US continues covert action in Somalia


Richard Moore

Don't ever think for a minute that the 'international community' is ignoring 
Africa's many problems.

Whenever things aren't going to plan, the US steps in, as we see here.

Genocide and starvation are not the result of neglect but of intent.


Original source URL:

US continues covert action in Somalia
By Chris Talbot
27 September 2006

Copies of emails leaked to the Observer newspaper and Africa Confidential, 
presumably by British diplomats or intelligence operatives, show the United 
States is continuing its covert operations in Somalia.

Washington is attempting to prop up the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) 
led by President Abdullahi Yusuf. The discredited regime that the West tried to 
put together in 2004 is now based largely in the town of Baidoa in opposition to
the Islamic Courts Council based in Mogadishu, which now controls the capital 
and much of the south of Somalia.

Emails dated from June of this year contain communications between US private 
military companies involved in undercover mercenary operations in Somalia 
backing the TFG. One email from Michele Ballarin, chief executive of Select 
Armor, based in Virginia, claims to have met a CIA operative on June 15 in New 

³My contact whom we discussed from the agency side requested an in-person 
meeting with me.²

Ballarin¹s email was sent to a number of people, including Chris Farina of the 
military company ATS Worldwide, based in Florida. It included the comment:

³Boys: successful meeting with President Abdullay Yussef [sic] and his chief 
staff personnel in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday...where he invited us to his 
private hotel suite flanked by security detail.... He has appointed is [sic] 
chief of presidential protocol as our go to during this phase.²

According to Ballarin, ³a number of Brit security firms² want to get involved in
the operations. Africa Confidential says that as well as Select Armor and ATS 
Worldwide, a company affiliated to Select called Special Associated Services, 
led by a Canadian, General Douglas Eaton, was cited as handling wire transfers 
of funds to back the operations.

UN involvement

The emails make disparaging remarks about ³the f‹ks² in the United Nations. 
However, Ballarin claims to have all UN agencies ³on side² in their military 
support for the TFG, and to have secured meetings with UN representatives 
Colonel Harry Haen and Sidi Zahab. Africa Confidential states that UN personnel 
in Nairobi were told the operation had full support from the US government.

Ballarin claims that Select has carte blanche to use three military bases in 
Somalia. Given that military backing for the TFG has been provided by Ethiopia, 
the US¹s proxy in the region, such facilities could only be secured with the 
agreement of Washington.

The duplicitous role of the United Nations is evidenced by its silence on 
US-backed operations in the region. This is despite a UN arms embargo being in 
place in Somalia and with UN official support for the truce between the TFG and 
the Islamic Courts recently negotiated in Khartoum, Sudan.

According to Africa Confidential, Select Armor started its planning for military
operations in Somalia in Kampala, Uganda, only weeks after the Islamic Courts¹ 
defeat of the so-called Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and 
Counter-Terrorism, or Anti-Terrorism Alliance. This was an alliance of warlords,
backed by Ethiopia, that the Washington Post revealed in May to be secretly 
backed by the US. Subsequent news reports stated that CIA operatives had flown 
into Somalia to give large amounts of cash to the Anti-Terrorist Alliance.

In June, there were reports showing that US diplomats in Nairobi had serious 
concerns about the CIA operations. The New York Times quoted one US official 
saying, ³They were fully aware that they were doing so without any strategic 
framework.² He continued, ³And they realised that there might be negative 
implications to what they are doing.²

However, an unnamed official close to the Bush administration was quoted 
defending the CIA actions: ³You¹ve got to find and nullify enemy leadership.²

The leaked emails show that the US administration is continuing the policy of 
removing the leaders of the Islamic Courts, whom it labels as ³terrorists.² This
is despite the risk that it will ignite an all-out war in the region, with 
Ethiopia and other African countries backing the TFG and Eritrea and some Arab 
states supporting the Union of Islamic Courts.

Select Armor is basing its operations in Kampala, a long-time centre for 
CIA-backed operations in Africa. The emails suggest that Uganda will secure arms
supplies for the mercenaries, supplying its own end-user certificates to provide
a cover for the illegal use of weapons in Somalia. Farina of ATS Worldwide 
writes to Ballarin of Select Armor with concerns about funding from the US:

³We may have to focus our efforts in the US among the DOS [State Department] and
the DOD [Defense Department] to bring any forward movement to this effort.²

Farina also expressed caution to the more enthusiastic Ballarin, saying that a 
³forced entry operation [into Mogadishu] at this point without the addition of 
follow-on forces who can capitalise on the momentum/initiative of the initial op
will result in a replay of Dien Bien Phu² [the ignominious defeat of the French 
forces in Vietnam in 1953].

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy