Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hanging Chads

Sorry to take so long counting them:

"US warns of links between Islamic State, Boko Haram" by Bradley Klapper Associated Press  April 21, 2016

N’DJAMENA, Chad — At ‘‘Ground Zero’’ in Africa’s counterterrorism fight, senior US officials warned of deepening links between the Islamic State and Boko Haram and prodded Chad’s ruling strongman to introduce reforms for the sake of long-term stability.

But in a rare appearance before foreign journalists at his presidential palace, Chadian President Idriss Deby indicated he wouldn’t help in the US-backed effort to install a unity government in Libya, his country’s northern neighbor, a former foe, and an incubator for Muslim extremist groups.

Uh-oh. Could be trouble for him.

The visit to Chad by America’s UN envoy, Samantha Power, and top US military officials such as Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, commander of special operations in Africa, highlights the country’s precarious position dealing with a multitude of hostile militant groups and unstable neighboring governments. It also underscores the impoverished, land-locked country’s growing geopolitical value.

Boko Haram has launched attacks on Chad’s territory from its base in Nigeria to the southwest. The Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb lurk in chaotic and lawless Libya to the north. To the east is Sudan’s Darfur region; to the south is the Central African Republic, still recovering from years of interethnic conflict. 


They are surrounded by U.S.-sponsored ISIS, Al-CIA-Duh, sigh.

The Boko Haram-Islamic State nexus may pose the greatest immediate threat. Although Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State last year, the operational connection has been unclear.

Bolduc said the groups clearly share ‘‘tactics, techniques, and procedures,’’ from the way they conduct complex ambushes and set improvised explosive devices like roadside bombs, to how they undertake high-profile attacks on hotels.

It's another excuse to get more deeply involved in another country's internal affairs, and possibly put boots on the ground.

Suggesting the relationship is expanding, he said Chad on April 7 intercepted a ‘‘large cache of different types of weapons’’ sent from Libya and intended for the Lake Chad region. These included small arms, machine guns, and rifles.

Yeah, all those Libyan arsenals were emptied into the hands of terrorists after Khadafy fell.

Nice job, Obummer!

‘‘You can, I think, draw a conclusion,’’ Bolduc told reporters. The implication was that the weapons were sent by the Islamic State, which has established a foothold along Libya’s Mediterranean coast, near the city of Sirte.

That's where Khadafy loyalist are also located!! So ISIS is being sent after them because they are still fighting western occupation and puppetry.

Given the range of threats here, he said the ‘‘Lake Chad Basin region is Ground Zero’’ in the fight against extremism in Africa. 

Yeah, that term caught my eye right at the beginning.

Major General L.O. Adeosun, head of the five-nation African force fighting Boko Haram, expressed a more muddied picture.

Adeosun cited ‘‘information,’’ but not confirmation, of Islamic State members embedded within Boko Haram. But he said intelligence suggests Boko Haram still hasn’t satisfied certain conditions set by the Islamic State for greater operational cooperation. He didn’t elaborate.

At a briefing at the Multinational Joint Task Force’s headquarters in Chad’s capital, Adeosun showed reporters gruesome photos of the victims of Boko Haram attacks and the types of weapons employed.

One picture showed a bird with an explosive strapped on its back, demonstrating ‘‘a lot of ingenuity,’’ Adeosun said. 

The terrorists trained him to fly where? 

The claim is so silly it jumped the shark.

Stressing the civilian aspect to defeating Boko Haram, a once indigenous Nigerian militant movement whose rebellion has morphed into a regional force, Power stressed the need to bolster economic development, job opportunities and political inclusiveness.

The message carried added weight, coming less than two weeks after Chad held elections that are widely expected to return Deby for a fifth term as president. Deby has led the country since 1990. Election results haven’t yet been announced.

‘‘We noted how far Chad has come from the dark days of dictatorship to today,’’ Power said.

But she expressed displeasure with a ‘‘crackdown on freedom of protest’’ and a government decision to shut down the Internet and text messaging throughout Chad for several days around the time of the vote. 

That must be what prompted the visit; you with us or against us?

Deby rejected opposition claims that some 60 security forces who voted against him in the elections have since disappeared.

‘‘There are no disappearances,’’ he stated. ‘‘They will be presented on television, in front of the world.’’

As Power’s delegation arrived in Chad, US embassy staff warned accompanying journalists numerous times about rules prohibiting unauthorized photography in the country. They also told reporters not to ask Deby any questions.

Meaning they need his cooperation!

But a somewhat reclusive Deby, who has survived at least a dozen coup plots and assassination attempts during his quarter-century in power, welcomed the opportunity to speak his mind.

The 63-year-old Deby, who seized power himself in a coup after helping Chad defeat Libya in the 1980s, said Washington and other powers were partly to blame for the Boko Haram-Islamic State threat. He said they are destabilizing Libya through their effort to install a functioning government.

That what got him in trouble and necessitated a visit?

‘‘The international community is imposing a unity government from outside Libya that will fail,’’ Deby said.

They always do.


What is this about Power's motorcade running over a small child?

"Chad, a former French colony, is now home to the French military’s operations in Africa, which is battling Islamic extremists. The election comes amid mounting international concern about Chad’s human rights record. ‘‘It’s quite unprecedented to have so many people in the street,’’ Thibaud Lesueur, central African senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, said, noting that many have been afraid to demonstrate against the incumbent."

I thought their base was Mali:

"Mahamat Saleh Annadif, a special representative of the UN secretary general, condemned the attack on the International Day of Peacekeepers, saying the killings amount to crimes against humanity. The United Nations has described the peacekeeping mission in Mali as its most deadly operation globally. Its troops are being targeted almost weekly by bombings and hit-and-run attacks. The Mopti region is known to be a stronghold for the Macina Liberation Front, which is said to have ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb."

The UN has 16 peacekeeping missions in Africa?

Here is why he wants to hold on to power:

"Ex-president of Chad convicted of war crimes" by Dionne Searcey New York Times  May 31, 2016

DAKAR, Senegal — Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture, and sex crimes on Monday, more than 20 years after the start of a campaign to hold him accountable for the suffering and death of tens of thousands of people.

Made me think of George W. Bush.

Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982-1990, when he was deposed by the current president, Idriss Déby, stood trial before a special court in Senegal created to handle the case. Prosecutors had sought the life sentence, which he is expected to serve in Senegal.

“The systematic torture at such a large scale was his way of governing,” said Gberdao Gustave Kam, the presiding judge, who read a summary of the verdict. “Hissène Habré showed no compassion toward the victims or any regret about the massacres and rapes that were committed.”

Victims and relatives of victims screamed with joy after the verdict was announced. Habré, who had sat silently during the 90-minute hearing, raised his fists to supporters and shouted for several minutes until he was led away by armed guards.

The fact that the trial even took place was considered a victory for many of the victims of Habré’s government, who fought for more than two decades to bring him to justice.

I might even see the trials of Bliar, Bush, Cheney, Condi, Rummy, etc, that way, but I don't want to wait 20 years.

The case meandered through the judiciary in Belgium and elsewhere for years before landing in Senegal, where Habré fled after being forced from power.

On Monday, a group of about 30 victims and widows of victims slowly walked into the courthouse together, many graying and using canes, a testament to the time it had taken for the case to come to trial.

“This is a testimony to the perseverance of a band of victims, activists, and supporters who made this trial happen,” said Reed Brody, a Human Rights Watch lawyer from New York who was influential in pursuing the case. “This trial was the result of the sweat and determination of the survivors.”

Several international human rights lawyers were in the gallery Monday to hear the verdict, including the prosecutor who indicted Augusto Pinochet, the dictator who ruled Chile from 1973-1990. Habré has been called the “African Pinochet.”

