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Why Are We Really In Somalia?

SYNOPSIS: Investigative authors Rory Cox, in Propaganda Review, and Jim Naureckas, in EXTRA!, wondered whether the decision to send U.S. troops to Somalia was based more on potential oil reserves there than on the tragic images of starving Somalis that dominated major media out lets in late 1992 and 1993.

The U.S./UN military involvement in Somalia began in mid-November 1992, but it wasn't until January 18, 1993, two days before George Bush left office, that a major media outlet, the Los Angeles Times, published an article that revealed America's oil connection with Somalia.

Times staff writer Mark Fineman started his Mogadishu-datelined article with, "Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. 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. That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the U.S. led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation."

According to Fineman, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron, and Phillips before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown. The U.S. oil companies are "well positioned to pursue Somalia's most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified."

Oil industry spokesmen, along with Bush/Clinton Administration spokespersons, deny these allegations as "absurd" and "nonsense." However, Thomas E. O'Connor, the principal petroleum engineer for the World Bank, who headed an in-depth three-year study of oil prospects off Somalia's northern coast, said, "There's no doubt there's oil there...It's got high (commercial) potential...once the Somalis get their act together."


UPDATE: Somalia has been torn apart by clan fighting since 1991 when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown. In mid-November 1992, the United States launched Operation Restore Hope with the avowed purpose to find and expel faction leader Mohamed Farah Aidid, in an effort to bring peace to the nation. Instead, in a media-sensationalized night invasion, U.S. Marines went ashore in Somalia on February 28,1995, to protect final withdrawal of U.N. forces after the failed mission which cost $2 billion and the lives of 140 American and U.N. peacekeepers. Aidid died shortly after a gun battle in late July 1996 and two of his archrivals announced unilateral cease-fires (Associated Press,8/3/96). The cease-fire lasted until September 16, when one of the faction leaders called an end to the agreement and fighting resumed (Orange County Register, 9117196). Jane's Intelligence Review (10/1/96) concluded: "Peace will not come to Somalia until a leadership emerges that is perceivably working for all Somalis from whatever clan." And so the oil companies bide their time until the "Somalis get their act together," as one oil company spokesman said above.



Haiti Drugs, Thugs, and the CIA

SYNOPSIS: More than 4,000 civilians in Haiti have been killed since the 1991 bloody military coup that ousted duly-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide. But few Americans are aware of our secret involvement in Haitian politics.

Some of the high military officials involved in the coup have been on the CIA's payroll from "the mid-1980s at least until the 1991 coup." Further, the CIA "tried to intervene in Haiti's election with a covert action program that would have undercut the political strength" of Aristide. The aborted attempt to influence the 1988 election was authorized by then-President Ronald Reagan and the National Security Council. The program was blocked by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a rare move.

Next, a confidential Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) report revealed that Haiti is "a major transshipment point for cocaine traffickers" who are funneling drugs from Colombia and the Dominican Republic into the United States .

According to Patrick Elie, who was Aristide's anti-drug czar, Haitian police chief Lt. Col. Michel Francois is at the center of the drug trade. Francois' "attaches" reportedly have been responsible for a large number of murders and violence since the coup. Elie said he was constantly rebuffed by the CIA when he tried to alert it to the military's drug trafficking. Elie also reported how the CIA-created Haitian National Intelligence Service (NIS)- supposedly created to combat drugs-was actually involved with narcotics trafficking, and "functioned as a political intimidation and assassination squad."


UPDATE: On October 17, 1994, Time magazine revealed that Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, head of the FRAPH, a brutal gang of Haitian thugs known for murder, torture, and beatings, was on the payroll of both the CIA and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. The New York Times reported (12/3/95) that Constant himself had confirmed he was a paid agent of the CIA. An American force of 20,000 threw out the Haitian military junta in September 1994 and paved the way for the return of Aristide in October. While the American force is long gone, U.N. peacekeepers, paid for by the United States, remain in Haiti (Christian Science Monitor, 9/4/96). Ironically, investigative reporter Allan Nairn revealed the "U.S. military intelligence and the CIA are still, to this day, continuing their secret work with the repressive paramilitary organization known as FRAPH" (The Nation, 1/8/96).

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