Pentagon war on Somalia


This video from the USA says about itself:

US Building Bases & Deploying Troops To Somalia

8 May 2018

The U.S. military is dramatically expanding its operations at a former Soviet air strip in Somalia, constructing more than 800 beds at the Baledogle base, VICE News has learned. The construction at the secretive base marks the latest example of America’s growing and controversial shadow war in Africa.

Baledogle’s expansion is one part of what appears to be a massive U.S. military infrastructure development project in the Horn of Africa country that will see at least six new U.S. outposts built this year, according to multiple defense contractors who spoke to VICE News.

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Somali poetess jailed for poetry


This 2017 video is about Somali poetess Nacima Qorane reading a poem.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Somaliland: Three-year jail sentence for poet who read unity poem

POET Nacima Qorane has been jailed for three years in Somaliland after being found guilty of contempt for reading a unity poem.

She received the sentence in the self-declared republic after she called for Somaliland and Somalia to be reunited.

Prosecutors said she had referred to Somaliland as “a region” and “insulted and defamed its government” by reading the poem in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The court found that she had brought the state into contempt.

Home to about 4 million people, the area in the north-west of Somalia was formerly a British protectorate, uniting with the former Italian colony in 1960 to form the Somali Republic. It declared its independence in 1991 following a bitter civil war but is not recognised internationally, being seen as an autonomous region of the country.

In February Somaliland allowed the United Arab Emirates to open a military base to launch strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the country’s ongoing civil war.

Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital and rights groups have raised concerns over her treatment.

A number of artists and reporters have been sentenced for similar offences as Somaliland’s government cracks down on opposition voices and press freedom.

Journalists Mohamed Abdilaahi Dabshid and Ahmed Dirie Liltire were sentenced to two years in prison in January for reporting that Ethiopian militants were training in Somaliland. Others have received jail terms for spreading so-called false news.

Somaliland’s Human Rights Centre called for the immediate release of Ms Qorane yesterday and said it was “very concerned” about her conviction.

Guleid Ahmed Jama said: “Freedom of expression is enshrined and protected by the constitution of Somaliland. We urge the government of Somaliland to respect its own constitution.”

Trump deports Somali war refugees in torture flight


This video says about itself:

U.S. Special Ops Reportedly Massacred Somali Civilians

30 November 2017

On Aug. 25, American forces accompanied by Somali National Army led a deadly raid in Bariire city that reportedly killed 10 innocent locals.

By Maryam Saleh in the USA:

Excessive force

For a brief moment in December 2017, the international spotlight shined on the case of 92 deportees who were on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement-chartered flight to Somalia. Most such flights unload their human cargo once they land, but this flight, for logistical reasons, returned home — and brought witnesses back with it.

The Somalis told of abuse on the flight, saying they were shackled with chains on their wrists, waists, and legs for more than 40 hours; forced to urinate in bottles or on themselves; and that ICE officers beat and threatened some passengers. (ICE has denied that it mistreated detainees on the flight.)

But even after the spotlight dimmed, the abuse continued. The Somalis are still being held at the Krome Detention Center and the Glades County Detention Center in Florida, as their lawyers try to fight their deportations. At Glades, where half the group is being held, they have complained of a litany of abuses, including violent assaults by guards, denial of medical care, lack of access to their lawyers, and racism.

“The guards and the administration up there at Glades, they think they’re immune. To me, it’s so brazen to be doing this. They know there’s a federal case. They know we’re up there all the time. They know there are investigators up there”, said Lisa Lehner, an attorney at Americans for Immigrant Justice, one of the groups representing the Somalis. “They called them ‘niggers’. They called them ‘boy’. They’ve said things like, ‘We’re sending you boys back to the jungle’.” An ICE spokesperson in Miami declined to answer questions about the complaints coming from Glades, citing pending litigation.

The treatment of the 92 Somalis, both on board the ICE-chartered plane and at the Glades detention center, is not a case of a few operators gone rogue and exposes the very limited avenues for accountability available to those who are abused in ICE custody, as well as the particular vulnerability of those who experience aggression on their way out of the United States.