During the trial, which started in July, prosecutors presented secret-police archives that recorded the names of 12,321 prisoners, interrogation reports, and information about the deaths in detention of more than 1,200 people.

François Serres, Habré’s lawyer, has dismissed the records as “fakes.” Defense attorneys had said there was no evidence connecting Habré to crimes committed by others and had contended that the prosecution was political. Habré’s son and other relatives were in court Monday but declined to comment before the proceedings.

According to a Chadian truth commission, Habré’s government killed more than 40,000 people who were believed to be enemies of the state, or who had merely come under suspicion.

Habré was first indicted in 2000. The setting of the trial in Senegal offered a peculiarity: The courts of one country prosecuting the former leader of another in a human rights case.

The trial proceeded with the blessing of the African Union, even though the organization has long complained that Africans are often singled out before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Hague court had no jurisdiction in this case because its authority is limited to events that took place after it was fully established in 2002. That restriction prompted the African Union to intervene.

Habré took power during a coup that was covertly aided by the United States, and he also received weapons and assistance from France, Israel, and the United States to help keep Libya at bay.

Oh, he was OUR WAR CRIMINAL! I don't call it EUSrael for nothing. 

And now they have turned on him!


Time for my pre$$ to leave Chad.


It's a new year in Nigeria:

"US, African troops know where some missing Nigerian girls are" by Helene Cooper New York Times  April 21, 2016

Well, if you know where they are....

I'm not even going to bother this this NYT rot. The Nigerian girls are akin to babies thrown out of incubators lie. Women and children are a useful flog appealing to your heart so the wars can go on and on. The honeymoon is over when it comes to my war pre$$. Don't let me stop you from searching for them, though.

MAROUA, Cameroon — US officials said a combination of local intelligence, intercepted communications and drone footage had been used to locate groups of the 276 girls abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in the Nigerian town of Chibok two years ago this month. Some of the girls have since been tracked to Nigeria’s sprawling Sambisa Forest.

Officials insist that efforts to free the girls have not been abandoned. They say that a major concern is the hundreds of other women and girls who are also held by Boko Haram, captives who are often sexually assaulted, forced into marriages with their tormentors, and sometimes killed.

“You’re not just looking for 200 girls,” said General Carter F. Ham, the retired head of the US military’s Africa Command. “There are many, many others who have been taken hostage, and more thousands killed, and 2½ million people displaced.”

So it's going to take a while and we'll be in the area!

Senior US military officials joined Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, in Cameroon this week to speak with the country’s military and civilian leaders about the fight against Boko Haram and information gleaned by US intelligence.

The talks took place not far from where US Special Operations forces and hundreds of surveillance drone operators are based. Despite the proximity of the troops, Boko Haram’s attacks continued.

On Monday night, three Cameroonian soldiers were killed and five were wounded after Boko Haram fighters ambushed a military convoy near Dabanga, a town in the country’s north, Cameroonian military officials said. The ambush followed intense fighting on the Nigerian side of the border, where Boko militants attacked an army base, wounding 22 soldiers.

US military officials said that intelligence reports show that the girls have been divided into smaller groups.

I want to know what makes them think we believe them?

General David M. Rodriguez, the head of the military’s Africa Command, told reporters at the Pentagon this month that the Chibok girls have been “moved to some very isolated places.” Rodriguez added that locating them is “not an exact science.”

Oh. Uh-huh. 

In other words, it's the same old shit we have been getting from the Pentagon for decades.

Because the girls have been dispersed, military forces from Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon might need to mount simultaneous rescues to make sure that Boko Haram fighters do not retaliate for the rescue of one group. Such a multipronged, coordinated operation would be difficult even for highly trained US troops with combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq to pull off.

They have done it in the past and its been touted as great success. 

Of course, who knows if it is more Jessica Lynch/Pat Tillman BS when the public and world are really sick of the U.S.-led wars.

That's where my printed paper cut off the counting while the web kept going.

“So the challenge is, how do you find lots of people held hostage in different places?” Ham said. “That’s really complex, and it stretches the capability of local forces.”

About 100 miles south of Maroua, the city where Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, top US Special Operations commander for Africa, met Monday with Cameroonian military officials, about 200 US drone operators and Special Operations forces worked with local troops to gather intelligence on Boko Haram and the whereabouts of its many hostages. 

All to find where the phantom terrorists or U.S.-backed Boko is hiding, blah, blah, blah.

Bolduc has recommended that the Pentagon send dozens of additional Special Operations advisers to the front lines of Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. Such a move would push US troops hundreds of miles closer to the battle against an extremist group that has killed thousands of civilians in Nigeria’s northeast as well as in neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The additional Special Operations advisers would serve in noncombat advisory roles, military officials said. 

Yeah, we know the woman's robes are covering this.

Even if the African forces continue to push back the militants, as they have managed to do in recent months, the hostages issue is not going away

What if they are are staged productions?

There has been concern that Boko Haram, perhaps because it is on the retreat, is increasingly using its hostages as suicide bombers. Few observers appear to put much stock in the assertion by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, that the militant group is technically defeated. 

Yeah, somehow the "terrorists" never go away.

Col. Badjeck Didier, a spokesman for Cameroon’s Defense Ministry, said Tuesday that he worried that some of the Chibok girls may have been turned into suicide bombers

It's a good narrative to further the story anyway.

“When we see the kamikaze bombers, they have the same age — 14-15 years — as the Chibok girls,” Didier said. He said a recent video released by Boko Haram that purported to show proof of life of a number of the Chibok girls — something the Nigerian government had demanded as a condition of negotiations — was a sign that the group wants to negotiate


Tom M. Sanderson, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the length of the girls’ time in captivity may have contributed to the difficulty in rescuing them.

“These women did not chose to become suicide bombers, but after two years of incarceration and bearing children of these men, some of them had to buy in out of personal survival,” Sanderson said. “I do think that Boko Haram has considered using these girls to kill their rescuers. And that would cause people to have spasms over what that symbolism meant.”

I am no longer.

Then I'm told "rescue operations have not been carried out because of fears [of] battle."


"5 Boko Haram leaders arrested; dozens of captives freed" by Edwin Kindzeka Moki Associated Press  May 14, 2016

YAOUNDE, Cameroon — The multinational forces fighting the Islamic extremists of Boko Haram have arrested five of the group’s leaders and freed dozens of captive women and children, Cameroon’s government announced Saturday.

Who didn't see that coming?

Boko Haram had set up camp in the forest after fleeing another military operation in neighboring Nigeria and had been training captive girls and women as suicide bombers.

The news came as French President Francois Hollande joined West African leaders at a summit in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, where they discussed progress in the fight against Boko Haram and how to resolve the humanitarian crisis it has created.

Has the smell of a public relations press release, be it real or not!

The extremist group has forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes, some across borders.

Another refugee crisis.

‘‘We have to make sure they can get back to their homes,’’ Hollande said after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari before the summit, noting the need for improved economic development and social services. Poverty and corruption have allowed the Islamic extremists to flourish in northeast Nigeria.

Probably already in Europe by now. Hope no Boko among them.

Both leaders stressed the success of a multinational force of Nigeria and its neighbors — helped by training and intelligence from France, Britain, and the United States — that has recaptured territory where Boko Haram had declared an Islamic caliphate.

‘‘Now our main problem is the rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed,’’ such as public works, schools, and health facilities, Buhari said.

They will be waiting a long time. Iraqis still are.

But many refugees say they will not return home until it is safe and there are doubts Nigeria’s military can secure the vast rural areas where Boko Haram now roams....

Which means never.


And if they do....

