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Wed

13

Jun

2007

'Kill Anyone Still Alive': American Special Ops in Somalia
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 12:27
by Chris Floyd

How many people did American forces actually kill when they attacked refugees fleeing from the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia last January? We know from reports by Oxfam, the Guardian, the Associated Press and Reuters that dozens of innocent civilians were slaughtered near the Kenyan border, including villagers and nomadic tribesmen hit by American gunships seeking to kill alleged al Qaeda operatives who may or may not have been among the refugees. But a new story in Esquire magazine — detailing the creation of America's most recent military satrapy, the Africa Command — provides disturbing indications that the post-invasion killing by American operatives in Somalia was far more extensive — and deliberate — than previously known. [Extensive background on the war in Somalia can be found here.]

The Esquire piece, by Thomas Barnett, is a mostly glowing portrait of the Africa Command, which, we are told, is designed to wed military, diplomatic, and development prowess in a seamless package, a whole new way of projecting American power: "pre-emptive nation-building instead of pre-emptive regime change," or as Barnett describes it at another point, "Iraq done right." Although Barnett's glib, jargony, insider piece — told entirely from the point of view of U.S. military officials — does contain bits of critical analysis, it is in no way an expose. The new details he presents on the post-invasion slaughter are thus even more chilling, as they are offered simply as an acceptable, ordinary aspect of this laudable new enterprise.

Barnett reveals that the gunship attacks on refugees were just the first part of the secret U.S. mission that was "Africa Command's" debut on the imperial stage. Soon after the attacks, "Task Force 88, a very secret American special-operations unit," was helicoptered into the strike area. As Barnett puts it: "The 88's job was simple: Kill anyone still alive and leave no unidentified bodies behind."

Some 70,000 people fled their homes in the first wave of the Ethiopian invasion. (More than 400,000 fled the brutal consolidation of the invasion in Mogadishu last spring.) Tens of thousands of these initial refugees headed toward the Kenyan border, where the American gunships struck. When the secret operation was leaked, Bush Administration officials said that American planes were trying to hit three alleged al Qaeda operatives who had allegedly been given sanctuary by the Islamic Councils government decapitated by the Ethiopians. But Barnett's insiders told him that the actual plan was to wipe out thousands of "foreign fighters" whom Pentagon officials believed had joined the Islamic Courts forces. "Honestly, nobody had any idea just how many there really were," Barnett was told. "But we wanted to get them all."

Thus the Kenyan border area — where tens of thousands of civilians were fleeing — was meant to be "a killing zone," Barnett writes:

America's first AC-130 gunship went wheels-up on January 7 from that secret Ethiopian airstrip. After each strike, anybody left alive was to be wiped out by successive waves of Ethiopian commandos and Task Force 88, operating out of Manda Bay. The plan was to rinse and repeat 'until no more bad guys, as one officer put it.
At this point, Barnett — or his sources — turn coy. We know there were multiple gunship strikes; and from Barnett's account, we know that the "88s" did go in at least once after the initial gunship attack to "kill anyone still alive and leave no unidentified bodies behind." But Barnett's story seems to suggest that once active American participation in the war was leaked, the "killing zone" was abandoned at some point. So there is no way of knowing at this point how many survivors of the American attacks were then killed by the "very special secret special-operations unit," or how many "rinse-and-repeat" cycles the "88s" were able to carry out in what Barnett called "a good plan."

Nor do we know just who the "88s" killed. As noted, the vast majority of refugees were civilians, just as the majority of the victims killed by the American gunship raids were civilians. Did the "88s" move in on the nomadic tribesmen decimated by the air attack and "kill everyone still alive"? Or did they restrict themselves to killing any non-Somalis they found among the refugees?

Concerning the latter, evidently it is now a capital crime, worthy of instant death by special ops or air raid or drone-fired missile, for any Muslim of any nationality to visit or take part in an Islamic regime which the U.S. government dislikes — even if, like Somalia's Islamic Councils government, that regime is not at war with the United States and strenuously denies any connection to al Qaeda. This is borne out by the "good plan" to kill "thousands of foreign fighters" who had, allegedly, come to the aid of the Islamic Courts government (just like the thousands of foreign fighters who joined the American-backed jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan). There was an automatic, unquestioned assumption by the Pentagon that these people were to be wiped out to the last man. This does not seem to jibe very well with "Africa Command's" professed intent to win the hearts and minds of Africa's Muslims and prevent encroachment by extremists there.

