Category Archives: Prisoners

One of 300 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls shares story of her dramatic escape

From: ‘frank patrick materu’

Escaped from Boko Haram
On Friday, September 26, 2014 11:41 AM, “ANS@ wrote:
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

One of 300 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls shares story of her dramatic escape

By Mark Ellis

Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) — She was only 18, a high school senior, when she was awakened from her school dormitory at 11:34 p.m. by the sounds of gunfire. The terror group Boko Haram had overrun Chibok and was headed for her school.

“I called my father and he said we should not go anywhere,” says Saa, a pseudonym used for her protection. “He said we should gather ourselves together and pray so God will help us.” Saa is a Christian and her father is the pastor of Nigeria Church of the Brethren.

Her riveting testimony was given at a September 19th forum hosted by the Hudson Institute and supported by the Jubilee Campaign for religious freedom.

When Boko Haram entered the school on the evening of April 14th, the teachers and staff had already fled. When the gun-toting extremists entered her dorm room, Saa didn’t realize at first it was Boko Haram – but that soon became clear.

“They said if we shouted or tried to run away they would kill us. We didn’t know what to do. We were scared. A girl showed them where we kept our food, because it was a boarding school. They packed the food on large trucks and all the property. They gathered us near the gates and started bombing the school,” she recounts.

The girls were herded under a large tree and then loaded into trucks. “They said if we didn’t want to go they will kill us,” Saa says.

Three girls would not fit on the trucks and the jihadists questioned them about their faith. An intense verbal altercation erupted between the jihadists over whether to free or kill the three. One of them felt strongly any non-Muslim should die.


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Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and the founder of He is available to speak to groups about the plight of the church in restricted countries, to share stories and testimonies from the mission field, and to preach the gospel.

Rwanda: Kagame’s former top security officer arrested

From: Tracy John

Rwanda’s army arrested a high ranking army officer and former head of the Republican Guard, a highly trained elite force that guards President Paul Kagame.

Col Tom Byabagamba was arrested on Saturday, August 24. According to Rwanda’s defence and Military spokesperson,Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita, the officer is suspected of committing “crimes against state security”.

Col Byabagamba’s arrest brings to three the number of army officers detained by security services in week. The army arrested and detained Brig. Frank Rusagara and Captain David Kabuye, who recently retired from the army on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita told The NewTimes, a local pro government newspaper that Col Byabagamba was arrested as part of investigations into the case involving Brig Rusagara and Capt Kabuye.

Brig Gen Nzabamwita said Brig Rusagara and Capt Kabuye were held in connection with State security offences.

Col Byabagambi was removed as head of the Republican guard in 2011 and taken to RDF to head the anti-terrorism docket.

Rusagara was retired from the army in October last year and also served as Rwanda’s Defence Attaché to the United Kingdom.

Before his UK posting, Brig Gen Rusagara served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence as well as the head of Nyakinama Military College. Capt Kabuye is a businessman and married to Rose Kabuye, former director of State Protocol.

President Kagame has said in the past that army officers get arrested because the army in Rwanda does not tolerate indiscipline.

However, Kagame’s critics in exile have accused the President of “purging” whoever has divergent views from the President and his inner circle. Colonel Byabagamba is married to Mary Baine, former Rwanda Revenue Authority boss.

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An historical feature By Leo Odera Omolo Omolo

CONTRARY to the belief by many Luos that our founding President Jomo Kenyatta was always nursing a deeply rooted hate for the members of the Luo community, the late Kenyatta was at peace with the Luos like he was with any other Kenyan communities.

In fact Kenyatta was very much fond of Luo talents and their administrative prowess. He always talked good about several academic giants of the community who had excelled in their academics fields and professionals. In order to justify this claim Kenyatta secretly ordered the release of the jailed former Permanent Secretary – – to be released prematurely before he completed his four years prison terms, and instructed him to stay out of sight of the public and to stay at his rural home not to appear anywhere in public until after the remaining period of his prison term were over.

Aloys Philip Achieng’ was the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Fisheries when he was accused of stealing from the public, convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment. Achieng’ had taken out of his Ministry some money in the form of impress. The cash money was around kshs 70,000..

During his trial Achieng’s defense lawyer had produced documentation before the court showing that Achieng’ had already surrendered the impress money back to the Ministry. But the prosecution and the trial magistrate would not hear of this. They went on and convicted Achieng’ and consigned him to a four year prison terms.

What later transpired was that Achieng’ who was a confidant of the late Tom Mboya was the victim of a vicious circles comprising of anti-Mboya elements within the government. Mboya had died in the hails of bullets fired by an assassin in a Nairobi street on JULY 5, 1969 and his enemies were hell-bent to ensure that all his influence within and outside the government were routed completely.

After serving his prison terms for about one and half year, the information which filtered out of the Kamiti Maximum security prison was that Achieng’ was seriously down with a combined diabetic and high blood pressure and wad gradually loosing his eye sight..

When the information about Achieng’s poor state of health in prison reached South Nyanza district, a group of his friends hurriedly convened an emergency meting to find the best way possible how they could lend him a helping hand.

Most of those who attended the meeting were senior Chiefs, civic leaders relatives and top businessmen. Members of this elites were people who were personally known to President Jomo Kenyatta some of them at persona level. The group quickly resolved to draft a petition letter to president Kenyatta requesting for his personal intervention in Achieng’s case and to see to it that he was provided with a good medical doctor.

Members of this hastily organized group included Senior chief DAMIAJNUS ajwang’ {Gembe|}, senior Chief Samuel Odoyo {Kanyaea} Senior Chief Zephania Malit {Karachuonyo}, Civic leaders were councilor Wilson Lando {Ndhiwa}, Counc. George Joseph Bonga {Karachuonyo}also in attendance wete two prominent businessmen in the region, Rakwach Ochila {Lambwe} and Mzee Alfred Ogwago Opiyo {Karachuonyo}

A letter petitioning Kenyatta wad drafted and the Rift Valley P.C Isaiyah Mathenge who had served in South Nyanza as a D.C was chosen as the potential conduit for the purpose of delivery of this petition to President Kenyatta while this writer was appointed an emissary who was to deliver the letter to Mathenge at his Nakuru P.C.’s Office..

On the very day this letter was delivered to Mathenge who in turn handed it over to Kenyatta only after gauging out the President’s mood that evening. The delivery was made after the old man had enjoyed cultural and traditional dances performed by Nyakinyua women traditional Kikuyu dancers from Subukia and Rongai

Within the next two days, Achieng’ was summoned by the PRISON COMMANDER AT Kamiuti and told to get ready of going home. tHe former PS was to tall friends year latter that he could believed what he was hearing and the news came to him like a dream. The same morning he was airlifted by the Police Airwing fronm Wilson Airport in Nairobi Nairobi to Kabunde Aerodrome near Homa-Bay town..The plane touched down in the ,id-morning and there he was whisked out of sight of everyone around snd placed in a police van which drove him to his k0ochia Karamul village home about ten kilometer in the southeast of Homa-Bay town.

The next day a team of workers from the MOW visited his home to carry out a thorough renovation work on his house. President Kenyatta coughed out his personal money to the tune of Kshs 20,000. Achieng’ instructed him not to appear anywhere in public place, market place, or by the main road until after the time when his prison terms are over. Kenyatta later helped Achieng’ financially, which enable him win the a Parliamentary seat the larger Homa-Bay constituency in 1974.

For the whole duration of the period when Achieng’ was confined into his own home this writer acted as an emissary delivering messages from Achieng’ to President Kemnyata.

It was during these exercises that I learnt that Kenyatta only ideologically disagreed with his former Vice President and a close friend Jaramgi Oginga Odinga, and not the entire members of the Luo community. He loved the talent and used to speak well of the two Luo academic giants in the name of Prof; David Wasawo and Prof Alan Bethwell Bethwell Ogot, Dr William Odongo Omamo and George King Omolo George King a perfet English speaker and an educationist who had acted as English interpreter during his in famous Kapenguria trial of 1953.

Aloys Philiph Achieng’’ was a multi-talented person who was also a pilot and a sharp shooter as well as a Makarere trained fisheries spevialist.

He once shot and killed a rougue bull Hipo which was causing havoc in Mzee Kenyatta’s farm near Ruiru town. But their relations was cemented down when the emperor HAILIE Salessie of Ethiopia came visiting Kenya on a State Visit.

Kenyatta, according to Achieng’s testimony several years later was told the Emperor loved feeding ann Guinea fawls and not chicken and Jomo instructed Achieng’s with a daunting task of looking for several Guinea Fowls. The former PS moved to Kadiado with a shot guns and sh0t dead six guinea fowls. When be brought the dead birds to State House, Nairobi, Kenyatta told him that the Emperor cannot feed himself on dead birds. Achieng’s got disturbed and wondered as to where he could find the live guinea fowls. Fortunately one European resident of kilimani was breeding guinea fowls in his compound. Acieng’s visited the man and secured six live birds for which he paid dearly and brought them to Stte House amd this pleased mzee Kenyatta very much who praised him lavishly for his effort. This became the beginning of the friendship bond between the two men.

The obediency and the bond of friendship between Achieng’ and Mzees later to pay him handsomely.


Nigeria: We can bring back all our girls

From: Nizar Visram

By Marc and Craig Kielburger

The Star phoenix May 27, 2014

If only Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were actually Rambo, Mad Max and Han Solo. Then those aging, action flick superstars could actually go out and rescue the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped in April by a group of ruthless militants. And they’d do it in under two hours. All by themselves.

Instead, The Expendables 3 actors were left holding signs with the words “Bring Back Our Girls” – from the ubiquitous hashtag – for the cameras at the Cannes Film Festival, appealing like the rest of us for a resolution to this heart-wrenching story.

But we don’t need to be superheroes or send selfies – we can each save girls from exploitation and slavery by preventing it from happening in the first place. And we don’t need guns, tanks or Wookiee sidekicks to do it.

The phenomenal #Bring-BackOurGirls campaign made viral by Michelle Obama and other celebrities armed with smartphones has rallied image-conscious world leaders to commit military resources to finding the schoolgirls in Nigeria.
But even more importantly, it has rallied the attention of the rest of us to an issue that’s too often buried in the middle pages of the newspaper (or nowhere at all).

An International Labour Organization report released last week found that 21 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery, including 4.5 million forced into the global sex trade – an appalling industry worth $99 billion US. That’s more than the annual profits of Exxon and Apple combined.

So now that we’re all tuned in, we have a unique opportunity to turn our feelings of helplessness and moral outrage into a plan to bring back our girls – before they’re taken.

The vast majority of girls and women caught in the exploitative global sex trade are not victims of kidnapping, like the Nigerian 276 abducted by Boko Haram, but rather of poverty. Human traffickers prey on poor families who don’t have access to education and aren’t aware of their basic rights.

Mired in grinding poverty, parents desperately take out loans on conditions they don’t understand, pledging their children on their debts.

Similarly, it’s not militant groups that block 31 million girls from getting an education. The girls in Nigeria had a classroom, but many communities don’t have a functioning school. Many families can’t afford school supplies or uniforms.

Many girls have to stay home to care for sick relatives, look after their siblings, or perform essential household chores like walking miles every day for drinking water. Yet the opportunity for an education is critical to the economic future of that girl, that family and that community. Of course there will always be extreme cases of kidnapping and other evil deeds that require drastic measures like the ones being mobilized in Nigeria. But these extreme cases shouldn’t paralyze us from preventing more cases, from addressing the root causes that prevent millions more girls from setting foot in a classroom in the first place.

If we want to protect the world’s girls, we must empower them and their families to break the cycle of poverty.
We can accelerate the spread of microloans to women and families in rural areas and urban slums so they can start small businesses and avoid dependence on shady moneylenders. We can break down the barriers to girls’ education by supporting education initiatives, but also health-care programs and clean-water projects.

These solutions aren’t as exciting as Hollywood’s scripted versions in which heroes kick down doors, stop the bad guys and rescue victims. But they are the most effective and most sustainable ways to protect the world’s girls.

We’ve all felt a visceral reaction to the news from Nigeria over the past few weeks. If we truly want to step off the sidelines and do something to “bring back our girls,” there are many ways to do it. We don’t need to be Schwarzenegger – we just have to finish posting our hash tag selfies and think about what to do once we put the sign down.

(Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded the educational partner and international charity Free The Children and the youth empowerment movement We Day.)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych arrested

From: Sam Muigai

Opposition lawmaker Volodym Kurennoy said that he had unconfirmed information that the president had been arrested in Crimea.

But Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said Monday they have no information about the whereabouts of President Viktor Yanukovych, who reportedly was seen in Sevastopol, a port on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that is the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

After signing an agreement with the opposition to end a conflict that turned deadly, Yanukovych fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s border service said he tried to fly out of the country Saturday from Donetsk but was stopped by their officials.

Ukrainain news portal reports that Sevastopol residents saw Yanukovych in the company of Russian marines. The claim could not be independently verified.

Spokespersons for the regional and national Interior Ministry and Security Service said Monday they had no such information.

Yanukovych set off a wave of protests by shelving an agreement with the EU in November and turning toward Russia, and the movement quickly expanded its grievances to corruption, human rights abuses and calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.

The speaker of parliament assumed the president’s powers Sunday, but a presidential aide told the AP on Sunday that Yanukovych plans to stay in power.

Tensions have been mounting in Crimea, where pro-Russian politicians are organizing rallies and forming protest units and have been demanding autonomy from Kiev. Russia maintains a big naval base in Crimea that has tangled relations between the countries for two decades.
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U.S. Calls for Release of South Sudan’s Political Detainees

from: South Sudan Press

The United States has on Thursday called on South Sudan’s government to free the remaining four political prisoners who are still being held.

Earlier this week, the South Sudanese government released seven detainees and handed them over to the Kenyan government.

The U.S. says it welcomes the release of the seven prisoners and calls it a “positive step”.

“We welcome the release of the seven detainees and we believe that is a positive step … We will continue to urge the release of the remaining four detainees,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told Reuters.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the remaining four detainees are still under investigation and that final results of their cases will be given to president Kiir for his final decision.

“As soon as it (the investigation) is over, the report again will go to the president and he has the option also of using his constitutional authority to grant a pardon or whatever”, Marial told Reuters.

The four remaining detainees are: Former deputy defense Minister Majak D’Agoot, Former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum, former head of South Sudan’s office to the United States, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and ex-national security minister Oyai Deng Ajak.


from: Ouko joachim omolo
The News Dispatch with Omolo Beste

George from Bumala, Kenya, writes: Father Beste I read your article about coup attempt in South Sudan and compare it with current wrangles between URP and TNA on job sharing on key positions.

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter Wednesday claimed President Kenyatta’s visit to the Rift Valley achieved nothing because the President failed to explain the alleged biased appointments in government as demanded by URP.

He cited the appointments of Mr Joseph Kinyua as the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr John Mututho as Nacada chairman, Mr Joseph Kaguthi as chairman of the Committee on Nyumba Kumi, Mr Lee Kinyanjui as Kenya Road Safety Authority chairman and Mr Njee Muturi as Solicitor General as some of the appointments URP members were unhappy about.

The URP legislators are also accusing Uhuru for not only favoring his tribesmen on sh1.2 trillion launch of standard gauge railway to connect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, but also want the sh1.2 trillion project to be renegotiated before it kicks off.

URP legislators are claiming that Kenyans stand to lose a whooping sh400 billion in the railway deal if the current arrangement is not changed’, accusing powerful men around President Kenyatta of being behind the scheme to swindle Kenyans by inflating the cost from $2 million per kilometer to $6m per kilometer.

The URP legislator also accused Uhuru’s TNA of taking advantage of Ruto absence to seal big deals without consulting URP, an sentiments echoed by Bomet East MP Bernard Bett who said there was a group of corrupt officials in Government who were seeking to enrich themselves through irregular tendering processes.

My question Father Beste, don’t you think if things continue this way in Kenya it will be like South Sudan where Riek Machar attempted to overthrow the government of Salva Kiir because he only favours his Dinka tribesmen on job sharing between Dina and Machar’s Nuer tribesmen?”

Dennis from Nairobi writes: “Father Beste I have a quarrel with the people who gave SS only 5 years then they would be allowed referendum for self determination, Kalonzo Musyoka takes pride in Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 5 years was not sufficient at all for such a state emerging from years of war and neglect.

There were no qualified personnel, no systems for accountability in place after those first 5 years. I worked there relocating Save US offices from Nairobi to Juba, and once went to pay for work permits, I was to pay 1,000 USD and instead of getting an official receipt, the guy gave me back 200 USD, as part of my cut but I refused to badge and insisted on something to show that I had paid signed and stamped as for sure they at times run out of receipt books.

To tell it all the corruption ends up in Kampala and Nairobi, every Friday flights to the 2 capitals are full not with Ugandans or Kenyans but with South Sudanese going to visit their families, and carrying with them huge sums of money, that is invested in the 2 cities not Juba so it is not a wonder when you talk of hard currencies not being available as it is carried out. Many of the top officials still have their families in the 2 cities and one thing I must say is that they learnt and perfected in the art of corruption in those 2 cities.

You will agree with me that the 2 countries are well know for corruption, in fact at one time a traffic police officer in Juba stopped us and when he realized we were Kenyans he simply said CHAI, and when we asked what for he told us he trained in Kenya and we know what it means and if we don’t comply he will find fault with the vehicle and take us to the police station.

I wonder whether Kiir himself is keen on fighting corruption, it is mere rhetoric. That country and its hard headed people need divine intervention, and I am sorry to say that Dinkas are the grabbers in SS asking where the rest were when they were fighting.

It is difficult to control that country as it is vast and with poor communication infra structure, and war like people, why war like even in the street of Juba when cars collide it is not strange to see occupants come out and instead of talking to sort out the problem, start exchanging blows even without muttering any words”.

George I don’t think the wrangles between URP and TNA job sharing in government key position can be compared to that of Dinka and Nuer in South Sudan. What is likely to happen if Uhuru does not change his style of allocating jobs to 50-50 percent as agreed between Kalenjins and GEMA is that next elections the Kalenjins may refuse to support him.

Tension in South Sudan can be compared to Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City play book where critics of the government are not tolerated. They are put into prison over false charges.

South Sudan is where Government officials are freely making use of any opportunity to make money through unfair means. It is the character of Tumbo where for instance he declares Jusper the winner of the play writing competition and awards him the winner’s prize money.

What is currently taking place in South Sudan is compared to one third of the six hundred pounds to finance the play writing competition given to Jusper and his girl friend, Regina; and the remaining two thirds to put records straight emphasizing that everything is being done in strict confidence.

It is the country where revenge is the order of the day, where people are falsely accused in order to be favored. Where Boss’ trust of those who advise him especially like Mulili character in the play making him give unbearable directives to silence those presumably against his government including the simple old couple who were innocent.

When the play begins, Adika, a university student, has just been buried. He was killed by police during a student demonstration. His brother Jusper, who feigns madness, kills the local chief in retaliation and in counter-retaliation, his parents Doga and Nina are killed. Meanwhile, the lecturer Mosese languishes in jail.

This is what is taking place in South Sudan currently. Soldiers fire indiscriminately in highly populated areas and targeted people for their ethnicity during recent fighting in Juba.

The fighting followed deepening tensions between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and the former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer. Government soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and police questioned residents about their ethnicity and deliberately shot ethnic Nuer.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail omolo.ouko@gmail.comFacebook-omolo beste

Real change must come from ordinary people who refuse to be taken hostage by the weapons of politicians in the face of inequality, racism and oppression, but march together towards a clear and unambiguous goal.
-Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
UN Disarmament
Conference, 2002


Writes Leo Odera Omolo

REPORTS emerging from the Arusha based secretariat of the EAST African Community says that top Ugandan traders operating inside the Republic of South Sudan have moved to the East African Court of Justice and filed a legal suit asking the court to block the impending admission of that country into the East African Community as its sixth member.

The newest African nation had applied to join the regional trading unit. Its application for the entry into the Eac is expected to be top on agenda for the next summit of the EAC Heads of state and government, which is scheduled for April next year.

The businessmen have cited bad governance, lack of democracy, arbitrary and illegal arrests of its members and detention, rape, maiming and confiscation of merchant goods belonging to its members and confiscation of vehicles.

The legal suit is filed by members of the Uganda Traders Association comprising mainly Ugandans who are doing business in South Sudan. The Ugandans claimed that that country does not meet the criteria and lad down the rules stipulating by the EAC Treaty for admission of its membership. Their objection is on the ground that the juba regime does not met the prerequisite condition and requirements for admission into the EAC membership.

South Sudan government, they claimed has failed the test of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice. They further accused the Juba regime of failing to satisfy foreign investors operating businesses and trade in that country. Their members are allegedly being killed, maimed, raped and brutally beaten up by that country’s primitive and untrained security personnel. They laid claim of approximately 4.9 US dollars owed to them by South Sudan authorities related to unpaid bill on credit line and compensation for financial losses incurred due to the said violation of universally acceptable trade deals.

However, the Ugandan Minister in-charge of the East African Community Affairs Shem Rugena blamed the traders for having rushed to court, saying that they should have forwarded their claims to the EAC Council of Ministers before fling the court cases.

Meanwhile Kenyans arriving home from South Sudan alleged that close to ten Kenyans have died in that country under very mysterious circumstances. Some of them have disappeared without trace suspected of either held in illegal detention camps of killed.

Kenyans, they claimed, expect bare faced mass deportation and are being asked to finance the cost of their deportation. This is sometime exaggerated by the police, put at Kshs 200,200. Whereas the cost of travelling from Juba to the Kenya South Sudan border posts does not exceed Kshs 30,000 . Those under arrests or placed in police custody are tortured and at the same time being asked to pay colossal amounts of money to buy their freedom.




Shouts of Alego ni nono oonge Mjumbe rent the air during the Mashujaa rally in SIAYA town last Sunday when a group of ODM youths made an attempt to heckle and evict the ALlego-Usonga MP Omondi Muluany at a well attended rally held at Siaya Stadium to commemorate the heros day. The party youths and security personnel intervened and ejected the rowdy youths out of the meeting venue.

It later emerged that the MP who the Mardh 14th general on the Whiper ticket had skipped all the campaign meetings which were held all over the County during the recent by-election campaign for Siaya governor,including the one which was attended by the party leader Raila O Odinga.

The MP who appeared to have been shocked and shaken described the group as hired political goons

THOSE who attended the Siaya rally were stunned when speaker after speaker heaped a lot of praise at politicians previously aligned to the late Jaramogi IOginga Odinga showering them as The only heroes who fought for freedom.

They deliberately excluded the names of other LUO freedom fighters who were known to have differed with the Jaramogi leadership style. Observers and pundits were, however quick in pointing out that those whose names had been mentioned prominently at the really included those who are known to be Raila sycophants and political surrogates whose contribution to the liberation war and anti colonialists activities are very insignificant.

THESE names represented only the residents of Siiaya County THEY INCLUDED Achieng Oneko, Jaramogi, Argwings Kodhek, Wasonga SijeyoBut even in SIAYA county, the names of political giants and heroes like Walter Fanuel Odede, DO Makasembo were deliberately omitted and replaced by some characters of some former boot lickers of the colonialists.

Odede who later was to become the father in-law of atom Mboy WALKED INTO THE SHOES OF THE Jomo KENYAT immediately after the latter and five other leading nationalists were rounded up and arrested by he colonialists following the declaration of the STATE OF emergency in Kenya by the colonialists. He too was arrested and placed in detention in the remote Northern Kanya district of Samburu and was detained for eight year because he had taken over as the acting President of KAU. Odede like Oneko hails from Uyoms in Rarieda within Bondo district.

Other uncompromising freedom fighters whose names were missing at the Siaya rally included Tom Mboya, Elijah Omolo Agar, Lawrence Gerald Oguda,Daniel OJijo Oteko,John PAUL olola,BARRACK Owuor,The latter two were the founder of the Kavirondo Taxpayers ,which collaborated well with the Harry Thuku led Kikuyu Central Association that gave the colonialists sleepless nights.

THE Siaya rally clearly portrayed an attempt by Siaya leaders as trying at the distortion of the Nyanza region’s political history.

The history of the past should be told as per its true perspective for the interests of the present and future generations.


The Global Slavery Index 2013

From: Yona Maro

This is the first edition of the Global Slavery Index. It is the first Index of its kind – providing an estimate, country by country, of the number of people living in modern slavery today.

Each year, Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index will produce the most detailed global picture of the numbers of enslaved people available. The Index will also identify factors that shed light on the risk of modern slavery in each country and examine the strength of government responses in tackling this issue.

Explore findings from the 2013 Report by navigating the interactive map. Browse regional and country-level research and statistics examining the risks of modern slavery, current levels of government response and a set of recommendations that can effectively tackle modern slavery.


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From: Judy Miriga

Sport-on Otieno Sungu.You speak like a man of principle who must change tactics to face, challenge and defeat an enemy of terror when security is threatened.

Security and survival is standing on shaky-grounds, instead of blame-games, people must be alert and unite to add pressure to the leadership. It is worrying to see Al-shabaab is digging deeper with more threats on Kenyans sending signals that they are turning to poaching when their source of funding is cut.

We cannot blame the President wholesomely before we get to know whether he was under some sort of siege. The President too must not speak on riddles. Why would the President read the Riot Act and who are the people he accuses of creating “aparallel centre of power”? Is the President trying to imply that he is not in control??? Is there a vacuum in leadership??? Why would thee be a parallel center of power if an elected President is in control???

President Uhuru must come clean if he wants Kenyans and the world to believe and trust in him. He need to tell the world the truth who are these people he is accusing of creating “a parallel centre of Power”. Could they be those who sent Al-shabaab to attack Westgate? Could they be those who sponsored Al-shabaab into Kenya and helped them escape??? Are the Al-shabaab incorporated into the Police force??? After I studied the ambush at the Wastegate I still wonder why both the International Media and the Local media were sent away while volunteers in plain cloths managed to get inside the mall and help whisking people out…………..Why did the police sent the Media away??? What was the police trying to hide??? Why would Uhuru not sack and relieve Francis Kimemia completely out of the Public Service for failing in his Responsibility and putting people in a very sorry state. If Kimemia was at fault, why would Uhuru continue to retain him and pay a double salary wasting publind funds???

This is a fight all Kenyans must unite to bring to end. People must inform and report all suspects wherever they live or do business and they must be rooted out through mass force otherwise if Kenyans slake, Kenyans will be taken over by events and the Al-shabaab will soon or later root out Kenyans and take control of Kenya the way M23 have done to Congo people. This is something we cannot take lightly and it is a behavior that must not be allowed to happen to Kenya.

Wake up people, wake up Kenyans………….and demand for your rights of security with Responsible leadership and equally, it is your right to demand for transparency and accountability that no one should ever take it away from the people……………….Al-shabaab must not take root in Kenya and continue to hold Kenyans hostages in compromising situation………….

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

– – – – – – – – – – –

From: otieno sungu
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2013 3:33 PM

Following the West Gate attack, it is necessary for the government to reassess its strategy to protect Kenyans.

In my opinion, sacking individuals or moving them around will not solve our security problem. Right now, we have an avowed enemy, Al Shabaab which does not fight conventional wars nor does it respect international conventions of engagement.

Under these circumstances, our government must also device counter measures like what Israel does with terrorist groups.First and foremost, we need to re-evaluate our intelligence bodies ability to contain terror.The NSIS must not be a toothless body that collects intelligence and hands the same over to some overweight chaps at Vigilante House to execute the prevention.The folks we have at NSIS have a level of training, education and discipline higher than the ordinary police. When ordinary police are given intelligence information, some of which is beyond their comprehension, they can only bungle up such operations. Various cases exist of bungled up operations. The Fellician Kabuga saga, a man who should be behind bars in Rwanda by now, has evaded police dragnet several times because of bungled up operations, one of which Steven Munuhe, the informer, lost his life after being set up by corrupt policemen, several operations in Mombasa and Malindi to nab terror suspects have gone wrong and suspects escaped(including the White Widow and several drug barons) because either intelligence reached the ears of greedy and corruptible police who in turn alert the criminals.

Under these circumstances, NSIS must go back to the outfit it was and its equivalents around the world such as CIA, M16, MOSSAD, FBI,KGB etc.

These intelligence arms are independent and can arrest, detain and investigate individuals. They can actually take over cases of such magnitude such as terrorism from the ordinary police. Yet our case is the opposite, NSIS has to report such to an ill equipped, corrupt and lazy police force to act. No wonder intelligence reports that we would be attacked between 14th and 21st September went unheeded.

Secondly, the NSIS should brief the President directly on matters of national security. This bureaucracy of briefing Cabinet Secretaries, some of whom are greenhorns and ill equipped to conceptualize the magnitude of what they are being briefed about is what culminated in the attack. If it is true that 4 Cabinet secretaries in Internal Security, Defense and other critical Ministries were briefed and did not act, then have a calamity in the name of Cabinet. Ole Lenku and Rachel Omamo should be ashamed enough to have resigned by now, to continue drawing a salary on such failure and on people’s blood is not only inhuman but a fraud on the tax payer.I wonder if they have conscience!

Having said that, we must now focus on illegal immigrants, fake nationals and refugees not staying in designated camps. We cannot thrive on disorder. Our immigration must be overhauled and systems put in place to ensure every person registered is tracked through a centralized and computerized registration process which consolidates information on personal identification, social security details, PIN details, passport details such that it is easy to track down money laundering, money wired for terror, individual travels, networks, business, banking trend, residence etc.

Terrorists are using our weak systems to open legitimate businesses in Kenya and proceed to wire millions into bank accounts of such businesses and use the same to recruit youth, plan terror, corrupt our police and set up strong networks, we must deny them such easy avenues of moving money around. This can only happen if we are able to track people moving huge sums of money around whose sources cannot be explained. This can only happen if KRA and Central Bank are able to track such.

We must also begin looking carefully are radical religious dogma and the people perpetrating the same. We cannot turn a blind eye and shy away from confronting the issue of radical preachers who preach hate, death, killings and martyrdom. If this be the case, then we need to know who such preachers have in mind when they offer such fiery sermons. Freedom of worship is not any ticket to break laws neither is it ticket to infringe on other people’s freedoms. It is now common information that such preachers are growing in number, one of whom killed himself planting an explosive in Garrissa town recently.

The government MUST crack down on such because they are not furthering any religious dogma as we know it but fomenting terror using the cover of Holy Places. Anyone defending or protesting their arrests must also be arrested as accomplices to plans of terror. We cannot live in a society where a few individuals distort their religious beliefs and go on a killing spree of our citizens. The President vowed to protect lives and property, he must crush such with the full force of the law irrespective of cries from sympathizers.

Lastly, we must not only wait for terrorists to strike and we defend ourselves, we must now take the battle to their doorstep,with KDF in Somalia, we must hunt down and capture or kill the masterminds and financiers, we must keep them on the run and run them out of Somalia into the open world where they will be wanted international fugitives, vulnerable and hiding with very little time, resources and personnel to plan any attacks. This is what Israel does with terrorists, kill them in their domain or smoke them out and keep them running for the rest of their short lives,until they are neutralized.

But a good place to start is our midst, the ones we already know and are linked or suspected or and sympathetic to terrorists.

Otieno Sungu.


Uhuru reads the Riot Act on people he accuses of creating ‘a parallel centre of power’

Updated Saturday, September 28th 2013 at 21:47 GMT +3

Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia [PHOTO:STANDARD]

Although his official title is Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia has been performing duties of the powerful office of the Head of Public Service.

But he won’t perform that role any more. That job has been assigned to former Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua.

And Kimemia’s duties have been reduced to writing invitation letters to Cabinet secretaries to attend Cabinet meetings, taking minutes during the meetings and disseminating the same to the secretaries. In a sense, the Westgate attack has cost the former Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet his job.

At a Cabinet meeting in State House, Nairobi on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to have read the Riot Act on people he accused of creating a “parallel centre of power” within the government.

The President is said to have seethed with rage after it emerged that some senior officials in Harambee House, the former Office of the President, were issuing unauthorised instructions over the Westgate Mall attack.

And immediately after making his point, the President introduced Joseph Kinyua to replace former powerful PS in the Office of the President Mr Kimemia.

Kimemia was also at the Thursday meeting in his capacity as Secretary to the Cabinet.It also emerged that Kimemia chaired the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) meeting where the National Intelligence Service (NIS) says it provided information on the impending attack at the mall. “He is secretary to the Cabinet and only God knows in what capacity he was chairing that meeting,” said a close Uhuru ally at Harambee House.

Furious Uhuru

A Cabinet secretary told The Standard on Sunday that Uhuru was furious when he addressed the Thursday Cabinet meeting.

“Some of you think there are two centres of power. I am the President and there is also the Deputy President. There is no other centre of power,” Uhuru is said to have warned at the State House meeting. It was after he made the tough remarks that Uhuru introduced the appointment of Kinyua as the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.

Kinyua became the centre of attention after the meeting with all Cabinet secretaries lining up to greet and congratulate him. That effectively made him the third in command within government after Deputy President William Ruto and the second in command at State House after the President. Sources in the Cabinet informed The Standard on Sunday that the changes were made following a series of communication goofs where Kimemia was implicated.

Concern was raised when Interior Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo called a Press conference at Harambee House when his boss Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku was addressing another one at Peponi Road in Westlands.

“It is not possible Iringo could have called that Press conference without the knowledge of Kimemia who is in charge of affairs at Harambee House,” said our source.

The Cabinet secretary was with the military generals and top police officers including Inspector General David Kimaiyo, and CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro when he was issuing the Press statement on Sunday evening.

The team had opened an operation camp near the site of the attack but Kimemia and Iringo were conspicuously absent.

“The president noticed that because the whole world could see there was somebody who was trying to create another centre of power,” said an official from the Executive Office of The President.

The management of the crisis became more complicated when the Interior ministry started tweeting and releasing conflicting information. At the same time, the police service was releasing different information from what was coming out of Harambee House.

The social media went viral on the conflicting information, which top government officials blamed on Kimemia. According to our source, Kimemia had not realised that Harambee House was no longer the Office the President.

“The last time Uhuru was at Harambee House was when he was President-elect and has since worked from his office at State House,” our source explained.

It appears Uhuru was surprised to learn that Kimemia was the head of NSAC and was getting all security briefs, but some of the information was not reaching him and other agencies.

“The information on the Westgate attack was given but it did not go anywhere. The NIS had informed them what vehicles the Al-Shabaab would use and at what time they would attack. Kimaiyo was also said to have been there and that is why NIS keeps saying they gave information to top officials at OP and police,” said our source.

State House officials say Kimemia had taken too long to understand that he was secretary to the Cabinet, whose job is to write letters of invitation, take minutes and circulate them.

Kimemia’s comment

“ Kimemia surprisingly is still chair of NSAC just like he was when he was head of public service when he is only supposed to be secretary to the Cabinet,” said another senior officer at the ministry of Interior.

When The Standard on Sunday contacted Kimemia to comment on the unfolding events, he sent an SMS saying: “No comment. I know what I am supposed to do.”