Family demands news of Chibok girl who escaped Boko Haram

Chibok girl who escaped Boko Haram put in public glare in Nigeria

"Victims of Boko Haram, and now shunned by their communities" by Dionne Searcey New York Times  May 19, 2016

DALORI, Nigeria — Nigeria’s military has made major progress against the militants. Soldiers have been taking back areas that were under Boko Haram control, and the military’s victories have lifted the spirits of Nigerians who are daring to talk about a post-Boko Haram life.

Hopes were raised further this week when one of the more than 200 girls kidnapped from their boarding school in the town of Chibok two years ago was found alive, wandering the forest, but millions of people across West Africa have been uprooted by Boko Haram and the sometimes ruthless military campaign against the group through the years.

But most of the displaced managed to flee their homes before militants swarmed and subjected them to Boko Haram’s harsh interpretation of Islamic rule.

Typically, when Boko Haram fighters overtake a village, they kill many of the young men and boys who refuse to join their ranks. Women are often forced to cook for the fighters or are even trained to become suicide bombers.

Some women and girls are forced into what the group calls “marriages,” as in many conflicts in which rape becomes a weapon of war....

They really want to get those Special Operations troops in there.



"Niger’s defense ministry said Saturday that Boko Haram extremists attacked a military post near the country’s border with Nigeria, killing at least 32 soldiers. The ministry said hundreds of Boko Haram fighters attacked the post Friday night, killing at least 30 Niger soldiers and two soldiers from Nigeria. It said 67 other soldiers were wounded. The military reclaimed the post Saturday morning. A deputy in the nearby town of Bosso, Adam Boukarna, said the extremists burned homes and stores there and remained in town until 4 a.m. Saturday before fleeing with arms and munitions. He said air and land forces have cleared the area (AP)."

"Extremists killed seven military police and injured three others in an attack on a barracks in southeast Niger, witnesses said Saturday. "They arrived around 6 p.m. and went to the police camp," said Idrissa Maman Sani, a humanitarian worker based in the Diffa region where the attack occurred Friday. "They killed six and a seventh died after reaching the hospital in Diffa." The Nigeria-based insurgents claimed responsibility for the deaths of "seven apostates" in the attack, according to a statement distributed by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremist activity. Boko Haram's nearly seven-year-old insurgency has killed some 20,000 people and forced 2 million from their homes. Last year, the group began regular attacks on neighboring countries including Niger."

Anytime you see SITE you know it is pure Jewish War propaganda.

"Nearly 200 refugees from Boko Haram have died of starvation and dehydration in the northeastern Nigerian city of Bama in the past month, Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday. The refugees ‘‘speak of children dying of hunger and digging new graves every day,’’ according to a statement from the group. ‘‘A catastrophic humanitarian emergency’’ is unfolding at a makeshift camp on a hospital compound where 24,000 people have taken refuge, it said. The doctors referred 16 emaciated children at risk of dying to their special feeding center in Maiduguri. One in five of the 15,000 children are suffering severe acute malnutrition, the group found. The refugees in Bama are among 1.8 million Nigerians forced from their homes and living inside the country, with another 155,000 in neighboring countries, according to the United Nations."

It's about as much of a concern as are Palestinians. 

And the money to care for them?

"Nigeria has seized more than $10.3 billion in looted cash and assets in the past year under President Muhammadu Buhari’s anticorruption campaign, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said. In addition, the government is expecting the repatriation of more than $330 million stolen from the public treasury and stashed in banks abroad. Mohammed said most of the money is in Switzerland. He did not identify former and current officials accused of looting public funds, but the government has promised to publish them (AP)."

What bank account?

Boko Haram attacks force 50,000 to flee homes in Niger

In Africa, refugees flee one war-torn country for another

Time for me to flee Nigeria....


"Raped, then left with nothing but the taunts" by Krista Larson Associated Press  April 20, 2016

BANGUI, Central African Republic — As the United Nations and various countries come under growing criticism for sexual abuse by peacekeepers, the stories of survivors in the M’Poko camp at Bangui’s airport and other camps in Central African Republic suggest the problem could be far larger than previously known.

The United Nations alone has reported it is investigating more than 100 cases here in Central African Republic, where violence exploded in late 2013. Peacekeepers from France, who are not part of the UN mission here, and other soldiers from a European mission also are facing accusations of sexual misconduct.

The numbers are expected to grow. Similar allegations have emerged from other remote towns, where peacekeepers were supposed to protect civilians from fighting between Christian and Muslim militias. Some are allegations of violent sexual assault; many others involve instances of sex in exchange for food and money in this desperately poor country.

At a rare hearing in the US Senate last week, lawmakers threatened to withhold funding for the United Nations and for countries that fail to hold their soldiers accountable. The United States is the biggest donor to the UN’s peacekeeping operations....


Apparently, the French peacekeeping mission engaged in gang-rape. 

Also see: 

Africa Central to Today's Posts

Soldiers suspended after Africa attacks

They committed violence against citizens they were sent to protect.


Congo and Kenya 

And everything in-between:

"Netanyahu seeks new allies in historic Africa trip" by Tia Goldenberg Associated Press  July 04, 2016

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will head to Africa this week, where Israel has found much-needed partners in the battle against Islamic militants, as well as allies in countering the rising Palestinian influence at the United Nations.

Netanyahu will spend a total of four days in the east African nations of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

In Uganda, a ceremony is planned to mark the 40th anniversary of the July 1976 operation that freed Israeli hostages from a hijacked plane at Entebbe. Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan, the leader of the commando unit that led the raid, was shot to death as he was helping the Israeli hostages who had been held inside the airport’s old terminal back onto the plane.

I don't want to spoil the ceremonies, but....

"The state of Israel was behind the hijacking of an Air France plane to Entebbe in 1976, and cooperated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in staging the affair, a UK government file compiled at the time of the occurrences and published by the BBC Friday revealed."

Just another in a long line of Israeli false flags.

Israel is hoping that the trip — the first by an Israeli premier to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades — will usher in a new era in which it provides African states with security and agricultural aid in return for support in international forums.

Netanyahu’s visit caps a budding rapprochement in recent years initiated by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who, as foreign minister a few years ago, toured the continent on two occasions. In turn, dozens of African dignitaries have visited Israel in recent years.

Never mind them deporting Africans to Uganda and such.

Netanyahu said he will seek government approval for a $13 million plan to strengthen economic ties and cooperation with African countries.

That's it? That's chump change!

With the rise of jihadism across the continent, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants in Somalia, Israel has found common ground with countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria....

Yup. The U.S.- and allied-created, funded, and directed groups have allowed Israel to find common ground with Africa, blah, blah, blah.


"Netanyahu says Entebbe raid changed his life and Israel’s ties with Africa" by Rodney Muhumuza Associated Press  July 04, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking shortly after his arrival in Uganda, Netanyahu praised Israel’s commando raid on the airport, which freed Israeli hostages from a hijacked plane.

‘‘International terrorism suffered a stinging defeat,’’ he said of the mission in July 1976.

Easy when you are playing both sides of it!

The Entebbe rescue is a seminal event in Israeli history and is widely seen as one of the country’s greatest military successes. An Israeli band played somber tunes at the airport on the shore of Lake Victoria to mark the anniversary of the Israeli rescue mission, during which three hostages were killed. A relative of one of the Israeli hostages lit a memorial flame as Netanyahu and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni stood in silence.

All this ceremony over a deceptive lie -- but you know.

‘‘After many decades, I can say unequivocally Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel,’’ Netanyahu said. ‘‘All of our peoples will benefit greatly from our growing partnership.’’

Where are the exits?

Museveni said his government opposes the ‘‘indiscriminate use of violence’’ as well as bigotry. He said Uganda’s government supports a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Yeah, and he kept calling Israel Palestine!!

