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Friends, Eduardo Cohen has spotted a 'new' US target, which like Iraq, is being targeted because of its oil resources. The UK Independent has also been reporting on this for the last several days. Philippa Winkler >===== Original Message From Eduardo Cohen <firstname.lastname@example.org> ===== 19 December 2001 Somalia: Next target in Bushıs War on Terrorismı? by Eduardo Cohen Ever since serving in the Vietnam War in 1966, after volunteering for service as an Army paratrooper, I have been skeptical of official government reasons provided to explain the motives of US foreign and military policy. It was clear to me within weeks of my arrival in Vietnam, where US forces were protecting the dictatorial regime of General Nguyen Cao Ky, that the stated purpose of our mission, defending democracy, had absolutely no connection with reality. My skepticism was further reinforced over the course of eight years in Latin America. In Bolivia, in 1973, I was shown a silenced sub-machine gun provided to the National Guard of right-wing dictator General Hugo Banzer Suarez. It had been sent there by the United States Agency for International Development as part of their Public Safety Programı which we were told was designed to train and modernizeı friendly police forces in Latin America. In Costa Rica in 1985 I entered Costa Ricaıs La Reforma prison to interview mercenaries who had been arrested for smuggling arms and explosives into Nicaragua. They had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency to secretly arm the US supported Contra guerrillas in President Reaganıs proxy war against Nicaragua. Curiously, such activities had been prohibited by the American Congress and were officially denied by the Reagan Administration. And in 1990, shortly after we were told by the first President Bush that the United States would reluctantly go to war to defend Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the wake of the brutal and unexpected Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, I had seen hard evidence that on the eve of that invasion Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had been given a clear green light for the invasion by at least three official representatives of the United States government. Of course that evidence indicated that the Persian Gulf War was a conflict that the Bush Administration actually wanted to have and that might facilitate expansion of US geo-political control in the region. So in 1992 when American military forces were dispatched by President Clinton to carry out humanitarian intervention in Somalia out of American concern for starving famine stricken Africans, I couldnıt help but view those events with some level of skepticism also. After all, I wondered, when had concern for starving Africans ever been a significant factor in the formulation of American foreign and military policy in that part of the world before? Then, when the United States became involved in an attempt to build a stable and assuredly pro-American government there, something we euphemistically call nation-buildingı, an assignment far exceeding the stated purpose of providing humanitarian assistance, we were told that American Forces in Somalia were suffering from something called mission creepı. We went into Somalia do this but somehow we wound up doing that. My curiosity and skepticism deepened. So I just scratched my head and wondered... until January 18th, 1993. It was on January 18th, 1993 that I saw an article in the Los Angeles times that allowed me to stop scratching my head. The story explained that four American oil giants had negotiated oil concessions with the previous government in Somalia, effectively dividing up more than two-thirds of the land area of Somalia into four giant oil concessions. Geologists had told the oil companies that a subterranean structure, from which oil was already being extracted in Yemen, extended in a sweeping arc beneath the Gulf of Aden and much of the Somali desert. But in order to gain access to those oil deposits, the four companies, Chevron, Amoco, Conoco and Phillips Petroleum needed a stable government in Somalia that would honor the agreements they had negotiated with the previous regime. So then I knew. There were two possible explanations for the dispatch of US military forces to Somalia: The official explanation based on US concern for the plight of starving Africans or the need of four American oil giants to have a stable government in Somalia which would allow them to exploit oil concessions possibly worth billions of dollars. Given the history of US foreign and military policy in the Middle East and Northern Africa, it would be politically naive to believe that the interests of these major oil companies was a mere coincidence and that US foreign and military policy was being driven simply by an unprecedented concern for starving Africans. But American operations, apparently to control local militias and install a friendly government, were cut short when 18 American soldiers, members of an Army Ranger team, were killed in a failed attempt to kidnap the leader of one of the most powerful Somali militias. The American public had not been prepared for significant loss of American lives. The number of soldiers killed along with the graphic footage of the corpse of a US soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, created a sharp political backlash resulting in the withdrawal of US forces from Somalia. In recent months, the US military machine has been unleashed against Afghanistan in what the Bush administration describes as an international war against terrorism that will not be limited to Afghanistan. The careful efforts of the Bush Administration to prepare the American public in advance to expect and accept American casualties in the war on Afghanistan indicates that the lesson of the 1994 withdrawal from Somalia was not lost on the Bush Administration. In the wake of what has the appearance of a successful military campaign in Afghanistan, there is much speculation as to who and where the next target of Bushıs war on terrorism will be. A handful of nations have been mentioned as either rogue states, nations in which terrorist groups exist and operate or states that support or sponsor terrorist groups. . The list of potential targets includes Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Somalia and the Philippines. The United States is already deeply involved in supporting the Philippine government in military campaigns against Muslim separatist militias on the island of Mindanao, at least one of which, Abu Sayyaf, has alleged ties to Osama bin Laden, and a stronger but less publicized communist insurgency in the Central Philippines led by the New Peopleıs Army. The Bush Administration has already sent over 100 million dollars of military aid as well as a number of military advisers to assist the Philippine government. There is good reason for growing concerns that the