The Standard on Sunday is in possession of letters Kimemia wrote to Cabinet secretaries while designating himself as Permanent Secretary, to the Cabinet and Head of Public service.

In the letter dated 24th June, Reference number OP.CAB.9/1, the “Head of Public Service” an office that was scrapped with the beginning of Uhuru’s term, he instructed all Cabinet secretaries not to gazette any new appointments of chairpersons or chief executive officers in the government parastatals unless in concurrence with the Office of the President.


Al Shabaab now turns to poaching to fund terror activities
Updated Saturday, September 28th 2013 at 22:27 GMT +3

In May 2007, three Kenya Wildlife Service rangers died at the hands of Somali bandits in a pre-dawn shoot-out. The gang of poachers was crossing the Tana River on their way to Tsavo East National Park. The incursion was halted, but the eventual cost in human life from this emerging deadly trend was to be massive.

Six years later, an 18-month investigation by South African environmental groups Maisha Consulting and Elephant Action League in the involvement of Al Shabaab on trafficking ivory through Kenya established that this trade could be supplying up to 40 per cent of the funds needed to keep the merchants of terror in business.

“The deadly path of conflict ivory starts with the slaughter of innocent animals and ends in the slaughter of innocent people. It is a source of funding for terrorist organisations that transcends cruelty. It is the ‘white gold’ for African jihad; white for its colour and gold for its value,” Andrea Crosta the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the South African independent conservation organisation Elephant Action League (EAL) told The Standard on Sunday.

A parallel can be drawn between Kenya’s incursion into Somalia and increased poaching incidents within the country. With every inch of ground gained by the Kenya Defence Forces, a mile is lost back home in the never-ending war of protecting the country’s wildlife.

“Surrounded by porous borders, Kenya has long been a transit point for illegal ivory. The KWS is doing a commendable job but in an attempt to crack down on this trade, dealers looking for fast money and an easier market have turned to a new player in the game – Al Shabaab,” Crosta said.

“This reality is too close to home to pass as a mere coincidence,” Crosta said. Although poaching has been ongoing for decades, the cutting off of Al Shabaab’s income streams has forced them to look elsewhere for funding.

Kismayu had long stood as an economic bastion for the militia group. A UN Monitoring Group says outside Mogadishu, the port city was the second most important operational base for the Al Qaeda-linked militants.

In 2008, Al Shabaab took over Kismayu, the third-largest city in Somalia, after fighting a fierce three-day battle against pro-government militias. The group quickly imposed harsh administrative rules grounded in Sharia law on the port’s business community. To raise revenue, Al Shabaab increased the fees for importing and exporting goods through the port by 30 per cent.

The most important economic activities in Kismayu are fishing, the import of industrial goods and the export of primary goods such as livestock, charcoal, and khat to the Gulf States. Just from tax impositions, it is estimated that the group collected upwards of over Sh2.1 million every month. “Through trade with the gulf states it is estimated that they earned more than Sh42 million every month from charcoal trade,” a Kenyan army official not authorised to speak on Kenya’s operations in Somalia told The Standard on Sunday.

Custom tolls

In total, a UN report states that “Al Shabaab collected an estimated between Sh2.9 and Sh4.2 billion annually in custom tolls and taxes on businesses in Kismayu and two secondary ports higher up the coast.”

Almost all this money was used to further their bloody insurgencies in Somalia and neighbouring countries. The port’s fall posed serious challenges to the militants.

Quick, alternative sources of income had to be identified for the survival of the Mujahedeen.

“The network is sophisticated and is composed of poachers, small and big-time brokers, and informants, all linked to the trade in ivory and rhino horn. Our enquiries reached across the border into neighbouring Somalia where we established a link between the traders and Al Shabaab… Shabaab has been actively buying and selling ivory as a means of funding their militant operations,” Crosta said.

The investigation by EAL shows that the role of Al Shabaab in ivory trafficking is of immense concern.

“The harsh environment in which they operate, deprived of natural resources makes ivory and rhino horn trade that much more important,” says the report.

However, Al Shabaab’s role is not limited to poaching and brokerage, but they provide a crucial link in the illegal trade chain.

“Shabaab’s strength and conviction to continue its fight will increase its need for fighters, arms, ammunition and other equipment, and increase its need for funds. As the West continues to fight radical terrorist organisations through seizing assets in offshore bank accounts, straw companies and ‘charities’, these organisations, including Al Shabaab, will rely increasingly on trafficking in contraband as a source of finance,” the investigation reveals.

The report indicates that between one to three tonnes of ivory; fetching a price of roughly Sh17,000 per kilogramme, pass through the hands of Al Shabaab every month. Meaning that ivory accounts for between Sh17 million and Sh51 million every month.

So far this year, more than 8.5 tonnes of ivory have been seized. With an estimated Asia black market value of almost Sh300,000 per kilogramme, this means a total of more than Sh2.5 billion worth of ivory has been seized.

Experts say the seized ivory only represent 20 per cent of the black market circulation.

“Most of the ivory we seize is on transit from other countries and to other destinations,” Paul Mbugua, KWS spokesperson said.

So far, none of these hauls has officially been attributed to the decimated Kenyan herds.

But it is a fact that following the fall of Kismayu, Kenya has seen an exponential increase in ivory-related poaching. From 283 in 2011, 385 deaths were recorded in 2012. This year may be worse.

Already 235 elephants have been killed with 35 rhinos murdered for their horns compared to 29 the whole of last year. The highlight being the brazen daytime attack and killing of a white rhino at the Nairobi National Park — Kenya’s most guarded animal sanctuary.

“This avenue provides enough income for running a large part of their activities,” Crosta said. “This is not only dangerous for our animal population, but most importantly for our survival.”

In Kenya’s arid north, an area bordering Somalia, an AK-47 costs downwards of Sh50,000. A bullet costs as little as Sh70. An Imigration official at a border crossing earns a basic salary of between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000. With an outwardly corrupt public service, a successful poacher-terrorist will find little difficulty in arming himself, killing wildlife and eventually smuggling out his loot to the outside buyers and rearming himself for a deadlier assault in “enemy territory”.

EAL says corruption is not just the deadliest enemy of conservation but also of any other effort to push Africa forward. In their investigations not only in Kenya, corruption comes up all the time and at all levels. “If we fail to act now, militant groups like Al Shabaab will lay down their roots deep in the African landscape, destroying its heritage for generations to come. Dangerous and unpredictable, Al Shabaab’s involvement in ivory trade brings with it an alarming dimension, a dimension the world cannot afford to ignore,” concludes the report.

Religious charities

However, ivory plays just one part in the bigger picture. Foreign funding through the Hawala system and disguised religious charities pursuing ulterior agenda, supplemented by criminal activities, enables Al Shabaab to hold on to its war. The criminal activities include taxation of businesses and NGOs, trafficking in drugs, arms and humans, and involvement in counterfeit currency.

“This is not the major one, but it plays a huge part in their financing,” Crosta said.

Al Shabaab is not alone in the plunder of wildlife to sustain their insurgencies.

“Other militias involved in poaching, like the Lord’s Resistance Army or the Sudanese Janjaweed, usually kill elephants themselves, sometimes very far from home. Al Shabaab does not kill elephants. They leave the dirty job to locals and buy the ivory from known traffickers. For them ivory is just a business, like charcoal and the group remains unique in its role as a very organised buyer,” said Crosta.


Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Somalia: Armed Men Attack Government Military Bases and Kenyan Bases in the Lower Juba Region
27 September 2013

Confrontations between armed men and Somali military llied with Kenyan troops occurred at Kulbiyow sub-district in the lower Juba region of Somalia.

Residents confirmed to Shabelle radio that the attackers believed to be members of Alshabab fighters attacked a military base manned by Kenyan peacekeeping forces and Somali military soldiers.

Heavy gunfire that lasted hours was heard at nearby settlements.

In other news armed men attacked another military base located near the Kismayu University which is operated by the Kenyan troops.

Somali government troops together with the Kenyan troops fought off the attackers after a slight confrontation which lasted for hours.

The real casualties caused by the last night attacks has not yet been revealed by the authorities of the lower Juba region

Attacker mainly from Shabab fighters frequently attack government and AMISOM bases located in the lower Juba region of Somalia.

Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Kenya Holding 8 Suspects in Mall Attack
27 September 2013

Kenyan authorities say they are still holding eight people in connection with the deadly four-day siege at a Nairobi shopping mall.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters Friday that authorities have released three other suspects.

Earlier this week, officials said five suspected militants were killed as troops and police worked to regain control of the Westgate mall.

The official total death toll from the siege stands at 72.

Investigators continue to sift through the wreckage at the partially collapsed mall. On Friday, the Kenyan Red Cross said 59 people remain missing following the attack.

Lenku said no additional bodies have been recovered from the site.

“According to police records, there are no formal or official reports of missing persons who could have been at the mall at the time of the attack.”

The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack and is vowing to carry out other acts of violence against Kenya.

On Twitter Friday, the militant group said its attack on the Westgate mall was “just the premiere of Act 1.”

Al-Shabab says it wants Kenyan forces to withdraw from Somalia. Kenyan forces entered neighboring Somalia two years ago to help fight the militant group, which has been fighting to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

The Associated Press said Friday that investigators had recovered a vehicle that was believed to have been used by some of the attackers.

Human Rights Watch urged Kenyan authorities to “swiftly” catch and prosecute the mall attackers. In a statement, the group’s Africa director, Daniel Bekele, said “nothing justifies the cruel contempt for human life” that the attackers had shown.

In another development, the International Criminal Court announced it has extended Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto’s absence from his trial until Wednesday.

The ICC said it granted the extension to allow Ruto to attend a memorial service for mall victims on Tuesday.

Ruto faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the deadly ethnic violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 election.


Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Kenya: Westgate Attack Reveals Gaping Security Holes
By Rajab Ramah and Julius Kithuure, , and Bosire Boniface in Garissa, 27 September 2013

Nairobi — As renewed threats and mockery from al-Shabaab have emerged in the past few days, the Kenyan people are still looking for answers as to how the bloody siege at Nairobi’s Westgate mall happened — and whether it could have been prevented.

By now, many of the details of the siege are understood: Last Saturday a group of al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the upscale shopping centre, indiscriminately shooting shoppers and tossing grenades into crowds of innocent civilians. In a standoff that lasted four days, the gunmen killed at least 67 people and held an unknown number of others as hostages until Kenyan security forces gained control of the situation Tuesday.

But in the aftermath of the attack, many questions remain unanswered: What happened to the remaining hostages? How were the attackers able to gain access to the shopping centre and hold it for so long? Who was the mastermind behind the attack and where is he or she now?

Did Kenyan security and intelligence forces receive prior warnings about the attack, and could they have prevented it?

“Terrorist attacks do not happen out of blue,” said security analyst Raymond Kipkorir Cheruiyot, a retired Kenyan armed forces colonel and co-owner of Multi Security Consultants Limited in Nairobi.

“Terrorists execute an attack when security agencies are complacent,” he told Sabahi. “Westgate shopping mall was a high profile complex, which should have been under intense 24-hour security surveillance and armed police guard. That way, the planning of this attack would have been detected and thwarted.”

Cheruiyot criticised the Kenyan government’s “disjointed” response to what he described as a sophisticated attack that “a crack team of terrorists” carefully planned and executed.

The authorities should place such high value targets under constant surveillance, review existing security arrangements and procedures, and monitor locals who sympathise with or support terrorists, he said.

“Yes, our security team response time was good, but their performance would have been more clinical had they acted on external intelligence warnings that Westgate mall was a soft target of high value to terrorists,” Cheruiyot said.

A prior terror alert

In August, security officials issued a terror alert for Kenya, saying they had received intelligence reports that at least five al-Shabaab operatives had entered Mombasa from Somalia and may have been plotting an attack to coincide with the first anniversary of radical cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed’s killing.

“A security alert in Mombasa or Kisumu should be a concern for the entire country,” said retired army Major Bishar Hajji Abdullahi. “It is evident that someone was lax.”

“In the aftermath of this incident, those who know they are culpable should just resign, or the president [should] sack them,” Abdullahi told Sabahi.

The Kenyan Defence Forces and allied troops have done a good job dispersing al-Shabaab inside Somalia, but Kenya’s security services should have launched a manhunt for suspected militants on the home soil once they got those intelligence reports, he said.

David Ochami, a Mombasa-based journalist who covers Middle East and Horn of Africa militant groups, said there were signs of a potential attack in the weeks leading up to the Westgate siege.

Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers had been very active on social media in the weeks before the attack, for example, and their messages could have provided clues to prevent the attack, he said.

“Some of the postings may turn out to be a hoax to instil fear or posturing, but they should be deciphered and taken very seriously,” Ochami told Sabahi.

Even during the siege at the mall, al-Shabaab frequently posted messages about it on Twitter, Ochami said, underscoring the importance of paying attention to how terrorists use social media as they mount and execute such attacks.

Despite having at least five Twitter handles shut down this year, including three in the aftermath of the Westgate attack, al-Shabaab is still using the social media site to threaten and mock its enemies.

In a series of tweets Thursday, al-Shabaab criticised the Kenyan government for the apparent conflicting information it provided following the attack.

“The Kenyan government is still in disarray & it won’t be until several months when it fully comprehends exactly what took place at Westgate,” al-Shabaab said. “Their contradictory version of events is a sure sign that the Kenyan govt is beginning to suffer from severe constipation of ideas.”

The militants went on to boast of their “mesmeric performance” at Westgate, keeping Kenyans “completely enthralled for more than 100 hours”.

Al-Shabaab renewed its threats to Kenyans saying, “… despair not folks, that was just the première of Act 1”.

A tipoff Westgate attack was coming

Meanwhile, Kenyan lawmaker Mike Sonko made headlines this week by claiming that well before the attack he had received information that terrorists were planning to strike Westgate mall and other Nairobi landmarks.

He said he had relayed this information to the authorities, but they did not take it seriously enough.

According to Sonko, who represents the Westlands constituency where Westgate is located, two women approached him about three months ago with information that al-Shabaab militants had rented a house in the Parklands neighbourhood of Nairobi and were plotting such attacks.

“They told me the attacks were targeting Westgate, Village Market, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and parliament,” he told Sabahi. “I assisted them in recording a statement with the police and intelligence officers so a further probe could be carried out.”

The National Security Intelligence Service and other security organs failed to act on the tip, Sonko said. He shared this information with the Senate on September 24th, the day the standoff at Westgate ended.

Fellow lawmaker Asman Kamama, who chairs the National Assembly’s Administration and National Security Committee, said the mall attack exposed lapses in intelligence gathering.

“The way the attacks were carried out, it was well co-ordinated, meaning it was something that was well planned and executed,” Kamama, a United Republican Party member who represents Baringo County, told Sabahi.

“And for our intelligence to have had no clue on the impending attacks, means there [were] huge security failures that we must audit and [for which we must] hold individuals culpable,” he said.

Officials respond

The attack on Westgate not only stunned the nation but appeared to catch defenders of the homeland off guard, officials told Sabahi.

“In all honesty, this was the first time Kenya has witnessed such an audacious terrorist attack on a mall using guns,” said Director of Police Reforms Jonathan Kosgei. “We knew of bombs, [but] this new style was hard to predict. However, the security forces did their best to contain the situation in the prevailing disadvantaged circumstances.”

“This attack will probably precipitate a national debate [about] whether to arm security guards or not,” he told Sabahi. “With only a wooden baton and a whistle, guards are so vulnerable and totally unable to stop an armed assault.”

Another factor to consider is how Westgate revealed al-Shabaab’s dramatic change in military tactics to commando-like operations, according to Western region Commissioner James ole Seriani.

“They want to inflict maximum damage which the roadside improvised explosive devices were not achieving,” he told Sabahi. “It is the same tactic they used in Garissa last year when they stormed and opened fire in two churches and hotels leaving more than 20 dead.”

The Westgate massacre is a wakeup call, Seriani said, and the public should be alert so that terrorists can be neutralised before they cross into Kenya.

The Kenyan government was blamed, too, for issuing conflicting information to the press as the terror at Westgate unfolded.

But Principal Secretary for Internal Security Mutea Iringo defended the government, saying it was deliberate tactic aimed at throwing the terrorists off balance.

“Silence is also a tactical weapon,” he told Sabahi. “You do not want to engage in a public shouting match with a terrorist organisation.”

While it was an unfortunate incident, Iringo said he hoped the Westgate attack would encourage world leaders to take action against al-Shabaab.

“Al-Shabaab is now not only a Somali headache but part and parcel of a global terrorist network that needs the world governments to dismantle,” he said.

Top security officers are expected to appear before parliament next week as part of the investigation into the terrorist attack.

“The time for responsibility and accountability has come,” defence committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji said, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation.

“We shall conduct a thorough, in-depth, incisive and unforgiving investigation into the events and the failures that led to the attack,” he said at parliament shortly after his committee held a closed door meeting Thursday.

Gethenji said the joint committee, comprising members of the defence and national security committees, will call Kenya’s intelligence chief, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, the Inspector General of Police and other top security officials to shed light on the attack.

Ethiopian prison imposes restrictions on journalist Reeyot Alemu

To: “”

By Agwanda Saye

The decision by authorities at Kality Prison to impose visitor restrictions on imprisoned journalist Reeyot Alemu constitutes harassment and runs counter to the Ethiopian constitution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

"We call upon the Ethiopian authorities to lift these latest restrictions and allow Reeyot Alemu to receive all visitors," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. " She is a journalist, not a criminal, and should not be behind bars."