Netanyahu later attended a summit meeting of regional leaders focusing on security and the fight against Islamic extremists. In addition to Netanyahu and Museveni, the meeting was attended by the leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

A communique at the end of the meeting said the leaders ‘‘
emphasized the need for increased regional and international cooperation in all fields, including cyber security and information gathering to confront this scourge.’’ 

A scourge they themselves created and now support for ulterior motives.

Entebbe International Airport is where Netanyahu’s brother, Yonatan, was struck by a bullet as he led Israeli commandos in a daring mission to rescue hijacked Israeli passengers. Israel’s success in the raid humiliated then-Ugandan President Idi Amin.

Well, we know what really happened.

Four decades later, Uganda has good relations with Israel, which is courting allies to fight terrorism and to counter Palestine’s rising influence at the United Nations. While in Uganda Netanyahu will attend a security-themed summit of regional leaders, including those from Kenya and Tanzania, said Don Wanyama, a spokesman for Uganda’s president.

Although the rescue mission breached Uganda’s territorial integrity, Amin, who had taken power by force and ruled as a dictator, had become an increasingly isolated figure and would soon be forced out of power with the help of Tanzanian forces. Museveni himself led one of several exile groups that waged a guerrilla war against Amin.

A lingering loathing of Amin, who was accused of many human rights atrocities and who died in Saudi Arabia in 2003, is one reason why many Ugandans today do not see the success of the Israeli raid — in which many Ugandan soldiers were killed and pieces of military equipment destroyed — as a disaster for Uganda.

Yonatan Netanyahu was shot to death as he helped the Israeli hostages who had been held inside the airport terminal onto the plane.

Israel wants African states to side with it at the UN, where the General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a nonmember observer state in 2012. The Palestinians have used their upgraded status to launch a diplomatic offensive against Israel and its occupation of lands where the Palestinians hope to establish a future state.

I'm sick of this slanted slop, sorry!


"Israel’s Netanyahu visits Rwanda genocide memorial" Associated Press  July 06, 2016

KIGALI, Rwanda — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured a memorial for victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda on Wednesday, calling genocide ‘‘a unique bond that neither one of our peoples will prefer to have.’’

The irony of it, what with his government committing genocide against Palestinians.

This week’s visit is the first by a sitting Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades.

Netanyahu laid a wreath at the mass graves honoring the more than 800,000 victims of the genocide perpetrated by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi ethnic group and moderate Hutus.

‘‘We are deeply moved by this memorial to the victims of one of history’s greatest crimes and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people,’’ he and his wife, Sara, wrote in the visitors’ book.

That is shameless self-promoting  and absolutely sickening. 

Then one considers that African deaths due to colonialism and such have totaled past 6 million. It's 10 million in the Congo alone, but there is only one -- unless you are trying to suck up and get support at the U.N. to further press Palestinians.

He said both Israel and Rwanda have persevered to become ‘‘successful states and models for partners.’’

Netanyahu, who is pursuing closer security and other ties with African nations, has been to Uganda and Kenya this week and now moves on to Ethiopia.

In exchange for its expertise in security and other fields, Israel wants African states to support it at the United Nations, where the Palestinians were recognized as a nonmember observer state in 2012.

Israel played a prominent role in assisting newly independent African countries in the 1960s, but those relations crumbled in the 1970s.



And that's when the Globe moved on.

"Burundi general assassinated in attack in capital" Associated Press  April 26, 2016

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — A military general in Burundi who was an adviser to the country’s vice president and two others were shot dead in the capital, a military official said Monday.

It is the latest killing in an upsurge of violence including tortures and increased disappearances that have created a climate of fear and led more than 250,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

The ambush of Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza came on the day that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced the opening of a preliminary inquiry into atrocities in Burundi over the last year, saying violence in the African nation has reportedly left more than 430 people dead.

Gunmen opened fire on Kararuza’s car with rocket-propelled grenades when he dropped his daughter at school in the Bujumbura neighborhood of Gihosha, said Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, a military spokesman.

Kararuza’s wife and one of his bodyguards were also killed in the attack while his daughter, another bodyguard and the driver were wounded, Baratuza said in a statement. Baratuza urged calm and said that the perpetrators of the attack hoped to divide the army.


At least it wasn't the president.

"Ugandan army officers arrested over plot against president" Associated Press  June 12, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — Dozens of military officers, including some senior ones, have been arrested over an alleged plot to overthrow longtime President Yoweri Museveni, a Ugandan military official said Sunday.

More officers are being arrested over alleged acts of subversion following the detention Saturday of a colonel with the country’s air forces, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda said.

Ankunda said the officers have suspected links to an opposition lawmaker, Michael Kabaziguruka, who is being questioned by the police over similar allegations.

Kabaziguruka is a close ally of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who was charged with treason following a disputed presidential election in February. Besigye refused to accept the official results that gave victory to Museveni.

Election observers said the polls were marred by many irregularities.

Museveni has held power since 1986, when he seized authority at the end of a guerrilla war against an elected government. Many of his former colleagues, including Besigye, have broken ranks with Museveni, accusing him of becoming an authoritarian ruler.


Looks like seven of them were convicted, and all just before Netanyahu visited.

May be a coup brewing in Kenya, too:

"Kenyans burn police camp, protesting officer-linked murders" Associated Press  July 06, 2016

NAIROBI — Kenyans burned a police camp Wednesday as thousands across the country protested against extra-judicial killings linked to police, days after the bodies of a human rights lawyer, his client, and another man were pulled from a river and several officers were detained.

Anger over the killings has simmered in this East African country where human rights groups say police-linked killings are pervasive.

Sound familiar, American?

As details of the torture of the three men emerged, hundreds of lawyers from the Law Society of Kenya marched to police headquarters in the capital, Nairobi, to demand action. Lawyers across Kenya are on a weeklong work slowdown in protest. 

Good thing Kenya is an ally, although maybe Netanyahu shouldn't be courting support.

Human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and motorcycle taxi driver Josephat Mwenda, and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri went missing on June 23.

Their bodies were pulled from a river on Friday.

Mwenda’s testicles had been crushed, pathologist Dr. Andrew Gachii said in a post-mortem report presented to the court, and his skull was fractured. The bodies of the others also bore wounds from a blunt object.

(No comment can capture the revulsion one feels when reading it)

Despite threats, Mwenda had been pursuing charges against an officer at the Syokimau police station who shot him in an unprovoked incident in 2015.

Four officers from the station are being held in the murders. Rights groups say witnesses claim the three men were held there after being abducted.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet condemned the station’s burning. He also pledged that those responsible for the murders will be held accountable.

Kenya has been vetting hundreds of thousands of police officers, trying to restore the force’s image.

You know, once the trust is gone.... and when so egregiously.... sigh.


Look at what is their next duty:

"Nobel winner promotes education at Kenya refugee camp" Associated Press  July 12, 2016

DADAAB, Kenya —  The government said in May it plans to close the world’s largest refugee camp in eastern Kenya near the Somali border by the end of the year, citing it as a security liability.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai said returning any of the more than 300,000 refugees to Somalia, which is still plagued by extremist violence, should be voluntary if the camp is closed and its residents are moved to Somalia.

Dadaab has existed for 25 years, and for many of the refugees there, the sprawling camp is the only home they have known. There are established houses for longtime residents, while newcomers make do with improvised huts of thorn branches and other materials....



Going to swing through Sudan on the way to Somalia:

"South Sudan rebel leader returns to the capital" Associated Press  April 26, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan —Rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the South Sudan capital, Juba, on Tuesday to become vice president and to try to end the civil war that in 2½ years has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than 2 million from their homes.

