Ethiopia: America’s Model for Civil Liberty?

Remember how the US contracted Ethiopia to “restore order” in Somalia? The East African dictatorship was to help install a UN-backed government of warlords and former communist apparatchiks in order to “free” Somalia. They ended up obliterating the delicate gains the impoverished society had made in the early 2000s.

Ethiopia, whose government purposely starved Its Own People to death in the 80s, such that Americans sang songs about them, was Washington’s light of freedom unto the Somalis. That turned out horrifyingly as we know — Ethiopia could poetically be said to have infected Somalia with famine; many other African despotisms have been roped in to somehow deliver democracy at missile-point, killing and displacing thousands in the process; an insurgency of war-scarred children runs wild.

But the point isn’t to mock yet again the utter, utter failure of US foreign policy with regard to Somalia, but to note that Ethiopia — DC’s go-to for regional freedom delivery — is run by terrible people who monitor and punish journalism they feel threaten them. Two Swedish journalists were just sentenced to 15 years in prison for “terrorism,” i.e., the crime of attempting to report in the Ogaden, an ethnic Somali region ruled brutally by Addis Ababa. Ethiopian journalists have been charged with terrorism as well. Many flee, shuttering their papers, in order to avoid what I imagine are quite inhospitable prisons — all for speaking their minds.

In the US, meanwhile, a sort of terror-fueled guerrilla law has taken hold, which will now soon be properly codified thanks to a few hawks and an ocean of cowards in Congress, plus a power-mad president. One could wonder if Ethiopia might be the model for the US government lately, whose leaders have seen fit to torture, imprison, and murder Americans for their own crimes of speech.

Obama Doesn’t Quite Hate Freedom Enough for Some Republicans

Every time I see these unfortunately ambiguous wire story headlines — “Key US lawmakers assail Obama on detainees” — I think some American lawmakers are finally standing up to the executive-run torture-state and its gulags. A closer look is always disappointing. They’re not attacking Obama for his attacks on our liberties, they’re bitching that he isn’t stealing and undercutting them enough.

The representatives, all Republican, are upset that Somali national Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, imprisoned for months on a US Navy ship “somewhere in the Gulf region,” could be given a real criminal trial in New York. Warsame is accused of belong to militant Muslim organizations deemed “terrorists” by the United States. Increasingly, the GOP expresses its dislike of the ancient Anglo-Saxon legal concept of habeas corpus as well as its utter lack of faith in the ability of the American system of justice to operate competently. They don’t even want terror suspects to touch American soil to be tried.

In a recent breathtaking admission, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell unironically proclaimed that the trial of Casey Anthony, a mother who probably accidentally killed her daughter but was found not guilty of premeditation and walked free, is evidence our justice system isn’t fit to try terror suspects. McConnell, and many other Americans lately, seem to think intimation — she like, totally did it, come on, duh — can be admitted as actual evidence used to convict someone of murder.

What they’re saying is that the courts don’t produce enough guilty verdicts. Do we need to point to other countries that decided to “remedy” this “problem”? of course agrees Warsame shouldn’t be tried in the United States. Or by the United States. His alleged “crimes” — “providing material support,” a nearly meaningless charge that can include giving someone a ride or buying textbooks for children in “enemy” madrassas — had nothing at all to do with this country. Al-Shabaab are a Somali problem (caused by previous US intervention), and “al-Qaeda” in Yemen is also a local issue America’s military nonetheless loves to bring home. Warsame should be immediately released, compensated for his suffering, and his kidnapping should be considered an international crime.

And these lawmakers should be immediately removed from office for willful violation of American bedrock civilizational concepts.

Media Muddle Cause of Somalia Famine

As the UN is set to declare Somalia in famine, we are treated to grim descriptions in wire stories of children on the verge of death as their families rot in hot, dry refugee camps both on Mogadishu’s outskirts and at the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia. The suffering is real. The causes are glossed over.

Sure, there is less food because of a seasonal drought. But story after story only briefly covers the conflict that is the reason for the refugee crisis, which puts these desperate people outside the normal food distribution system.

A common refrain here at is criticizing the idea that “history began yesterday.” Few subjects are treated as if they were new on the world scene as the endless trials of Somalia. No, in fact, al-Shabaab, the scary youth militant organization didn’t always exist, yearning to destroy America — it was an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which swept to power in 2006. No, the ICU didn’t just seize power over unwilling Somalis, it was backed by many to run off the warlords who were wreaking havoc on the country. And no, these warlords weren’t just a by-product of a society without a state — they were funded and armed and backed by the United States of America. To fight al-Qaeda, of course. This “al-Qaeda” presence was always mostly theoretical. But as we know, harmless phantoms don’t keep America from turning weddings into a charred red paste.

Before all this mess, Somalia enjoyed quite a prosperous few years. It had successfully resisted the imposition of up to fourteen foreign-backed governments, made up of former communist regime apparatchiks and the same vicious warlords the US once fought, then funded. It had a functioning civil society and though of course still poor, it had seen leaps in its development since the banishment of the state in 1991.

All this, the power whores of the world make it their business to hide from you. Their 1000-word reports somehow leave out who caused what and why. Why are people fleeing Mogadishu? We won’t bother saying, the media says, but we’ll mention the fact that there is a violent resistance movement — er, insurgency — call al-Shabaab. They’re Muslim. Some of them may have at one point said they like Osama bin Laden. This means they are al-Qaeda. They’re responsible for the famine. No, they don’t say as much — that would be an outright lie — but they infer it. And in doing so, they plant the seeds for the next intervention.

Hasn’t Somalia had enough of our “help”?

OOPS! Again.