Reeyot, a critical columnist of the banned private weekly Feteh, began a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest an order by Kality Prison officials to turn in a list of visitors, according to local journalists and news reports. The officials did not provide an explanation for the request. In retaliation for the hunger strike, authorities forbade her from having any visitors excluding her parents and priest, local journalists said.

Two days later, prison officials said she could receive any visitors except for her younger sister and her fiancé, journalist Sileshi Hagos, the sources said. Sileshi was detained for four hours at the prison later that day when he attempted to visit Reeyot.

Reeyot stopped the hunger strike on Sunday, but decided not to receive any visitors until the restrictions on her fiancé and sister are lifted. The journalist is serving a 14-year prison term on vague terrorism charges that was reduced in August 2012 to five years on appeal.

It was not immediately clear whether the visitor restrictions were in connection with an article published by the International Women's Media Foundation last month that had been written by Reeyot. It is unclear if the journalist wrote the letter from prison or if this was a translation of an earlier story. In the article, Reeyot criticizes Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law, an overbroad legislation that was used to jail and convict her for her critical coverage of the government.

Kality Prison Director Abraham WoldeAregay did not respond to CPJ's calls and text messages for comment. Desalegn Teresa, a spokesman for Ethiopia's Ministry of Justice, did not return CPJ's call for comment.

The denial of rights to Reeyot runs counter to the Ethiopian Constitution, which states: "All persons shall have the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by, their spouses or partners, relatives and friends, religious counselors, lawyers and medical practitioners."

In a December 2003 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment stated that prisoners should be "permitted to have contact with, and receive regular visits from, their relatives, lawyers and doctors." The same report stated that "access to the outside world can only be denied on reasonable conditions and restrictions as specified by law or lawful regulations."

This is the second time in six months that the prison administration has put pressure on Reeyot, according to CPJ research. In March, officials threatened to put Reeyot in solitary confinement, according to sources close to her who spoke on condition of anonymity. Officials accused the journalist of indiscipline, according to news reports, a charge she denied.

In a report issued the same month, the United Nations Special Rapporteur determined that the rights of Reeyot under the UN Convention against Torture had been violated on account of the Ethiopian government's failure to respond to allegations of her ill-treatment. Reeyot had complained of mistreatment, and her health had deteriorated while she was held incommunicado in pre-trial detention, reports said.

Secrets of Human Rights Crime, Violation and Abuse inside Uganda Jail

From: Judy Miriga

Good People,

This is a matter for ICC Hague ………..Very very sad indeed……

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson &
Executive Director for
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa

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Jicho Pevu : Wagigisi wa mauji katika vita dhidi ya ugaidi part 2

Published on Sep 5, 2013

Jicho Pevu – Wagigisi wa mauji katika vita dhidi ya ugaidi part 2

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From: Judy Miriga

Kenyua, Kisumu County: Men who marry underage girls to be castrated

from: Judy Miriga

Good People,

While I condemn the behiviour of marrying underage young girls, the panishment proposed here is harsher than can imagined.

Je, huyu Gavana, ametumwa? To me, it is associated to the “Cut”‘ Couldnt he look for another way for punishment???…..Hapa niko na tashwishi……..iko nyama…….lazima hii maneno ichunguzwe… Are the Chinese contract for harvesting in the “Cut” still valid in Luo Nyanza??? I mean, are these cutters still going to the villages tu cut in the wee of darkness……..I think this Gavana need to be serious…….I am being troubled……… Mali ya Mungu need peace.

This thing about looking for punishment as damage control in the wrong sector of industrial department is bothering me……

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

– – – – – – – – – –

Kisumu County: Men who marry underage girls to be castrated

Written by KNU Reporter
Published inGovernor News Saturday, 03 August 2013 09:59

Men marrying underage children in Kisumu County may be in danger once new by-laws come into effect.

They are even suggestions they should be castrated as a punishment for marrying a child who should be in school instead of taking care of a grown man as a husband.

A Kisumu County assembly member took a child abuse debate too far when debating on a motion seeking to come up with stringent by-laws that protect children’s rights.

County assembly member for West Seme Benta Ndeda stood up to raise a proposal that stunned many of her counterparts.

Ms Ndeda claimed she was disappointed with many elderly men who force underage girls into their homes.

She said this stopped many of the girls continuing with their education.

The matter and the ‘harsh’ measure of castrating law breakers, however, was not taken well by her male counterparts.

“It is so painful that many young girls are taken and forced into marriage by men who should be castrated as punishment,” said Ndeda.

In many countries in the world, castration has been a common procedure in dealing with sex offenders.

– See more at:

British, UK terror suspect arrested in Tanzania

From: Abdalah Hamis

Police in Tanzania said they have arrested a British national suspected of involvement in unspecified “terrorism activities” in the UK.

Iqbal Ahsan Ali was arrested in Tanzania’s southern Mbeya region suspected of trying to cross border to the neighbouring county.

He was found in possession of both British and Tanzanian passports, a crime in Tanzania which forbids dual citizenship.

“We have been in contact with our counterparts in the UK and they have confirmed that the suspect is wanted in their country for involvement in terrorism activities,” Robert Manumba, director of criminal investigations (DCI).

He said Mr Iqbal was also found to be carrying a laptop containing “seditious material” designed to cause “religious incitement”.

Mr Manumba said in a statement on Friday: “At the border he presented a Tanzanian passport, but when the immigration officers spoke to him in Swahili he was unable to communicate.

“That raised suspicions that led to him being detained for further questioning and in the course of that he was found with the UK passport.”

He continued: “We have been in contact with our counterparts in the UK and they have confirmed that the suspect is wanted in their country for involvement in terrorism activities.”

He said a Tanzanian man travelling with Mr Iqbal was also arrested and questioned.

Tanzanian officials said Assan Ali Iqbal was being held in connection with bombings in the north of the country. The Foreign Office confirmed the arrest and said it was offering consular assistance. (BBC)

Several people have been arrested on terrorism charges in Tanzania since bombings killed at least eight people in May and June.

Authorities in Tanzania, one of the region’s most stable countries, are concerned at the growth of an Islamist movement accused of indirect links to Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels.

Police said they had verified Ali’s British passport as being authentic. They said the Tanzanian passport he was carrying was a fake. – Reuters

Kenya: Ex-Mwakenya detainee join the race for Kisumu Central parliamentary seat

Writes Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City.

The newly created Kisumu Central parliamentary constituency has yet attracted another high profile aspirant with very unique historical and political backgrounds, which the local political pundits were quick in predicting his impending election victory as being inevitable.

Kisumu Central electoral area was created by the IEBC as one of the additional 80 constituencies country-wide. It was curved out of the old Kisumu Town West, which has under gone extensive realignment

It will cover the old Peri-Urban areas of Nyalnda slums, Pand-Pieri, Milimani, Kaloleni Slums,Kibuye,Obunga, and the entire Central Business District {CBD} The old Kisumu Town West will now start from the Kisumu Airport and extend into the rural Kisumo Locations.

George Kwanya Odidi, 62 old water engineer by profession is a man of unique character. He was born a revolutionary man with political radicalism entrenched in his blood from childhood.


HERE Is Mr Odidi’s photograph.

May be this is one of the reasons which landed him to a political detention camp for nine good months at the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison.

Born in 1950 at Kanjira in West Karachuonyo, Odidi received his early education at Ngeta Primary School and later joined Homa-Bay High school for both his “O” and “A’ levels.

He joined the Kenya for only two year between 1969 and 1970, but was later fired on suspicion that he was among those sympathetic to the 1972 abortive military coup that saw the former CGS Lt Gen Ndolo removed from the armed force and the first Kenyan African Chief Justice the late Kitili Mwendwa being sacked and scores of other given long prison sentences with hard labor.

During the government crackdown on suspicious soldiers and political dissidents Odidi, lost this army job. But he was lucky and after termacking for a few months he landed a new job with the Ministry of Water Development from where the lady-luck came calling on him. The Ministry offered him a three years scholarship to study water engineering course at the Warwick University in the UK

At the completion of his course Odidi returned home and was posted to work in Nyanza on promote as the Provincial Water Engineer in-charge of Nyanza Province.

An during his tenure in Kisumu, Odidi found himself in the catch-22 when the KANU regime under the retired President Daniel Arap Moi launched a full-scale crack-down on the members of the “Mwakenya dissidents countrywide.

He was among scores of those unlucky men and women ho got entangled in the Mwakenya underground activities and got netted in the crack-down by the dreaded Special branch security intelligence police unit.

He was among those who were charged in courts in connection with Mwakenya clandestine movement. He pleaded not guilty and the charges were withdrawn by the prosecution due to luck of sufficient evidence.

Instead of earning his freedom after the court case, Odidi was placed under security detention camp at the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison where he languished for the next nine months.

He was released from detention and fired from the government services without his terminal benefits. Odidi later got involved in football administration and won several position within the KFF in Nyanza region. At the same time he ventured into private business using his engineering training background and established his own enterprising construction firm.

During the first multiparty election of 192 Odidi surprised everyone when he trounced the then incumbent Karachuonyo MP Mrs Phoebe Muga Asiyo during the ford Kenya primary nominations prompting the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s intervention by prevailing upon him to stand down in favor of Mrs Asiyo.Jaramogi was the Ford Kenya national chairman.

Odidi reluctantly succumbed to Jaramogi’s and as a sign of respect to the doyen of oppositionist politics and highly respected freedom fighter he stood down but no sooner the news of his popularity in Karachuonyo reached the ears of the KANU Big-Wigs who immediately sent emissaries to persuade him to contest the election on a KANU ticket. KANU had offered to finance his election campaign with millions, but Odidi stood his ground and turned down.their offer.

Making the announcement for his candidature in Kisumu Central,Odidi said he will strive to initiate the revival of all of the stalled economic projects including manufacturing firms like Kenya Breweries plant in Kisumu are revived to alleviate unemployment of youths in the region.

He plan to ensure the manual removal o the dreaded water hyacinth which has of late became a real menace to the fishing industry, and also to empower youth and women to get involved in small and large scale enterprises, and also to encourage horticultural small scale farming by youths using water of Lake Victoria along its shorelines. The farm products could be exported


Arbitrary arrest, detention and treatment of detainees in Mozambique

From: Yona Maro

Poor people are particularly at risk of being locked up for months, sometimes years, in squalid cells without having committed a crime, reports Amnesty International.

[ Attachment 1: Download Resource (.pdf) ]

Jobs in Africa –
nafasi mpya za Kazi
Habari na Picha

Extremely Urgent: 45,000 IDPs, near Goma November 21, 2012.

From: Judy Miriga

Thanks Ali Rashid,

This underworld is mind boggling. It is unacceptable and things cannot go on like this; but they must be brought to a close. The world is falling apart if nothing will be done to bring this matter to an end……It is bad and innocent lives and blood are crying out aloud………We will not just sit and watch…….God will not be happy.

This matter of Private Merceneries if the mother of all problems we have in the world; it is the reason for economic crisis and Offshoring where Traders demand Free Trading and are fighting to eliminate existance of Governments and so, it is the reason why Governments finances goes to illegally organized groups fueling Terrorists and Pirates that are terrorizing the whole world……..

We demand for an Extremely urgent and thorough investigation to this matter and we ask the UN and the the ICC Hague not to waste any more time but act urgently to embark and bring these Organizers and Engineers of Terror and the illegal Terrorist invasions before Legal Justice so acts of Dictatorships with excessive fear from such organized gangs would come to a close.

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

– – – – – – – – – –

— On Sat, 11/24/12, Ali Rashid wrote:
From: Ali Rashid
Subject: ###Urgent: 45,000 IDPs, near Goma November 21, 2012.
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2012, 4:10 PM


Ni hii habari hapa ambayo inatatiza.

The UPDF of course denied Otunnu’s claims. But the New York Times report also accused General Saleh and other top Ugandan army officers of using their ties to paramilitaries to plunder Congolese diamonds, gold and timber. But what exactly is Saracen International? Who really owns it? Our efforts to get a comment from Saracen International were futile by press time.

So for the time being, it may be fair to say that no one really knows for sure what Saracen International is, and who owns it. What one can say however is that Saracen International is definitely a murky trade name that is shared by a number of private security companies across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

A few have however been linked to the infamous South African mercenary firm called Executive Outcomes; the same company that allegedly tried to send mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in order to tap into the country’s oil and mineral wealth.

Saracen International has also been linked to a certain Erik Prince; the man whose company Blackwater is allegedly financing a “Counter-Piracy” mercenary squad in Somalia . Both the New York TimesandAssociated Press have carried similar allegations against Saracen International on the strength of“confidential” reports leaked from the African Union.

From: Judy Miriga
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:02 PM
Subject: ###Urgent: 45,000 IDPs, near Goma November 21, 2012.

Ali Rashid,
Museveni has a case to answer at the ICC Hague……and with all these evidence

we must begin to push forward the cases of Crimes, Violation and Abuse against

Human Rights……..It is time the ICC Hague to catch up with Museven, Kagame and Kabila. Meles is dead but we know Meles and Somali Salim Saleh with Team including Kibaki, Moi with Team must follow suit.

Museveni is a bully, he took Migingo by force and killed many Luo fishermen and confiscated their fishing tools. He brought his brother Saleh Somali Pirates to take and control Migingo, Lake Victoria and the sorrounding lakes; ready to enleash lethal attack to wipe out Luo Nyanza with his Somali Al-Shabaab joined with the Mungiki which is why Kibaki has to do some explaining at the ICC Hague why the 2007/8 he used Museveni to target and wipe out the Luos from Nyanza….it is what is under conspiracy why Al-Shabaab is in the offensive to create instability by killing people from Garrisa, Tana River, Mombasa, Eastleigh in Nairobi and Kisumu.

ICC Must begin to engage these investigations while they are behind bars…..and this cannot wait any longer. Evidence are crystal clear and there is no excuse to wait for another day…….

Museveni with the Somali Brother Salim Saleh with Kagame, engaged in extreme commando with Kibaki to destroy stability of East Africa and through COMESA took pride in distabilizing the region with utter invasion of Lake Victoria with the surroundings, killed and destroyed livelihood and survival of many. They forced people to a forceful re-location because they planned an illegal OCCUPATION. This is unaccepted. The Law must take precedence and ICC Hague must take the lead to create favorable and stable habitation of people in the region. Legal Justice is the way to peace in the Greater Region of COMESA and this cannot wait.

How could the Rebel training go on in Congo and Kibaki, Kagame, Kabila and Museveni are quite pretending to be dumb. They must pay for the lives lost, human livelihood and survival that are destroyed. They must pay for the forceful Migration of of Victims of Circumstances. They must pay for causing insecurity because of illegal occupation there.

No one is above the law………!!!

Connect the dots people and everybody to push for ICC Hague to take up this matter with the urgency it deserve……..!!!

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Check Out Foot-Note How America’s Dollar & Wealth have wings

Through Foundations and NGOs……Draining the Country dry….

— On Sat, 11/24/12, Ali Rashid wrote:

From: Ali Rashid
Subject: ###Urgent: 45,000 IDPs, near Goma November 21, 2012.
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2012, 4:10 PM


Ni hii habari hapa ambayo inatatiza.

The UPDF of course denied Otunnu’s claims. But the New York Times report also accused General Saleh and other top Ugandan army officers of using their ties to paramilitaries to plunder Congolese diamonds, gold and timber. But what exactly is Saracen International? Who really owns it? Our efforts to get a comment from Saracen International were futile by press time.

So for the time being, it may be fair to say that no one really knows for sure what Saracen International is, and who owns it. What one can say however is that Saracen International is definitely a murky trade name that is shared by a number of private security companies across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

A few have however been linked to the infamous South African mercenary firm called Executive Outcomes; the same company that allegedly tried to send mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in order to tap into the country’s oil and mineral wealth.

Saracen International has also been linked to a certain Erik Prince; the man whose company Blackwater is allegedly financing a “Counter-Piracy” mercenary squad in Somalia . Both the New York TimesandAssociated Press have carried similar allegations against Saracen International on the strength of“confidential” reports leaked from the African Union.

Blackwater Founder Moves to Abu Dhabi, Records Say
Published: August 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — Erik Prince, whose company, Blackwater Worldwide, is for sale and whose former top managers are facing criminal charges, has left the United States and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents.

Times Topic:Blackwater Worldwide

Mr. Prince, a former member of the Navy Seals and an heir to a Michigan auto parts fortune, left the country after a series of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations singled out Blackwater or its former executives and other personnel. His company, now called Xe Services, has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States government since 2001.

Current and former colleagues said Mr. Prince hoped to focus on security work from governments in Africa and the Middle East. They also said he was bitter about the legal scrutiny and negative publicity his company had received.

“He needs a break from America,” said one colleague, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about Mr. Prince’s long-rumored move.

Mr. Prince does not face any criminal charges, but five former top company executives have been indicted on federal weapons, conspiracy and obstruction charges. Two guards who worked for a Blackwater-affiliated company face murder charges from a 2009 shooting in Afghanistan, and the Justice Department is trying to revive its prosecution of five former Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Over the past several years, Congress has also conducted a series of investigations of Blackwater’s activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an inquiry by the House Intelligence Committee into the company’s involvement in a proposed Central Intelligence Agency assassination program.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Mr. Prince, declined to comment about Mr. Prince’s move. Richard L. Beizer, a Washington lawyer representing Mr. Prince in a civil case, did not respond to requests for comment.

In documents filed last week in a civil lawsuit brought by former Blackwater employees accusing Mr. Prince of defrauding the government, Mr. Prince sought to avoid giving a deposition by stating that he had moved to Abu Dhabi in time for his children to enter school there Aug. 15. In the documents filed in federal court in Virginia, Mr. Prince’s lawyers describe Abu Dhabi as Mr. Prince’s place of residence. His deposition is now scheduled to take place there next week, lawyers involved in the case said.