country of Iraq, already devastated by a decade of bombing and economic sanctions, may be the next military target in Bushıs war on terrorismı. There have been concerted efforts by many of Washingtonıs influential military and foreign policy hawks to garner support for a renewed military campaign against the nation of Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. That campaign is led by Defense Department policy adviser and American Enterprise Institute fellow Richard Perle, President of the right wing Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, former UNSCOM director Richard Butler and Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz among others. Still, more powerful forces may be at play. The oil deposits in Somalia are still there. The four American oil giants, now reduced to three as the result of the recent merger of Conoco and Phillips Petroleum, would predictably still like to gain access to the oil they believe is waiting for them. It is that American corporate interest in Somali oil deposits, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, that may push Somalia next into the cross hairs of the US military and the War on Terrorismı. Al-Qaeda, the network which we are told was formed by Saudi militant Osama bin Laden to carry out terrorism against American targets throughout the world, is reportedly one of the main targets of the American campaign in Afghanistan. Now we are told by senior American officials that parts of the al-Qaeda network continue to function in Somalia - a claim that might be difficult to substantiate at best. American officials recently claimed that al-Qaeda sent some of its lieutenants to Somalia to help Somali forces plan the ambush that brought down those two American Blackhawk helicopters and that killed 18 American Rangers in 1993. But that claim had me scratching my head again. Why would armed Somali militias, with years of wartime experience under their belts, need al-Qaeda advisers to tell them how to carry out an ambush.. It just didnıt make any sense... unless, of course, the Bush Administration was laying the groundwork for another US military intervention in Somalia. Ever since hearing those claims, I have been concerned that President Bush might be preparing to send military forces into Somalia once again to finish the mission they were sent there to carry out in 1992. While most Americans heard about the 18 American soldiers that were killed at that time, few Americans heard very much about the hundreds of Somali citizens who were killed by American gunfire. There are some disturbing indications that a second intervention may soon be attempted. Alex Duval, South African based correspondent for The Independent, recently reported widespread concern in Kenya that the US is pressuring the government there to use that nation as a base for air attacks on Somalia. If those suspicions are true, they tell us not only of the Bush Administrationıs intent to attack Somalian targets soon but also something about the probable scope and intensity of those attacks. The United States could launch air attacks against Somalia from aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean. But intense air campaigns, such as the campaign now winding down in Afghanistan, require heavier bombers than those able to operate from aircraft carriers. Heavier bombers such as the B-1ıs and B-52ıs have been operating from bases in Europe and on the island of Diego Garcia in the southern Indian Ocean. Heavier bombers could reach Somalia from Diego Garcia also. But using land bases in Kenya, next door to Somalia, the U. S. Air Force could fly four or five times the number of missions in the same period of time. That could indicate that the Bush Administration is anticipating an extremely intensive air campaign against Somalia. Of course, if there is a new military campaign in Somalia, the American public will almost certainly be prepared in advance to accept American casualties. Judging from the first intervention, civilian casualties among the Somali population will be horrendously high. And of course weıll be told that the purpose of the campaign will be to root out terrorism. If the American news media function as poorly and as uncritically as they did during the first US intervention in Somalia, the American people will have little reason to believe otherwise. Should the questions be raised, Iım sure weıll be assured by the Bush Administration that it is mere coincidence that there are oil reserves in Somalia with an estimated worth in the billions of dollars, that three powerful American oil giants have been coveting those oil deposits for nearly a decade or more and that no fewer than five high ranking officials in the Bush Administration, including the National Security Adviser, the vice-president and the President himself, are former oil industry employees. And like the those in the first US military operation there, as well as my fellow American soldiers in the Vietnam War, the American soldiers asked to kill or be killed in that far off place may be the only people in Somalia who wonıt know why theyıre actually there. # # # About Eduardo Cohen: Eduardo Cohen served in a combat unit in Vietnam (173rd Airborne Brigade, USAR) where he first noticed sharp contrasts between what he saw on the ground and what was being reported in American newspapers. After two months in a ground combat unit he was assigned to the 173rdıs Press Information Office where he refused orders to make up stories to be given to US news media. He later lived seven years in Latin America where he once again saw deep disparities between the impact of US policy and what was being reported in the United States. In Bolivia, National Guard officers showed him silenced 9mm submachine guns supplied to them through the US Agency for International Developmentıs Public Safety Programı. He studied Anthropology and Communications at UC Santa Barbara from 1980 to 1984. While at UCSB he created The Other Americası radio program at KCSB in Santa Barbara in 1981. It aired on several California radio stations until 1995 including seven years on KPFA in Berkeley. The Other Americası used the world press, human rights experts, government officials and other primary sources, to examine discrepancies between the impact of US foreign policy in Latin America and the Caribbean and what was being reported here by the US news media. The Other Americası later expanded its coverage to include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Eduardo Cohen was one of the first journalists in the United States to expose the first practice invasion of Grenada, carried out on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in 1981, and the creation and training of the Nicaraguan Contras by the CIA in Honduras. Cohen exposed the covert funding of banned CIA operations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua - an operation that would later be known as a component of the Iran-Contra scandal - after interviewing