After landing at Juba International Airport, where doves were released and a welcoming crowd ululated, Machar briefly addressed the press before driving to the presidential palace to be sworn in as first vice president to President Salva Kiir, according to a peace deal signed eight months ago under intense international pressure.

‘‘I’m happy to be back,’’ Machar told reporters at the airport. ‘‘The war was vicious. We have lost a lot of people in it and we need to bring our people together so that they can unite, reconcile, heal the wounds, the mental wounds that they have.’’

Keep all that flowing rhetoric in mind.

The August peace deal calls for a two-year transitional government of ministers and parliamentarians from the two sides before new elections.

Machar’s return is one of the biggest steps toward realizing the peace deal meant to end the fighting, but should not be met with ‘‘huge optimism,’’ cautioned Jacob Chol, dean of Juba University’s political science department.

At the United Nations, the Security Council welcomed Machar’s return and swearing-in and strongly urged both leaders to quickly form the transitional government, fully implement the peace agreement, respect human rights, and deal with the ‘‘dire humanitarian situation.’’

Sudan’s deputy UN ambassador, Joseph Moum Malok, told the council the national unity government will be formed ‘‘in a day or two.’’


Things were all quiet until....

"Soldiers have brought scores of bodies to a hospital in South Sudan’s capital after militant gunfire erupted throughout Juba, a doctor at the hospital said Saturday, as panicked residents worried of a return to civil war. The gunfire began as President Salva Kiir was meeting Friday with former rebel leader Riek Machar. One doctor estimated 110 bodies, both soldiers and civilians (AP)."

This will provide the cases belli for more EUSraeli involvement in the region.

"More than 200 killed in S. Sudan, raising fear of civil war" by Jacey Fortin New York Times   July 10, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — In New York, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday to address the South Sudan crisis.

In an e-mail, J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said it was unclear how much sway Kiir and Machar and other faction leaders in the “so-called transition government” had over their fighters.

The Atlantic Council, btw, is the Sunni Muslim version of AIPAC but without has much clout. That's why Chuck Hagel got in trouble back when.

“Between the collapse of oil prices and the destruction they themselves wrought in the civil war, South Sudan is so destitute that there are no resources with which the country’s rulers might employ to bring their followers to heel,” Pham said....

Who is funding and arming them?


"South Sudan slides closer to war as two UN peacekeepers killed" by Jacey Fortin New York Times  July 11, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan slid rapidly closer to war Monday as helicopter gunships pounded targets, two UN peacekeepers were killed, foreign governments scrambled to get their citizens out, and worries grew about the fate of civilians in crowded camps.

Gunfire rang out from different quarters, moving across Juba, the capital, like a thunderstorm, on and off, and witnesses said hundreds of people had been killed in the past three days.

The fighting completely overshadowed the fifth anniversary over the weekend of the country’s independence. In Juba, few celebrated because people were hunkered down indoors.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country and one of its poorest, cracked open into civil war in December 2013 after the nation’s two top politicians, President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, bitterly split.

Machar became the leader of a rebel group, and an estimated 50,000 people have been killed since then. Each side has been blamed for widespread atrocities against civilians.

But after a peace agreement, Machar returned to Juba in April and was sworn into his old position as Kiir’s vice president, essentially returning the country to the fragile political situation it was in before the war.

The latest violence seems to be fueled by the same rivalry between the two men, who are from different ethnic groups and have tens of thousands of heavily armed young men following them. But there are also worries that the top leaders are losing control over their troops.

“In the last 2 hrs, we went through heavy bombardments by Pres Kiir helicopters,” Machar wrote on Twitter Monday. “This tells that our partner is not interested in peace.”

On Monday, UN officials said that the large displaced persons camps in and around Juba that house thousands of people had been shelled, killing at least two civilians and wounding dozens.

It was not clear if the mortar or artillery shells that had crashed into the camps were stray shots or were deliberately aimed at civilians seeking refuge. UN officials said they were deeply concerned and were trying to secure the camps as best as possible.

Kiir’s spokesman read a statement signed by the president calling for a unilateral cease-fire beginning at 6 p.m. local time, and he urged Machar to tell his fighters to stand down as well.

“This is a unilateral cease-fire,” said the spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny. “The president has declared, and is also urging the leader of the former rebel movement, Dr. Riek, who is still the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan, to also do the same and cease the hostilities.”

More than 10,000 people may have been displaced by the latest fighting, the United Nations said, adding to the 30,000 people or so who fled their homes during previous rounds of violence in Juba.

On Monday, the maternity wing of a hospital run by the International Medical Corps was hit by shelling, the group said in a statement, adding that it had treated 139 people since Friday for injuries inside what is supposed to be a protected area.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Monday for an “immediate arms embargo” against South Sudan, saying that its rival leaders had “made a mockery” of the peace deal they signed only months ago.

The ball is now in the Security Council’s court. The United States and China, the two countries with the greatest stakes in the country, have been lukewarm to the idea of an arms embargo in the past.

“The international community has a responsibility to act,” Ban told reporters.

Ban also called for the peacekeeping mission to be reinforced. There are 12,000 soldiers and police officers on the ground now. Ban said government troops had effectively been blocked from leaving their bases, erecting roadblocks and checkpoints and also closing the airport.

Contingency plans are being explored to bring in more peacekeepers from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, UN officials said Monday.

The displaced persons camps are considered to be in danger. Thousands of people, mostly members of Machar’s ethnic group, the Nuer, are concentrated in rows of tents, easy targets for artillery.

Many fled their homes in the past two years to escape ethnically targeted violence. Human rights groups say the violence between Nuer soldiers and those of the Dinka, Kiir’s group, has spawned a range of atrocities, including mass rape and the widespread killing of civilians.

The US government is preparing to evacuate personnel from its embassy in Juba. Last week, when the fighting started, a US government car was sprayed by gunfire. The car was heavily armored, and no American employees were believed to have been hurt.

That is a signal that U.S. military force will soon be introduced.


"Precarious calm in South Sudan’s capital as aid workers flee" Associated Press  July 13, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — Embassies and aid organizations in South Sudan were trying to evacuate staff from the capital, Juba, on Tuesday as a precarious calm settled over the city following several days of deadly clashes.

‘‘Several hundred people have already been killed, including civilians seeking refuge. Some of the civilians killed were reportedly targeted based on their ethnicity,’’ the UN special adviser on preventing genocide, Adama Dieng, said in a statement Tuesday.

South Sudan’s government has said at least 272 have been killed, including 33 civilians, in fighting that broke out Thursday night with gunfire between opposing army forces that raised fears of a return to civil war.

President Salva Kiir and the former rebel leader, First Vice President Riek Machar, declared separate cease-fires Monday night. Military trucks drove up and down Juba’s roads with megaphones Tuesday, ordering soldiers back to barracks. Bodies were sprawled on Juba’s dirt streets. In some areas, the corrugated metal, sticks and other materials that once were shops or homes had collapsed. Tattered cloth waved in the breeze.

While the UN said the cease-fire in Juba appeared to be holding, it was ‘‘hugely worrying’’ that the fighting appeared to have spread outside the capital, the UN human rights office in Geneva said Tuesday.

The US Embassy, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Medical Corps were among organizations pulling out their staffs from South Sudan. Private chartered planes flew foreigners out of Juba’s reopened airport Tuesday, as regional carriers including Kenya Airways had cancelled flights there.

The US Embassy said Tuesday night it was organizing flights out of the country ‘‘for all United States citizens wishing to leave.’’ Japan dispatched military aircraft to evacuate its citizens. Uganda will send troops to Juba to evacuate its citizens, said Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda.