Mr. Prince made a name for himself during the height of the war in Iraq, when Blackwater became the most recognizable brand name in the booming field of private security contracting. The company, which Mr. Prince founded in 1997, expanded rapidly, winning a series of contracts with the State Department, the C.I.A. and the Defense Department.

But Blackwater personnel in Iraq soon gained a reputation for cowboy tactics and the use of excessive force while guarding convoys of United States diplomats, leading to complaints from Iraqis and friction with the United States military.

Blackwater’s biggest public crisis came in September 2007, when its guards on a convoy in Nisour Square in Baghdad opened fire with machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons, killing 17 Iraqi civilians. Five guards were indicted in the United States on manslaughter charges, but the charges were dismissed late last year by a federal judge. The Justice Department is appealing that ruling.

The Nisour Square killings ultimately led the State Department to drop Blackwater from its diplomatic security contract in Iraq. But the Justice Department has been investigating whether Blackwater sought to bribe Iraqi government officials to allow the firm to operate in the country after the Nisour Square killings.

In 2009, with scrutiny of Blackwater’s activities intensifying, Mr. Prince changed the company’s name and overhauled the management. He sold the company’s aviation arm early this year, and finally placed the whole company, including its huge headquarters and training complex in Moyock, N.C., up for sale in June.


[–]Ra__ 0 points1 point2 points 3 years ago

sorry, this has been archived and can no longer be voted on Plenty of Blackwater and Halliburton sins have been catalogued before this. They just smile and walk away with impunity. The system has failed us.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince enters video game business
September 12, 2011|By John Gaudiosi, Special to CNN

“Blackwater” was developed by Zombie Studios and overseen by former Navy SEAL amd Blackwater founder Erik Prince.

More and more, today’s video game business is driven by huge military shooters like Activision’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and Electronic Arts’ “Battlefield 3.”

Now, Erik Prince, the founder of a controversial, real-world military group, is stepping into the virtual war zone with a new first-person shooter, “Blackwater.”

Designed exclusively for Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360, “Blackwater” was developed by Zombie Studios and overseen by Prince, a former Navy SEAL.

The shooter is set in a fictional North African town overrun by warlords and opposing militia forces. Players enter the fray as team members of Blackwater, the mercenaries-for-hire company that Prince founded in 1997

Business > Companies > Blackwater Worldwide
Blackwater Worldwide

Ahmad al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Updated: April 25, 2011

Founded in 1998 by former Navy Seals, Blackwater Worldwide says it has trained tens of thousands of security personnel to work in hot spots around the world.

The company, now called Xe Services, was once the United States’ go-to contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been under intense scrutiny since 2007, when Blackwater guards were accused of killing 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad.

The company and its executives and personnel have faced civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations surrounding accusations of murder and bribery. In April 2010, federal prosecutors announced weapons charges against five former senior Blackwater executives, including its former president, Erik D. Prince.

Nearly four years after the federal government began a string of investigations and criminal prosecutions against company personnel, some of the cases have fallen apart, burdened by legal obstacles including the difficulties of obtaining evidence in war zones, of gaining proper jurisdiction for prosecutions in American civilian courts, and of overcoming immunity deals given to defendants by American officials on the scene.

But in April 25, 2011, a federal appeals court reopened the criminal case against four former American military contractors accused of manslaughter in connection with the Nisour Square shooting in 2007.

Read More…

The Baghdad Shooting
On Sept. 16, 2007, a convoy of four armored vehicles carrying Blackwater guards armed with automatic rifles rolled through Baghdad. Out on a day in which an explosion had the city on edge, a man was shot in the head while driving, yet his car kept rolling. The guards responded with a barrage of gunfire and explosive weapons, leaving 17 dead and 24 wounded.

The shootings, in the middle of traffic, set off an anti-American political firestorm in Iraq and an international debate over the role of private security contractors in modern war zones. The Blackwater guards were accused of firing wildly and indiscriminately from their convoy into other cars and at Iraqi civilians. The guards defended their actions, saying they were responding to fire from insurgents.

The Nisour Square shootings became a watershed event in the Iraq war, and led the Iraqi government to demand greater sovereignty and control over foreign contractors operating in the country. The Baghdad government later demanded and won the right to subject foreign contractors to Iraqi law, while the United States government grudgingly began to impose greater curbs on the freewheeling activities of the personnel guarding American diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The former employees of Blackwater Worldwide were accused of manslaughter after the fatal shooting. But the charges were dismissed in December 2009 by a federal judge in Washington, who criticized the Justice Department for its handling of the case and ruled that prosecutors had relied on tainted evidence.

In April 2011, however, an appeals panel ordered the case reopened. The three-judge appeals panel, disagreeing with the judge’s decision, sent the case back, ordering Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court to review the evidence against each defendant individually.

The appeals court ruling was a victory for the Justice Department, which had been bruised by Judge Urbina’s ruling taking it to task for an overzealous prosecution.

Blackwater itself never truly recovered from the shooting. It quickly became the subject of numerous Congressional and federal investigations and lawsuits for a broad range of activities in Iraq and elsewhere.

Shell Companies

After Blackwater was roundly condemned for its conduct in Iraq, Blackwater created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts.

While it is not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the United States military or the Central Intelligence Agency. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates.

The network of companies — which includes several businesses located in offshore tax havens — allowed Blackwater to obscure its involvement in government work from contracting officials or the public, and to assure a low profile for any of its classified activities.

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has requested that the Justice Department investigate whether Blackwater officers misled the government when using subsidiaries to solicit contracts.

The settlement with the State Department followed lengthy talks between Blackwater and the State Department that dealt with the violations as an administrative matter, allowing the firm to avoid criminal charges. It does not resolve other legal troubles still facing Blackwater and its former executives and other personnel.

Those include the indictments of five former executives on weapons and obstruction charges; a federal investigation into evidence that Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials; and the arrest of two former Blackwater guards on federal murder charges stemming from the killing of two Afghans in 2009.

Relationship With the C.I.A.

In December 2009, The New York Times reported that private security guards from Blackwater participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials.

The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called “snatch and grab” operations.

Instead of simply providing security for C.I.A. officers, several former Blackwater guards have said they at times became partners in missions to capture or kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that raises questions about the use of guns for hire on the battlefield.

Separately, former Blackwater employees said they helped provide security on some C.I.A. flights transporting detainees in the years after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

Blackwater’s partnership with the C.I.A. has been enormously profitable for the North Carolina-based company, and became even closer after several top agency officials joined Blackwater.

The C.I.A.’s continuing relationship with the company has drawn harsh criticism from some members of Congress, who argue that the company’s tarnished record should preclude it from such work.

Nonetheless, in June 2010 the State Department awarded Blackwater a $120 million contract to provide security at its regional offices in Afghanistan, while the C.I.A. renewed the firm’s $100 million security contract for its station in Kabul. At the time, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, defended the decision, saying that the company had offered the lowest bid and had “cleaned up its act.”

Company Founder Erik Prince

For a time, the company’s founder, Erik Prince, had ambitions to turn Blackwater into an informal arm of the American foreign policy and national security apparatus, and proposed to the C.I.A. to create a “quick reaction force” that could handle paramilitary operations for the spy agency around the world. He had hopes that Blackwater’s military prowess could be an influential force in regional conflicts around the world.

Mr. Prince, a former Navy Seal member and the heir to an auto parts fortune, has tried to shed his ties to Blackwater and its past activities. He overhauled the company’s management in 2009, changed its name, and in later 2010 sold the privately held company. He also moved with his family to Abu Dhabi from the United States, a move that colleagues say was a result of his deep anger and frustration over the intense scrutiny he and his firm have received.

While Mr. Prince stepped down from any management or operational role, he was expected to have a financial interest in his former company’s future. The company was subject to an agreement it reached with the State Department in August 2010. Under the settlement, the company paid $42 million in fines over hundreds of violations of United States export control regulations, permitting it to continue to compete for government contracts.

The new buyers hoped to recast the company as a military training organization instead of a private security service. The company’s training center in Moyock has trained more than 50,000 United States government personnel and allied forces. The buyers hope to receive new contracts to train forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, among other locations, especially as the United States withdraws troops and needs to train local forces.

Somalia Operation

In January 2011, Mr. Prince was said to be backing an effort by a South African mercenary firm to insert itself in Somalia’s civil war. According to a report by the African Union, an organization of African states, Mr. Prince provided initial funding for a project by Saracen International to win contracts with Somalia’s embattled government. The Somali government has been cornered into a small patch of Mogadishu by the Shabab, a Somali militant group with ties to Al Qaeda.

The company, with corporate offshoots in Uganda and other countries, was formed with the remnants of Executive Outcomes, a private mercenary firm composed largely of former South African special operations troops that operated throughout Africa in the 1990s.

According to a Jan. 12, 2011 confidential report by the African Union, Mr. Prince “is at the top of the management chain of Saracen and provided seed money for the Saracen contract.” A Western official working in Somalia says he believes that it was Mr. Prince who first raised the idea of the Saracen contract with members of the Emirates’ ruling families, with whom he has a close relationship. Mr. Prince could not be reached for comment.

With its barely functional government and a fierce hostility to foreign armies since the hasty American withdrawal from Mogadishu in the early 1990s, Somalia is a country where Western militaries have long feared to tread. This has created an opportunity for private security companies like Saracen to fill the security vacuum created by years of civil war.

Days after the disclosure of the African Union report, many of Somalia’s biggest financial supporters, including the United States, have questioned the wisdom of the deal. Somali officials, in turn, cooled to the idea of working with Saracen.

Salim Saleh named in Somali ‘mercenary’ deal
By John Stephen Katende
31st January 2011

Gen. Salim Saleh: Is he a suspect?

President Yoweri Museveni’s young brother Caleb Akandwanaho aka General Salim Saleh may be linked to possible involvement in mercenary activities in war-torn Somalia, Uganda Correspondent can exclusively reveal.

The details emerged after Saracen International; a company associated with Gen. Salim Saleh, lost a lucrative contract to undertake some work in Somalia. Our source in Mogadishu said the Transitional Federal Government [TFG] of Somalia declared last week, Thursday 27th January that it had severed its relationship with Saracen International.

The decision, we are told, came after a closed door cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed in the capital Mogadishu. Somalia’s Deputy Security Minister Ibrahim Mohamed Yarow confirmed that cabinet had indeed cancelled the agreement that the TFG government had signed with Saracen International to train Somali troops and to revive social services including building health facilities in Mogadishu.

The decision, he said, was reached after Somalia’s TFG government landed on evidence which suggested that Saracen International may have been involved mercenary activities. “…The cabinet has today overwhelmingly voted against Saracen International on the basis of mercenary acts. So the cabinet has revoked the agreement with this company”, Ibrahim Mohamed Yarow said.

The Deputy Security Minister added that while there is no doubt that his government requires assistance, as government, he said, the TFG will only enter into contractual agreements with distinguished and clean companies. He also said the cabinet’s decision on Saracen International was “irrevocable”.

The TFG’s decision to revoke Saracen International’s contract follows widespread expression of concern by several foreign governments including the US. Philip J. Crowley, a US State Department Spokesman, said in December that the American government was “…concerned about the lack of transparency” of Saracen’s financing and plans.

According to a New York Times report of 20th January 2011, “…at least one of Saracen’s past forays into training militias drew an international rebuke. Saracen’s Uganda subsidiary was implicated in a 2002 United Nations Security Council report for training rebel paramilitary forces in Congo”.

Is war a lucrative source of business for powerful men?

Other than Burundi, Uganda is the only other country in Africa that has contributed thousands of soldiers to the AU’s AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The same New York Times report identified one of Saracen Uganda’s owners as Lt. Gen. Salim Saleh, the retired half-brother of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

Salim Saleh’s possible conflict of interest also highlights some crucial things in this terribly complex story. One of the things is that the lines that separate government security officials and owners or leaders of private armies have become so fuzzy that you can never really be sure as to the motivations of any individual player.

As mercenary forces become more and more prominent in armed conflicts around the world, the profit motive becomes almost impossible to rule out. In other words, it’s almost impossible to know the real reasons that fuel the conflicts in which mercenaries play a role. UPC party President Dr. Olara Otunnu for example, has accused some UPDF soldiers of having had vested interests in prolonging the Kony war in northern Uganda.

The UPDF of course denied Otunnu’s claims. But the New York Times report also accused General Saleh and other top Ugandan army officers of using their ties to paramilitaries to plunder Congolese diamonds, gold and timber. But what exactly is Saracen International? Who really owns it? Our efforts to get a comment from Saracen International were futile by press time.

So for the time being, it may be fair to say that no one really knows for sure what Saracen International is, and who owns it. What one can say however is that Saracen International is definitely a murky trade name that is shared by a number of private security companies across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Whether that is a coincidence or not, no one really knows.

What we can confirm without fear of contradiction is that Saracen International is fully established in Uganda; see Most of the other companies however deny or downplay any financial or managerial relationships between them. A few have however been linked to the infamous South African mercenary firm called Executive Outcomes; the same company that allegedly tried to send mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in order to tap into the country’s oil and mineral wealth.

Saracen International has also been linked to a certain Erik Prince; the man whose company Blackwater is allegedly financing a “Counter-Piracy” mercenary squad in Somalia. Both the New York Times and Associated Press have carried similar allegations against Saracen International on the strength of “confidential” reports leaked from the African Union.

Somalia has been without a proper central government since 1991 when President Siad Barre was overthrown by armed warlords. That incident effectively condemned Somalia to decades of civil war. END. Please log into every Monday to read our top stories and anytime mid-week for our news updates.

By Said Dualeh

24 dec 2010 ( The TFG of Somalia is not achieving anything for the people of Somalia, it is only adding to the miseries of the people of Somalia proper. I have been a supporter of all types of governments in Somalia from The collapse of the Siad Barre regime1991 to the present. In my previous articles I have defended Sheikh Sharif and the parliamentary warlord Sharif Hassan thinking that they had a little interest in their heart for our people the people of Somalia who unfortunately do not know their rights as citizens of Somalia.

We need a bill of rights for Somalia to get out of this corrupt and failed

state status.

We as Somalis can be successful in business, education and professions any other country in the world as proven by the Somali Diaspora except on our own country-Somalia, why? Go figure the answer and you may have solved the Somali Dilemma.

The Somali people do not know that they do not have to put up with corrupt leaders, leaders who associate themselves with the enemies of the people of Somalia, they do not need to put up with un educated and unenlightened religious leaders who hide behind veils and brain washed youngsters who never grew up as people with rights and never seen a just government who cares about its people and their welfare. Somalis do not need to put up with International organizations and Non governmental agencies who live off destruction, mayhem and underdevelopment in less fortunate countries like Somalia where they can test their new medicines and unorthodox, untested theories of development and peacekeepers who look after their own interest.

At First in Somalia after 1991 it was unstable government getting in contract with companies that dumped Nuclear Waste on our shores and contracting with companies who took every piece of metal out of the country and sold it as Salvage waste to Asian counties. We have seen Ambassadors trying to sell off Somali government properties overseas, and then we have seen presidents, prime ministers and regional authorities printing illegal currencies in a clandestine ways that made people wonder if this poor country had anyone who cares about it. We have seen where lack of transparency and accountability can lead to misunderstanding of MOU’s memorandum of understanding which did not reference to the law of the sea- regulations spearheaded by the United Nations. We have seen Ethiopia trying to destroy Somalia using the old colonial adage (Divide them then Rule them). If anyone ever thought Ethiopia wants to see a unified Somalia or a strong Somalia think again as you may be living in a wonderland. The same goes for all of our neighbors and our Arab brethren.

We have seen how corrupt the current Somali government officials are they sold the .SO protocol bestowed to Somalia as a nation among 192 others. The same people have contracted with Saracen International- one of the new private military companies(PMC’s) such Executive Outcomes(EO), Sandline Co, Strategic Consulting International(SCI), KBR, Heritage Oil and Gas Co. The name and their symbol of Saracen International looks like a middle ages Templar Knight on horseback trying to show the “light”(Christianity) to heathens in sub-Saharan Africa. The company is run by shady characters from the former SADF- South African Defense Force and former employees of the now infamous but defunct Executive Outcomes. The current TFG Finance minister stated that the agreement was signed by Sheikh Sharif- through his trusted then chief of Cabinet Abdulkarim Jama, the current Minister of information and Post & Communication. On the other side it was signed by Lafras Luitingh aka Louis Yssel- member of the notorious Former South African law enforcement agency Civil Cooperation Bureau(CCB)- in some pulished reports the finger was pointed to him during the truth commission hearings in the new South Africa that he killed Dr. David Webster and Anton Lubowski (ANC Activists in the former South africa).Lafras Luitingh aka Louis Yssel has a checkered past that will scare anyone who reads about world intelligence reports. He had dealing with characters such as Tim Spicer, Tony Buckingham, Eeben Barlow and the late Former South Africa skin head chief of police Henrick Van der Bergh, the creator B.OS.S and later the CCB where Lafras Luitingh got his training in sabotage, political assassinations, and intelligence gathering on dissidents. He was later recruited by (Executive Outcomes) EO for their Angola, Mozambique, Malawi jobs and later Sierra Leone.

The plane currently held in Hargeisa is the type used by these private armies especially Saracen and they buy their weapons from the former Soviet satellite countries. The two South Africans on the plane in Hargeisa were released as fake Journalist but they were Saracen International employees. They have connections with the British Foreign Office who called the Somaliland foreign minister. Why did they not allow pictures to be taken or invited the media to the kangaroo trail held in Hargeisa. South African intelligence has some clout over Hargeisa for different a reason, that is where the late Somaliland President Egal died in a hospital in South Africa.