mercenaries imprisoned by Costa Rican authorities in 1985 for smuggling arms and explosives. In 1990 he was sponsored by the Bay Area American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee to participate in a delegation that traveled to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War. In 1991, Cohen produced 'Israel, Palestine and the Requisites of Peaceı, a slide presentation on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis from interviews and photographs taken during three weeks of travels in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. He has lectured on: Media Distortion of US Foreign Policy; Propaganda and Racism in News and Popular Culture; and How Anti-Arab Racism Distorts American Perception of Middle East conflict. He has lectured on these topics at numerous universities including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, California State University Sacramento, San Francisco State University and Villanova. In 1999 he was invited to lecture on anti-Arab racism in American news reporting at a conference at Villanova University organized by the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies. He is now a freelance writer, media relations consultant and lecturer living in Sacramento, California and he is a member of the speakers bureau of Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action. His lecture topics include: *The Hidden History of US Foreign and Military Policy *The impact of mass media on public perception. *American news coverage during military intervention and conflict. *Government management of public perception. *Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism in US perception of the Middle East. *The importance of Critical News Consumption; *Critical failures in American journalism. *The relationship between the American Press and the CIA. *The contradictions between covert policies and democratic process. *The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict thru the lenses of American news media. Eduardo Cohen can be contacted at: Tel: (916) 442-5811 e-mail: email@example.com e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Also see The Independent, UK, Thursday, December 20: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/story.jsp?story=110973 **************************************** Los Angeles Times Abstract: The Oil Factor in Somalia 1. COLUMN ONE; The Oil Factor in Somalia; Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. Monday, January 18, 1993 Home Edition ID: 0930006020 PART A Section Byline: MARK FINEMAN TIMES STAFF WRITER 1850 words Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major US oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside. Conoco Inc, Amoco Corp, Chevron Corp, Phillips Petroleum Co Search the archives for similar stories about: Oil - Somalia, Somalia - Contracts, Oil Industry - United States, United States - Foreign Policy - Somalia, Conoco Inc, Amoco Corp, Chevron Corp, Phillips Petroleum Co, Bush, George ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times Note: May not be reproduced or retransmitted without permission. To make a permissions request, please visit http://www.lats.com/rights/ for information and an easy request form. The Los Angeles Times archives are stored on a SAVE (tm) newspaper library system from MediaStream, Inc., a Knight-Ridder Inc. company. ************************************************************* İ 2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd 18 December 2001 22:21 GMT Home > News > World > Africa Fears of strike on Somalia from bases in Kenya By Alex Duval Smith Africa Correspondent The Independent 18 December 2001 There are strong indications that the United States is preparing to launch air attacks on Somalia from bases in neighbouring Kenya, despite convincing evidence that al-Qa'ida groups of any significance are unlikely to be operating in the country. Although the threat of attacks may yet prove to be a bout of energetic sabre-rattling by America, it is causing considerable unease in Kenya and enormous fear in Somalia. Yesterday, the BBC World Service began broadcasting two extra daily 15-minute programmes on FM in Somalia, a move it denied had been prompted by the Foreign Office and which it said was in response to growing paranoia and a lack of reliable information in the country. Barry Langridge, the head of the World Service's Africa and Middle East section, said: "People are extremely nervous. Banking systems and phone companies in Somalia have been hit by the American clampdown on groups allegedly linked to al-Qa'ida and people feel very isolated." He said people in Somalia felt the US had a "score to settle" after the deaths of 18 of its soldiers during a botched US intervention in 1993. "We have blanket listening in Somalia, but since the closure of banking institutions and the internet, people cannot get information and feel nervous.² "The expanded service is our decision. We do not have to ask the Foreign Office. We have not done this so as to get Mr Blair or Mr Bush on the air." Kenyans, who were not compensated for the 1998 al-Qa'ida-linked bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, are reluctant to invite possible further instability in their country, which has a large Somali community. They see any deal between the US, Britain and Kenya's President, Daniel Arap Moi, merely as a way for the 77-year-old leader to bargain for a resumption of foreign aid in the run-up to elections next year. In Nairobi, the opposition leader Mwai Kibaki said he feared Mr Moi had once again overridden the country's parliament by promising his support for the second wave of the campaign against terrorism at meetings earlier this month with the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, and the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, Walter Kansteiner. Many observers believe Mr Moi has offered Kenya as a "launch pad" for air attacks on Somalia. Others say the US, which according to some reports already has a small number of special forces in Somalia, is more likely to bomb the country from warplanes based on aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, and support an Ethiopian land invasion. Mr Kibaki said: "This is too serious a matter for Kenya's government to act on by itself and they [the US and Britain] should not treat us as a colony. Parliament must know the scale of risk to our security before we can justify surrendering any control of our territory." Few experts on the Horn of Africa region can see any good reason why Somalia, which has no national government and is largely run by rival warlords, could be perceived as a viable haven for terrorists. America's informants on the "terrorist" activities of al- Itihaad, a Saudi-funded group that unsuccessfully tried to unite the country under an Islamic banner in the 1980s and 1990s, is a Somali faction, the Rahanwein Resistance Army. ****************************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.