Rebecca Merton, a program coordinator at Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, or CIVIC, said that there is a logic to the mayhem: The abusive conditions eventually wear down the will of detainees to stay and fight their deportation orders in court. “One way that ICE, and particularly [Enforcement and Removal Operations, an ICE sub-office], achieves its goal of mass deportation is by subjecting people to indefinite detention in terrible conditions without any source of hope, or sometimes, outside contact”, said Merton.

Two weeks after the failed deportation flight, the 92 Somalis sued ICE for “inhumane conditions and egregious abuse” on the flight and asked the court to halt their deportations.

“As the plane sat on the runway, the 92 detainees remained bound, their handcuffs secured to their waists, and their feet shackled together,” the complaint — filed by a team of lawyers from the Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami Law School, Americans for Immigrant Justice, the James H. Binger Center for New Americans at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Legal Aid Service of Broward County — reads.

“When the plane’s toilets overfilled with human waste, some of the detainees were left to urinate into bottles or on themselves. ICE agents wrapped some who protested, or just stood up to ask a question, in full-body restraints. ICE agents kicked, struck, or dragged detainees down the aisle of the plane, and subjected some to verbal abuse and threats.”

ICE Air Operations is a division of the agency responsible for deportation flights. “ICE Air Operations personnel follow best practices when it comes to the security, safety and welfare of the aliens returned to their countries of origin”, its website reads. “There are a variety of [Enforcement and Removal Operations] personnel on board who ensure the health and safety of the aliens and officers during removal flights.”

But that’s not what happened on December 7, when the plane stopped in Senegal to refuel, then sat on a runway there for 23 hours before being re-routed to Miami. ICE explained the delay in a statement it issued in December. “The relief crew was unable to get sufficient crew rest due to issues with their hotel in Dakar”, so the aircraft remained parked so that the crew could rest. “The allegations of ICE mistreatment onboard the Somali flight are categorically false. No one was injured during the flight, and there were no incidents or altercations that would have caused any injuries on the flight.”

Lehner said some of her clients reported that officers on board the airplane apologized to the immigrants when they realized the flight would be returning to the United States. It was not clear whether those who apologized were ICE officers or private contractors, she said.

A number of major media outlets, including the New York Times, reported on the failed deportation flight; the news was later picked up by Somali media. The Somalis argued in the lawsuit that, if they were to be returned to Somalia, they would be “killed or harmed due to changed circumstances in Somalia created by the media coverage and notoriety of the aborted and abusive December 7 flight.” (A team of pro bono lawyers is helping the Somalis try to reopen their past immigration cases in pursuit of immigration relief. An immigration court has agreed to reopen at least one of their cases so far.)

Though ICE had been planning to take another shot at deporting the 92 people — most of them men, many of them longtime residents of the United States who fled horrors in Somalia and have U.S. citizen family members — in December, a judge at the Miami federal court halted their deportations at least until January 2. That order has since been extended, as the court continues to weigh preliminary issues related to the lawsuit.

The lawyers also filed an administrative complaint with the DHS Inspector General and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices — one of few options available to victims of excessive force seeking accountability. In addition to laying out what happened on the deportation flight, the complaint includes recommendations for amendments to ICE’s shackling policy. Fatma Marouf, a professor at the Texas A&M University Law School, wrote in the complaint that medical studies indicate that “the extreme form of shackling used on the 92 deportees could cause significant psychological harm.”

In the weeks that followed, the Somalis being held at Glades have complained of physical abuse by guards at the county jail that doubles as an immigration detention center. The conditions at the jail — pepper spray as a form of punishment and lack of access to medical care, to name a few — are the subject of a separate administrative complaint, court filings, and a letter to a congressional representative and state senator.

Khadar Ibrahim, who fled Somalia nearly three decades ago after his father was murdered and his aunt was raped in a brutal civil war, said he was roughed up both on the flight and at Glades. At one point on the deportation flight, Ibrahim stood up to use the bathroom, and an ICE officer picked him up from his waist and threw him to the ground headfirst, according to court documents. He experienced neck pain for weeks after.

Then, at Glades, he watched a fight unfold between two detainees over access to a phone on Christmas Day. He watched from his dormitory as guards beat up another detainee who tried to break up the fight, and when a guard used pepper spray against one of the men involved in the fight, other detainees in the dorm inhaled some of it too, according to an administrative complaint. The next day, after two other eyewitnesses asked to speak to a captain about what had happened, an officer identified as “Sergeant Mims” in the complaint escorted Ibrahim and two other men to segregation cells. (ICE declined to comment on the complaint.)

“On the way to segregation and while handcuffed, Sergeant Mims tackled me from behind,” Ibrahim wrote in a sworn statement. “I fell forward and hit my head on the floor and it made my neck hurt very badly. We went to medical, and I told the nurse my neck hurt. Sergeant Mims told her it was nothing and she did not examine me. She did not ask me any questions, check my blood pressure, or take my temperature. She only spoke to Sergeant Mims.”

“Glades staff have used pepper spray, segregation, shackling and physical abuse on our clients in a discriminatory display of excessive force,” the administrative complaint — filed with two Department of Homeland Security offices — reads. “They have used racial slurs to berate them, including the words ‘nigger’ and ‘boy.’ They have interfered with our clients’ right to make a grievance by threatening them and placing them in segregation when they express their intention to file a grievance.”

ICE has long come under fire for conditions at its detention facilities across the country. Krome, the Miami detention center where half of the Somali group is being held, was haunted by reports of beatings and rapes in the 1980s and 1990s, but complaints of abuse largely subsided after the facility was upgraded in the mid-aughts. “Some complaints still occasionally surface — but Krome officials say they are investigated quickly”, the Miami Herald reported in 2015. “It’s very, very different from its former self,” Cheryl Little, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, told the Miami New Times three years ago.

Glades also has its fair share of problems. Lawyers from the Immigration Clinic of the University of Miami Law School, after touring the center in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016, sent letters to the leadership of Glades and Krome, raising concerns about detention conditions. For example, two years ago, the clinic identified a number of issues, including “abusive and inappropriate officer interactions with detainees; medical attention; [and] attorney access to detainees and lack of attorney-client confidentiality and privacy.”

Other immigration detention centers — many of them operated by private prison corporations — are also plagued by abuses. In December, a Department of Homeland Security watchdog reported that, at four of five detention facilities it inspected, it found conditions “that undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment”. The report, issued by the DHS Office of the Inspector General, said that medical care may have been delayed and that there was a lack of cleanliness at several facilities. “Documentation of daily medical visits and meal records for detainees being held in segregation was also missing or incomplete”, the inspector general found. “Some of these issues may simply be a matter of inadequate documentation, but they could also indicate more serious problems with potential misuse of segregation.”

Immigrant detainees have also reported physical abuse at a number of detention centers. A 2016 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Adelante Alabama Worker Center found inadequate medical care and widespread abuses at six immigration detention centers in the South. “Detained immigrants described being subjected to physical abuse, retaliation and excessive use of segregation and lockdown by detention center staff and ICE officers,” according to the report. “There is also a general lack of protection from violence within the facilities.”

“It’s not a couple of facilities that aren’t meeting ICE standards, or a couple of guards who are racist and abusive,” said Merton. “The entire system is treating people the way the Trump administration wants them to.”

While CIVIC, which believes in abolishing the immigration detention system, condemned abuses in the system long before Donald Trump was elected on a vehemently anti-immigrant agenda, Merton said the last administration was much more responsive to complaints. “If there was enough public pressure, the Obama administration might have done something about individual cases or made policy changes at a particular facility”, Merton explained. “Under the Trump administration, it’s like they really don’t care that their brutality is being put on full display. It seems at times they want the reports to come out to instill fear in immigrant communities.”

Clara Long, who researches immigration policy at Human Rights Watch, told The Intercept that she has received complaints about ICE officers using excessive force when getting people to sign deportation orders, “like pulling people’s arm, pushing them to sign, that kind of coercion.” (The signing of deportation documents usually happens at ICE field offices, not detention centers.)

Another context in which immigrants report excessive force, Long said, is when they’re being loaded onto deportation flights, especially for people who are being forcibly deported. When ICE tried to deport the 92 Somalis in December, it was supposed to be a one-way flight. But after the immigrants unexpectedly were brought back to the United States, they were able to file an administrative complaint. Most deportees don’t have the chance to do even that.

“One problem is making sure that people have the opportunity to make a complaint, so when you’re talking about a system that’s churning out people rapidly”, Long said, “if someone is not coming back and is experiencing some sort of an excessive use of force while being while on a deportation flight, there’s a huge barrier to be able to make a complaint.”