The contact is Mohamed Ibrahim Egal’s former wife Edna who was at one time

Foreign Minister of Somaliland and who owns a hospital that received assistance from South Africa. Soon there will be another mock trial in

Hargeisa, Somalia Saracen will give the weapons on the plane to the Somaliland administration formatting it as confiscation by their court and they will release the plane and the crew intact. Saracen will once again continue the operations they were hired for.

Sheikh Sharif of the TFG , Museveni of Uganda, Farole of Puntland, & Sharif’s Ala Shiekh group led by Abdulkarim Jama( former VA mosques bookkeeper) and his prime minister (Formaggio) and his defense minister(Fiqi) (2 former Somali embassy bookkeepers from Washington) the Finance minister (Halane)& The Foreign Minister (Omaar) have no clue who they are dealing with at Saracen International. Museveni’s half brother is just a cover up. This project is the deep throat of Somalia and we need transparency in these dealings with select members of the Somali parliament.

Saracen guys and their friends have helped countries overthrew elected officials and everything they do is for money. These guys were so powerful at one time that they had The British navy servicing their Antonov and soviet type helicopters near the coast of Africa. If a country like Somalia does not have money these private military companies barter for oil and fishing rights and sell those rights at a premium to the highest bidder.

They have close relationship with the leadership in the Emirates and even a stronger one with current Sultan of Oman whom they assisted in overthrowing his father off the throne.

Both the UN and the OAU despise these private military companies because they want to put them out of business. Amisom is a cash cow for Uganda who does not want the current situation to end and they sustain a weak TFG government whose diplomatic failures include a drug dealing former Ambassador in China and they keep recycling former diplomats to the UN mission in NY who have publicly stated that he will join his clansmen back home to kill people and destabilize peaceful areas. TFG are not bringing to justice the ambassador who sold embassy property in Kenya. Will this government survive without peace keepers? I do not think so.

Saracen International is a rented military company mostly comprised of former special forces, formerly known as “dogs of war”, mercenaries and now they are known as security trainers and consultants (their sanitized PR name). Their specialty is to loot poor African countries who are led by corrupt individuals with no integrity.

The Somali people have a choice to change their leadership, or else if they want to stand on the sidelines as always thinking that someone is going to come to rescue them or should we as Somalis get our hands dirty and come together and resolve our clannish divisions once and for all since we have seen that no clan in Somalia is able to subjugate the others and live in peace or wait for our destiny to be decided by organizations or private military companies who follow their interest.

Best Regards,
Thank You,
Said Hersi Dualeh

*Freelance journalist*
Anaheim, California- USA

Erik Prince and Saracen International Doing Death’s Business in Somalia ‘Prince of Mercenaries’ who wreaked havoc in Iraq turns up in Somalia

Blackwater founder sets up new force to tackle piracy

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy and terrorism in the war-torn East African country of Somalia.

The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country’s United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills.

Mr Prince is working in Somalia alongside Saracen International, a murky South African firm which is run by a former officer from the Civil Co-operation Bureau, an apartheid-era force notorious for killing opponents of the white minority government.

News of his latest project has alarmed, though hardly surprised, critics of Blackwater. The firm made hundreds of millions of dollars from the “war on terror”, but was severely tarnished by a string of incidents in post-invasion Iraq, in which its employees were accused of committing dozens of unlawful killings.

Mr Prince, a 41-year-old former US Navy Seal with links to the Bush administration, subsequently rebranded the company “Xe Services” and sold his stake in it. But he remains entangled in a string of lawsuits pertaining to the alleged recklessness of the firm.

For most of the past year, he has been living in Abu Dhabi, where he has close relations with the government and feels better positioned to dodge lawsuits. In an interview with a men’s magazine, he recently declared that the UAE’s opaque legal system will make it “harder for the jackals to get my money”.

The exact nature of his sudden presence in Somalia remains unclear. The Associated Press said yesterday that the army Mr Prince is training will focus on fighting pirates and Islamic rebels.

The leaked intelligence report which prompted the news agency’s story was compiled by the African Union, an organisation of African nations. It claimed that Mr Prince’s money had enabled Saracen International to gain the contract to train and run the private militia. But that element of the report was flatly contradicted by a spokesman for the Blackwater founder, who claimed that Mr Prince had “no financial role of any kind in this matter”.

In a written statement, the spokesman, Mark Corallo, added: “it is well known that he has long been interested in helping Somalia overcome the scourge of piracy. To that end, he has at times provided advice to many different anti-piracy efforts.” He declined to answer any further questions.

Whatever the exact details of Mr Prince’s role, his presence in Somalia will inevitably lead to renewed soul-searching about the growing privatisation of warfare. Critics of mercenary organisations, which are often prepared to operate where traditional armies fear to tread, claim they are often trigger-happy and lack proper accountability. In Iraq, Blackwater employees shot dead dozens of civilians; 17 people were killed in one incident alone in Nisour Square, Baghdad.

Criminal charges were eventually brought in the US against five Blackwater employees. However, they were dropped in 2009 after a federal judge ruled that the defendants’ rights had been violated during the gathering of evidence. Iraq’s Interior Ministry subsequently expelled all contractors who had worked with the firm at the time of the Nisour Square shooting.

Somalia, where the country’s UN-backed regime is fighting a civil war against al-Shabaab, a group of Islamic insurgents with links to al-Qa’ida, is, if anything, a more volatile country than post-invasion Iraq.

The government controls only a small portion of the capital, Mogadishu, where it has the support of 8,000 UN troops from Uganda and Burundi. It is training an army to extend its reach, but observers fear that its ranks will be weakened by the arrival of Mr Prince – who will pay his troops a far better wage.

Saracen’s shady corporate structure has not inspired confidence in its accountability. In 2002, the UN accused its Ugandan subsidiary of training rebel paramilitaries in the Congo. Recently, the firm has claimed to be registered to addresses in Lebanon, Liberia, Uganda and the UAE, some of which seemed not to exist when reporters tried visiting.…a-2191270.html


“Saracen” is what the Crusaders used to call the Muslims, back in the day.

“Saracen International” is a trade name shared, coincidentally or not, by a number of private security companies across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. These companies deny or downplay any financial or managerial relationships between them. A few, however, reportedly derive from the infamous (and pioneering) South African mercenary firm, Executive Outcomes.

Yesterday, both The New York Times and the Associated Press carried a truly mind-bending story on Saracen International, based on a “confidential” African Union report that had apparently been leaked to both news organizations.

The report claims that none other than Blackwater founder Erik Prince has been financing a “counter-piracy” mercenary squad in Somalia, through Saracen.

Somalia, a chaotic demi-state, was the scene of an iconic American military defeat 18 years ago, not to mention a one-time home base for Osama Bin Laden.

It appears that Prince, an evangelical American mercenary with longstanding ties to the Pentagon and the CIA, has partnered with a group of equally notorious South African guns-for-hire for a paramilitary mission in an Islamic nation, under a corporate banner harking back to the Crusades. But what does all that mean?

Mercenaries don’t work for free
Is this an American war by proxy? Notably, this Somali “counter-piracy” mission is advised by a former White House lawyer and by a former CIA official. However, it is also bankrolled in large part by someone in the government of Prince’s new home, the United Arab Emirates.

Reading between the lines of yesterday’s news stories, the report connecting Prince and Saracen was most likely leaked by someone who felt, understandably, that the presence of mercenaries in Somalia undermines the African Union effort there, and persists on account of official corruption.

Uganda is supplying troops to the uniformed African Union force in Somalia. And, according to AP reports, Saracen is “associated with” the younger brother of Uganda’s president, Salim Saleh. That curious phrasing suggests a mutually beneficial financial relationship. Other African media sources say Salim Saleh is an “investor” or “major shareholder” in Saracen (Uganda).

Salim Saleh’s apparent conflict of interest highlights the key take-away from this incredibly complex story: The lines that separate government security officials and the leaders of private armies have become so fuzzy that you can never really be sure as to the motivations of any individual player. As mercenary forces become more and more prominent in armed conflicts around the world, the profit motive becomes difficult to separate from other casus belli.

In other words, it’s almost impossible to know the real reasons driving any conflict in which mercenaries play a leading role.

Government connections
The Saracen-in-Somalia story started gaining notice after a Washington Times story revealed the role of a former George W. Bush administration official in coordinating Saracen’s contract with the Somali government.

The former official, Pierre R. Prosper, is pictured here in a 2003 photo from his a former gig as an ambassador for “war crimes issues.”

Prosper and Michael Shanklin, a former CIA officer stationed in Mogadishu, previously told the AP they were being paid “paid by a Muslim nation [they] declined to identify” to advise the Somali government on “legal” and “security” matters. That unnamed “Muslim nation,” it now appears, is the UAE.

Late last year, the Washington Times and the AP reported that Prosper met with United Nations monitors over their concerns that Saracen may have violated a long-running (but ineffectual) arms embargo on Somalia. (Mogadishu, a city that has roughly the population of Houston, Texas, averaged 534 “weapon-related casualties” per month last autumn, according to the UN.)

Prosper told the Times “that so far, no arms were shipped to the training camp, to the best of his knowledge.” He told the AP that “Saracen is doing the military training” in Somalia. Yet the same story quotes Saracen (Uganda) chief executive Bill Pelser as disclaiming the company’s training role in Somalia.

Pelser denied being involved in the training program in Puntland…saying he merely made introductions for another company called Saracen Lebanon.

Sure. Got it.

Lebanese authorities have no record of a company called Saracen. Pelser did not respond to requests for contact information for Saracen Lebanon.

Yesterday’s AP story features quotes from Saracen (Lebanon) executive Lafras Luitingh—evidently a distinct entity from the Ugandan company of the same name that is also led by former employees of Executive Outcomes.

Also, it’s supposed to be completely irrelevant that Saracen (Uganda) goes around “ma[king] introductions” for Saracen (Lebanon).

In the AP story, Luitingh says “the company had sought to keep the project secret to surprise the pirates.” (Because the pirates don’t know they might be attacked?) He “declined to say whether [Blackwater founder Erik] Prince was involved in the project and said [Prince] was not part of Saracen.”

Is your head spinning yet? If not, it will be soon. Keep reading.

Saracen International, Not To Be Confused With Saracen International
The AP turned up

at least three Saracens — the one registered in Lebanon, and two run by Luitingh’s business partner and based in Uganda, where government office employees told the AP the registration papers have disappeared. An AP reporter in Beirut could not find the address Luitingh’s company provided in the Somali contract. Lebanese authorities had no address listed for Saracen in Lebanon and said it is based in the United Arab Emirates.

Saracen (Uganda)’s website says the company has branches in South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hong Kong, Angola, Zambia, Sudan and Botswana.

My own research turned up two more “Saracen Internationals,” not counting a Spanish real-estate firm with that name.

One, Saracen International Ltd, is based in Manchester, UK.

The corporate address of record is at the Towers Business Park in Manchester. The website registration, however, returns both that address and another, one shared with a café in the southern suburb of Stockport.

An email to the Yahoo account of the listed website registrant, Sira Yaqub, bounced back undelivered. The woman who answered the phone at the UK Saracen in Manchester office suggested calling back on Monday.

The other Saracen International I found is a limited-liability company based in Phoenix, Arizona.

This Saracen International is registered to William G. Lawrence and Tjaart Andre Van Der Walt, both of Phoenix. Lawrence returned a call placed to the company’s listed phone number.

“I have no relationship to the UK company of the same name. I don’t operate in Southern Africa,” he says of Saracen (Arizona).

Van Der Walt, Lawrence says, is a “friend” who has “never been part of the corporation,” although records show the LLC is registered at Van Der Walt’s home address. Lawrence says Van Der Walt, whose first name is also spelled in public records as “Thaart,” emigrated from South Africa 16 years ago and is now an American citizen.

I asked if Van Der Walt ever worked for Executive Outcomes. Lawrence says he doesn’t know, and hadn’t heard of that company.

He has, however, heard of the other Saracens. “I got a call from Somalia asking them to train their coast guard to fight the piracy threat. Only then I became aware that there was another Saracen International,” Lawrence says.

Doesn’t it seem strange, I suggested, that all these private security companies with an international client base—Lawrence’s company has operations in Jordan and the UAE—seem content to share a business name, and aren’t suing one another for copyright infringement? “I can’t account for that except…[the name] has positive connotations in the Arabic world,” Lawrence says.

Positive because, after all, they fought the Crusaders.

Lawrence says his company sells a Chevrolet Suburban outfitted with a concealed six-barrel gatling gun that can pop out of the hood and fire 50 rounds a second in every direction. The car, called the Raptor, costs upward of $300,000.

The Raptor is not something that you’d ever want to cut off in heavy traffic. You can watch its gunner blow up a hatchback on YouTube.

Is this the next must-have vehicle for Arizona’s soccer moms?

“The people we do business with are national leaders. They are always subject to threats of one kind or another. King Abdullah [of Saudi Arabia] has had four assassination attempts on him,” Lawrence says. “He doesn’t ride in our car…but we’re in his entourage.”

(Unlike the other companies that share its name, Saracen (Arizona) does not have an up-and-running website of its own. However, the marketing video for the Raptor contains a plug for That domain is currently listed as for sale.)

Muddied (Black)waters
Yesterday’s AP story on Prince’s ties to Saracen (Uganda) connects another company to the dubiously funded “anti-piracy” mission there.

Afloat Leasing, which owns two ships that have been working with Saracen, said it was Liberian-registered, but an AP reporter didn’t find it at the address given or in Liberian records.

I found an “Afloat Leasing Ltd” registered in South Africa. Records show this company owns a ship called the Seafarer, which departed Durban, South Africa roughly one month ago and was due to call last week in the UAE, a course that would take it past the pirate-plagued Horn of Africa.

This may or may not be the same “Afloat Leasing” named by the AP.

And as long as we’re in the caveats department, it should be noted that Prince, who recently abandoned his “redneck mansion” for the UAE, has denied, through a spokesperson, having any “financial role of any kind in this matter” with Saracen.

It should also be noted that Prince has ostensibly cut his ties with Blackwater, the company he built from nothing, although he’s tight with the new owners, whoever they are.

Did I say Blackwater? Of course, I meant Xe. Or whatever it is now. It’s hard to keep all these companies straight, sometimes. Odd, isn’t it? Most companies try so hard to come up with a memorable name. But with these companies and their constantly changing, generic-sounding brands—not to mention the roving headquarters and opaque registration—it’s almost as though they’re trying to confuse people. Like they don’t want people to remember who they are, or something.

The West Goes To War For Oil And Power In Libya
By Steve Horn @ Alter Net:

On Friday, October 14, President Barack Obama announced he would be sending 100 Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces to Uganda to “remove from the battlefield” (meaning capture or kill) the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony. ”I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa,” wrote Obama in a letter to U.S. House Majority Leader, John Boehner, R-OH.

The LRA, whose horrific deeds have been have been well-documented by scores of human rights reports and the documentary film, Invisible Children, can best be described as a Christian cult militia engaged in violent armed rebellion against the Ugandan government, located primarily in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. An arrest warrant was issued in 2005 by the International Criminal Court against the LRA leadership for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kony, the LRA ringleader, possibly has over 80 wives (i.e. sex slaves), according to a 2009 story by the Guardian, and has fathered over 40 children.

It gets worse.

According to a May 2009 article in Newsweek, ”[H]e and the hundreds of forcibly conscripted children who serve as his killing squads are feared throughout the region for their horrific levels of brutality and the butchery of tens of thousands of defenseless civilians. Their swath of destruction has displaced well over 2 million people. Kony has forced new male recruits to rape their mothers and kill their parents. Former LRA members say the rebels sometimes cook and eat their victims.”

The mainstream media, at least those who have covered this new U.S. military adventure, have taken the Obama administration at face value on its stated claim that JSOC troops are necessary in Uganda and neighboring countries, for the purpose of murdering the elusive and brutal war criminal-at-large, Joseph Kony.

But is this the true motive for sending JSOC troops into the region? A probe into the last several years of geopolitical posturing in Africa by the United States reveals another tale. It is the tale of a 21st century “scramble for Africa” for the procurement of oil, using imperial tools, such as drones, mercenaries and military bases, in a desperate effort to gain control of this valuable commodity.

An African Scramble for Oil

In October 2008, AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command, became the U.S. military’s sixth regional Unified Combatant Command center, joining those already housed in South America (SOUTHCOM), North America (NORTHCOM), Europe (EUCOM), the Middle East (CENTCOM), and the Pacific (USPACOM). The Unified Combatant Command centers serve as regional strategic hubs for the U.S. military planners to plot and implement the ways in which the U.S. will dominate these various regions for whatever it might deem to be in line with the national interest or national security purposes.

AFRICOM, though, did not come out of the blue and was years in the making before its realization. Not long after 9/11, in early January 2002, a key symposium titled “African Oil: A Priority for U.S. National Security and African Development” took place in Washington, DC; it was hosted by the neoconservative think-tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS).

IASPS is most famous for its authorship of a paper called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a 1996 paper that, among other things, called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, foreshadowing the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the neoconservative-lead Bush administration foreign policy team.

At the symposium, then Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Walter Kantsteiner III, stated, “African oil is a national strategic interest…[and] it’s people like you who will…bring the oil home.”

Later, in May 2004, Kantsteiner chaired a congressionally funded Africa Policy Advisory Panel report titled, “Rising U.S. States in Africa,” in which he stated, “African oil is of national strategic interest to us, and it will increase and become more important as we go forward.”