But then, none of Bush's "Terror War" policies seem designed to produce their ostensible goal. Indeed, a cynic might be forgiven for suspecting that the formenting of extremism, violence and endless, ever-profitable war was in fact the actual aim of these policies.

UPDATE: Bush's Terror Warriors are planning more airstrikes in Somalia, this time in the northern region of Puntland, a follow-up to shelling by American warships in the area last week, AFP reports. (Via Raw Story)

US warplanes are overflying the northern Somali region of Puntland in preparation for air-strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda fugitives, more than a week after US warships shelled the area, officials said Tuesday. The semi-autonomous regional government had authorised the overflights to pursue Al-Qaeda members believed to be hiding in the moutainous area, Puntland's security minister Ibrahim Artan Ismail told reporters.

"The warplanes are looking for Al-Qaeda hideouts and when they get them, they will bomb them," he said, adding that the air operation covers areas where intelligence shows Al-Qaeda elements are hiding.
Once again, we see the identification of any Muslim on the outs with the Bushists and their allies as "al Qaeda." First, the Bush Administration said there were three al Qaeda operatives in Somalia — the ones they killed 70 or more innocent civilians trying to get in January airstrikes. As we've seen in the Esquire story above, the aim was actually to kill thousands of Muslims who had joined with the now-deposed Islamic Courts Council government in Somalia, which had strenuously denied ties to al Qaeda. It's now apparent that anyone who ever fought for the Islamic Courts Council, whether foreign or Somali, will be tarred with the "al Qaeda" brush.

No doubt, the brutal destruction of the broad-based Courts government — which had brought Somalia its first measure of stability in more than 15 years of violent anarchy — will in fact spur the rise of al Qaeda-related groups in Somalia, feeding on the chaos and despair engendered by the Bush-backed invasion. Thus, American forces will always have a handy excuse for striking Somalia whenever they please, as they strive to "project dominance" over Africa.

With the new airstrikes coming in Puntland, however, the questions arise: How many innocent civilians will be murdered by the blunderbuss assault? And will these attacks too be followed by the "88s" dropping in to kill everyone still alive? Is this another "rinse and repeat" cycle from Africa Command?
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a guest said:

June 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Anon
They shoud have killed the person that gave the order since he was still alive.
"Kill those who would order you to kill others" would end a lot of wars.
 
June 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Make Satan Proud of America
Our dear "leaders" are worse than the devil himself, Satan is sure to be proud of this latest round of atrocities fomented upon people of another race and land so the evil ones can ensure they have enough oil to generate dividends for their share holders.

Meanwhile in the news, let's not even think about that and have some wall to wall coverage of a talent less Hilton and at night watch America Has Talent. Some talent.
 
June 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
I've Linked To This Post
My Buffalo River Home

“The White House sees terrorists as born, not created by history, bearing the mark of Cain, not the mark of circumstance. There is a scarlet “T” written on their foreheads at birth and the only answer is to destroy them. This kind of thinking, of course, relieves the thinker of any responsibility for the presence of the insurgent-terrorist-whatever in our innocent midst.” - Georgie Anne Geyer, A spreading terror
 
June 13, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Re: Kill Anyone Still Alive': American Special Ops in Somalia
I am a Somali national and I would like to respond to your article posted on
Hiiraan online. In that article you mentioned that "the Somali Isamic Courts"
were not anti Islamic and that they did not have any links with Alq'aida or international terrorists. That is totally Nonsense! And is better for you and other
politicallycorrect guys not write these things because you don't understand.
You are just blinded by the hatred you have President Bush and United States of America but your writings are naive and full of ignorance.

The islamic courts were islamic fundamentalists who deeply beileved the destruction of the US and Israel and were working to that goal. They declared
a "holy war" against Ethiopia literally every Friday treathening suicide bombings
in Addis-Abeba. They were anti music, anti culture, anti sports, anti women's
anti education and anti everything. The were worse than the Taliban of Afganistan and deadlier than Alqa'ida if they were left to become stronger. Ethiopia was
invited to come and help by our national Somali government and they did exactly
they right and the majority of Somalis are praising God for the destruction of islamists in our country.





