In 2009, the Obama administration announced a long-term plan to overhaul the immigration detention system. Under the reforms, ICE moved away from its decentralized network of jails to a system of federal oversight. One significant change was the creation of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning, which was meant to “plan and design a civil detention system tailored to ICE’s needs.”

“In 2009, the administration identified a series of reforms that it wanted to be implemented immediately, and then over time we identified additional areas where improvement was necessary”, said Kevin Landy, who was the assistant director of the office, which had a staff of five, from 2010 to 2017.

Under the Trump administration, the office has ceased to function as an independent unit within ICE. Instead, its staff and work have been “absorbed into existing detention management components and will continue as a part of ICE’s daily operations”, ICE spokesperson Sarah Rodriguez said. What once was a standalone office that reported to the ICE director is now effectively a part of Enforcement and Removal Operations, the wing of ICE that carries out deportations and is responsible for detaining and transporting immigrants in ICE custody. Many of the office’s key policy changes, such as the policy directing the use of segregation, remain in effect, Rodriguez noted.

One of the biggest steps the office took under the Obama administration was the promulgation of what are known as the 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards, or PBNDS, a revision of the 2008 PBNDS and the 2000 National Detention Standards, or NDS. Generally speaking, the PBNDS are in force at “dedicated” facilities — centers that house only ICE detainees, while the NDS continue to apply at shared-use county jails, like Glades.

A 2016 report from the National Immigration Justice Center found that the “patchwork application of three different sets of detention standards results in confusion about which standards are applicable during inspections, and uneven protections for detained immigrants.”

The detention standards contain guidance on everything from food in detention centers to visitation to religious practices to use of force by detention facility staff. They include standards both for detainee discipline and grievances, and give detainees the option of filing complaints internally or with an ICE field office. Detainees can also file civil lawsuits or complain directly to the DHS Inspector General and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices, and, in theory, to law enforcement. The ICE Office of Professional Responsibility is another body that oversees detention centers and ensures that detention standards are abided by.

How well that is ensured is an open question. “It’s problematic when an agency is tasked with investigating the abuses that occur under its own supervision”, said Merton, noting that an April 2017 complaint CIVIC filed with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Liberties has gone unacknowledged. “ICE audits tend to be perfunctory at best. It’s just checking off a list without listening to what people in these facilities are saying.”

On the evening of February 9, some of the toilets in the isolation cells at Glades were clogged and spewing sewage on the floor, making them impossible to use. The Somali men in segregation complained, and one of them, Agane Warsame, asked for a mop to clean his cell. In response, officers “sprayed pepper spray through the slots of their cells, making them unable to breathe,” according to court records. “The officers called the men ‘niggers’ and told them to ‘go back to the jungle’. Glades officers inflicted beatings on Agane Warsame” and possibly one other man, according to court records. ICE [denied] this account in court records, and said the “claims of excessive force are meritless.”

The filth caused by the overflowing toilets, unbearable for anyone, poses a special problem for the Somali men, most of whom are Muslim, noted Lehner, the attorney from Americans for Immigrant Justice. “This also raises the issue of the facility’s lack of respect for the Somalis’ religious faith. They are unable to pray when their cells are filthy”, she said, also noting that the facility has refused to provide the inmates with religious-compliant meals. (One Jewish Somali man told his lawyers that he had repeatedly asked for kosher meals and was subsequently placed in isolation, Lehner said.)

Asked to comment on the detainees’ claims, Nestor Yglesias, an ICE spokesperson in Miami, sent a link to the detention standards and wrote, “This link addresses how ICE operates every center”. In court filings, ICE said Warsame was being disruptive by yelling and kicking on the door of his cell while asking for a mop, spurring other detainees to exhibit “disorderly behavior”. Warsame was taken out of his cell “to limit his disruptive participation in the ongoing disturbance within the segregation unit, and he was pepper sprayed outside of his cell, after he became “actively aggressive” and cursed and spit at a guard, according to ICE.

Warsame’s lawyers, after hearing about the altercation, rushed to Glades to investigate. They found him “so injured he cannot walk” and in a wheelchair, with a possibly broken hip, according to court records. An incident report from the detention center included details about the malfunctioning toilets and the pepper spray, but omitted mention of “the documented physical abuse of Mr. Warsame officers”, his attorneys wrote in an emergency motion to the court.