…allegedly "hacked" software, in the case of the CIA, is now being used to guide killer drones to their targets, according to IISI’s legal pleadings, despite the fact that the modified software doesn’t function properly… –CIA Drone-Code Scandal Now Has A Big Blue Hue

Uganda’s Detached Outrage

This week in totally f*cking insane Somalia news, Ugandan officials declare their utter shock at the random, unprovoked attacks on Kampala last week which killed over 70 people. As the very first sentence in a long and entertaining piece in says, “Uganda’s East African neighbours have pledged soft support should the country choose to go on the offensive in Somalia.”

Yes, go on the offensive. Because stationing five thousand troops in another country is no provocation whatsoever, at least not one recognized by the Western world. And after all, African regimes got their ideas of proportionality and nationhood from the West, a lovely little gift of colonialism. Before I digress too far, suffice to say that Uganda has been “on the offensive” for a while now in Somalia, what with its penchant for shelling Mogadishu residences full of civilians. Not that their opponents in al-Shabaab aren’t guilty of the same thing, but then, often it’s because they’re fighting the Ugandan occupiers or the pathetic puppet “Transitional Federal Government,” a UN-backed clique of former Barre apparatchiks and US-financed warlords.

This, as I spoke with on Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton recently, is the idea that history begins anew each time the US or any Western-accepted country is hit with some atrocity in retaliation. The US was attacked on 9/11 for no reason except possibly that bin Laden was jealous of and/or hated our capitalisms; the previous 50+ years of Washington’s intervention in the Middle East didn’t happen, if you ask Sarah Palin. Evil, conditionless al-Shabaab attacked peaceable, celebratory Ugandans for no other reason than that the former are anti-soccer and anti-modernity; Somalis being killed by Kampala’s troops on their own soil has nothing to do with it. The logic employed here could make a neocon just die from pride, with any luck.

Uganda’s blustery officials declare this “the beginning of the end of al-Shabaab”; and sure, if US experience in driving out native insurgencies in such success stories as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Vietnam are any indicator, the capable likes of powerhouse Uganda could enjoy similar victory. “Sources” say that Uganda is willing and able to increase its Somalia contingent from 5,000 to 20,000 troops, the magical number somebody for some reason decided is needed to wipe out al-Shabaab. A cited regional precedent is Zimbabwe’s involvement in the “Great African War” in the DR Congo in 1998, in which Robert Mugabe, the great democrat and statesman, sent 12,000 troops to prop up Laurent Kabila, an erstwhile Marxist so corrupt that even legendary scoundrel Che Guevara turned his back on him.

In all seriousness, as I point out in my recent op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor, this is a textbook case of blowback. It’s the clearest example we’ve seen in a while, which is why it’s so puzzling to see such reasonable people as African officials reacting with such surprise.

Ugandans should demand their government retreat from this downward spiral into fruitless and endless intervention and deal with more pressing issues, like the fact that homosexuals eat da poo poo and there are just still so many of them to put to death, and the other civilizational advancements for which sub-Saharan Africa is well known.

Somalia Spin Could Make You Dizzy

Actually, that seems to be the very point of idiotic statements by none other than the President of the United States, shocking I know, referring to the recent Uganda bombings, such as:

“On the one hand, you have a vision of an Africa on the move, an Africa that is unified, an Africa that is modernising and creating opportunities, and on the other hand, you’ve got a vision of al-Qaeda and al-Shabab that is about destruction and death.”

I wonder what Mr. Obama thinks the “vision” is exactly when Ugandan troops randomly — regrettably imprecisely, our man might say — shell Mogadishu neighborhoods in the general direction of those al-Shabaab crazies and blow up children playing (yes!) soccer. Oh but you see, just like Israel killing 10 times more Palestinians than vice versa, not to mention uncountable-fold Lebanese, the Ugandans have a purity of arms insomuch as that they didn’t intentionally target those inconveniently playful kids that they nonetheless turned into sausage filling.

Telling though, this use of the word “vision” to describe Africa, a place which despite his patrilineage does not help to inform the president as to what daily life could possibly be like there. Obama is reduced to having vague “visions” of the dark continent, which is fine, really, because as long as it serves him really well as a talking point — and it does — then for him it’s all good. And if his boys can call al-Qaeda “racist” while this iron is hot, MAN is that ever for the better! To wit:

An administration official went further, saying that the Ugandan attacks show that “al-Qaeda is a racist organisation that treats black Africans like cannon fodder and does not value human life”.

It almost justifies the billion or so dollars a minute spent trying to make Afghanistan a Jeffersonian democracy and chase out the literal hovel-full of “al-Qaeda” members, doesn’t it?


And anyway, mentioning al-Qaeda when talking about al-Shabaab is so unbelievably far from the real state of things as to expose the president either as a complete moron incapable of reason or a Machiavellian scumbag befitting the ranks of some of history greatest scoundrels. Oh, haha, I know — YES, UNbelievably. I am indeed shocked all the time by these people despite their past idiocies and transgressions upon civilized decency. But back on track here, al-Shabaab is to al-Qaeda as the FARC is to Marx. The former are inspired by the ideals of the latter. That’s the end of this connection, especially considering as mentioned above and elsewhere by none other than the director of the CIA that Classic “al-Qaeda” numbers maybe 100 men. No, there are no zeros left off of this figure. That’s like a billion bucks per year per bad guy, effectively zero of whom US troops have ever captured or confirmed killed.

Where was I? Oh yes, Obama is a goddamned liar and you should laugh at him until he is mercifully out of office and we no longer have to hear from “progressives” that the war is over despite even more people dying all the damn time.