South Sudanese nationals trying to escape the capital were prevented from doing so by authorities, according to a security worker in Juba who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

The United Nations said about 36,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began last week and called the humanitarian situation ‘‘grave.’’ Aid groups warned about the lack of clean water for the tens of thousands of people sheltering in various sites around Juba, as water tankers have not been able to make deliveries.

Inside a crowded UN camp, people tried to pursue their daily lives behind shiny coils of razor wire.

Things must be pretty bad to be made to flee to a concentration camp.

The fighting in Juba has severely threatened a peace deal signed last year between Kiir and Machar to end a civil war that had killed tens of thousands since late 2013. The agreement brought them and their supporters into a transitional coalition government in April.

In the latest fighting, government troops have lined up tanks and fired on a UN base where tens of thousands of civilians are sheltering, according to witnesses. At least eight civilians in the UN camp were killed in the crossfire. 

Aaaaaaah! That's why this getting attention now. We have a recalcitrant government in the new Sudan.

Government officials have repeatedly accused the civilians inside the UN bases of being rebels or rebel supporters.

Two Chinese peacekeepers with the UN mission were also killed. 

I doubt China will be drawn in, but they do have economic interests at stake.

The government also overran one of Machar’s two bases in Juba, deploying helicopter gunships and tanks against opposition forces carrying only light arms. Some 35 of Machar’s bodyguards were killed in the latest clashes, said opposition military spokesman William Gatjiath.

South Sudan’s civil war exposed deep ethnic fault lines in the country, pitting the Dinka supporters of Kiir against the Nuer followers of Machar.

The latest fighting has awakened fears that South Sudan’s other ethnic groups will be drawn in.


"Armed men kill South Sudan journalist, employer says" by Jason Patinkin Associated Press  July 14, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya — Armed men shot and killed a South Sudanese radio journalist during clashes in the country’s capital, Juba, a media organization said Wednesday, and those who knew him said he was targeted because of his ethnicity.

Jennifer Cobb, a spokeswoman for Internews, confirmed that John Gatluak was killed Monday at the compound of the upscale Terrain Hotel, where he had been taken for his safety after he was briefly arrested Friday night.

Internews is a US-funded organization that assists radio stations in South Sudan.

In other words, it's an arm of the U.S. government in service of corporate interests.

The Rev. John Chuol, a representative of Gatluak’s family, said the 32-year-old journalist was targeted because he is a member of the Nuer tribe, the same ethnicity as opposition leader Riek Machar. Many supporters of President Salva Kiir are from the rival Dinka tribe.

The UN’s special representative for the prevention of genocide has warned that soldiers were targeting civilians by ethnicity during the clashes that began last Thursday. While a precarious calm has descended on Juba since both Kiir and Machar called for a cease-fire late Monday, fears persist that forces on both sides continue to target people by ethnic group.

A massacre of ethnic Nuer in Juba sparked South Sudan’s civil war, which began in December 2013 and raged between supporters of Kiir and Machar, killing tens of thousands before a fragile peace deal was struck last August.

An official with South Sudan’s National Editor’s Forum, or NEF, a journalist network, said a photo he saw of Gatluak’s body showed he was shot in the face and lying on his back, his arms outstretched.

‘‘He’s lying down, his two arms spread out,’’ said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety.

‘‘When I look at the photo, it looks like he raised his hands up as someone who is surrendering.’’

Hands up, don't shoot!??!

A photo of Gatluak posted on the Internews website shows that he had distinctive Nuer facial scars on his forehead, making his ethnicity easily identifiable.

Some of the heaviest clashes in the past week in Juba took place near the Terrain Hotel as government troops attempted to oust the armed opposition from one of their bases.

By Monday afternoon, the opposition was in retreat. The NEF official said government soldiers stormed the Terrain Hotel as they were returning to the center of town.

There was no other person of Nuer ethnicity in the hotel compound, and no one else was killed, though one hotel employee was shot in the leg, the official said.

The weeklong fighting has left hundreds dead in the capital, and aid workers have said bodies remained in the streets. On Wednesday, UN officials said the death toll was certain to climb above the 272 people, including 33 civilians, reported by the government.

‘‘I would believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg given alarming reports indicating over the last few days many civilians were barred from reaching safer ground,’’ peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the UN Security Council.

The US Embassy said it was arranging flights out of the country for Americans on Thursday. Italy’s foreign ministry said air force aircraft landed Wednesday in Juba to evacuate 30 Italians. Germany’s foreign ministry said its air force was evacuating German, European and other foreign citizens.


"Rights group: South Sudan army violated civilians in Wau" Associated Press  May 25, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudanese government soldiers killed, raped, tortured, and detained dozens of civilians in and around Wau town in the country’s western Bahr el Ghazal state in recent months, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Tuesday.

The report described abuses by mostly ethnic Dinka government soldiers against civilians of the local Fertit ethnic groups.

Soldiers tortured young men with electric shocks, shot elderly people in their homes, and raped women while making their relatives watch, it said. The atrocities took place before the government and rebels formed a transitional coalition government last month, said the report.

With all eyes on South Sudan’s new coalition government in Juba, government soldiers have been ‘‘literally getting away with murder in the country’s western regions,’’ said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. Bekele called on the government to halt the abuses and support creation of a war crimes court to investigate those responsible.



Sandwiched between Sudan and Somalia:

"An Eritrean man who says he was mistakenly jailed in Rome as an alleged migrant-smuggling kingpin is expected to be transferred soon to Palermo, Sicily, where prosecutors are investigating human trafficking rings operating from Libya, the man’s lawyer said Saturday. Sudan sent a suspect identified as Medhane Yehdego Mered to Italy, which sought his arrest abroad. But the Eritrean community abroad contends the arrested man isn’t Mered. A judge may weigh in as early as Monday."

"Eritrea’s ‘‘systematic, widespread’’ human rights abuses should be referred to the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity that include enslavement of up to 400,000 people, a United Nations commission of inquiry said Wednesday. The commission said the government of the small Horn of Africa country has made no progress on most critical rights violations the group first documented a year ago. Eritrean refugees are one of the largest groups trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, in power since 1991, has become increasingly repressive, say rights groups. Eritrea’s government quickly shot back. A statement from presidential adviser Yemane Gebreab accused the panel of being ‘‘entirely one-sided.’’ The three-member UN commission, which was not allowed to visit Eritrea, said many violations occur behind ‘‘the facade of calm and normality that is apparent to the occasional visitor to the country.’’

Also seeEritrea accuses Ethiopian forces of launching border attack

What about their war crimes anyway? 

Oh, right, a pillar of an ally in the region.

A quick stop in Djibouti and then....


.... onto Somalia:

"A car bomb killed at least two people at a restaurant in the Somali capital Saturday, a police official said. A bomb in the car, which was parked outside a small restaurant in Mogadishu's Shibis district, was detonated by remote control as dozens of people were dining inside the restaurant, Ahmed Hassam said Saturday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but it bears the hallmarks of Somalia's Islamic extremist rebel group al-Shabab."

Should have eaten on the airplane.

Hotel attack in Somali capital kills at least 6, police say

I've been skeptical of hotel and mall attacks since the Westgate production in Kenya; however, I will let you make up your own mind:

"At least 14 killed in Somalia hotel attack; police say ended" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  June 25, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 14 people were killed when gunmen stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital and took an unknown number of hotel guests hostage, police and medical workers said Saturday.

Ever notice it is always gunMEN overseas but lone gunMAN domestically? 

It's ALL SCRIPT, folks, even if the event is real!

Security forces hunted down the attackers and ended an hours-long assault that began with an explosives-laden vehicle blowing up at the hotel gate.

Kill all the attackers, did they?

Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the latest in a series of hotel attacks in Mogadishu.

Otherwise known as Al-CIA-Bob.