In the midst of these summits, the U.S. set up crucial military bases — in spring 2003 in Djibouti, a base called Camp Lemmonier, and in 2004 at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

The U.S. was now firmly implanted in the region to begin an African safari, featuring, most prominently, tours of prospective and already existing oil rigs and pipelines spanning every contour of the continent.

Oil Safari to Uganda

Not long after AFRICOM became a reality, multinational corporations also flocked into Uganda to search for oil.

The search was a flaming success story, with 2.5 billion barrels of oil now having been discovered, but still to this date, not yet procured. The royalties accompanying the oil’s usage could reach up to $2 billion a year by 2015, reported the Economist in May 2010.

This oil is located off of Lake Albert in northwest Uganda, a lake shared by both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Multinational corporations are required to sign something known as a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with the Ugandan government in order to drill for Uganda’s oil. In essence, a PSA is a contractual agreement between a foreign corporation benefiting from a country’s resources and the government of a country whose resources are being benefited from.

In October 2006, according to a WikiLeaks cable, Tullow Oil, a British company, and Heritage Oil, a Canadian company, signed a PSA with the Ugandan government, led by President Yoweri Musveni. This particular PSA, though, was no ordinary one, and indeed, could serve, in part, as an explanation for the logic of Obama’s October 14 announcement.

For the first three years the PSA was signed, the details were kept secret from everyone but upper-level Tullow and Heritage executives and Museveni’s inner circle. A February 2010 report written by PLATFORM, a British nonprofit organization, titled, “Contracts Curse: Uganda’s oil agreements place profit before people,” explains the PSA best and for the first time, made public its content.

The PSA, PLATFORM explained, “contain[s] no clauses covering security provision[s]…There is no public agreement setting out the relationship between the oil companies and the military or police forces. Thus it is unclear what promises and guarantees the Ugandan government has made to ensure security and what rights the oil companies have been awarded.”

This raised numerous vital questions for PLATFORM, including, “Do oil company security or private military contractors have the right or authority to arrest, injure or kill those they perceive as a threat?” and “Is the Ugandan government incentivised to prioritise security interests over the human rights of local populations?”

That same report also included revelations by PLATFORM that the Ugandan government had constructed a “new military base on ten square miles” near Lake Albert, where the oil was located. The report also disclosed that Museveni had created something called an Oil Wells Protection Unit (OWPU), which amounted to his own security forces, or mercenaries, guarding oil rigs.

Concerned about the OWPU, PLATFORM wrote, “Apparently its mandate is ‘to provide physical security for the oil and gas industry’ and ‘conduct strategic intelligence activities in all areas where oil will be processed and marketed.’ However, the OWPU has no Web site and no clearly known structure or chain of command…In this context, the OWPU could easily be misused to repress opposition to oil extraction activities, further political gains by the government and commit human rights abuses without accountability.”

Enter Heritage Oil and Ties to Private Mercenary Armies

Possibly the most crucial fact about the undisclosed clauses concerning security provisions in the PSA, was this vital detail: The Canadian oil company Heritage, which is owned by Tony Buckingham, who many credit for being the first innovator behind the modern-day private military corporation (PMC) (think Blackwater USA, now known as Xe Services), was formerly the main stakeholder in the Albertine Basin.

In 2010, Heritage sold its stake in the project to the British company Tullow Oil for $1.5 billion. Though Heritage is no longer exploring for oil in the hopes of drilling for it in Uganda, Buckingham’s background and business connections are still crucial to grasp.

Buckingham is a former officer of the British Special Air Service (SAS) — a parallel to the U.S. JSOC forces sent into Uganda by Obama — according to a 1997 story. In 1992 Buckingham became the founder and CEO of Heritage Oil. A year later, in 1993, Buckingham founded a PMC called Executive Outcomes (EO). EO officially closed shop in 1998, but during its time of existence, it consistently followed in the footsteps of the locations that Buckingham took Heritage’s oil rigs. And Buckingham’s close ties to mercenary armies did not terminate with EO’s fall. Instead, he formed a special relationship with a key figure, the half-brother of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Salim Saleh.

The special relationship between Saleh and Buckingham also goes a long way toward explaining the Obama decision to invade Uganda.

Salim Saleh, Erik Prince, and Guns-For-Hire in the Horn of Africa

Upon the eclipse of EO in 1998, rather than decay into oblivion, it instead morphed into a multi-tentacled machine of various PMC split-offs, the most crucial of which, at least as far as Uganda is concerned, is Saracen International.

Salim Saleh owns a 25-percent stake in Saracen. “[Saracen International] was formed with the remnants of Executive Outcomes, a private mercenary firm composed largely of former South African special operations troops who worked throughout Africa in the 1990s,” explained the New York Times in a January 2011 article.

Saleh, now Museveni’s military adviser, is a former high-ranking official for theUganda People’s Defence Force, the military of the Ugandan government. He is also a well-connected mercenary, as seen through his ownership stake in Saracen.

Saracen, in turns out, also maintains an important relationship with Blackwater USA founder and CEO, Erik Prince.

The same article that revealed the ties between EO and Saracen International also revealed that Prince possesses an ownership stake in Saracen. The Times wrote, “According to a Jan. 12 confidential report by the African Union, Mr. Prince ‘is at the top of the management chain of Saracen and provided seed money for the Saracen contract.’”

Blackwater, under Prince’s leadership, has been involved in the game of guns-for-hire in the Horn of Africa since February 2009, according to a WikiLeaks cable. The cable reveals that Blackwater won a contract to operate an armed ship, called McArthur, from a port in Djibouti, the country which is also home of the U.S. military’s Camp Lemonnier base.

The cable also reveals that McArthur ”will have an unarmed UAV” (Unarmed Vehicle, aka a drone), “will likely engage…Kenya in the future,” and that Blackwater “has briefed AFRICOM, CENTCOM, and Embassy Nairobi officials.” In other words, this means the Prince and Blackwater mission had the blessing of top-level U.S. military and diplomatic officials.

Could Prince’s and Saleh’s guns-for-hire be teaming up with JSOC forces in the Albertine basin to guard oil rigs? History provides some highly relavant precedent.

Erik Prince, Blackwater USA and Oil: History Repeating Itself?

Prince’s Blackwater has been involved in such engagements before. Rewind to Azerbaijan and Iraq, where Blackwater was tasked with guarding crucial oil pipelines and oil wells for the world’s wealthiest oil and natural gas corporations.

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, in his book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, revealed that “Blackwater USA was hired by the Pentagon…to deploy in Azerbaijan, where Blackwater would be tasked with establishing and training an elite…force modeled after the U.S. Navy SEALs that would ultimately protect the interests of the United States and its allies in a hostile region.

“Blackwater joined a U.S. corporate landscape [in the region] that included…corporations such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Chevron-Texaco, Unocal and ExxonMobil … Instead of sending in battalions of active U.S. military to Azerbaijan, the Pentagon deployed…Blackwater…that would serve a dual purpose: protecting the West’s new profitable oil and gas exploitation in a region historically dominated by Russia and Iran, and possibly laying the groundwork for an important forward operating base for an attack against Iran,” Scahill continued.

Azerbaijan, like Uganda, is home to a vast array of oil and natural gas, and also a key pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which, after reaching its respective coastal homes in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, ends up on the global export market.

In Iraq, as revealed by the Guardian in a March 2004 article, Blackwater, via a Pentagon contract, recruited Chilean “commandos, other soldiers and seamen, paying them up to $4,000 a month to guard oil wells against attack by insurgents…many of [them] had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet.” Pinochet, many will recall, was the brutal dictator who came to power after the CIA-initiated 1973 coup of Salvador Allende.

Iraq, like Uganda and Azerbaijan, is home to vast amounts of oil. Major syndicates ranging from BP America, ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips have all flocked to Iraq in the mad dash for Iraq’s resources since the 2003 onset of the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq.

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Ugandan Oil Bid Corruption

ExxonMobil, teaming up with Tullow Oil, as seen through the lens of important Wikileaks State Department diplomatic cables, has also shown great interest in the economic opportunities surrounding oil exploration off of Lake Albert, as well as great concern over governmental corruption in the nascent Ugandan oil industry.

A key December 3, 2009 cable, titled, “Uganda: Corruption Allegations Accompany Arrival Of Major Oil Firms,” reads, “Executives from ExxonMobil visited Uganda on November 18-19, and met with Ambassador (Jerry) Lanier (the U.S. ambassador to Uganda), Mission Officers, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), Uganda’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD), and Tullow (Oil)…ExxonMobil representatives who traveled to Kampala said they were ‘very impressed’ with…the Ugandan government oil representatives…”

Roughly a month later, yet another important WikiLeaks-provided State Department diplomatic cable was produced on January 13, 2010, titled, “Uganda: Security Report Details Oil Sector Corruption,” which discusses the impacts rampant corruption unfolding in the Ugandan oil industry would have on the U.S. if the ExxonMobil deal falls through.

“A corrupt…agreement would undermine a potential multi-billion dollar deal between ExxonMobil and Tullow, and have serious long-term implications for U.S….in Uganda in terms of…economic development,” the cable reads.

The State Department’s diplomatic cables make it quite clear that ExxonMobil and its partner, Tullow Oil, were both deeply interested in the Ugandan oil industry, but also gravely concerned about corruption.

Yet, Tullow and ExxonMobil had little to worry about, based on both Prince’s ExxonMobil ties during his days at Blackwater USA, as well as a crucial March 2008 meeting between the Salim Saleh-led Ugandan military and high-level Tullow Oil officials, as exposed by Wikileaks.

Tullow’s Mercenary Presence Long in the Making at Lake Albert Basin

Tullow, as revealed by State Department diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks, has been building up a mercenary army presence in the Lake Albert area for over three years.

A March 2008 State Department diplomatic cable reads, “…Tullow Oil, one of the four exploration companies operating in western Uganda, said that as the oil activity on Lake Albert increased, a security presence would be vital.”

The cable also mentions that U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Steven Browning and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Rear Admiral Phillip Greene “met with representatives from Tullow Oil and the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF), as well as local leaders…on March 4.” The UPDF is lead by Salim Saleh, who also owns a 25-percent ownership stake in Saracen International, the private mercenary army also owned in part by Erik Prince.

During the meeting it was also “noted that oil exploration and production would raise the profile of the area, which could lead to increased incidences of violence between Ugandan locals and security forces…” and the meeting concluded with a request for “an assessment team…to provide the Ugandan military with an organizational, doctrinal, training, and equipment needs assessment for a future lake security force.”

Toss into the ring the ongoing great power politics rivalry between the U.S. and China, and things become even more complex.

Great Power Politics Posturing in the Works?

Though ExxonMobil and Tullow Oil lost out on the corrupt oil bid in late 2009, while exploration has been done, drilling has yet to occur in Uganda. In that vein, 100 U.S. JSOC troops, likely teaming up with Erik Prince, Salim Saleh and Yoweri Museveni-backed mercenaries, have swooped into the Lake Albert area to secure the prize, oil, before its rival does.

The opponent? China.

On October 24, Tullow sold $2.9 billion worth of its shares of oil to France’s Total Oil and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), though it has yet to be approved by the Museveni government and requires his approval.

Throughout all of this, it is vital to bear in mind the bigger picture, which is that the United States and China have been competing against one another in the new “African Scramble” for Africa’s valuable oil resources.

Serge Michel and Michel Beuret, in their 2009 book China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing’s Expansion in Africa, write, “China’s advances in Africa’s oil-rich regions have been viewed with concern bordering on paranoia in the United States….[It] could…deteriorate into a a head-to-head clash between China and the United States, prompting the kind of open conflict that some see as inevitable by 2030.”

One has to wonder what will happen with regards to this recent oil deal, knowing the players involved, and seeing the geopolitical and resources maneuvering taking place in the Lake Albert region.

If the United States and its well-connected guns-for-hire have any say, Tullow Oil, Heritage Oil, ExxonMobil will take home all the royalties, and CNOOC will be sent home packing.

Another Piece of the Puzzle: Senate Bill 1067 of 2009

It appears that since the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, Senate Bill 1067, a bill that called for, among other things, to “apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield…and to disarm and demobilize the remaining Lord’s Resistance Army fighters,” the United States has Lake Albert targeted in its crosshairs.

An important provision squeezed into the bill was a section mandating that an official strategy be written up to “disarm and demobilize” the LRA.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall develop and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a strategy to guide future United States support across the region,” the bill reads. “The strategy shall include…a description of how this engagement will fit within the context of broader efforts and policy objectives in the Great Lakes Region.”

The Great Lakes Region includes Lake Albert and “broader efforts and policy objectives” translates into, based on State Department diplomatic cables and public statements made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the control of precious oil resources in the Albertine Basin.

Signed into law by Obama in May 2009, it is crucial to put when the bill was written into proper historical context.

As revealed by State Department diplomatic cables, this was roughly a year after the special meeting between Tullow Oil representatives; U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Steven Browning; and then head of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Rear Admiral Phillip Greene near Lake Albert. It was also roughly half a year after the launch of AFRICOM.

Some may have been surprised by this latest announcement to invade another country by the Obama administration, but based on recent history, there are no real surprises here. Still, despite evidence that seems to fly in the face of the reason offered by Obama to send troops to Uganda, it is still worth scrutinizing his rationale.

Humanitarian Intervention for Kony?

If there is one thing that is nearly for certain, it is that the Lord’s Resistance Army and Joseph Kony, as awful as they are, likely have nothing to do with this most recent U.S. military engagement in Uganda.

In the end, it all comes back to oil, even if top-level U.S. officials maintain that this has “nothing to do with oil.”

For one, days before this incursion, it was announced that the “the Obama administration quietly waived restrictions on military aid to Chad, Yemen, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)–four countries with records of actively recruiting child soldiers…Any country even remotely close to the horn of Africa (like these distinguished four) is just too strategically important…So, for the time being, it’s still guns for the kids,” wrote Mother Jones.

One of the rationales Obama gave for sending JSOC troops to Uganda, was that the LRA recruits and uses child soldiers, which, given this recent decision, made for the second consecutive year, is certainly not something high on the list of Obama’s concerns.

Furthermore, if human rights were actually the chief concern, why did the United States show interest in Kony only after the discovery of oil in the region? Not only that, but Kony, as many have made clear, is nowhere to be found in Uganda and is on the run or in hiding somewhere outside of the country.

To top it all off, Yoweri Museveni and his brother, the gun-for-hire Salim Saleh, both have deplorable human rights records, and unlike the LRA, maintain state control over the people of Uganda. An article titled “Uganda’s Tyrant,” written in 2007 by the Guardian, sums up the human rights situation under Museveni:

“President Museveni’s…regime is a constitutional dictatorship, with a rubber stamp parliament, powerless judiciary, censored media and heavily militarised civil institutions…Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International…confirm the harassment of Museveni’s political opponents, detention without trial, torture, extrajudicial killings, suppression of protests and homophobic witch-hunts.”

Abhorrent as his human rights record may be, the United States sent a $45 million military aid package to the Museveni-lead government in July 2011, which included four drones.

Do not be surprised if, months from now, ExxonMobil or another U.S. oil industry superpower walks away with drilling rights in the Lake Albert region and CNOOC, the current main possessor of Uganda’s Lake Albert oil resources, is sent packing.

Also don’t be surprised if Erik Prince and Salim Saleh lead Saracen International, working alongside JSOC troops, who work closely with the Central Intelligence Agency, are working as “security forces” off of the Albertine oil basin.

These are not only likely scenarios, but probable ones. Joseph Kony and his LRA allies might be taken down, but the people of Uganda, on the whole, will not benefit from this “humanitarian intervention.”

Things, unfortunately, will probably only worsen for the people of Uganda as time progresses.

Steve Horn is a researcher and writer for DeSmogBlog. He lives in Madison, WI.

The new faces behind molasses plant.
By John Kamau
The name Antonio Teixeira may not ring any bells in Kenya. But in international circles, the chairman of Energem Resources, which bought a 55 per cent stake in the Odinga family’s Spectre International –sends several alarms.

His entry into Kenya’s business circles is expected to raise eyebrows because of past business links with “mercenary” companies hired to protect mining companies in some of Africa’s bloodiest war zones, The Sunday Standard can exclusively report.

Four years ago, the South African Portuguese, also known as Tony Teixeira, was accused in the British Parliament of gun-running for Angola’s Unita rebels and for defying United Nations sanctions by supplying oil to the rebel movement.

Now questions are being raised about the controversial man behind a Canadian company that purchased the troubled Kisumu molasses plant from the Oginga Odinga family.

Teixeira has been linked to Branch Energy and Executive Outcomes, two notorious private security-cum-paramilitary companies with a record of involvement in war wealth.

Branch Energy, which had mining concessions in Sierra Leone, is 100 per cent owned by Teixeira’s Energem, is one of the pioneers in the provision of private security in return for mining concessions in war-torn nations. Executive Outcomes, on the other hand, was founded by a former Teixeira ally, Tony Buckingham, who recently sat on the board of Energem Resources.

Buckingham, a former South African soldier, was a member of the dreaded South African apartheid-era assassination squad, the 32nd Battalion, and was also behind the British mercenary company, Sandline, which in 1999 broke a UN arms embargo in Sierra Leone, allegedly with the backing of the British government.

Sandline, however, closed shop in April, this year, citing failure to get British support for its private military activities.

According to an Energem company profile obtained by the Sunday Standard, Teixeira’s newly registered company, Energem Kenya Limited, is licensed to “import refined oil products” and “bitumen for the Ministry of Roads”, headed by Raila Odinga. It is the award of an exclusive contract to a company associated with the Odinga family by a ministry headed by a member of the same Odinga family that sparked the row over the acquisition of the Kisumu molasses plant last week.