Following the incident, Warsame’s lawyers asked the court to order a transfer of the Somali detainees out of Glades. “We were really scared for people’s lives”, Lehner, who filed the motion, said. That effort was unsuccessful.

Under the 2000 National Detention Standards, ICE officer are “under no circumstances” allowed to use force to punish a detainee and can only use the amount of force necessary “to gain control of the detainee”. Under those standards, medical personnel must examine a detainee after any use of force and immediately treat injuries. Officers can use nonlethal weapons, such as pepper spray, if a detainee is armed or barricaded, cannot be approached without endangering himself or others, or if a delay in using force to control the situation would seriously endanger the detainee or others.

“The use of pepper spray also has to be discussed in advance with medical staff, unless that’s not possible”, said Landy. “In my opinion, pepper spray should only be used against a detainee already confined in a segregated cell only in very rare circumstances.”

At least eight detainees had previously said they experienced abuse at Glades, according to an 88-page complaint the lawyers who are representing the Somalis in their federal lawsuit filed on January 8. The detainees had been subjected to physical abuse, excessive force followed by denial of medical attention, and inadequate medical care, according to the complaint. The Miami-based lawyers, who make the 100-mile trek to Glades as needed, including when their clients report threats to their safety, have been keeping a meticulous log of injuries sustained in detention and the type of medical care that followed.

Warsame said that after he had asked about another detainee who “guards had touched for no reason”, he was found guilty of “inciting a demonstration” and punished with 30 days in a segregation unit. On January 3, Warsame was allowed to take a shower. When a guard took him back to his cell, Warsame stuck his wrist out of a slot in the door so that the guard would remove his handcuffs. “A guard twisted Warsame’s hand so that the handcuff cut into the skin on his wrist, leaving it bleeding and swollen,” according to the complaint. “The next day, a nurse looked at him, but refused to treat the cuts on his wrist.”

Every detainee admitted to an immigration detention center is given a copy of ICE’s detainee handbook, a 28-page document with information on topics such as meals, dress code, and visitation. Also included, about halfway through the handbook, is information about filing grievances. It tells detainees what their options at the detention facility are — verbal or written complaints, emergency grievances, and appeals — as well as how to contact outside offices, such as that of the inspector general. The Office of Professional Responsibility’s 2017 review of detention facilities found “a higher instance of situations in which local facility handbooks and postings were missing mandatory information,” including regarding grievance procedures.

The guidance on filing grievances mirrors the policies laid out in the agency’s detention standards. Under the 2000 NDS, a detainee must be allowed “to submit a formal, written grievance to the facility’s grievance committee. The detainee may take this step because he/she is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal process, or because he/she decides to forgo the informal procedures.”

“Some facilities have a policy where they encourage verbal over written grievances”, said Merton, referring to a policy in the NDS that says facilities should try to resolve grievances at the lowest level before escalating to a formal complaint. “They basically prevent a paper trail by telling folks to just tell a deputy about it. Because there’s no oversight, these people are in a really vulnerable position where their grievances are not being recorded, and they may not have any contact with the outside world.”

At Glades, several Somali detainees said their right to file grievances has been impeded. Glades employees “have interfered with our clients’ right to make a grievance by threatening them and placing them in segregation when they express their intention to file a grievance”, according to the administrative complaint.

Warsame said when he asked to file a formal grievance, “the sergeant refused, cursing at him, and saying ‘You Somalis are demanding things. … This is how we do things in Glade County’”. according to the complaint, which ICE declined to comment on. Afterward, he was sent to a segregation unit.

“It would be highly inappropriate” for facility staff to retaliate against a detainee for filing a grievance, Landy said. If ICE were to investigate the Somalis’ complaints and find them to be credible, he added, there are, in theory, a few routes the agency could take. “They could ask a detention facility to discipline or fire the staff responsible. Depending on the contract provisions in effect at the facility, ICE could seek to impose monetary sanctions and more likely, they could address it informally through communications with the facility and a request for implementation of remedial measures.”