‘‘We have finally ended the siege. The last remaining militants were killed on the top floor,’’ police Captain Mohamed Hussein said after security forces pursued the gunmen who had retreated to upper floors of the Nasa-Hablod hotel, setting up sniper posts on the roof and throwing grenades. Police said at least four gunmen were involved in the attack.

‘‘We have so far confirmed the deaths of 14 people. Some of them died in the hospitals,’’ Hussein said. The deaths included women who were selling khat, a stimulant leaf popular with Somali men, outside the hotel, he said.

Hussein said security forces killed two of the attackers. Police and medical workers said another nine people were wounded in the assault.

Police said the attack began when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the hotel entrance, ripping off its gate.

Gunmen fought their way inside, and a witness said they began shooting at hotel guests.

Blood was splattered on the hotel floor. The bodies of two men, including one thought to be a hotel guard and an attacker dressed in a military uniform, lay on the first floor.

Bullets pockmarked the hotel walls. Security forces combed through the dark hotel rooms, searching for explosives.

A witness, Ali Mohamud, said the attackers randomly shot at guests. ‘‘They were shooting at everyone they could see. I escaped through the back door,’’ he said.

Yusuf Ali, an ambulance driver, told The Associated Press he evacuated 11 people injured in the attack to hospitals.

‘‘Most of them were wounded in crossfire,’’ he said.

The Somalia-based, Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab has been waging a deadly insurgency across large parts of Somalia and often employs suicide car bomb attacks to penetrate heavily fortified targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

In early June, an overnight siege by extremist gunmen at another hotel in the capital killed at least 15 people, including two members of parliament. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack.

The latest attack comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which extremists often step up attacks in this volatile East African country.

Proving they aren't pious Muslims.

‘‘They came shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and fired bullets on every side,’’ said a hotel staffer who escaped through the back door. He declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

‘‘They are devils who merely care for death and blood,’’ the staffer said.

And are likely in the mercenary employ of some intelligence agency.

The assaults in the seaside capital have highlighted the challenges facing the Somali government and African Union forces that are struggling to secure the country. 

Have they asked for U.S. assistance yet?

An attack on another Mogadishu hotel and public garden in February killed at least nine civilians. A car bomb outside a restaurant in the capital in April killed at least five.

The al-Shabab insurgents have been ousted from most of Somalia’s cities but continue to carry out bombings and suicide attacks.

The African Union force faces shrinking resources after the European Union recently cut its funding to the AU mission in Somalia by 20 percent.


Also seeSomalia forces end extremist siege of hotel; 15 killed

"Somali minister among 15 killed in hotel attack"  Associated Press  June 27, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali Cabinet minister is among the 15 killed in an Islamic extremist attack on a hotel in the capital, police say.

Four attackers also died in the assault, which was claimed by Al Shabab, Somalia’s militant rebels who are allied to Al Qaeda.

State Minister for the Environment Buri Hamza was among those killed, said Captain Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer. Hamza died when his hotel room collapsed Saturday because of the powerful car bomb that extremists used to blast their way into the Nasa-Hablod Hotel.

At least 34 people were injured, according to police and hospital sources.

It’s the second attack on a hotel since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early June. Al Shabab has claimed both attacks.

The attacks have raised concerns about the security of hotels in the seaside capital that have seen numerous attacks by Al Shabab in recent years.

‘‘The trend and lethality of such attacks suggest how vulnerable the security of hotels and the city in general are now,’’ said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst.

‘‘Many residents now shun going to hotels that provide some of the few sources of entertainment available in Mogadishu,’’ he said. At hotels, patrons smoke shisha, or tobacco, in water pipes, enjoy dance music, and play games such as dominoes and dice.

Mogadishu resident Ahmed Ali said that he has stopped going to hotels as they are seen as ‘‘death traps because they are favorite targets for Al Shabab. . . . Having fun at hotels is good but my safety comes first.’’

I agree. I avoid events and never spend money in pursuit of fun. Not worth it.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attacks in a statement Sunday.


"Trial begins for pair accused of fund-raising for terrorists" Associated Press  July 11, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For a woman accused of supporting the Somali terror group al-Shabab, Hinda Osman Dhirane began her trial with an unusual admission: She is an ardent al-Shabab supporter.

Dhirane’s attorney, federal public defender Paula Deutsch, began her opening statement Monday reading parts of a poem Dhirane wrote as an ode to its fighters.

‘‘We make no bones about the fact she was a supporter of al-Shabab,’’ an Al Qaeda affiliate centered in Somalia that claimed responsibility for the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya that killed 67 people, among other attacks, Deutsch said. ‘‘But it’s talk. It doesn’t prove that she necessarily provided substantial assistance to al-Shabab.’’

Anytime the propaganda pre$$ flogs an event I suspect it of being a staged and scripted crisis drill at best or a gone live false flag at worst. It's meant to manipulate your mind and give rise to mental touchstones in your subconscious -- like a smell or song brings back memories.

Prosecutors, though, say Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Wash., and Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, funneled about $5,000 — to al-Shabab fund-raisers.

That's where the pre$$ cut off the accounting. 

Even small amounts of money in US dollars can provide significant buying power in Somalia for weapons and the like, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Danya Atiyeh said in her opening statement that the women sought to hide the payments in remittances that members of the Somali diaspora regularly send back to their homeland.

The remittances, she said, ‘‘make an ideal cover for disguising money,’’ Atiyeh said. She quoted Jama from an online conversation in 2012; ‘‘If you work with the women and pretend that you are supporting your family, can the infidels and the animals who work with them find out what is in your heart?’’

The women used coded communications to hide their intent, referring to al-Shabab as ‘‘the family’’ and truckloads of supplies as ‘‘camels,’’ prosecutors said.

Deutsch, the defense attorney, said that understanding Dhirane’s support for al-Shabab requires an understanding of Somalia’s history of corrupt and at times nonexistent government. She said Somalis ‘‘saw al-Shabab as the hope to establish peace and order and a Sharia system of law.’’

Jama’s attorneys made no opening statement.

Federal prosecutors across the country have targeted al-Shabab’s supporters in the United States. In 2013, two Minnesota women were sentenced to 10 and 20 years, respectively, on similar charges. In fact, prosecutors said Jama and Dhirane watched that case closely and took note of the outcome, spurring them to be even more secretive in their dealings.

At the Alexandria courthouse, where Jama and Dhirane’s trial is being held, Muslim convert Zachary Chesser was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011 for trying to travel to the Horn of Africa to join al-Shabab, among other crimes.

In 2012, more than a dozen members of Northern Virginia’s Somali community were convicted in a large-scale investigation of a smuggling ring that imported large amounts of khat, a leaf that some Somalis chew that produces a mild high for users. 

Doesn't the U.S. have enough drugs without that rot gut leaf?


That's what the pre$$ and government must be chewing if they think we believe this BS.

Btw, whatever happened to the Somali pirates?


Sailing along the shore of East Africa until:

"Seeking to define the post-Mandela South Africa" by Alan Cowell New York Times  June 24, 2016

Credit rating agencies have reduced their assessment of the country’s prospects and could be preparing yet lower assessments of the slowing economy. Almost 9 million South Africans cannot find work. Corruption has spread across the land. 

Sound familiar, reader, wherever you are?

For many South Africans, the ANC is the party of liberation that fought against apartheid and now controls the fonts of patronage that cement the loyalty of its followers.

It's the New Apartheid.

The Democratic Alliance, by contrast, is seen by many voters as a group founded and supported by the white minority....

The critical local elections are Aug. 3.