I am a Somali national and I would like to respond to your article posted on
Hiiraan online. In that article you mentioned that "the Somali Isamic Courts"
were not anti Islamic and that they did not have any links with Alq'aida or international terrorists. That is totally Nonsense! And is better for you and other
politicallycorrect guys not write these things because you don't understand.
You are just blinded by the hatred you have President Bush and United States of America but your writings are naive and full of ignorance.

The islamic courts were islamic fundamentalists who deeply beileved the destruction of the US and Israel and were working to that goal. They declared
a "holy war" against Ethiopia literally every Friday treathening suicide bombings
in Addis-Abeba. They were anti music, anti culture, anti sports, anti women's
anti education and anti everything. The were worse than the Taliban of Afganistan and deadlier than Alqa'ida if they were left to become stronger. Ethiopia was
invited to come and help by our national Somali government and they did exactly
they right and the majority of Somalis are praising God for the destruction of islamists in our country.

Sir, if you want to become a jihadi fighter convert to islam and go to Iraq or Afganistan and train as a suicide bomber against America
troops, because to me you already look a traitor to your country.

Or just hang around and wait till the islamists capture America and slit your
throat as an American infidel...
 
June 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
Hmmmm no sign of any intelligent life on planet earth .... just some primative savages armed to the teeth and killing each other ....
 
June 13, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
From Chris Floyd
I do not personally approve of Islamist regimes, nor would I wish to live under one, nor am I happy that anyone has to live under harsh, restrictive rule of any kind, religious or secular. It does not follow from this view, however, that I, as an American, approve of my government aiding (or instigating) the deaths of thousands of innocent people to overturn those regimes. It may well be that the Islamists of Somalia harbored a deep-seated wish to destroy America; it may well be that my next-door neighbor harbors a deep-seated wish to murder me. But that doesn't give me the right to burn down his house and murder his children in a "pre-emptive" strike, when he has taken no action against me.

Again, to criticize the action of the Bush Administration and the brutal dictatorship of Ehtiopia in Somalia is not the same thing as supporting or championing the regime that was overthrown. Whatever happens, one can only hope that peace and stability and freedom will come at last to Somalia. I am very dubious that it can be imposed through such methods as we have seen in the last six months -- and I certainly hope that the Ethiopian "liberators" do not install their brand of government in the land they have conquered.

But whatever kind of government is established in Somalia, please do not be surprised to see the United States turn against it if and when it acts in some way displeasing to Washington. If the Islamist Courts had signed oil deals with Exxon and BP, they would still be in power today, and receiving US arms -- just as the equally harsh, repressive, repugnant Saudi regime does. Bush's Terror War has nothing at all to do with combating extremist Islam -- it has to do with advancing the very narrow interests of the American elite. This elite does not care who dies to serve its interests; nor does it care who it betrays or abandons once those interests are served.

But I hope that the suffering in Somalia will be abated, and that some sort of decent life be established for the people there.
 
June 14, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
Look at Nigeria as a clear example and you will see what the Western capitalist are creating here in Africa, where resources triumph over the blood of innocent civilians.

Its critical for an African country so impoverished like somalia and others to get a decent price for their oil and other non-renewables to stand any chance of feeding their own people and built infrastructure so it can sustain itself in a global market.

Just like imperial goods such as coca beans, coffee beans and many others, the Westtern capitalist exploited and enslaved the farmer and payed him pennies for his hard work (which is still happening today).

My point is, I would love to see Somolia and other countries florish but how can this ever happen when those Western capitalists would virtually pay pennies for each barrel oil stolen from the somalian people.

Any Somolian government weather pro or anti-American we make no differance to the prosperity of a nation fed up with internal war because you will always be left in the cold when trading with any capitalistic nation, so wake up because their forign policies on trade only makes African countries exploitable.
 
June 14, 2007
Votes: +0

me said:

0
mr
go to work and a female is not for rapeinng
 
May 30, 2008
Votes: +0

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