The Office of the Inspector General is investigating conditions at Glades, following the complaint from the Somalis, Lehner said. Investigators have made several trips to the facility, most recently on March 1, when they interviewed three of the detainees with complaints, she said. The office did not respond to a request for comment

Some of the detainees have reported guards saying things to them like, “The reason we’re taking it out on you is that it’s the lawyers fault, it’s the Miami lawyers’ fault”, Lehner said. She reported this to Juan Acosta, the assistant field office director for the ICE Miami Field Office, who told her immediately that it could not be true. (Yglesias, the ICE spokesperson in Miami, declined to comment on this account.)

“The thing that’s so appalling about that is that every single time we meet with them, they tell us how horrible it is,” Lehner added, “and we tell them, ‘Whatever you do, don’t act out, because if you do, they’ll take it out on you and they’ll take it out on us.’”

As the investigative process goes on, the Somalis remain in detention, hoping for one more opportunity to fight their deportations before an immigration judge. If they are unsuccessful in getting their immigration cases reopened — or if they’re ultimately met with denials — they will be sent back to Somalia, another long journey in ICE custody, with an even less certain ending on the ground.

Britain: IN APRIL last year 15 activists took part in a protest to prevent a charter flight organised by the Home Office from deporting 57 people to Nigeria and Ghana. The anti-deportation activists, members of the group End Deportations, were subsequently arrested and today stand trial charged with terrorism offences: here.

Record pace of drone strikes mark sharp escalation of US war in Somalia: here.

Approximately 80 immigrant men from Kenya, Somalia and Sudan held at the West Texas Detention Center in Sierra Blanca, Texas have been subjected to horrific physical abuses, alleged hate crimes, and sexual abuse, according to a report recently cited by the Intercept: here.

Trump’s Africom killing Somali civilians


This 26 August 2017 video about Somalia says, translated from Indonesian:

26 August 2017

Somali forces backed by the United States shot dead 10 residents, including three children in a village. Barire village was attacked … The Somali military says no civilians were killed in the attack.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

10 civilians killed in raid by Somali army and US forces

Monday 28th August 2017

SOMALIA’S army chief of staff admitted on Saturday that 10 civilians were killed in a joint raid with US forces the previous day.

Ahmed Jimale Gedi said he was shocked by the massacre in the village of Barire in the Lower Shabelle region.

The US Africa Command (Africom) confirmed that it had supported an operation by the Somali army in the area.

The Somali Information Ministry had earlier claimed that eight al-Shabab terrorists had been killed in the operation on Friday morning and “no civilians were harmed or killed.”

A second statement late that night said: “It appears that there were different security operations.”

Villagers brought the bodies of the dead to the capital Mogadishu in a protest later on Friday. Lower Shabelle deputy governor Ali Nur Mohamed told reporters there the residents had been killed “one by one” by “foreign troops”.

He said: “These local farmers were attacked by foreign troops while looking after their crops.

“The troops could have arrested them because they were unarmed but instead shot them one by one mercilessly.”

Mr Mohamed said three children, aged eight to 10, and a women were among the dead.

Africom said: “We are aware of the civilian casualty allegations near Barire, Somalia.”

Trump plans to make it easier to kill civilians with drones. Sadly, we can thank Obama for that: here.

US forces carried out three separate drone strikes across Somalia within less than 24 hours last weekend, underscoring the sharp escalation of Washington’s military offensive in the Horn of Africa: here.

AFRICOM envisions two years of open-ended warfare in Somalia: here.

Somali citizens count cost of surge in US airstrikes under Trump: here.

Trump escalates United States war in Somalia


This video says about itself:

America’s “Shadow War” In Somalia Gets A Fresh Start Under Trump

23 June 2017

U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed over 400 people in the last eight years as part of a quiet war on “terrorism.” Parts of the country have been designated as “active war zones,” allowing for more strikes to take place with little to no oversight.

By Timotheos Gaist in the USA:

Trump escalates US drone war in Somalia

8 July 2017

The Trump White House escalated American imperialism’s decades-long war in Somalia this week, ordering American military drones to launch repeated airstrikes against insurgent strongholds in southern regions of the impoverished Horn of Africa nation.

… The attacks are openly acknowledged in American ruling class media as marking the onset of a major expansion of the war.

During its first six months in office, the Trump administration has laid the foundations for a wider war in Somalia, extending and building upon the general policy of covert and proxy war against Somalia pursued by the previous two administrations under the banner of the “global war on terrorism.”

In March, Trump granted US commanders open-ended authority to wage war throughout southern Somalia, without approval by civilian authorities. In April, President Trump approved deployment of scores of regular American ground troops to Somalia, the first such deployments since the 1992 “Operation Restore Hope,” which saw some 30,000 imperialist troops dispatched to the outskirts of Mogadishu, under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid.

The Trump White House now favors “even more permissive rules of engagement for drone operations in Yemen and Somalia,” Center for Drone Studies expert Dan Gettinger told Fox News last week.

The drone war in Somalia, waged by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for more than 10 years, is being organized from AFRICOM’s Camp Lemonnier, in neighboring Djibouti.

Local sources report seeing dozens of heavily armed drones and war planes leaving Lemonnier’s airfield every day. American military and intelligence operatives have also established a secret drone and commando training base at Baledogle airport, some 70 miles north of Mogadishu, according to Homeland Security News Wire.

“We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region,” an AFRICOM statement released Tuesday said.

“U.S. forces remain committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia [FGS], the Somali National Army and our Amisom partners in defeating al Shabaab and establishing a safe and secure environment in Somalia,” Pentagon spokesperson Major Audricia Harris said.

The drumbeat of drone strikes, commando raids, and proxy wars by US-backed regional forces and warlords have completely failed to defeat or even stem the al Shabaab insurgency, which has consolidated its hold over large areas of the country, and continues to deal punishing blows against the government.

The Islamist militia, which emerged out of the youth wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), has achieved a series of tactical successes in recent months, aggressively engaging and defeating government troops across a broad swath of the country, from the oil-rich Puntland region in the north, to the Somali-Kenyan border in the south. On June 8, al Shabaab forces overran a government military base in Puntland, killing dozens of government soldiers, and seizing large quantities of weaponry, munitions and armored vehicles.

Al Shabaab “has cemented its hold on ungoverned territory across southern and central Somalia, even after decades of the United States partnering with some African nations to combat al-Qaida’s third-largest affiliate,” the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

“In the last eight months, al-Shabaab has overrun three African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Forward Operating Bases by amassing large numbers of fighters and attacking in overwhelming numbers. Al-Shabaab has also increased its combat capability by seizing heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, explosives, small arms, ammunition, and other miscellaneous supplies during its operations overrunning Burundian National Defense Forces FOB Leego, Ugandan People’s Defense Force FOB Janaale, and Kenyan Defense Force FOB Ceel Ad,” AFRICOM acknowledged in a June 11 statement.

“The terror organization has cemented its control over southern and central Somalia, they have used this area to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, and to shelter other radical terrorists,” AFRICOM said.

This week saw al Shabaab mount brazen attacks against targets associated with the US-allied Kenyan government to the south, whose Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) have served as a proxy occupation force on behalf of Washington since 2011.

On July 6, al Shabaab fighters launched attacks against a Kenyan police station near the coastal town of Lamu, and in the Boni forest along the Kenya-Somalia border. The fighting near Lamu, whose port facility sits at the eastern end of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) strategic infrastructure corridor, lasted throughout the day, leaving three Kenyan police officers dead.

The rise of al Shabaab is powerful measure of the ongoing collapse of the nation-state system. The extremist militia group has exploited the breakdown of Somalia’s central government to establish power bases in large areas of the country, taking on social and economic roles associated with normal sovereign states, such as levying taxes and providing basic services. The group’s internal intelligence service, known as the Amniyat, regularly carries out sophisticated covert operations in the heart of Mogadishu, assassinating top officials and bombing FSG facilities.

“Al-Shabab is becoming a shadow government, positioning itself as Somalia’s champion of disenfranchised and marginalized clans,” American University Professor Tricia Bacon wrote in an analysis for the Washington Post. “This is why al-Shabab won’t be going away anytime soon.

“Al-Shabab has shown an impressive ability to adapt and is positioned to not only survive, but to thrive. It has overrun AMISOM forward operating bases (FOB), killing and injuring scores of troops and seizing arms, military vehicles and heavy weaponry,” Bacon wrote. “Al-Shabab has a remarkably effective taxation system that few dare to defy, even those living, as one person I interviewed put it, ‘a stone’s throw from an AMISOM FOB.’ That brings in a steady stream of revenue. What’s more, al-Shabab is relatively uncorrupt and efficient. You can see that clearly on the roads that it controls, where it operates checkpoints that require set payments, offers a receipt to passengers, and keeps the roads relatively safe.

“Al-Shabab finds ways to exploit the vacuum left by the state, tapping into a deep reservoir of grievances. It has both conventional military strength and terrorist abilities as well as political and ideological influence that goes beyond its territorial holdings,” she wrote.

US ruling class strategists fear a repeat, in Somalia, of the seizure of large areas of northern Iraq by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which took the Pentagon high command completely by surprise, and nearly toppled the US-backed government in Baghdad.

The FSG has proven incapable of securing and holding the vast majority of its own territory, aside from central areas of Mogadishu, small portions of the surrounding Indian Ocean coastline, and narrow corridors linking the capital and the southern port city of Kismayo to the Kenyan and Ethiopia borders. Calls are growing for US forces to assume a much larger role in the FGS’s defense, until now left in the hands of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops drawn from the militaries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, supported by American commandos, “advisers,” and air power. Such a mission would require thousands of conventional ground forces, along the lines of the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’ve convinced ourselves that working through our African partners is going to solve the problem. But in many cases, it’s making the problem we’re trying to solve worse,” American Enterprise Institute analyst Katherine Zimmerman argued in an appearance on Fox News.

Whatever the exact form taken by future US war operations, it is clear that American imperialism is determined to employ ever greater levels of military violence against a Somali society that is already reeling from decades of imperialist-orchestrated war, and is wracked by historic levels of famine, drought and disease.

Over 750,000 Somalis have been displaced by drought since November 2016, with more than 20,000 displaced in June alone. More than 50,000 Somalis have been treated for cholera or acute watery diarrhea (AWD) since the beginning of 2017. Some 350,000 Somali children under the age of five are currently acutely malnourished, according to a United Nations Humanitarian Snapshot published July 6.

The spread of famine is accelerating the destabilization of US-backed political arrangements throughout East Africa, and placing mass social struggles against imperialism on the order of the day. AFRICOM is “war-gaming procedures to work in a famine environment,” US Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser told Congress in March.

Nearly 27 million people living in the broader East African region, including Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, urgently require food aid, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Five million South Sudanese are projected to be “severely food insecure” by the end of July, according to the UN.

Since the beginning of the year, the US has rapidly expanded its forces and significantly ramped up its military offensive in Somalia, conducting at least 28 air strikes in 2017. By comparison, 13 such air strikes were carried out in 2016, and five during 2015: here.

United States soldier dies in Somalia


This video from the USA says about itself:

5 December 2016

The US has recently escalated a … war in Somalia over the newly found oil reserves off the shores of Somalia and Kenya.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

For the first time since ‘Black Hawk Down‘ United States American killed in Somalia

Today, 09:12

For the first time since 1993, a US soldier has lost his life in Somalia. …

The US American armed forces have not disclosed further details. It is believed that the killed soldier was a member of the Navy Seals elite unit. …

Black Hawks

In 1993, eighteen American soldiers died in Somalia when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, after which US troops carried out an unsuccessful rescue operation. Bodies of dead US soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in triumph. …

New offensives

President Trump has commanded aggressive air attacks and sent dozens of soldiers to train, advise and guide the Somali army.

It has been the largest commitment of US troops since 1993. In recent years, the United States has already performed a small number of operations in Somalia with drones and commandos.

The cruel irony in this that the Somali United States puppet army, now trained by the Pentagon as ordered by Donald Trump, are basically the same warlord-commanded fighters who dragged the dead bodies of United States soldiers through the streets in 1993.

Although promoted in the name of “political reform,” “economic development,” and “drought relief,” the “London Conference on Somalia,” hosted by the British government in London from May 12 to 13, served as a planning forum for imperialist military projects in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The main outcome of the conference was a Security Pact that commits the United Kingdom and unnamed “international partners” to support the creation of a new Somali National Army (SNA). The SNA force is planned to include 18,000 regular soldiers, 4,000 special forces, and a Somalia Air Force and Somalia Maritime Force, and will be tasked with defending the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG): here.