In the welter of debate about Britain’s place in the European Union, Mmusi Maimane’s visit to London — home to some 220,000 South African expatriates — may have had difficulty grabbing headlines, but the stakes are high. Many experts say they believe South Africa is approaching a turning point, and President Jacob G. Zuma’s critics question the durability of his grip on power if the ANC suffers setbacks in the August elections. 

Maybe then they will impeach him.


"It’s a rock for the ages. A 3-billion-year-old diamond the size of a tennis ball — the largest discovered in more than a century — could sell for more than $70 million, auctioneer Sotheby’s said Wednesday. The auction house plans to offer the Lesedi la Rona diamond in London on June 29. The diamond was unearthed in November in Botswana at a mine owned by Canada’s Lucara Diamond Corp. It measured 1,109 carats, the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered. Its name means ‘‘our light’’ in the Tswana language of southern Africa."

Left that in London, did he?

National elections are due in 2019, and, Maimane said, there is a belief “that the next three years present some kind of decision time.”

The municipal ballots in August are seen as potentially significant markers of change in battlegrounds around Port Elizabeth, where the Democratic Alliance might win, and in ANC fiefs around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The alliance campaigns on a reputation for effective rule in South Africa’s Western Cape — the only one of the country’s nine provinces in which it holds regional power — and on what Maimane called its commitment to “good governance, the rule of law” and market-driven economic policies.

His youth, public manner and oratory have drawn comparisons to President Barack Obama. In the bare-knuckles joust of South African politics, that is not necessarily an advantage. But, Maimane said, “there are worse people to be compared with.”

I'm hard pressed to name one.


And after the journey around the Cape of Good Hope and up the western coast:

"Falling oil prices spark a rise in kidnappings by West African pirates" by Max Bearak Washington Post  May 11, 2016

Ah, they moved. 

So what vital shipping lane needs monitoring this time?

Half a decade ago, attacks by pirates from Somalia were so common — and so costly, in lives and money — that a naval task force with more than two dozen vessels from EU countries, the United States, China, Russia, India, and Japan banded together to restore order to one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Those cooperative efforts largely succeeded, as have recent patrols in and around the similarly bustling Straits of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, where pirate attacks have fallen steeply in the past six months. In 2015, there were only 17 pirate attacks near Somalia, down from 151 in 2011.

But on the other side of the African continent, a new hotspot is emerging.

It's like whack-a-mole, isn't it?

The Gulf of Guinea, a body of water tucked into the curve where West Africa meets Central Africa, is now the most dangerous region in the world for seafarers, according to a new report by the nonprofit organization Oceans Beyond Piracy.

What could Guinea have, other than location?

The pirates hail mostly from the Niger Delta, an oil-rich part of Nigeria that has seen two decades of violence as militias fight over control of land and resources. Before 2015, they mostly targeted oil tankers. But the price of crude oil has fallen precipitously since mid-2014, making human hostages more valuable.

The Oceans Beyond Piracy report says that kidnapping for ransom became the region’s ‘‘most pervasive piracy model’’ last year, and that trend has only escalated in the first quarter of 2016.

‘‘In most kidnapping incidents the pirates board the vessel after firing at the bridge to suppress any opposition and intimidate the crew, and then proceed to isolate the ranking officers and engineers, who net the highest ransoms,’’ the report said.

In most cases, victims were brought to small islands in the delta where local militias have bases, and held from two to three weeks.

Known ransoms have reached as high as $400,000 in the region, which is actually lower than average ransoms paid to pirates off the coast of Somalia, which the BBC reported as almost $5 million.

Yet in a video made by Oceans Beyond Piracy, they claim that as many as 70 percent of kidnapping incidents in the Gulf of Guinea go unreported, and all but a few ransoms are paid through secret back channels.

The gulf is a major transit point for cocoa, metal, and oil, and since none of the few pirates who have been caught have been prosecuted, the report says that crews don’t report incidents out of fear that they will come face to face once again with their captors on subsequent trips.

The lack of prosecution is indicative of a larger issue: Nigeria and its neighbors are struggling to keep their seas under control without outside help.

This post has come more than full circle, huh?

Unlike pirate hotspots in the Indian Ocean, where nations with powerful navies have coordinated an aggressive response partly out of their own business interests, the Gulf of Guinea suffers from a lack of global strategic importance.

Not anymore.

Pirates from Somalia and Southeast Asia are near two of the most crucial shipping routes on earth, whereas the Gulf of Guinea largely serves traffic in and out of the countries that surround it.

Last month, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea agreed to create a combined patrolling force, but it will be far smaller than those in the other regions.

Since the beginning of this year the number of people kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea already equals the total for all of 2015.


They have even been sighted off the Ivory Coast and Cape Cod.

All done counting!


"Amid South Sudan evacuations, some locals are turned back" Associated Press  July 14, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — Some South Sudanese, including those with dual US citizenship, are not being allowed to leave war-torn South Sudan, even as the United States, India, and others continued Thursday to evacuate their citizens while a fragile cease-fire appeared to hold.

The reports that South Sudan’s government is checking the political ties of people, especially of men, who are seeking safety have raised fears of further violence in a country trying to heal from civil war. 

It looks to me, based on the reporting, that the U.S. is trying to kick out Kiir. They set this deal up, and were he an ally this government soldiers atrocities bit wouldn't be getting played up in the pre$$.

An Associated Press reporter at the airport in the capital, Juba, saw local authorities refuse to allow about 20 dual South Sudanese-US citizens to leave the country, despite the presence of US Embassy staff.

Unfortunately, that means nothing these days. 

The State Department acknowledged that some people had been barred from boarding a chartered flight.

In a statement, Amnesty International said it had received reports from two charter airline companies that ‘‘National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men.’’

The London-based rights group called the restrictions ‘‘totally unacceptable.’’



"UN fears South Sudan refugees will flood East Africa" Associated Press  July 16, 2016

JUBA, South Sudan — The number of South Sudanese refugees in East Africa could pass 1 million this year, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday, calling on armed groups to allow safe passage for people fleeing the latest fighting.

There is concern about fresh outflows of refugees after military clashes in recent days in the capital, Juba, said Ann Encontre, a UN refugee coordinator in South Sudan. She appealed for $701 million in relief aid.

“They are supposed to be the generation of tomorrow, the generation that will lead and rebuild their country, but right now, they are suffering enormously,” she said.

Even before the violence of the past week, hundreds of thousands of refugees had been sheltering in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and elsewhere since civil war began in late 2013.

But there are new reports that South Sudan authorities are blocking some citizens, including those with US or Canadian dual nationality, from leaving the country.

“We condemn all actions by the government to prevent civilians from boarding flights out of Juba or otherwise departing South Sudan,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters in Washington.

Opposing army factions clashed in Juba in the past week, with forces backing President Salva Kiir bombing the home of former rebel leader Riek Machar, now the country’s first vice president.

Hundreds have been killed. Red Cross workers Friday loaded pallets of bodies onto a truck at Juba Teaching Hospital for burial at a military site.

The fighting has threatened a peace deal reached in August to end the civil war between supporters of Kiir and Machar that left tens of thousands dead.

Both Kiir and Machar on Monday called for a cease-fire, which has appeared to hold.


Also see:

"The African Union summit on Sunday is expected to discuss the continent’s uneasy relationship with the International Criminal Court, which some say unfairly targets Africans. Ahead of the summit, some African countries renewed their efforts to quit the ICC en masse."

I don't blame them. 

Why isn't Tony Bliar before the bar?

Also seeActivists say prominent journalist arrested in South Sudan

"Actress Charlize Theron, singer Elton John, and Prince Harry are joining researchers, activists, and policy makers at the conference this week. South Africa now is a proving ground for treatment and prevention, including a study of an experimental HIV vaccine set to begin later this year."


Diplomats:Ex-Portuguese minister tops poll for next UN chief

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