But Teixeira is not new to controversy.

Last year, another of Teixeira’s companies, Trans Sahara Trading (TST), was stopped from supplying oil to Zambia by President Levy Mwanawasa, who cited “irregularities” in the award of the tender.

And now, Teixeira’s ownership of the Kisumu molasses plant has thrust him to the centre of another dispute only eight months after he announced that his company had acquired a controlling stake in the moribund ethanol plant.

Bondo MP Dr Oburu Odinga, who is also the chairman of East African Spectre, which partly owned Spectre International, says the family has “no interest” in the ethanol maker after pulling out last November. ***WE KNOW THAT THIS IS A LIE BECAUSE TODAY THE ODINGAS OWN THE ETHANOL PLANT (KISUMU MOLASSES PLANT!)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!****

The current storm was kicked up by newly appointed Urban Development assistant minister Maina Kamanda, who accused the Odinga family of “grabbing” the land occupied by the plant, “failing to pay for it” and later selling it to Canadians.

Official documents now indicate that the land in question was offered to Spectre International by the then Commissioner of Lands, Mr S.K Mwaita, in a letter dated January 11, 2001.

The value of the entire land measuring 112 hectares was put at Sh3,699,750.

Twenty-three months later, Teixeira’s DiamondWorks, renamed Energem, acquired a controlling stake in Spectre International and paid $2 million (Sh160 million) for a stake in the Odinga family-owned enterprise.

But the molasses saga deepened further after the Ministry of Lands and Housing issued a brief this week saying there “is no record of official valuation of the property by the chief government valuer”.

Although the molasses plant was supposed to have been auctioned, the ministry’s brief raised questions on the transaction: “What appears to have been processed for sale is empty land and there is no record of how the physical infrastructure investment on the stalled project (was) sold and for how much.”

“The land deal was a direct allocation to Spectre International and there is no indication of other offers being sourced in the absence of official valuation”.

Dr Oburu Odinga who sits on the board of Spectre International with his sister, Ruth, has denied any impropriety on the family’s part.

With the matter now being investigated by a Cabinet committee, Kenyans have not heard the last of the matter.

It seems curious that the offer of the molasses plant land was made to Spectre International some five days after the Raila’s National Development Party (NDP) entered into a partnership with then ruling party, Kanu.

Although Oburu denied that the Odinga family owns the molasses plant, he conceded that two family members sit on the board of Spectre International.***THE THIEF LIES AGAIN!

Texeira entered Kenya’s business world through one of his subsidiary companies, Petroplus Africa Limited, which concluded a memorandum of understanding with the National Oil Company of Kenya (NOCK) and a separate “hospitality agreement” with the state corporation, Kenya Petroleum Refining Ltd, Kenya Pipeline Company and NOCK’s Nairobi Terminal. ****These corrupt a-holes should explain oil/petrol problems/shortages to wananchi!

“These arrangements were entered into for purposes of enabling Petroplus’s entry into the Kenyan market and to facilitate its ability to undertake a review of the mid-stream oil industry in Kenya aimed at its modernisation and development,” the company said in a statement in November last year.

Under the auspices of NOCK, Petroplus imported two trial shipments of oil products in April and May and was awarded its own oil importation and trading licence for Kenya in June 2003.

“The test results were positive and supported the decision by DiamondWorks (now Energem Resources) to acquire control through Spectre of the Kisumu ethanol plant,” the company said.

That entry, we have established, came after another of Energem’s subsidiaries faced problems in the Zambian market where Teixeira reported “difficult trading conditions” in a statement he issued to shareholders in October last year.

Although Teixeira’s name has not featured in Kenya, the allegations of gun-running made in Britain that his operations in Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia made a fortune out of blood diamonds is bound raise a lot of heat. *** these are Raila/The Odingas business partners****

In its company profile, Energem Resources says it is “supplying bitumen and other products to the Roads and Energy ministries”, an issue that could generate political heat in Kenya.

Texeira came to the board of DiamondWorks, now known as Energem Resources, in January 2000 when his Isle-of-Man registered company, Lyndhurst Limited, advanced $5 million to the ailing DiamondWorks. The loan was converted into shares.

But the company appears to have run into trouble with Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission, which stopped the board from sitting in April 2002 and accused its members of “failing to file financial statements” and to “disclose” the affairs of DiamondWorks.

The company immediately changed its name to Energem Resources.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


The debate between General David Tinyefunza and Olara Otunnu on whether genocide is unfolding in northern Uganda or not, deserves to be subjected to historical comparison for better understanding. Otunnu’s charge that conditions of genocide exist in northern Uganda drew evidence from the Government of Uganda and Non-Governmental Organizations reports that catalogued, among others, the deliberate policy of demonization, forcing people into concentration camps, abetting and encouraging rape by HIV/AIDS infected soldiers, and the prolongation of the conflict. The dynamics of the conflict has led to targeting unarmed civilians by both the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF). These conditions, taken as a whole, Otunnu argues, meet the threshold of genocide.

General David Tinyefunza of the UPDF denies perpetrating genocide against the Acholi people, without disputing the core sources of evidence presented by Otunnu. He argues that what exists in northern Uganda is not genocide but death caused by a situation of war. He adds that President Museveni has neither the will nor the desire to exterminate the Acholi, but protect them in the so-called “protected villages.”

What is clear from the debate is that both Otunnu and Tinyefunza agree that there is mass death in Acholiland. However, they differ in their explanation about the mechanics of mass deaths, and whether the mass deaths should be characterized as genocide or collateral death. For a nuance understanding, a historical comparison of the mechanics of mass death is necessary. I would like to compare the case of the Jews during the Third Reich (Germany) under Adolf Hitler with that of the Acholi in Uganda under General Yoweri Museveni.

Leadership and Genocide: Hitler and Museveni

The path to consolidation of political and state power by Hitler and General Museveni are similar: First, both leaders began with creating environments where genocide would be seen as justifiable. Museveni ran a one-party state, where he and his associates conceived and meticulously planned genocide in broad daylight. Similarly, Hitler ran Germany as a one-party state. Both leaders excoriated democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, preferring bellicose militarism.

Second, both leaders demonized their victims and proceeded to whip xenophobia and the fury of the population, initially as means to prosecute a war and eventually as a final solution in itself.

For Hitler in Germany, the progressive conversion of Jews into enemies was later formalized by an executive decree in 1933, which pointed out that there was a Jewish problem. This graduated to the Nazi slogan that Jews were a misfortune.

In Uganda, Museveni’s coming to power was based on explaining national crises as caused by northerners, who came to be mostly identified with the Acholi population. This was formalized by the NRM/A intellectuals that there was a northern question; and the derogatory NRM/A slogan became Acholis are “Abanyanyas” [read as equivalent to the Nazis’ justification – Jews were a misfortune]. The “Abanyanyas” referred to non-citizens, in fact, to southern Sudanese.

In both instances, the leaderships denationalized and transformed victims into enemies of the state deserving neither mercy nor reason. The logical solution was the so-called final solution.

Constructing and Articulating the Intellectual basis of Genocide

For genocide to occur with the apparent connivance of the population, an intellectual basis needs to be created and masqueraded as critical research. This is often used to brainwash the gullible.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler vented out his hatred and xenophobia against the Jews by blaming the Jews for the humiliation that Germany suffered during World War I. Once Jews had been presented as the source of the problem in Germany, the extermination project could be justified as the final solution. But it was not only Hitler; the Nazi intellectuals also legitimated the extermination project against the Jews. They misrepresented the deaths by blaming the victims as responsible for their own destruction.

In the case of Uganda, to understand the background to the tragedy in Acholiland, we need to examine Museveni’s activities during his youthful days in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

While a student at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Museveni wrote his thesis entitled, “Fanon’s Theory and its Verification in Liberated Areas in Mozambique”, where he stated that:

“to transform a human being into an efficient, uncostly and completely subservient slaves, you have, as a pre-condition, to completely purge him of his humanity, manhood and will. Otherwise, as long as he has some hope for a better free future, he will never succumb to enslavement. To become an efficient instrument of oppression, you have to radically dehumanize yourself by foregoing many qualities that are normally found in balanced human beings. You purge yourself of compassion, altruism, consideration for other people’s sufferings and the capacity to restrain your greed. Failure of the oppressor to get rid of such undesirable feelings – like compassion – will mean inability to be a successful exploiter.”

Museveni followed his thesis by remarking that “Hitler was a smart man. …What he did in Germany, we will also do it here” (Uganda). To reinforce his admiration for mass murderers, Museveni boastfully approved the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, in spite of the fact that about 50 million Africans were killed. During interview with Atlantic Monthly, Museveni said, “I do not blame white people for slave trading. If you are stupid, you should be enslaved.” Blaming the victims of this form of genocide for their own extermination is the most pitiful and bigoted utterance. Yet no outrage was registered at home and abroad.

In his book, Sowing the Mustard Seed, Museveni presented the Acholi, as a group, as responsible for the atrocities committed in Luwero. But let us consider the facts: the report of the commission of inquiry into the Luwero deaths have never been made public. Former fighters with Museveni have pointed a finger at Museveni for the Luwero deaths in their articles to the Monitor newspaper. Museveni promptly reacted by issuing injunction against retired National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) military officers from continuing to publish the Luwero war memories. Museveni’s fear is that his complicity for deaths in Luwero will be exposed.

Demonizing the victims: the Acholi and the Jewish Experience

There are similarities between the two leaders in favouring and promoting hatred that would lead to the crimes of genocide.

Killings that lead to the crimes of genocide are usually preceded by psychological preparations. Museveni effected it through a vilification of the Acholi, as a group, by presenting them as responsible for the atrocities in Luwero. This provided justifications for “revenge” killings of the Acholi by the predominantly southern NRM/A soldiers. To continue stoking the flame of hatred and xenophobia against the Acholi, as a group, Museveni skillfully resorted to the indignity of displaying, for partisan reasons, human remains and rattling human skeletons as a political campaign ploy.

The various derogatory remarks about the Acholi people made by Museveni and his associates were interspersed by dehumanizing references of the Acholi people as inferior, primitive, backward and savage. In 1986, the NRM/A political commissar, Commander Karusoke Kajabago, referred to the Acholi people as biological substances, implying that they were deserving of extermination.

The domestic internalization of the demonic ideology consigned the Acholi people to enemy status, within their own country, upon whom acts of debasement and genocide are acceptable. Thus, what is aroused in the population is not so much hatred, although hatred is part of it, but indifference.

The Strategy of Genocide: Implementation and Ruses

[a]. Concentration Camps:

If we examine the phenomenon of concentration camps, we find that it is characteristic of most genocide. First, the concentration camps were created through a great deal of ruses and deception throughout Germany and Uganda.

The infamous concentration camps in Treblinka and Auschwitz were presented by the Nazis’ as industrial centers rather than what they really were. To effect the deception, the gate of Auschwitz still bears the infamous inscription, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Brings Freedom). Although some Jewish victims might have thought that the violence was part of Hitler’s repressive measures, they had no idea what Treblinka and Auschwitz, among others, signified for them.

The extreme success of German propaganda was evident from the German murderers themselves who witnessed that, “down to their final moment before liquidation, they (Jews) believed they were going to be transported to some other place.”

Museveni’s ruse in moving the Acholi population into concentration is similar to the Nazis. Initially, the unarmed civilian populations were encouraged to run for sanctuary to UPDF detaches, to churches and to police stations during UPDF and LRA firefights, but they would return to their homes after the hostilities. But soon, the UPDF innovators and architect of the final solution saw this as a strategic blessing. The Acholis were to move into the concentration camps for protection from combat hostilities.

When the Acholi’s realized that those camps were death camps, they resisted and stayed in their homes. A victim cried, “we were told that these camps were for our protection, but we are brought here to be killed.” The UPDF made mandatory that the unarmed civilian population must relocate permanently to designated concentration camps and those refusing would be deemed LRA sympathizers. Within 48 hours, the UPDF air force strafed those unarmed civilians who were reluctant to move, militia groups killed whoever remained to collect food and property, villages were burnt and artillery units fired live shells indiscriminately into unarmed civilian communities.

[b]. Some Deceptive Linguistics of Genocide: “Work” and “Protection”

The language used by the Nazis and the UPDF are comparable and similar. The Nazi concentration camps were mostly referred to as “work camps” and never as death camps, which was what the camps were in practice.

The UPDF spoke of the concentration camps as “protection villages” and never as death camps, even when the reports of the Government of Uganda such as Suffering in Silence (January 2005); Health and Mortality Survey Among Displaced Persons in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader Districts, Northern Uganda (July 2005), and Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports describe conditions, which evidently meet the threshold of genocide.

Who is fooling who here?

The Nazi’s fooled nobody but themselves because, after the war, they were brought before the Nuremberg Tribunal and convicted. One of the problems in Germany was that most Germans were in a state of denial as illustrated by their attitude of silence and indifference. The UPDF are also fooling themselves. General Tinyefunza confirmed that only 15 soldiers are posted to protect a population of over 50,000 concentration camp inmates from the LRA attacks. Whereas, he agreed that Museveni, an individual, is protected by over 12,000 soldiers (1 Division of troops), consuming over one-third of the national military budget. Clearly, the concentration camps are not meant to provide protection.

We must be clear that the UPDF language of offering “protection” in villages and the Nazi language of “work camps” are similar. They are effective veil to cover the unfolding genocide.

[c]. Denials and Maligning of Victims

In both Germany and Uganda, propaganda played a central role in shaping the course of genocide.

The Nazi propaganda purported that the Jewish people killed themselves while the Nazis were mere onlookers.

This is similar to Yoweri Museveni propaganda that the Acholi’s are killing themselves while the NRM/A are offering protection and safety.

Preposterous as Hitler and Museveni’s allegations are, the main purposes of the denials and maligning were to blame the victims for their extermination. This shifted the guilt onto cousins or kin and kinship of the exterminated.

The Donor Community and Accountability

There have not been any clear pronouncements about the tragic human catastrophe in northern Uganda from foreign donors, who finance up to 52 percent of Museveni’s administration budget. The donors have procured arms, trained and equipped the UPDF and the police force and continuously provided positive propaganda. It is this complicity that has made the donor community overlook the unfolding genocide in northern Uganda.

We should all be ashamed about our failure or, even connivance with, the perpetrators of genocide by giving material and moral support. Many western donor diplomatic missions have regularly visited the concentration camps, signed the visitor’s book, but made no public complains against the unfolding genocide.

The silence and support by western donor community for Museveni’s regime must be construed as giving tacit accent to continue perpetrating the unfolding genocide against the Acholi people.

How come that the tragic humanitarian suffering in Darfur that is nonetheless less severe in intensity and magnitude, than the situation in Acholi, which Jan Egeland, the United Nations Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), described as the world’s worse and forgotten humanitarian catastrophe been denied the status of genocide? How come that the tragedy does not also capture the sympathy and attention of the donor community?

The Acholi genocide remains unparallel in terms of the ferocity sustained over time by several participating perpetrators and by the complicity of the donor countries.

This is genocide where the ideological matrix of denial is among the most developed of any genocide in Africa; and, is actively propagated by donor community and agencies.

This is genocide where deniers such as General David Tinyefunza, Herbert Ogwal, Ambrose Murunga and Kintu Nyago, have called it “war” and often resorted to personal attacks, which are unrelated and distracting to what Otunnu actually charged.

This is genocide occurring in broad daylight in spite of copious indicators: the Government of Uganda official reports, Non-Governmental Organizations, Humanitarian and Human Rights Agencies reports documenting atrocities, Museveni’s published philosophical justifications of mass murders and systematic demonizations of the Acholi people, and explicit dehumanization by NRM/A political commissars, meeting the threshold of genocide.

Shrouded in Secrecy: Illegal Detention and Torture By Rwanda Military Intelligence

From: Yona Maro

Dozens of people in Rwanda suspected of threatening national security have been held in a network of secret detention centres run by the military. In these camps, detainees were unlawfully held and were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Some are still held in secret detention. This report documents cases of unlawful detention and allegations of ill-treatment by Rwandan military intelligence in 2010 and 2011. Amnesty International is urging the government to end these practices, disclose the whereabouts of detainees, investigate torture allegations and bring those responsible to justice.

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USA: Obama’s week

From: Elena Perez, Political Action

Dear MoveOn member,

The biggest news coming out of the Republican convention was that Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair for 12 minutes. That’s bad for Mitt Romney, but this week is going to be even worse.
Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton, and of course the President himself are about to take over the airwaves—right as most Americans are starting to pay attention to the race.

We’ve only got nine weeks until Election Day, and the Democratic National Convention provides a huge opportunity for MoveOn members to help President Obama pull ahead big time. So we’re joining forces with the labor movement to talk with voters in key swing states like Ohio.
MoveOn members are volunteering with the AFL-CIO’s affiliate, Workers’ Voice, in Dayton on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

A lot of progressives have watched the campaign, sat back, and figured Obama had the election in the bag.
That’s just not the case in this Citizens United era, where people like the Koch brothers can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads to try and buy the election. Romney will try to sneak away with a win thanks to these 1%ers if we don’t start doing what we do best—turning out volunteers in huge numbers to talk one-on-one with voters.

With summer vacations over and kids back at school, right now is the time when voters are really tuning into the election. We’re going to lose this if progressives keep thinking Obama doesn’t need their help.

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Help Turn Out the Vote and Win
Most voters are already on our side. But the question is whether they’ll show up. We’ve got an amazing partner in the AFL-CIO affiliate, Workers’ Voice, and a game-changing voter contact system to make every phone call and door-knock more impactful. Can you chip in to support our work to turn out unlikely voters? You can also make a monthly contribution or contribute by check.
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BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee