War on Terror Spawns War Crimes Charges in Somalia

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When a Bush-backed “regime change” is in high gear, you can bet that war crimes are not far behind. And so it has proved in Somalia, where a senior European Union security official has told the organization that the American-trained and American-funded Ethiopian invaders and their Somali allies “may have committed war crimes and that donor countries could be considered complicit if they do nothing to stop them,” the Independent reports.

The official’s message to the EU’s Somalia delegation detailed:

“the exact statutes that were violated. They included intentionally directing attacks against civilians and ordering the displacement of civilians for reasons related to the conflict,” the Independent notes. “‘In regard to the abovementioned potential violations of international law there arise urgent questions of responsibility and potential complicity in the commission of war crimes by the European Commission and its partners,’ the e-mail said. The European Commission has been a major financial backer of the Somali government and the African Union peacekeeping mission, which is currently made up of only Ugandan troops…The United States is also a major financial supporter of the Somali government and the peacekeepers, pledging more than $120 million.”

That figure dwarfs the $20 million that the EU is laying out for bankrolling the new government installed by Bush and the Ethiopian dictatorship. And of course, the $120 million for “peacekeeping” doled out by Washington does not include the untold millions in secret dosh to supply the Ethiopian military with training, equipment and intelligence support. Nor does it cover the cost of the U.S. Special Ops forces that have been operating in Somalia and surrounding states in the wake of the invasion. Nor the cost of the many bombing raids that Bush has ordered in support of the Ethiopian dictatorship’s assault, raids which have killed scores of civilians in supposed attempts to assassinate alleged al Qaeda allies from thousands of feet in the air.

Nor does this $120 million “peacekeeping” largess cover the cost of the rendition operation that the Bush gang has been running, grabbing Somalians fleeing for their lives from Bush’s regime change operation and “rendering” them back to Ethiopia’s notorious dungeons, where they are beaten, starved and abused — while CIA and FBI officials drop by the hellholes for “interrogation sessions” with the captives, as the Associated Press reported this week in an almost universally ignored in-depth investigation: U.S. Agents Visit Secret Ethiopian Jails:

CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaida militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

Human rights groups, lawyers and several Western diplomats assert hundreds of prisoners, who include women and children, have been transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families…

One Western diplomat in Nairobi, who agreed to speak to AP only if not quoted to avoid angering U.S. officials, said he sees the United States as playing a guiding role in the operation. John Sifton, a Human Rights Watch expert on counter-terrorism, went further. He said in an e-mail that the United States has acted as “ringleader” in what he labeled a “decentralized, outsourced Guantanamo.”

We wrote here recently about a U.S. citizen who was “rendered” to the Ethiopians for the crime of refusing to confess to American agents that he was an al Qaeda agent. Amir Mohamed Meshal, 24, remains in Ethiopian custody, while Bush officials claim they are powerless to get him out. It appears they have no leverage at all with the Ethiopian government, despite providing the dictatorship with millions in military aid, shielding it from international heat over its draconian abuses — and even allowing it to score $20 million in military equipment from North Korea, despite the Bush Administration’s supposedly “zero-tolerance” sanctions against the Korean regime, as the New York Times reports. (It seems killing darkie Muslims in Africa takes priority over nuclear non-proliferation for the Bushists.) No, the Bush Administration has no influence whatsoever over Ethiopia; there’s just no way in hell they could convince Addis Ababa to hand over an American citizen with no criminal charges against him.

So while Bush’s “War on Terror” proxies go about the Master’s business by shooting and forcibly uprooting civilians, the mass exodus of refugees continues, with more than 124,000 people fleeing Mogadishu alone since February, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports. Some 11,000 have been forced from their homes since the beginning of this month. These are refugees not from the invasion itself — which was another quickie “mission accomplished” job — but from the “peace” that Bush and his proxies have visited upon the land, an occupation that is bidding fair to become a smaller-scale version of the four-alarm FUBAR that Bush has wrought in Iraq.

The attack overturned Somalia’s “Islamic Courts” government, which had brought a measure of security and stability to the ravaged nation after 15 years of murderous anarchy. But because the Horn of Africa is considered a linchpin of the Bush gang’s “New American Century” plans for military and economic domination of the region’s oil supplies and distribution, Somalia became a target of “the path of action,” the Mussolinian tag that Bush has given to America’s official national security strategy.

Also — and this is perhaps the most important thing for the lily-livered bullies of the Bush Faction — Somalia was “doable.” This, as you recall, was the battle cry of chickenhawk Paul Wolfowitz immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when he urged his master to hit Iraq right away. As Bob Woodward relates in his hagiographic Bush at War (Woodward had not yet bitten the royal hand that fed him), Wolfowitz told the Bush inner circle that while “attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain … Iraq was a brittle oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.” That is to say, Howlin’ Wolf, George the Deserter and Dick “Other Priorities” Cheney all knew that Iraq was a broken-backed country that was no threat to anyone and could not strike back, as a state, with a standing army, if attacked. You could go to war against Iraq — even fight a long “counterinsurgency” struggle if you had to — and still keep the malls full, the corporate welfare flowing, the rubes gulled with reality shows and propaganda pageants, and “the base” stoked with bloody-eyed hatred of “Islmaofascists” and their “dhimmicrat” allies, etc. etc. Like Iraq, Somalia was “doable”; so it’s been “done.”

But also like Iraq, the aftermath of this latest Terror War rape is unlikely to follow the Bushist script. As we noted last week, yet another whirlwind of blowback will be reaped from these rotten seeds. Yet another generation will be raised in violence and despair, will be taught — by the “guiding lights of world civilization” — that the true meaning of life is the power that flows from the barrel of a gun, from a bomb, from the blood of innocent people. This is the lesson that the “War on Terror” is teaching and confirming around the world, day after day after day. This is the real “New American Century” that Bush and his cohorts — and his simpering apologists — are trying to construct.

Chris Floyd [send him mail] is the author of Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime.

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