with 150 other women and children was extremely hot and there was no air conditioning. The children were sick. My son was vomiting and his stomach was very bloated. There were no mattresses, people just slept on the floor.”

IOM publicly said that many of the deportees are in poor health because of their prolonged detention in substandard conditions before they were deported. Some had suffered physical and psychological trauma or had respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia. IOM noted that “a significant number may have been subjected to ill-treatment.”

An IOM representative told Human Rights Watch that it plans to set up a facility at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde airport to provide emergency medical assistance, non-food items such as blankets, and water to deportees, though the services had not begun as of February 17. UNHCR told Human Rights Watch that its staff would be working with IOM to identify those at greatest risk of harm in Somalia.

Deportations of Undocumented Migrants in Saudi Arabia

The mass deportations of Somalis in January followed Saudi Arabia’s deportation of at least 12,000 Somalis to Mogadishu in 2013 and thousands of others in 2012, according to UNHCR.

In November, Saudi officials resumed a campaign that had started in April but had been suspended shortly thereafter, to locate and deport foreign workers considered to be violating local labor laws, including workers from Somalia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, and Yemen. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on January 21 that it had deported more than 250,000 people since November.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 42 Yemeni workers deported from Saudi Arabia in November whose descriptions of detention conditions were similar to those of the Somali deportees. Most said there was overcrowding and insufficient food and drinkable water, and reported frequent beatings by prison guards. Five Ethiopian nationals told Human Rights Watch in November that thousands of foreign workers in Riyadh were held in makeshift detention facilities without adequate food and shelter before being deported.

Violence in Somalia

On January 17, UNHCR issued guidelines for factors countries should consider when assessing refugee claims by Somali nationals or other claims for protection based on international human rights law. On January 28, UNHCR issued a news release about the guidelines, appealing to all governments “to uphold their obligations” not to forcibly return anyone to Somalia unless they are convinced the person would not suffer persecution or other serious harm upon return.

UNHCR said that southern and central Somalia “remains a very dangerous place” and that it “consider[s] the options for Somalis to find protection from persecution or serious harm within Southern and Central Somalia to be limited.” The agency said that this “is especially true for large areas that remain under the control of Al-Shabaab,” which “prohibits the exercise of various types of freedoms and rights, especially affecting women” and uses “public whipping, amputation … and beheadings” as punishment.

UNHCR also said al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu that killed civilians had increased in 2013 and that the Somali authorities are “reported to be failing to provide much of [the] population with basic security.”

In March 2013 Human Rights Watch reported on sexual violence and other abuses against displaced persons living in Mogadishu’s internally displaced persons camps.

In January 2013 the Somali government announced plans to relocate tens of thousands of displaced people in Mogadishu. These plans stalled primarily due to the government’s inability to provide basic protection in the planned relocation sites. According to UNHCR, almost 60,000 people were displaced in Somalia in the first nine months of 2013, bringing the total number of displaced to 1.1 million.

A February 13, 2014, Human Rights Watch report documents high levels of rape and sexual abuse against women and girls in Mogadishu in 2013, particularly among displaced women who are attacked inside and near camps for displaced people.

In November UNHCR, Kenya, and Somalia signed a tri-partite agreement setting out procedures to be followed to assist Somalis wishing to return to Somalia. The agreement emphasized that the principle of nonrefoulement needed to be scrupulously respected. UNHCR’s January news release said neither the agreement nor UNHCR’s possible future assistance to help reintegrate voluntarily returning Somali nationals from Kenya should in any way imply that UNHCR believes that Somalia is safe for everyone. The agency reported that 42,000 Somalis fled their country to seek asylum worldwide in 2013.

Enhanced by Zemanta